2 Corinthians 8

* The apostle reminds them of charitable contributions for the

poor saints. (1-6) Enforces this by their gifts, and by the love

and grace of Christ. (7-9) By the willingness they had shown to

this good work. (10-15) He recommends Titus to them. (16-24)

1-6 The grace of God must be owned as the root and fountain of

all the good in us, or done by us, at any time. It is great

grace and favour from God, if we are made useful to others, and

forward to any good work. He commends the charity of the

Macedonians. So far from needing that Paul should urge them,

they prayed him to receive the gift. Whatever we use or lay out

for God, it is only giving him what is his own. All we give for

charitable uses, will not be accepted of God, nor turn to our

advantage, unless we first give ourselves to the Lord. By

ascribing all really good works to the grace of God, we not only

give the glory to him whose due it is, but also show men where

their strength is. Abundant spiritual joy enlarges men's hearts

in the work and labour of love. How different this from the

conduct of those who will not join in any good work, unless

urged into it!
7-9 Faith is the root; and as without faith it is not possible

to please God, #Heb 11:6|, so those who abound in faith, will

abound in other graces and good works also; and this will work

and show itself by love. Great talkers are not always the best

doers; but these Corinthians were diligent to do, as well as to

know and talk well. To all these good things the apostle desires

them to add this grace also, to abound in charity to the poor.

The best arguments for Christian duties, are drawn from the

grace and love of Christ. Though he was rich, as being God,

equal in power and glory with the Father, yet he not only became

man for us, but became poor also. At length he emptied himself,

as it were, to ransom their souls by his sacrifice on the cross.

From what riches, blessed Lord, to what poverty didst thou

descend for our sakes! and to what riches hast thou advanced us

through thy poverty! It is our happiness to be wholly at thy

10-15 Good purposes are like buds and blossoms, pleasant to

behold, and give hopes of good fruit; but they are lost, and

signify nothing without good deeds. Good beginnings are well;

but we lose the benefit, unless there is perseverance. When men

purpose that which is good, and endeavour, according to their

ability, to perform also, God will not reject them for what it

is not in their power to do. But this scripture will not justify

those who think good meanings are enough, or that good purposes,

and the mere profession of a willing mind, are enough to save.

Providence gives to some more of the good things of this world,

and to some less, that those who have abundance might supply

others who are in want. It is the will of God, that by our

mutual supplying one another, there should be some sort of

equality; not such a levelling as would destroy property, for in

such a case there could be no exercise of charity. All should

think themselves concerned to relieve those in want. This is

shown from the gathering and giving out the manna in the

wilderness, #Ex 16:18|. Those who have most of this world, have

no more than food and raiment; and those who have but little of

this world, seldom are quite without them.
16-24 The apostle commends the brethren sent to collect their

charity, that it might be known who they were, and how safely

they might be trusted. It is the duty of all Christians to act

prudently; to hinder, as far as we can, all unjust suspicions.

It is needful, in the first place, to act uprightly in the sight

of God, but things honest in the sight of men should also be

attended to. A clear character, as well as a pure conscience, is

requisite for usefulness. They brought glory to Christ as

instruments, and had obtained honour from Christ to be counted

faithful, and employed in his service. The good opinion others

have of us, should be an argument with us to do well.

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