Friday, 25 September 2015
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
2 Corinthians 8:1
Having settled the issue of Chapter 7, Paul now turns to the subject of the collection for the saints in Jerusalem. It is a collection that he was personally coordinating and preparing to take, along with designated representatives, to Jerusalem. In order to spur on the Corinthians in their promised giving, he brings in what has occurred in the churches of Macedonia.
To set this up, he calls those in Corinth “brethren” again. He has and will continue to endear himself to them in order to keep the idea of brotherly affection alive throughout the epistle. Through sternness or through petition, he calls them “brethren” to remind them of their favored status in his eyes. After so addressing them, he says that “we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches in Macedonia.”
Grace is unmerited favor. God had lavished this upon them and Paul will continue to explain it in the verses ahead. As God was graceful to them, then it would be right that they would turn and grant grace as well.
By bringing in the Macedonian churches in this way, it will allow for a little “healthy competition” between the Macedonians and the Corinthians. In this, Paul knows that the gift he will take to Jerusalem can only be increased. He is a wise and careful soul, doing the work of the Lord in a remarkable way!
Life application: There is nothing wrong with stimulating others to do their best and encouraging others through comparisons in order to do so. However, it is wrong to manipulate people to give. Unfortunately, many churches do manipulate their congregants through inappropriately handling the Bible or shaming them into giving. If you’re in such a church, find another one which puts the highest value on what is right and proper, not on money.
Heavenly Father, help me to never proclaim anything but the truth of Your word. Grant me wisdom to rightly divide it and to never mishandle it in order to improperly benefit from others. Instead, help me to be a sound teacher that leads others down the road of Right Doctrine and directly into the loving arms of Christ Jesus the Lord. In all ways, may You be glorified through Your people as they pursue You through Your superior word. Amen.