Bible Commentaries
2 Corinthians 8

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Verses 1-24

The Charm of Christ

2 Corinthians 8:9

I would take the text as showing the God-nature in the self-giving of Christ.

I. The Divine Plenitude. 'He was rich' carries us up into the relation of the Son to the Father, and into the wealth He shared as Son with the Father. We have now to try and realise some of the great things which are of the essence of Deity, and to remember that they belonged to the riches of Christ as sharing in the nature of the Godhead. What, then, are the riches of God? (1) God is rich in omnipotence. In His pre-existence He was one with the Father in that eternal energy which is both the source and conservation of the things that are. (2) God is rich in omnipresence. It is an overwhelming thought that in all the vastness and in all the worlds there is no spot where God is not. (3) God is rich in wisdom. (4) God is rich in generosity. The whole of the life of God is a life of sacrifice. He is the blessed or happy God because He is the self-giving God. In nature He gives with surprising prodigality, and in grace with loving generosity.

II. The Divine Poverty. He 'emptied Himself. Now, 'if His riches consisted in sharing with the Father the attributes of Deity, surely His poverty must have consisted in the act of self-limitation in the Incarnation. He could no longer share with the Father in placing the seal of infinite wisdom on every flower that blooms and on every star that shines. He could no longer with the Father, out of plenitude of power, revel in the prodigality of Deity; He had 'emptied' Himself, and was poor; He had not lost His divinity, but it was circumscribed. Deity contracted itself in order to reveal itself, and the contraction is at once the shame and the glory of Jesus. Again Jesus became poor as the Son of Man. He was poor socially. Isolation is the penalty of greatness.

III. The Divine Purpose. There is a legend of Thomas Aquinas kneeling before the cross, when a voice said, 'Thomas, thou hast written and done much for Me. What reward shall I give thee?' Lowly he kneeled and said, 'Lord, give me Thyself!' When we possess Christ we get the true wealth, which is pure health of soul. That was the purpose of His coming and the grace of His poverty. By the charm of the condescension in which He became poor, He wins us to His wealth.

J. Oates, The Sorrow of God, p. 121.

References. VIII. 9. C. O. Eldridge, Preacher's Magazine, vol. x. p. 554. H. Woodcock, Sermon Outlines (1st Series), p. 40. G. W. Brameld, Practical Sermons, p. 26. W. H. Hutchings, Sermon Sketches, p. 257. A. Coote, Twelve Sermons, p. 1. F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iii. p. 83. R. C. Trench, Sermons New and Old, p. 249. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii. No. 151; vol. xxxvii. No. 2232; vol. xl. No. 2364; and vol. xlvii. No. 2716. Expositor (4th Series), vol. ii. p. 278; ibid. vol. v. p. 28; ibid. (5th Series), vol. ii. p. 248; ibid. vol. ix. p. 223; ibid. (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 411; ibid. vol. iv. p. 126.

2 Corinthians 8:9

In a small house beside the yard in front of City Road Chapel, John Wesley took his departure out of the world. In his wanderings he was always preaching or meeting classes. He seldom spoke; but once, in a wakeful interval, exclaimed, 'There is no way into the holiest but by the blood of Jesus. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." That is the foundation, the only foundation; there is no other.'

References. VIII. 9. W. Pulsford, Trinity Church Sermons, p. 1. VIII. 10. Expositor (4th Series), vol. viii. p. 323; ibid. (5th Series), vol. x. p. 426. VIII. 17. Ibid. vol. iv. p. 164. VIII. 18. Ibid. (4th Series), p. 334; ibid. (5th Series), vol. ii. p. 115; ibid. vol. vii. p. 405. VIII. 23. Expositor (6th Series), vol. vii. p. 120. VIII. 24. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi. No. 1522. Expositor (4th Series), vol. v. p. 365. VIII. 25. Ibid. (6th Series), vol. iii. p. 373. IX. 1. Expositor (6th Series), vol. i. p. 209. IX. 5. Ibid. p. 276. IX. 6. F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iv. p. 229. IX. 6, 7. W. H. Evans, Short Sermons for the Seasons, p. 108. IX. 7. J. S. Maver, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. p. 127. J. H. Jowett, Examiner, 28th June, 1906, p. 628. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv. No. 835. Expositor (5th Series), vol. ix. p. 447. IX. 7-15. Expository Sermons on the New Testament, p. 196. IX. 8. Expositor (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 285. IX. 15. J. Keble, Miscellaneous Sermons, p. 235. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi. No. 1550; vol. xxxviii. No. 2247; vol. xxxix. No. 2290. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p. 101. J. Stuart Holden, The Pre-Eminent Lord, p. 225. X. Expositor (6th Series), vol. vii. p. 107. X. 1. John Watson, The Inspiration of Our Faith, p. 190. Expositor (5th Series), vol. vi. p. 66; ibid. (6th Series), vol. xi. p. 287. X. 1-10. Ibid. p. 463. X. 2. Expositor (4th Series), vol. iv. p. 298. X. 3, 4. Ibid. (5th Series), vol. vii. p. 459. X. 3-5. C. Bradley, The Christian Life, p. 362. X. 4. W. G. Horder, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. p. 156.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. 1910.