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Volume 23 - Page 80 of 207 Index | Zoom | |
Ministering to the saints.
By J. E. Mills.
"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (II Cor. 9: 15).
pp. 3 - 12
With these beautiful words of thanksgiving Paul concludes that section of
II Corinthians which exhorts the brethren to give bountifully to the needs of the saints.
The love of God to man cannot be known apart from the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ as
man's Saviour: in that supreme gift we see God's love exemplified:--
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16).
We trust that the reader has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and has thereby
appropriated to himself that finished work of salvation. If so, then he can join with Paul
and say: "The Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2: 20).
It is the realization of this gift that should call forth a practical response from the
believer. Under the law Israel was required to give a tenth of all their increase to that
which constituted the service of God in those days: but the knowledge that the Lord
Jesus Christ has come and given Himself for us, changes the whole tenor of the ministry
of giving. No longer should this be done because it is required, but rather because Christ
gave. If we view our position in the Lord Jesus aright, we see that through His work we
cease to be our own and become His:--
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your
spirit, which are God's" (I Cor. 6: 20).
Every doctrinal fact has its practical equivalent. The attitude of the Macedonian
believers can well be taken as an example of what the practical outcome of being bought
with such a price should be:--
"Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the
fellowship of the ministering of the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first
gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God" (II Cor. 8: 4, 5).
This puts the matter of giving in the right order, ourselves first, and then, because of
all this, all that is ours is to be considered as a trust from the Lord.
Many are the promises made to those who take part in this happy ministry. In the
broadest outline this is the principle of Christian giving as set forth in the New
In Paul's testimony during the period covered by the Acts of the Apostles, the
ministering to the needs of the saints had a very definite place and character. To trace