For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich … Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God … “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (2 Corinthians 8:9; 3:5 and Luke 9:23)
“For you know the grace (i.e, the gift of joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, and loveliness) of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
So what is grace? It is the gift of God that brings joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, and loveliness into our life. We didn’t earn this. It is given to us by what Jesus did for us. God is good and He is in a good mood.
In order for Jesus to rescue us from our desperate situation, He had to become poor. He had to give up the joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, and loveliness he experienced in living with God. When He hung on the cross for us, He took the spiritual poverty of our missing God’s goal for our life and guilt about that upon Himself. What a humbling picture of our inborn spiritual condition. Basically, we had to agree with the Lord, humbling ourselves before Him, asking for His help. Additionally, faith was involved. We had to believe that through His death and resurrection, we could become spiritually rich, that is, forgiven of the results of missing God’s goal and right standing in His sight.
Let’s take a reflective look at humility and faith. We repeatedly encounter these two relational realities in God’s words to us. We encounter this in Jesus’ radical demands for us. This is to be expected, since “God…gives grace to the humble“ (James 4:6), and “we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2).
Humility and faith are seen as vital for walking in this new life in the Messiah. His call to us to not live a normal life. It is a mission to live a life radically different than we can imagine. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” The sufficiency we need for Christian living does not originate in us. Actually, we must not think of “anything as being from ourselves.” How humbling to learn, even as born-again believers, that we need the Lord in everything. Then, how do we find the necessary resources? This is where faith applies. “Our sufficiency is from God.” This is truth that we are to believe.
When we look at Christian discipleship, humility and faith again appeared. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me“ (Luke 9:23). Jesus’ call to come and follow Him can only be received by those who will say, “No to self” and “Death to self.” This is humiliating to the self-life, to think it is not good enough, to admit that it belongs on the cross. This is especially humbling when we see that these are to be our daily confessions. The rest of the discipleship issue is settled by faith, trusting in Jesus each step of every day. He is our pioneer in how to live this life. He has given us the power of His Holy Spirit to make it happen.
Here are the key ideas:
- Grace is the gift of God that brings joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, and loveliness into our life
- Accepting God’s gift of grace requires faith on our part
- Humility is critical to our faith