Words of Faith 11-21-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
2 Corinthians 9
 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Giving is a decision under the blessing of the New Covenant. It is not a Law as it was under the Old Covenant. It is not an obligation. It is a decision of the heart. The word translated "decided" means to choose, prefer or intend. In Christ, it should grow to be our preference to give. Giving should be intentional in our lives.
Paul argues that God loves generosity. God prizes not the size of the gift, but the giver's sincerity (not reluctantly), spontaneity (not under compulsion), and joyful willingness (a cheerful giver).
In Paul's exhortation we hear an echo of Deuteronomy 15:10, an admonition to lend and give freely to the poor without being reluctant or grieving in one's heart, knowing that the Lord will bless such actions. The original context of this passage concerns the "Sabbath year of remission" in which, in remembrance of their deliverance, Israel was to forgive all debts. This year of remission every seventh year pointed forward to the fiftieth year, after seven times seven years of remission, the year of Jubilee, which was to be a symbol of the ultimate redemption of God's people.
Paul saw a connectedness between the church and the faithful remnant within Israel. What was given to Israel to do every seventh year is now, under the new covenant, a daily pattern for those in Christ. The symbol has been replaced by reality, albeit not yet in all its fullness.
In giving freely to the poor, the church continually celebrates her own "year of remission" by remembering her deliverance at the cross, while at the same time anticipating her final redemption on that "year of Jubilee" when Christ returns. The kingdom is here, but not yet here in all its glory.
Tied in to this is a rule of divine recompense, God rewards those who, because they belong to the new covenant in Christ, give freely and generously, "for God loves a cheerful giver." Put negatively, there is no divine approval for giving to others merely out of duty. Instead, obedience, in order to count before God, must flow from a happy reliance on and contentment in God's gracious gifts to his people.
How is the spirit of your giving? Are you giving by decision? Are you giving intentionally? Are you giving spontaneously? Are you giving cheerfully?
Father God, teach me Your heart in giving. Teach me the joy of cheerful giving. Teach me the habit of deliberate giving. Teach me the freedom of spontaneous giving. In Jesus' Name.