Great Gospel Texts: 2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2Co 8:9).[1]

“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is the age-old adage. The news wire confirms this reality with headlines reporting that the top 1% now hold more wealth than the middle 60% of Americans. There has never been a time, perhaps, with such an interest in accumulating riches and yet such dissatisfaction with the distribution of wealth. If this is your frustration, then please consider the wonder of the financial accounting of God’s offer of salvation as described in 2 Corinthians 8:9.

He was rich. We struggle to grasp the reality of true wealth. We look at yachts, car collections and vacation homes, but still wonder what it really means to be a billionaire. In a far greater sense, we struggle to understand the immensity of Christ’s riches. He was not marked by riches in Nazareth, nor in Capernaum nor in Jerusalem. The enormity of His riches is displayed in heaven. Our minds must consider the eternal Son of God and all the treasures of His personage, His place, His power and His preeminence.

He became poor. If we fail to understand His riches, we face an even greater task to apprehend His poverty. So much of what was rightly His was laid aside when He came from heaven. But the verse goes deeper in its consideration. If we meditated only on the incarnation, this would be the greatest “riches to rags” story ever told. But, in order that we impoverished, destitute sinners might enter into spiritual riches, the Lord Jesus Christ had to condescend further, to the depth of cross-death. Paul described the poverty of the cross most famously when he wrote to the believers in Philippi: “Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Php 2:5-8).

For you know. Our minds may fail to grasp the immensity of His riches and the incongruity of His poverty, but this verse speaks of the certainty of knowing the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. To know His grace is to know salvation. To Timothy, Paul described his appreciation of Christ’s grace: “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1Ti 1:14-15).

For your sakes. The richest man alive on earth today, Elon Musk, has expressed his desire to one day die on the planet Mars. The richest Man in heaven has a far greater desire for you. The reason for His cross and poverty, the reason for His grace, is the desire that after death you will awaken in heaven to enjoy His riches for all of eternity.

[1] Scripture quotations in this article are from the NKJV.