II Corinthians 8
These two chapters (8 and 9) form an independent section of the Epistle. The plural (“we”)
is used throughout; participial and unfinished constructions abound; the style is a little
embarrassed; and various words, such as “grace,” “blessing,” “righteousness,”
“simplicity,” occur in somewhat unusual shades of meaning. All this arises:
cannot conceal from them a little apprehension that they were rather more
forward and zealous in words than in deeds. Their large promises had led
him to speak of them in a way which seemed unlikely to be justified by the
fulfillment. He was thus more or less under the influence of conflicting
emotions. Out of patriotism (Romans 9:3) and compassion, and an
effort to fulfil an old pledge (Galatians 2:10), and a desire to conciliate
and, if possible, win over the affection of the Jewish Church — which had
been much alienated from him by differences of opinion and by assiduous
calumnies — and from a wish to show that his Gentile converts were
faithful and loving brethren (Romans 15:31), he was intensely anxious
that the contribution should be a large one. This feeling is apparent, not
only throughout every line of this appeal, with the solemn topics which it
introduces, but also in all his other allusions to the subject (Romans 15:26;
I Corinthians 16:1-7; Acts 20:22; 21:4). On the other hand, he was careful lest
he should seem to have even the most distant personal aims, and lest he
should lay on his Gentile converts a wholly unfamiliar burden.
1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit” - In this and the next chapter Paul, having fully
spoken of the joy which had been caused to him by their reception of his first letter, and
having said as much as he then intended to say in answer to the charges insinuated against
him, proceeds to give directions about the collection for the
poor saints at
already spoken of it (I Corinthians 16:1-4), but feared that they were behindhand, and now
sends Titus to stimulate their zeal. The style throughout is brief and allusive, because he had
already, in various ways, brought this matter fully before them. Throughout this section he
shows in a remarkable degree the tact, courtesy, high sense of honor, and practical wisdom
which were among his many gifts – “of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of
have been, since it was his custom to stir up one Church by the example of another (ch. 9:2);
but he begins by speaking of their generosity as a proof of the grace which they are receiving
from the Holy Spirit. The
which we have any details in the New Testament are
cheerfulness in affliction and their generosity in the midst of want.
2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy” -“Affliction”
seems to have befallen the Churches of Macedonia very heavily (I Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14),
chiefly through the jealousy of the Jews, who excited the hatred of the Gentiles (Acts 16:20;
17:5,13) Paul says that their joy overflowed their affliction, and their liberality overflowed
their poverty (Mark 12:44) - “and their deep poverty” – literally, their pauperism to the
depth; their abysmal penury. Though they were in baqou>v ptwceia, bath’-os pto-khi’-ah
– deep poverty or destitution, they showed themselves in generosity to be baquploutoi -
(deeply liberal in spiritual riches – the actual Greek is baqou>v ptwceia autwn
eperisseusen ei>v to plouto>v th>v aploth>to>v autwn – “deep poverty produced an
abundance of riches which were extraordinary in their liberality – translation mine – CY –
appealed successfully to Tiberius for a diminution of their burdens. The gift of the
Macedonians was like the widow’s mite (Luke 21:3-4, where similar words occur —
perisseu>ontov, — per-is-syoo’-ontos; = abundance and uJste>rhmatov, —
hoos-ter’-ay-mah-tos; = lack, deficiency, penury - “abounded unto the riches of
their liberality” - rather, of their singleness of purpose or simplicity (Ephesians 6:5)
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing
of themselves” - “Of their own accord,” as in v. 17. Paul does not mean that the
notion of making the collection originated with them (ch. 9:2), but only that they
displayed a voluntary energy in carrying it out.
4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon
us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” The translation then is,
“begging us for the grace of participation in this ministration to the saints.” They were
so willing in the matter that they entreated me, as a favor (ca>rin - “grace” instead of “gift”),
to allow them to have a share in this contribution, because it was to be given to the saints,
that is, the suffering peer in the
poverty. Even the Jewish population were liable to famines, in one of which they had only
been kept alive by the royal munificence of a proselyte, Queen Helena,of Adiabene. The
Christians would, of course, suffer even more deeply, because they were drawn
from the humblest classes and had fewer friends. This was one of the reasons why, as
an act of common humanity, it was incumbent on the Gentile Christians to help
them (Acts 11:29; Romans 15:25-26). Paul had already brought the subject to the
notice of the Corinthians (I Corinthians 16:1-4).
