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Devotional - week of April 24, 2005


COMPLETED GRACE

So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.  2 Corinthians 8:6

Chapters eight and nine of 2 Corinthians make up the lengthiest passage in the Bible on the theme of giving. In those chapters Paul encourages the believers in Corinth to participate generously in an offering he was taking for the poor in Jerusalem.

Paul informs his readers that he is sending Titus to them to assist them in their participation in the offering. He says that Titus is coming to “complete this grace.” Paul tells his readers that a generous gift would be an act of grace. In 2 Corinthians 8:9 Paul uses the incarnation of Jesus as an example of an act of grace.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

But what does Paul mean about the completion of grace? If a gift from the Corinthians is a completion of grace, there has to be a beginning. Paul does not leave us wondering what the beginning is. In 2 Corinthians 8:1 He writes:

… brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia …

The believers of Macedonia gave generously to the offering Paul was taking because of God’s work of grace in them. In 2 Corinthians 9:13-14 Paul informs the believers at Corinth that their gift would be the result of “the grace of God in them.”

Generous giving is one indication that a believer is living by the grace of God by obeying the five commands of Romans 6:11-13.

In 2 Corinthians 9:6 Paul writes of abundant blessing for those who complete the work of grace of giving begun by God’s grace at work in them.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.