‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ (2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV)
In this one small verse the whole gospel is summed up.
First Paul says,
‘You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’: The word for grace here is charis; it’s where we get our English word charity from.
Today charity conjures up the image of an Oxfam shop or something that we might give a few quid to. But charis means so much more than mere charity; it means a deep loving-kindness.
When Paul speaks about grace here he isn’t just speaking about it as an attribute of Christ’s character, he’s speaking about it as an action. Christ displayed his character of loving-kindness in an action of loving-kindness.
The rest of the verse then goes on to explain this action.
‘That though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor’: This is what it means when we speak of the grace of Christ. “He was rich” describes the status that Jesus had before his incarnation. It refers to his place and status as God the Son. It is the status he had from the beginning, from before the world even existed. He was in the beginning, he was with God and all things were made through him. (John 1:1-3)
He’s the creator who shared the glory and power of heaven, and yet he limited himself, Paul says,
‘for your sake he became poor’. The Greek implies that he became extremely poor, becoming like a beggar.
This is the magnitude of what Christ has done. It is as if the richest of men became a beggar on the streets. It’s like Bill Gates choosing to give up his wealth and live in extreme poverty, with no home, no food and no position.
What does Paul mean when he says that Christ became poor for us? Christ became poor for us by becoming like us; he gave up the glory of heaven to become a man who died on the cross in shame and humiliation for our sake. (Philoppians 2:7–8)
That’s how poor he became.
Why did he do this?
‘So that through his poverty we might become rich’. The poverty of Christ leads to a richness for us; it leads to our salvation.
The richness we receive is redemption through his blood, which is the forgiveness of our sins.
How amazing is the loving-kindness of Christ! That he gave up his riches so that we who are poor because of our sin might become rich through the forgiveness of sins.
Our forgiveness leads to our reconciliation with God and there is no greater wealth than that.
Father, thank you for the loving-kindness you richly lavish on us in Christ; in whom we have every spiritual blessing.
Have a richly rewarding week.