“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
“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 by his poverty might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV
Through the Bible: 2 Corinthians 5-9
I noticed today how similar these two verses are. In both, Christ became something so we could become something. He lost something so we could gain something. And we gain something so we can give something.
In 5:21, the “something” is spiritual. Christ became sin so that we might become righteousness. He temporarily gave up unbroken fellowship with God so we could permanently gain unbroken fellowship with God.
And what we gain, we give. Go back to verse 20:
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
In 8:9, the “something” is material. Christ became poor. The King of Kings was born to earthly parents who could only afford the poverty offering when they presented Jesus in the temple (see Luke 2:24, Leviticus 12:8). He grew up in the obscure, backwater town of Nazareth. When He died, His body was placed in a borrowed tomb because the Lord of glory couldn’t afford a hole in the ground.
All this so we could become rich. Paul told the Philippians that “my God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). And when we leave this world, we “have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
Again, what we gain, we give. This teaching about becoming rich in His poverty is part of a larger teaching about contributing to the famine relief offering (Acts 11:27-30). Paul was never about guilting someone into giving. He always wanted to “grace” them into giving.
This Christmas season, we are all thinking about gifts and giving. Remember that this has been the focus of Christ all along. What we have gained, both spiritually and materially, we give to others. We are blessed to be a blessing.
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