The Grace of Christ

 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."  2nd Corinthians 8:9.

Grace is one of the great themes of our New Testament. The word grace is most often defined as "the unmerited favor of God" or "God doing for us what we do not deserve."

It is interesting to note that our text is found in a portion of scripture having to do with raising an offering to relieve Jewish believers who were going through a time of great suffering. Six times the offering is referred to as grace giving –8:1,4, 6, 7, 19 and chapter 9:8. In our text we are told about the grace giving of Christ.

CHRIST WAS RICH ". . . though He was rich. . ." How rich ?

The apostle John begins his gospel with the revelation that from eternity past Jesus Christ was God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1, 14.

John recorded the statements of Jesus that He was the Son of God come forth from the Father and the miraculous works that He did were the witness that this was true. John 5:17-36. John also related the blistering statement of Jesus to the Jews that they would die in their sins if they did not believe He was Jehovah. "I  therefore said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am HE (italics) you will die in your sins." John 8:24. Notice the pronoun He was not in the original language but was supplied to make better English. It can be argued that it makes better English, but it obscures the fact that Jesus was saying that He was Jehovah God speaking to Moses at the burning bush. Moses wanted to know what he should tell the people of Israel if they should ask concerning God, "What is His name:" "And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you." Exodus 3:13, 14.

John revealed that it was Jesus that the prophet Isaiah had seen when he "saw the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; . . .and one cried to another and said, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory". Isaiah 6:1-3. After quoting from this chapter John wrote, "These things Isaiah said, when he saw His (Jesus) glory, and spoke of Him." John 12:41

At the baptism of Jesus and His transfiguration God spoke from Heaven and said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." At the transfiguration the Father added, "hear Him!" Matthew 3:17 and 17:5.

It was the apostle Paul who revealed this truth regarding Christ, "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 bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men." Philippians 2:6,7.

From these scriptures we learn that Christ was rich in knowledge and power for He was the agent Who brought all creation into existence and ruled as King over all creation. He was rich in holiness for even the highest angelic beings humbly cried out in worship, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts…" We can safely conclude that He was also rich in all the attributes of the Godhead.

CHRIST BECAME POOR "yet…He became poor…"

A poor carpenter and his bride were chosen as the parents to whom He would be born. His birth took place in an animal stable and He was laid in a feeding trough. When He was dedicated at the temple it was not with a lamb but with turtle doves which was an exemption allowed only to the poor. When His parents had to flee to Egypt with Him they were able to survive there because wise men had been moved to give them gold, frankincense and myrrh. After returning to Nazareth Jesus grew up felling trees; splitting wood; fashioning building materials, furniture and doing carpentry work.

* When He began His ministry a would be follower said, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." He answered, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."  Matthew 8:19,20.

* Although He rightfully owned the cattle on a thousand hills He was dependent on honorable women of substance who ministered to Him and His disciples their daily bread.

* Although He created the oceans, rivers, and streams, He sat upon Jacob’s well at Sychar and requested of a poor, outcast woman, "Give me to drink."

* Although He miraculously fed the thousands from a boys barley cakes and fish, He was more often in fasting and prayer on the mountains and in the desert.

* The apostle Paul wrote, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  Philippians 2:8.

* When He agonized in Gethsemane and His sweat became as great drops of blood His disciples slept.

* When rough and rude hands were laid on Him to take Him prisoner His disciples forsook Him and fled.

* When lying accusations were made against Him He had no friend to stand at his side.

* Roman soldiers pressed a crown of thorns down on His head and placed a mock scepter in Hand and mockingly cried out, "Hail, King of the Jews!". They proceeded to jerk the reed from His hands; tear His beard from His face and then spit in His face. They bound Him over a whipping post and took the dreaded "cat of nine tails" to rip His back to shreds. He bore it all in silence.

* His executioners required Him to shoulder His own cross and drag it to the place of execution. He began that journey but the spiritual and emotional agonies of Gethsemane coupled with the physical agonies from His tormentors had taken its toll. He faltered and fell beneath the cross. Simon of Cyrene was compelled to finish the task.

* At Calvary they nailed His hands and feet to His cross. Unlike countless others who cursed their executioners with all the anger and hatred within them, He prayed to the Father, "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

* As He hung on the cross His executioners gambled over the only earthly possession He could claim as His own and that was the robe He wore on His back. Even His reputation was ripped away as the chosen people of God mocked and jeered. And worst of all, the eternal Son-ship He had enjoyed with the heavenly Father from eternity past was severed. Instead of praying "My Father" He cried out "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

He Who was rich became poor as "He humbled Himself to the point of death, even the death on a cross."

CHRIST DID ALL THIS FOR OUR SAKES "…yet for your sakes He became poor. . ."

For our sakes. . .

  • He accepted the traitorous kiss of Judas
  • He was arrested as a criminal worthy of death
  • He endured illegal trials that broke the laws of God and man
  • He was sentenced to death on charges that were all lies
  • He subjected Himself to the violence of callous and brutal soldiers
  • He walked "the way of sorrow" to His execution
  • He was despised and rejected of men
  • He accepted our sins to be laid on Him
  • He allowed His hands and feet to be nailed to the cross and suffered all the agonies of crucifixion
  • He received the full punishment for our sins in body and spirit
  • He was laid in a grave
  • He rose again to be a living Savior to all who will receive Him

We need to make it personal and say in faith, "He did all this for my sake."


". . .He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." Perhaps some of us felt like weeping as we thought upon how Christ became poor for us. We shall now think about how He has made us rich through His poverty and hopefully, it will cause us to feel like singing.

The redemption Christ purchased is ours. We are no longer in bondage to sin and under condemnation of the law.

The forgiveness and cleansing from all sin is ours. "…the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1st John 1:7.

The spiritual birth by the Holy Spirit and adoption into God’s family is ours. "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom  we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’’ Romans 8:15

Heir-ship with Jesus Christ is ours. "and if children, then heirs---heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…" Romans 8:17

Sanctification is ours. "…to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.." 1st Corinthians 1:2

Supernatural help is ours "…As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…" 2nd Peter 1:3

The high priestly ministry of Christ opening the way to our prayer answering God is ours. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us  come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15,16

The revelation of God is ours and the illumination by the Holy Spirit to understand that illumination is ours. "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…" John 16:13

Talents to profit and spiritual gifts to minister are ours. "As each one has received a special gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1st Peter 4:10

Fellowship in the family of God is ours. "…that you also may have fellowship with us…" 1st John 1:3

Victory over death, hell, and the grave are ours. ". . .And this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘ 1st Corinthians 15:54

Eternal rewards are ours. "…And each one  will receive his own reward according to his own labor…" 1st Corinthians 3:8

Because Christ Jesus left the highest heights and descended to the lowest depths for our sake we are being lifted from the lowest depths to the highest heights. We are truly rich in this life and for all eternity.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted