Calvary Road Baptist Church

“LESSON ON GRACE”

Second Corinthians 8.9

 

We are already familiar with the scripture truth that salvation is by the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. However, we can always benefit from sharpening our grasp of the truth.

Turn if you would to Second Corinthians 8.9 and stand when you find our text:

 

“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.”

 

Notice how the Apostle Paul enhances the understanding of the Corinthian Christians in a lesson on grace that is developed in three pregnant phrases in our text:

 

THE FIRST OF THE PHRASES IS A DECLARATION

 

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ”

 

From the wording we realize that this is a repetition of truth already taught to the Corinthians, and hopefully to us as well. They already know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, but he wants them to know better, more fully, and with greater understanding.

As to the supply, it’s an urgent commodity called grace. A thorough study of the word “grace” will convince you that “grace” is not precisely “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” as most are taught in Sunday Schools all across the United States. Throughout the Old Testament we see that “grace” has to do with favor that has been purchased or procured by one means or another.[1] By the time we reach the New Testament, however, and consider the favor of God toward an individual man, God’s grace in the life of one person, we find that a sinner has absolutely nothing with which to purchase God’s favor. What does a sinful man have that a holy God might want? Nothing. Therefore, when we consider the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” understand that we are dealing with a commodity that is required to go to heaven, a commodity that is required to live a life of victory, a commodity that cannot be withheld for one’s sins to be forgiven . . . but a commodity that no human being has the capacity to acquire by being or doing well.

With that understanding of the supply which is needed, let us now turn to the Supplier of grace. Obviously the Supplier of grace to an individual is none other than God. And this simply makes sense since we know that God is the Originator and the Creator and the Supplier of everything that man stands in need of. Amen? So it’s no surprise to us to discover the phrase “grace of God” and other phrases which directly state that God is the Author and the Supplier of grace to His Own. Thus, in one regard we understand that God, the Father, is the Originator and the Supplier of grace which every man needs. But Paul specifically informs us here in this phrase we are considering that it’s the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So, if the Father is the Originator of the grace which we receive, then the Lord Jesus Christ must be the Mediator of the grace which we receive. First Timothy 2.5 states that

 

“there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

 

And cannot we see this special relationship between God the Father and God the Son throughout scripture? Sure we can. All the way back to creation we saw God the Father the Originator of creation and the Lord Jesus Christ the Mediator in creation, with scripture showing the roles of both. So what Paul is drawing our attention to is our Lord Jesus Christ’s role as the Mediator of God’s grace into our lives. You just don’t get God’s grace but through Him. And in referring to the Lord in this way, notice just how Paul refers to Him. Paul first uses the word “Lord.” This shows His relationship to us whom He has purchased and won to Himself. Then Paul uses the word “Jesus.” This is His personal name, which itself means Savior. Finally, he uses the name “Christ.” This is His official title, the Anointed One sent to us by God the Father and anointed as our Prophet, our High Priest, and our King. It is the grace of this One that Paul recalls to the minds of his readers. This One, apart from Who grace is not to be found.

 

THE SECOND PHRASE THAT DEVELOPS THE TRUTH THAT SALVATION IS BY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS A PHRASE OF EXPLANATION

 

“that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor”

 

Paul now explains what the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ was. In a word, it was His humiliation.

Let us first consider what Christ’s humiliation was not. When Paul refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ became poor, he is not specifically referring to the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ became a man, or that He grew up in material poverty. There are so many Christians who erroneously think that the Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself by becoming a man. They think that the incarnation was a great humiliation. But is that true? Philippians 2.8 will tell us:

 

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

 

This verse indicates that the incarnation when Jesus became a man and His humiliation are two entirely different things. Or consider another fact. Is not the Lord Jesus Christ sitting at this very moment at the right hand of His Father on high, exalted?[2] Sure He is. And is He not also incarnate? Sure He is. The fact that He is seated next to His Father as a glorified man shows us that being a man and becoming a man was not the same thing as the becoming poor Paul refers to in our text.

Now let’s consider what Christ’s humiliation was. We know that Christ did not become poor, was not humiliated, by becoming a man. I would like for you to understand, however, that Christ’s becoming a man and His humiliation did occur at the same time. Christ’s humiliation was, specifically, the setting aside of the use of His divine attributes. Not that He no longer had His attributes, but that during His humiliation He did not use His attributes. For example: Is not one of His attributes omnipotence, absolute and infinite power? Sure it is. But he tired and hungered and thirsted during His earthly ministry, did He not? And is not omniscience a divine attribute? Does not the Son of God know everything? But Mark 11.13 records a time when the Lord Jesus Christ came to a fig tree expecting to find figs on it when there were none. Does this mean that Jesus Christ is not God? Oh, not at all. It simply serves to illustrate that for a period of time in the history of man the King of all glory became poor, relinquished the use of His divine prerogatives if you will, and suffered many consequences of that poverty.