5 And this they did, not as we hoped” - rather, not as we expected. They were so
poor that it was impossible to expect much from them, but they surpassed my expectations
in every way. The
for generosity, and was the only Church from which Paul would accept any personal help
(Philippians 2:25; 4:15-18) – “but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us
by the will of God.” - “They gave themselves to the Lord, which is the best of all, and
they gave themselves as helpers to us also — by the will of God.” The phrase, “by the
will of God,” implies thanksgiving to God for the grace which enabled them to give
themselves to Him, and their goods to His saints. Being “a peculiar people,” they
naturally showed themselves “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).
6 Insomuch that” - Their liberality encouraged me so greatly that I exhorted Titus to
were equally liberal. The remarks that follow are full of delicate reserve, but under their
exquisite tact and urbanity we can perceive that the Corinthians had talked very loudly
about their contributions, and had promised with great zeal, but had shown themselves
somewhat slack in redeeming their promises – “we desired (exhorted)Titus, that as
he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.” - Among
other works of grace which Titus might complete by
returning to them from
was the kindly collection which he had begun to set on foot in his previous visit
7 Therefore” - rather, but. In the following verses to v. 15 Paul tells them his wishes
about this collection. He desires them to show generosity among their other graces
(v. 7), not by way of command, but that they may emulate others and show their love
(v. 8) by following the example of Christ (v. 9). And by acting thus they would prove
the sincerity of their former promises (vs. 10, 11), especially as he did not wish them to
give more than they could justly spare by way of reciprocity (vs. 12-15) - “as ye abound
in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in
your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” (namely, the grace of Christian
8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness (zeal) of
others, and to prove the sincerity (genuineness) of your love.” – Among Gentiles
such contributions towards the needs of others, the result of unselfish compassion,
were all but unknown. (Think of American history, how generous as a nation we
once were and that because we were heavily influenced by God’s grace through Christianity –
now as we turn from JEHOVAH GOD to the god of MATERIALISM, notice not only
how in debt we are, but ponder our future selfishness at the expense of GENEROSITY! –
Truly, we are experiencing the truth of Psalm 135:15-18 – that MATERIALISM IS “…..the
work of men’s hands. It has mouths but “speak not” - has eyes but “see not” – has ears
but “hears not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. They that make them
[created MATERIALISM or promote it] are like unto them: so is every one that
trusteth in them” – CY – 2010).
9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich” –
(John 16:15; Ephesians 3:9; Philippians 2:5-7) – “yet for your sakes He became
poor” - The aorist implies the concentration of His self-sacrifice in a single act –
“that ye through His poverty might be rich.” The word “His” in the Greek implies
the greatness of Christ. The word for “poverty” would, in classical Greek, mean
“pauperism” or “mendicancy.”
10 And herein I give my advice: (an opinion) for this is expedient for you, who
have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward” - rather, not only to do,
but also to be willing. The “to do” is in the aorist, the “to be willing” in the present.
We should naturally have expected a reversed order, “not only to be willing, but also
to put in action.” There must be a strong touch of irony in the words, unless we
interpret it to mean “not only to make the collection, but to be willing to add yet more
to it.” Perhaps in the “to be willing” lies the notion of “the cheerful giver,” “the willing mind”
– (ch. 9:7; I Timothy 6:17-19) – “a year ago.”- rather, since the previous year;
i.e. last year (ch. 9:2). They had probably begun to collect in the previous Easter, and
it was now soon after Tisri, or September, the beginning of the Jewish civil year.
11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so
there may be a performance” - “but now complete also the actual work, in order that,
as was the readiness of the willing, so may be also the completion according to your means.”
– “also out of that which ye have.” This, and not “out of your ability,” is probably the
right reading, as we see from the next verse.
12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath,
and not according to that he hath not.” In other words, God considers not the
magnitude of the gift, but the proportion which it bears to the means of the giver.
