Another Christmas season is upon us and with it all the usual trappings, temptations, and distractions that conspire to destroy the wonder of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. While the winds of Christ-hating rebellion are ever blowing through our culture, they seem to intensify into a category five hurricane this time of the year. It’s the annual opportunity for homage to be given to a very domesticated and commercialized Jesus, all to the neglect of His true glory and power.
Scripture declares the radiant glory of God in Jesus Christ, and the significance of why He took on human flesh in the form of a baby. The full glory of Christ can only rightly be seen through God’s revelation in all 66 books of the Bible, but there are many short, simple statements in God’s Word that dramatically capture the essence of His person and work. One such statement is found in 2 Cor. 8:9 –
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
This profound statement is expressed by Paul as he is seeking to exhort the Corinthian believers to follow-through with a sacrificial gift they had purposed to give to impoverished believers in other places.
Paul commends the Corinthians eager desires, but he is concerned that temptations of greed and covetousness may thwart these desires from coming to fruition. Paul thus reminds them of the ultimate and incomprehensible sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, and the spiritual riches (forgiveness, reconciliation to God, adoption, eternal life, etc.) they have inherited through His poverty. He wants their hearts and minds to be strongly fixed on Christ alone as the power and pattern of all true giving. The Corinthian believers needed to be reminded of this, and so do we.
Two primary points of application are clear, both of which are matters of active faith. First, believers must constantly grow in their appreciation and appropriation of all they have been given in Jesus Christ, and at what price this indescribable gift has been given to us. Second, believers must constantly imitate the same sacrificial life that Christ has modeled, solely by the power of His indwelling Spirit. Those who have been made rich through His poverty must be diligent in sharing these riches for the blessing of others and the glory of God.
May God give us grace to think rightly and live sacrificially in a Christ-centered, Christ-empowered, and Christ-glorifying way. May we enjoy and share in the special opportunities that this season of the year brings, and yet do so in a manner that intentionally magnifies the Lord Jesus Christ. And may we grow in apprehending by faith the great wonder of what 2 Cor. 8:9 declares– all to the praise of His glorious grace!
Rejoicing in Him with you,