In Second Corinthians 9 Paul continues his instructions concerning the financial gift he is collecting
to take to the poor believers in Jerusalem. Paul is not commanding the Corinthians to give money
into this, or any collection, but is instructing them concerning the principles of Christian giving.
Giving is a practice that will develop among mature believers who are empowered by God’s grace
just as any fruit of the Spirit develops as believers mature.
The first principle Paul reminds the Corinthians of is that:
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6
A student of scripture should not allow Paul’s instructions to be spiritualized or taken out of context by trying to make these words refer to anything other than money. There should be no confusion
that Paul is talking about giving and collecting money from the Corinthians in chapters 8 and 9.
The money is to be put into an offering that he has already spoken about to the churches in Macedonia, Galatia and Asia, and will also refer to in his letter to the Romans once he gets to
Corinth where he writes the letter.
This first principle of grace giving is that the grace you give matches the grace you will receive. Simplest terms: Give little, get little; give much, get much.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." – Luke 6:38
This is a principle of the kingdom of God and it is a damnable spiritual crime that the prosperity preachers of our generation have used verses like this to abuse ignorant believers. They exploit
these verses (and, fail to teach anything of substance) in order to twist this principle into personal gain. In spite of this shameful practice of modern ministries, Paul is speaking to the Corinthians
about the grace of their giving that will be matched by God’s grace of giving in reference to money
and provisions. Love it or hate it, but this is what Paul is saying. And, do not abuse it, twist it or exploit it because the same Lord who says he will measure back pressed down and shaken
together to match your giving is also the Lord of whom it is said:
“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
– Hebrews 10:30-31
The second principle is that the amount given is determined by the believer/priest who is making
the offering. The mature believer will decide how much to give by using his own volition based on wisdom and faith:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:7
Third principle: Do not give reluctantly. This refers to internal pressure from your own soul. Do not give because of internal pressure such as guilt or in an attempt to manipulate God. Do not give
when you know you cannot give or do not want to give. It is grace giving, not legalism, the Law
or a work of the flesh.
Fourth principle: Do not give under compulsion. This refers to external pressure from people or circumstances. Various forms of pastoral manipulation or coercive calls to commit to a building program or the application of guilt because of the prosperity a person has is to be rejected. These things do not induce grace giving. There is no promise from God to match your giving if it is given reluctantly or under compulsion those attitudes are not part of a mature believers giving in grace.
God does not respond positively to guilt or manipulation, and neither should his believer/priests.
Fifth principle: God is looking for the “cheerful” giver. The “cheerful” giver is the one whose actions match their soul. Once again, it is a person giving in grace because it is what they know and understand in their soul. In their spiritual state of maturity they have a desire to give, and the
fulfilling of this desire makes them happy and cheerful because it is what they want to do. They
want to give and are pleased to get a chance to do so. It is grace flowing through them.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
There is much more to say about this, but if a person can mature as a believer and as a believer/priest make an offering based on the principles of grace giving then God will continue to
pour out grace to fill up what that believer has poured out so that the flow of grace in financial
giving may continue and increase in that believer’s life:
“God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8