(Compare Mark 12:41-44)
13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened” - literally, for not
that there may be relief to others, but to you affliction. In other words, I have no wish
that you should distress yourselves to set others at ease. You must not suspect me
of Jewish proclivities which would lead me to impoverish you to provide luxuries for
the Christians at
14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for
their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there
may be equality” - Paul may possibly be thinking of the reciprocity of spiritual and
temporal benefits, as in Romans 15:27; but if so he leaves the thought unexpressed.
15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that
had gathered little had no lack.” – The reference is to the gathering of manna in Exodus
16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus
for you.” – Thanks be to God that we think alike.
17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own
accord (aujqai>retov, — authairetos; - voluntary - of own accord, willing of
self) he went unto you.” – Titus was more earnestly zealous than I had ever
ventured to hope, he went spontaneously. (On the word authairetos, see v. 3.)
18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel
throughout all the churches” - From Acts 20:5, it is somewhat precariously inferred
that Luke is meant. Others have conjectured Barnabas, Silas (who are out of the question),
Erastus, Mark, a brother of Titus, etc. Luke is not unlikely to have been selected as a
delegate by the
not a Macedonian by birth, and any Macedonian (e.g. Aristarchus, Sopater, Secundus,
Epaphroditus) seems to be excluded by ch. 9:4. Palsy notes it as curious that the object
of Paul’s journey to
mentioned indirectly and incidentally by Luke (Acts 24:17)
in the Acts of the Apostles.
19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches” - (literally, chosen
by show of hands) implies a popular vote (comp. I Corinthians 16:3-4). This brother
was not only widely known and valued, but also specially selected for this task – “to
travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same
Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:”
20 Avoiding this” - The object in sending Titus and the brother was to cut away the
possibility of blame and suspicion. The word ste>llomenoi, — stel’-lo-menoi;
“avoiding” literally means “furling sail,” and then “taking precautions.” It may,
however, mean “making this arrangement” (see II Thessalonians 3:6). Too much
stress has been laid on Paul’s “use of nautical terms”. They belong, in fact, to the very
phraseology of the Greek language – “that no man should blame us” - (see ch. 6:3).
Paul here sets a valuable and necessary example to all Christians who are entrusted
with the management of charitable funds. It is their duty to take every step which may
place them above the possibility of suspicion. Their management of the sums entrusted
to them should be obviously and transparently business-like and honorable. (I have
heard that Billy Graham had a set salary of $100,000 – this amidst annual large sums
of money contributed to his ministry for the Lord and to his credit, there has never been
any problem associated with finances in his ministry – CY – 2010) Paul taught this
behavior both by example and by precept (Romans 12:17; Philippians 4:8). There is
such a thing as a foolish and reprehensible indifference to public opinion (I Peter 2:12).
Yet with all his noble carefulness, Paul did not escape this very slander (ch.12:18) -
“in this abundance (this implies that the sum which had been collected by Paul’s
exertion was a large one) which is administered by us:”
21 Providing for honest things” - The word “honest” means “honorable”
(Romans 12:17; Proverbs 3:4, LXX.) – “not only in the sight of the Lord” –
Such precautions would be unnecessary if others were not concerned, for
God knows our honesty - (ch. 5:11) - “but also in the sight of men.” Although
the text “avoid all appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22) should be rendered
“avoid every species of evil,” the mistranslation conveys a wise lesson. “In a field of melons,”
says the Chinese proverb. “do not stoop to tie your shoe;” for that will look as if you
wanted to steal one of the melons.
22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved
diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence
which I have in you.” It is impossible to conjecture with any certainty who was the
brother thus warmly eulogized.
23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow helper
concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers” –
literally, ajpo>stolov, — ap-os’-tol-os; - apostle, messenger, he that is sent.
The word is used in its original and untechnical sense of delegates (Philippians 2:25;
Romans 16:7) – “of the churches, and the glory of Christ.” Men whose work
redound to Christ’s honor (Galatians 1:24).
24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love,”
Not only of your love “to me,” but of your brotherly love in general – “and of our
boasting on your behalf.” Show to the Church that my boasting of you was justifiable.
