2 Corinthians 8* The apostle reminds them of charitable contributions for thepoor saints. (1-6) Enforces this by their gifts, and by the loveand grace of Christ. (7-9) By the willingness they had shown tothis 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 ofall the good in us, or done by us, at any time. It is greatgrace and favour from God, if we are made useful to others, andforward to any good work. He commends the charity of theMacedonians. So far from needing that Paul should urge them,they prayed him to receive the gift. Whatever we use or lay outfor God, it is only giving him what is his own. All we give forcharitable uses, will not be accepted of God, nor turn to ouradvantage, unless we first give ourselves to the Lord. Byascribing all really good works to the grace of God, we not onlygive the glory to him whose due it is, but also show men wheretheir strength is. Abundant spiritual joy enlarges men's heartsin the work and labour of love. How different this from theconduct of those who will not join in any good work, unlessurged into it! 7-9 Faith is the root; and as without faith it is not possibleto please God, #Heb 11:6|, so those who abound in faith, willabound in other graces and good works also; and this will workand show itself by love. Great talkers are not always the bestdoers; but these Corinthians were diligent to do, as well as toknow and talk well. To all these good things the apostle desiresthem to add this grace also, to abound in charity to the poor.The best arguments for Christian duties, are drawn from thegrace and love of Christ. Though he was rich, as being God,equal in power and glory with the Father, yet he not only becameman 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 thoudescend for our sakes! and to what riches hast thou advanced usthrough thy poverty! It is our happiness to be wholly at thydisposal. 10-15 Good purposes are like buds and blossoms, pleasant tobehold, and give hopes of good fruit; but they are lost, andsignify nothing without good deeds. Good beginnings are well;but we lose the benefit, unless there is perseverance. When menpurpose that which is good, and endeavour, according to theirability, to perform also, God will not reject them for what itis not in their power to do. But this scripture will not justifythose 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 supplyothers who are in want. It is the will of God, that by ourmutual supplying one another, there should be some sort ofequality; not such a levelling as would destroy property, for insuch a case there could be no exercise of charity. All shouldthink themselves concerned to relieve those in want. This isshown from the gathering and giving out the manna in thewilderness, #Ex 16:18|. Those who have most of this world, haveno more than food and raiment; and those who have but little ofthis world, seldom are quite without them. 16-24 The apostle commends the brethren sent to collect theircharity, that it might be known who they were, and how safelythey might be trusted. It is the duty of all Christians to actprudently; to hinder, as far as we can, all unjust suspicions.It is needful, in the first place, to act uprightly in the sightof God, but things honest in the sight of men should also beattended to. A clear character, as well as a pure conscience, isrequisite for usefulness. They brought glory to Christ asinstruments, and had obtained honour from Christ to be countedfaithful, and employed in his service. The good opinion othershave of us, should be an argument with us to do well.
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