And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
II Corinthians 9:8
It seems that all 66 books of the Bible are wrapped up in this one soaring verse. In but a few lines we are reminded that our God is able, able to make all His grace abound towards us, grace abounding to every good work! With these words the apostle Paul wants neither the Corinthians nor any other Christians to be anxious about giving to those in need. God is able to make all grace abound, so that we will always have all the grace ever needed to give of ourselves to others.
Here is the sweeping, all-encompassing wideness of God’s staggering grace towards us: all grace, always having, all sufficiency, all things, every good work! God will hold nothing back. His grace can enable us to generously give ourselves in many creative ways – prayer, time, money, talents, or active presence. We can never out-give God!
Notice the qualification Paul makes in this verse: “God is able to make”, rather than promising, “God will make”. This qualification puts the weight of responsibility on us to step out and to live reliantly on God’s promised grace. Living generously will sometimes seem risky, unless we understand that God is able. God is able to support and sustain us as we dare to live as Jesus commands: “Feely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8). God will supply spiritually and materially so that His grace “may abound to every good work”. We won’t ever be caught up short! The Message version of the Bible captures well the astonishing potential of this verse: “God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.”
The old Scots preacher and Bible commentator Alexander Maclaren (St. Paul’s Epistles to the Corinthians) points out the three movements of God’s Overflowing Grace: the fountain, the basin, and the stream. “God is able to make all grace abound towards you”; that is the fountain of grace. “That you always having all sufficiency in all things”; that is the basin receiving the flow from the fountain. “May abound to every good work”; that is the stream of grace flowing out of the basin into the world. Our giving is participation in God’s giving to the world. We are supplied and sustained by Him. God’s grace becomes the power that drives our giving. If you wish to be generous, then be generous, because God’s grace works within you. Created in God’s image, redeemed and adopted into His family by Jesus Christ, we can become “co-workers together with God” (I Corinthians 3:9).
Once again Scripture traces true Christian giving back to its source. Not guilt, not gimmickry, not human pressure or emotion, but God’s unexhausted, undeserved, free grace. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (II Corinthians 8:9). We long to know more and more of His grace!
Thanks be to God for His “Indescribable gift” poured out for us to receive!
- Paul says that God is able to make His grace abound towards you so you might abound to “every good work”. For what one “good work” might you now seek the abundance of God’s grace? Take a few moments to talk with God about your desire.
- What thoughts come to you as you ponder being a “co-worker” with God, and participating in what He is doing in the world? What feelings stir in you?