Genuine Beneficence (vs. 1-9)
“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God,” The subject of these
words is genuine beneficence, (doing good) – Acts 10:38 says “God anointed Jesus
Thus Christ learned from His Father who is a good God and who is very beneficent!
The words suggest certain general truths concerning that GOODNESS!
“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of [we make known to you] the grace
of God.” (v. 1) - All that is loving and generous in all moral beings is from
one Source, and that is God. He is the primal Font whence all flows.
Wherever you see love, in young or old, rich or poor, cultured or rude, you
see an emanation from and a reflection of the Eternal. As you may see the
ocean in a dewdrop, you may see God in every throb of affection in human
THAN IN OTHERS, According
to Paul, the “Churches of
displayed it in a remarkable degree. It would seem from what Paul says
concerning the beneficence of the Macedonian Churches that it was:
ü Self-sacrificing. “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance
of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their
liberality.” (v. 2) - It would seem from this that they could ill afford —
as the phrase is — to render any help in the way of property to others,
and yet their contributions “abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”
ü Spontaneous. “They were willing of themselves.” (v. 3) - They were
not pressed into it by outward appeals. The only pressure was from love
ü Earnest. “Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the
gift.” (v. 4) - Instead of giving because they were besought by others to
do so, they themselves besought the reception of their gifts. They might
have presented plausible reasons for withholding their contributions to
They might have pleaded distance, and said, “
long way off, and charity begins at home.” They might have pleaded
lack of personal knowledge, and have said, “We are utterly unacquainted
with any of
these saints at
own affliction or poverty. But instead of that, they earnestly seized the
opportunity to render what help they could. Compare Jesus’words in
Mark 14:6-8 – “Let her alone……she hath done what she could”!
ü Religious. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their
own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” (v. 5) - they
had done what was far beyond Paul’s hopes. And here the point lies in
the fact that they gave, not their money only, but themselves, their time,
thought, energy, primarily to Christ as their Lord, and then to the apostle
as His minister. And this they had done because they allowed the will of
God to work upon their will. Consecration of self to God is at once the
cause and virtue of all our gifts to men. Unless we give ourselves to God,
all our gifts to men are morally worthless.
DEVELOPED MIGHT BE URGED AS AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS.
Paul here holds up the beneficence of the Macedonians as an example to
stimulate the charity of the Corinthians. It would seem that the Church at
the poor at
larger contributions. The charity of the Macedonian Churches Paul quotes
as an example in order to help forward the work. His argument seems to be
this — You
have the advantages of the Churches at
things; you “abound in everything,” (v. 7) you are wealthy, they are poor;
your endowments are greater than theirs, your “faith, and utterance, and
knowledge,” and “in your love to us;” this being so, “See that ye abound
in this grace also;” (ibid.) see that you excel in your contributions to this
charity. It is wise and well to hold up the good example of others to stimulate
men to a holy emulation. The good deeds of other men are amongst the Divine
forces to purify and ennoble our own characters.
OF JESUS CHRIST. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
(v. 9) - Christ is the supreme Model of philanthropy.
ü Christ’s philanthropy was self-sacrificing. “Though He was rich, yet
for your sakes He became poor.” (Ibid.) - Observe:
Ø He was rich in material wealth before He came into the world.
It is of material wealth that the apostle is speaking.
Ø His existence on earth was that of material poverty. “The foxes
have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son
of man hath not where to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58)
Ø He passed voluntarily from one stage to another. “For your
sakes He became poor.” Of all the myriads of men that have
appeared on this earth, and that will appear, He alone had the
choosing of His circumstances, and He chose poverty.
ü His philanthropy aimed supremely at the promotion of spiritual wealth.
“That ye through His poverty might be rich.” Rich spiritually. Great
is the difference between spiritual wealth and material.
Ø The one is absolutely valuable, the other is not.
Ø The one is essential to happiness, the other is not.
Ø The one is WITHIN REACH OF ALL, the other is not.
The Condescension of Jesus Christ (v. 9)
According to the teaching of the New Testament, human kindness should be based
upon Divine benevolence. Such is the import of this wonderful parenthesis — “For
ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for
your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” - a jewel
which the inspired writer drops by the way and passes on.
