9 For 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.

In What Sense did Christ "Become Poor that we Might be Rich?"

"That ye through his poverty might be rich."—(2 Cor. 8:9.]

Answer—A right understanding of Paul's words will be facilitated by considering first the question put last by our correspondent: "What are the riches that we acquire through his poverty?" The answer to this is given by Paul thus: "In Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ . . . Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God."—(Eph. 2:13.]

The relation thus expressed comprehends heirship of covenanted goodness. The ultimate object of it Paul states thus: "That in the ages to come, He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."—(Eph. 2:7.) In the absolute sense, believers are not now "rich," but poor. They can only be considered rich as regards what is in store. This is recognised by Jesus in the words,

"Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God."—Luke 6:20.)

At present poor, they are to be considered rich as heirs of the kingdom. Hence, in addressing the ecclesia at Smyrna, Jesus says, "I know . . thy poverty (but thou art rich)."—(Rev. 2:9.) The brethren at Smyrna, though poor, were "rich" as the prospective possessors of the kingdom of God.

This leads us to consider the first two questions, as to what the riches of Christ were, and what the poverty to which he submitted. Christ was rich in all the senses in which we become so through him. He was rich in being the Father's Beloved; the Sinless Possessor of David's nature; the obedient Spirit-anointed Servant; the coming King of Israel; the "Heir of all things;" God manifest in the flesh."

Being rich in owning so high a rank, and being related to so great a destiny, he stooped to poverty in every one of these items. We look back and see the future of a man of sorrow, without where to lay his head, the friend of publicans and sinners. We see him though the Father's Beloved, subject to dishonour, toil, weariness and suffering.

Though sinless, we see him in the situation of a sinner, as regards nature and the common experience of the seed of Abraham. Though obedient, we see him submit to a death (the cross) which was for the disobedient only. Though King of Israel, we see him servant of all. Though Heir of all things, we see him despised and rejected of men. Though God manifest in the flesh, we hear him say,

"I am among you as he that serveth."

Being rich, we see him accept poverty in all these respects; the object being to open the way for the enrichment of all who should afterwards believe on him; for the plan by which God proposed this enrichment of the children of men, required that Jesus should submit to all these things. The testimony is, that he was made perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:9]; and being (thus) made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all that obey him (Heb. 5:9]; that though he was a Son, he learned obedience through the things that he suffered (verse 8]; and that through his obedience, many have been made righteous.—(Rom 5:19.]

In this view of the case, there is great cogency in Paul's allusion to it. He was aiming to incite benevolence towards certain poor brethren on the part of some who had to spare; and it was a powerful way of doing so, to remind them that their own enrichment in Christ was secured by Christ's acceptance of poverty in the first instance. A more exact translation of the verse would make his meaning more apparent:

"Ye know the loving kindness of the anointed Jesus, our Lord, that on your account he impoverished himself, being rich, in order that ye, through his poverty, might become rich."

We have a difficulty in understanding this as some do, viz., as referring to the word becoming flesh. It is "the anointed Jesus" that is the subject of remark—a name which could not be applied to the Father before manifestation.

It was the anointed Jesus that impoverished himself; not "the word," by which the heavens were made. Then, the Father, as we conceive of Him from the teaching of the word, never could become poor. The heavens and earth must always be Hi and in Him. His being cannot be impoverished or diminished by manifestation.

The marvellous personage by whom the Father spoke was poor, and accepted poverty when offered the crown; and this personage was Jesus, whose submission to poverty was a striking fact when seen against the background of his high position and appointed destiny.

Though in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal to God, he made himself of no reputation, but took upon himself the form of a servant. And being made in the likeness of men, he humbled himself to death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him. We regard this statement (occurring in Phil. 2:8) as in reality a parallel to the one in 2 Cor., which we are considering in explanation thereof.

The Christadelphian, Apr 1874

13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

While the law of Christ enjoins kindness to the utmost,‭ ‬it does not absolve any one from the reciprocal obligations of courtesy and good breeding.‭ ‬On the contrary,‭ ‬none are so considerate of their neighbours‭' ‬privacy as those who act habitually on the Christ-prescribed rule,‭ "‬As ye would that men should do unto you,‭ ‬do ye even so to them.‭" ‬But in a land of‭ "‬sundowners‭" ‬this is liable to be forgotten.‭

A one-sided application of the laws of Christ is very unsatisfactory.‭ ‬It brings double pressure where only one pressure was intended.‭ ‬A faithful man will be equal to the double pressure perhaps,‭ ‬but an arch stands best on two piers.‭ ‬It is apt to fall in if the weight is all on one leg.‭ ‬When the guest observe the rules that belong to them it makes it easy for the host to do his part.‭

 ‬But the world is out of order,‭ ‬and will continue so till re-constructed by the Master's hand that will give us‭ "‬new heaven and new earth.‭" (‬All which observations are unauthorised in this connection,‭ ‬and inspired only by sympathy for willing horses which are liable to get too much of the burden‭)‬.

‭The Christadelphian, June 1896. p212.

16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.

If there was an earnest care in the heart of Titus, God put it there, for all things are of God, but please recognize God's method of doing His own work.

God first brought Titus on the scene with a certain constitution of mind, then placed him in relation to the truth by hearing; and to the Corinthian believers, by acquaintance; and the result was a certain solicitude in his mind on behalf of the Corinthians.

The Christadelphian, April 1870