Why did He do that? Why did the Lord Jesus Christ suffer humiliation? When you think about it for a moment, it seems the Lord did a great deal in just becoming a man. The incarnation, which involved leaving heaven’s glory and living in the midst of and experiencing the profound sinfulness and wickedness of the world around Him, was one thing. But to add to that the humiliation of temporarily laying aside His divine attributes and prerogatives and allowing sinful men to treat Him the way He was treated, to be abused, to be mocked, to be ridiculed, to be unjustly tried and convicted and executed as a common thief. Why did He do that? Paul writes that He did that “for your sakes.” My Christian friend, Jesus suffered humiliation unto the death of the cross for you sake. My lost friend, the Son of God left heaven’s glory, became a man, and then subjected Himself to the great humiliation which ended, finally, in His crucifixion . . . for your sake. “But I didn’t ask Him to do that.” He did it anyway. For your benefit, for your sake, though He was rich He became poor.

 

NOW WE COME TO THE FINAL PHRASE THAT DEVELOPS THE TRUTH THAT SALVATION IS BY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. THIS THIRD PHRASE IS A PHRASE OF EXPECTATION, FOR IT REFERS TO THE EXALTATION OF SINFUL MEN TO SAINTHOOD.

 

Paul concludes the verse, “that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

 

Let’s wrap this up by considering “his poverty.”

First, what His poverty means. We know that His poverty does not mean being a man. Jesus Christ could have become a man without being poor, in this sense. Indeed, He is presently a glorified man and is not poor. What His poverty means is the temporary setting aside of His divine attributes and prerogatives. It meant that “being found in fashion as a man” He so humbled Himself that He was subject to all of the injustices that every man must face and deal with in this life. But His poverty means so much more than just that. Wrapped up in the whole concept of our Lord’s poverty and humiliation is that ultimate and final consequence of humbling Himself. The cross. Indeed, it was so that He might die on the cross for the sin of mankind that the Lord Jesus Christ did humble Himself, did become poor. For had He retained the use of His divine attributes sinners would have been consumed in His presence, would have been withered by His gaze, would have been deafened by His speech. But He set all of that aside so that He might suffer the death of sinners for sinners.

Which brings me to what His poverty provides. Writing to this church of Corinth whose membership had experienced the grace of God, Paul identifies them as saints at the beginning of each of his letters. Saints because they lived such exemplary lives? Oh no. Anyone who has ever read First and Second Corinthians knows the faults and shortcomings of those people. They are not termed saints because of what they have done, but because of what the grace of Jesus Christ has done for them. You see, every born again person, every redeemed child of God, every blood washed and blood bought Christian has been greatly exalted by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. His poverty has made it possible for us to be rich. And this is born out in Ephesians 2.6-7. Speaking of the exaltation of the Christian Paul writes,

 

6      And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus;

7      That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

 

We know from Ephesians 2.5 that we are saved by grace. It was not Paul’s purpose to establish that truth in this verse. It was his purpose to develop the concept and to elaborate on it. He did that.

My lost friend, Jesus Christ gave up so much so that you might gain so much. He became poor so that you might become so rich. He died so that you might live. Paul’s first phrase was a declaration. He declared the subject he was writing about. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second phrase was an explanation of that grace. But the third phrase was only expectation. Expectation because His poverty for all will not result in the all becoming rich. You see, some will not avail themselves of His grace. Some will not trust Him as their Savior. Some will not repent of their sin. Some will live and die and be cast into the lake of fire as if Jesus Christ had never come in poverty to make it possible for the sinner to be made rich. Won’t you come to Christ and make sure that you are not one of those who experience such needless tragedy? Won’t you come today and trust Christ as your Savior and experience, first hand, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Christian, let me remind you of the fact that this lesson on grace is nicely tucked into a passage that deals exclusively with extra giving. But be assured that Paul does not insert this remedial lesson on the grace of Christ which brought us salvation for the purpose of leading us to graciously give as Christ graciously gave for us. You see that’s not possible. When Christ gave Himself for us, that was grace. Favor that was not merited. But when we give to the cause of Christ, that is not grace. It’s grace from God that allows us to give. It is not grace for us to give. We need to be reminded of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to go back over old and familiar ground from time to time, because we forget. We forget that God’s grace is necessary in everything, in giving to our church, in giving to missions, in giving to a building fund, in winning the lost, in serving God in every respect.

Have a number of folks at Calvary Road Baptist Church forgotten our need of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? If you haven’t forgotten praise the Lord. Your witnessing and your service and your giving is much appreciated and is an example for others. But if you are one of those who never reaches out to the lost, who is not faithful in your giving, then you have a grace problem. That is, you are somehow or for some reason not availing yourself of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. You need to.



[1] Genesis 32.5; 33.8; Ruth 2.2

[2] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 13.1; 14.2-4; Acts 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11


Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org