ü His proper rightful wealth is apparent, not only from His nature as the
Son of God, but from His evident command, during His earthly
ministry, of all the resources of nature. Bread, wine, money, He could
multiply or create; the earth and the sea obeyed His will; diseases and
demons fled at His bidding.
ü His poverty was not compulsory; it was a “grace.” We see it in His
incarnation, in which He emptied Himself of His glory; in His ministry,
passed in a lowly and all but destitute condition of life; in His refusal to
use His power for selfish ends; in His cheerful submission to a shameful
ü Compare the glory which He claimed to have had with the Father before
the world was, with the homelessness and poverty of His life and the
desertion and ignominy of His death, and His “grace” appeals to every
just mind, to every sensitive heart.
· OUR NATIVE SPIRITUAL POVERTY CONTRASTED WITH OUR
ACQUIRED SPIRITUAL WEALTH.
ü Our natural destitution is undeniable; by sin we have lost our
possessions, our inheritance, our powers of acquisition, and are left
resourceless and friendless. Apart from the interposition of Christ,
and where Christianity is unknown, such is STILL THE STATE OF
ü Christ’s humiliation was for the sake of man’s spiritual enrichment.
Only by condescension, compassion, and sacrifice could man be reached.
Thus He drew near to us, and imparted to us of His own true and Divine
riches, of knowledge, of righteousness, of favor, and of glory.
ü By Christ’s mediation all things are ours, God, giving Christ, gives
with Him all good things. “I have all things and abound,”
(Philippians 4:18; I Corinthians 3:21-22) is the testimony of every
right-minded and appreciative disciple of Christ. The history of the
Church is the history of the enrichment of the race; and this in turn is
the pledge and promise of the INESTIMABLE and
INEXHAUSTIBLE RICHES OF ETERNITY!
Genuine Beneficence (vs. 10-15)
In these verses there is a continuation of the subject presented in the preceding passage, viz.
genuine beneficence. And there are three further remarks suggested concerning this
all important subject.
CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS. “Herein I give my
advice [judgment]: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before
[who were the first to make a beginning], not only to do, but also to be
forward a year ago. Now therefore perform [complete] the doing of it;
that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance
[completion] also out of that which ye have.” (vs. 10-11) They had shown
the will to contribute, for they had “a year ago” commenced their subscriptions.
Now Paul exhorts them to go on and complete the work. “As there was a
readiness to will, so there may be a performance.” The mere generous will
is good in itself, but is not enough; it requires to be embodied in deeds.
Every good desire requires embodiment:
ü For our own sake. It is only as our best desires are translated into
deeds that they give solidity and strength to our
character. In words
and sighs they die away; they are like the morning dew. A good desire
in itself is like the raindrop on the leaf of the tree; it may excite
admiration as it glistens like a diamond in the sun, but it is soon
exhaled, and probably does no good to the tree. But when embodied in
a generous deed it is like the raindrop that penetrates the roots and
contributes some portion of strength to all the fibers. A charity
sermon delivered with the eloquence of a Chalmers may excite in the
congregation the beneficent idea, almost to a passion, but, unless that
passion takes the form of a self-denying act, it evaporates and leaves the
congregation in a worse state than the preacher found it.
ü For the sake of others. It is generous deeds that bless the world. They
go where ideas cannot penetrate, into the hearts and consciences of
men; they work silently and salutarily as the sunbeam.
THEY SPRING FROM A GENEROUS DESIRE. “For if there be first a
willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not
according to that he hath not.” (v. 12) - The doctrine is this, that the
disposition of the heart, not the doings of the hand, constitute the essence
of moral character. This is the Divine method of estimating human
conduct. “The Lord judgeth not as man judgeth,” The motive is the
soul of the deed. “Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,.., and
have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:3) Do not
judge the desire by the effort, but judge the effort put forth by the desire.
The poor widow would have made munificent contributions, but she could
only give a “mite;” but in that mite there was more value than in all the
amount in the temple exchequer. Some have the means to do good and not
the heart, and some have the heart but not the means. The former are grubs
in the universe, the latter are angels. There are deeds done in the body, seen of
God, infinitely more numerous and essentially more valuable in most cases
than deeds done by the body.
OBLIGATION OF OURS, BUT MAY SUPPLEMENT THEIR
ü It is not a substitute. “For I mean not that other men be eased, and
ye burdened.” (v. 13) - It behoves every man to contribute to the extent
of his riches, to the good of others. If one man gives a thousand it does
not relieve me from my obligation to contribute what I can.
ü It is a supplement. “But by an equality, that now at this time your
abundance may be a supply for their want.” (v. 14) - It is the duty of
all to contribute. Some have the ability to contribute a hundred times the
amount of others; let their large sums go to supplement the deficiencies
of their poorer brethren, so that there may be “an equality.” Thus the
old Scripture will be illustrated, that “he that had gathered much had
nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” (Exodus
Stimulating Men to Beneficent Actions (vs. 16-24)
“But thanks be to God,” - The verses under notice present to us the subject of
stimulating men to efforts of beneficence, and three remarks are suggested concerning
CHRISTIAN MEN. We find here that not only Paul employs himself in it
with all his loving earnestness and logical power, but he engages Titus also,
and a “brother” with him of such distinction that his “praise is in the gospel
throughout all the Churches.” (v. 18) - To excite men to beneficent enterprises
is preeminently a Christian work. Christianity is the mother of all
philanthropic labors and institutions. Christian piety is a fountain whence
all the myriad streams of human beneficence that circulate through all the
districts of human life proceed. To stimulate this beneficence in men is the
highest ministry on earth, and for it men of the most distinguished
character and faculty are required. No man is too great for it, and but few
men are equal to its successful discharge.
ü The gratitude of those who had been excited to beneficent efforts.
“But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the
heart of Titus for you.” (v. 16) - It is implied that Titus conferred on
them an immense favor in stimulating them to generous deeds. No man
can render us a greater service than by taking us out of ourselves and
inspiring us with a genuine concern for the interests of others. It is not
he who gives me a good thing, but who stimulates me to do a good thing,
that is my greatest benefactor; for it is “more blessed to give than to
receive.” (ch. Acts 20:35) - In giving we become Godlike, and therefore
we ought to thank the man most devoutly who evokes within us the spirit
of true charity. Instead of endeavoring to avoid appeals to our
benevolence, we should hail them and thank our Maker for them.
ü The gratitude of those who have effected the excitement. Paul says,
“Thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart
of Titus for you.” (v. 16)
Ø There is no office higher in itself than this. This is the work
for which Christ came into the world, the work for which He
established the Christian ministry. The aim and tendency of the
gospel are to drown the selfish ego in the sunny tide of universal
charity. The love of Christ constrained men to feel that they
should not henceforth live to themselves. (ch. 5:15)
Ø There is no office more useful than this. Success in this means
ruin in all that is ruinous to souls in human history, ruin to
selfishness and all its fiendish brood. Well, therefore, may those
who are engaged in such a work thank God for the distinguishing
honor to which they have been called. Paul says nothing here
about the gratitude of those on whom the excited beneficence has
bestowed its favors — the beneficiaries. He seems to take
it for granted that they ought and would be thankful; that they
ought to be admits of no doubt, but that they always are cannot be
asserted. Ingratitude, alas! is one of the reigning sins in human
life. (See Luke 17:11-19)
MEN. The apostle seems to have been afraid that the contributions that
from stimulating the beneficence of the
would occasion the allegation that they were participating in them, and so
obtaining some personal advantage. Hence, to guard against the possibility,
he gets the Churches to choose from amongst them some men of the best
reputation, whom he calls “messengers of the Churches,” (v. 19) and Titus,
and perhaps Luke, in the administration of the charity, and thus “providing for
honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of
men.” (v. 21) - Dishonest men have existed in all ages, and the more dishonest
men are, the more suspicious. Paul here guards himself against all scandalous
imputations. He had great respect for his own reputation, so much so, that
one at times, in reading these Epistles, is well nigh astonished that a man so
great in nature and sublime in character should think so much about the
opinions of others.
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