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II Corinthians 5-9 Listen
Heaven's our reward (II Corinthians 5:1-9)
1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
Paul concluded chapter 4 (see notes) discussing the future glory of the Believer, thus making life's sacrifices on earth rather trite by comparison. He continues that thought in the first 9 verses of chapter 5. The Believer's earthly body is contrasted with the eternal resurrection body in Heaven. The hardships of chapter 4 make the acquisition of his heavenly body very appealing, but Paul expresses his desire to be where God wants him for the purpose of the ministry. Verse 1 begins with a verb in the Greek perfect tense to be understood as "We have known..." He seems to be indicating that going to Heaven after death is a concept that was commonly accepted by the author and his letter recipients.
He then mentions the earnest payment of II Corinthians 1:21-22 (see notes) again here in verse 5. God's earnest payment is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; that's the guarantee of his intent to take us to Heaven - a very powerful analogy (see article entitled, "The Earnest of the Spirit" in the box to the right of this screen).
Verses 6-8 say that while we're here ministering, we're not there (Heaven) and vice versa. The word translated "accepted" in verse 9 is from the Greek adjective "euarestos," a compound word - "eu" (well) and "arestos" (pleasing). Paul expresses his desire to be well pleasing in God's eyes while he is here as well as when he appears before the judgment seat of Christ - which brings us to verse 10.
What about the judgment? (II Corinthians 5:10)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Since the thought of being well pleasing in God's sight is the emphasis of verse 9, verse 10 deals with the event we know as the judgment seat of Christ. For a more complete look at this judgment of Believers (and Believers only), we refer to I Corinthians 3:10-15 (see notes). In that passage, Paul compares the Christian life to a building. Christ is the foundation, and we build upon that foundation with our life-long actions as a Believer. Spiritual actions add to the foundation gold, silver and precious stone; carnal actions...wood, hay and stubble. Paul briefly makes reference to that judgment event in this verse.
Some Bible teachers refer to the "judgment seat of Christ" in this verse as the "bema seat" instead. The actual Greek word for "judgment seat" in this verse is "bema" and is defined as being a raised platform mounted by steps and usually furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly, often on judicial matters. "Bema" is only used 12 times in the New Testament; 10 of those occur within this earthly judicial scenario. Only here and Romans 14:10 (see notes) does "bema" actually refer to the judgment by Christ of Believers. In other words, Paul fully intends to describe this judgment of Believers as a future event patterned after a court appearance as seen in I Corinthians 3:10-15 (see notes), the actual setting for this judgment. In that passage, the "good" is represented by "gold, silver and precious stone" while the "bad" is represented by "wood, hay and stubble." One must understand the scenario of the actual judgment in I Corinthians 3 to understand the reference to "good" and "bad" in verse 10 here. Without that point of reference, one might mistakenly see this as a judgment of both saved and lost. Only saved people will appear at the judgment described here. Again, let me emphasize: To understand verse 10 in its proper context, go to the notes on I Corinthians 3:10-15 (see notes), and study both passages together.
Our motivation for telling others (II Corinthians 5:11-21)
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.
13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.
14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
To properly understand verse 11, it is vital to understand the judgment scenario of verse 10 coupled with the actual procedures of this judgment in I Corinthians 3:10-15 (see notes). Specifically, both passages deal with Paul's labor in the ministry. Verse 11 begins with his mention of this ministry to the unsaved when he says, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." The "terror" of verse 11 refers to the outcome of the unsaved as seen by his phrase, "we persuade men." This terror (Greek: phobos - fear) is a reference to God's consistency in rewarding faith and rejecting those who reject him.
Why is Paul telling them all of this? He answers that question in verses 12-13. He works for his Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 12 Paul says, in essence, "I'm not bragging about what I do and why I do it, just informing you so that you can explain it to others." Paul addresses his own mental state in verse 13 - sound mind or not? Whatever they may think about his motivation, he does it for God. That's the context of verses 14-15 when he begins by saying, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." In other words, Jesus died for all, indicating that all were in need of salvation. Therefore, those of us who live (saved people) should now determine to live for Christ.
Therefore, Paul goes on to explain the ministry of reconciliation that is the responsibility of Believers - the task of telling the lost about Christ as Savior. The wording of verse 16 is somewhat confusing, so let's break it down: "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh [from now on we're going to view people in terms of the spiritual rather than their physical being]: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh [once Paul only knew Jesus Christ as a mortal...before Paul's salvation experience], yet now henceforth know we him no more [we no longer view Jesus Christ in that mortal state, but in his spiritual state]." In other words, he is encouraging his readers to view people in light of eternity - the redeemed and the lost. Verse 17 clarifies verse 16. After salvation, Believers are spiritual entities rather than just physical entities.
Let's take a moment to deal with a misconception regarding verse 17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." This verse has been misunderstood by many to indicate that Believers no longer struggle with a sinful nature after salvation. That notion is out of context and completely disregards verse 16. Here's what actually does take place at salvation: Each person who receives Jesus Christ as personal Savior receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit according to I Corinthians 12:13 (see notes), "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." The term "baptism of the Holy Spirit" is used incorrectly in some circles, but here is the exact definition by Paul; it is the process whereby we are saved. That's right. All Believers become Believers by being "baptized" by the "Spirit" into the "body" of Christ. In other words, if you haven't been "baptized by the Holy Spirit," you haven't been saved. This doctrine is further confirmed by Paul in Romans 8:9 (see notes), "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." So, to simply restate it, all Believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit. So you see, we are new creatures (creations) in Jesus Christ because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. Our sinful nature is not eradicated, but the presence of the Holy Spirit is there to give us God's control over it.
He emphasizes the miracle of the new birth in verse 17 and encourages his readers to take this message of God's reconciliation through Christ to the world in verses 18-20 as ambassadors. Verse 18 says that all (Greek: panta) are of God. Through Jesus Christ we (Believers) have been reconciled to God. The verb "reconcile" (Greek: katallasso) means to reestablish proper friendly interpersonal relations after these have been disrupted or broken. That reconciliation took place at salvation. Now we, as Believers, have the responsibility of taking that "word of reconciliation" to others. We then see in verses 19 and 20 that when, as ambassadors, we take the word of reconciliation to the world, upon receiving Christ as savior, their sins are no longer imputed (Greek: "logizomai" means reckoned or assigned) to them.
Verse 21 is perhaps the clearest picture of salvation in the New Testament, "For he [God] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us [Believers], who [Christ] knew no sin; that we [Believers] might be made the righteousness of God in him [Jesus Christ]." Salvation is a gift; we are made righteous before God by receiving Christ as our savior. We do nothing else to deserve Heaven! Paul made the same point regarding righteousness to these Corinthians in his first letter to them in I Corinthians 1:30 (see notes), "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." The righteousness that gets us to Heaven is "imputed" to us because of and through Jesus Christ.
Right now is the right time (II Corinthians 6:1-13)
1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
Paul admonishes the Corinthians to "receive not the grace of God in vain." This would appear to be an extension of his comments from II Corinthians 5:20 (see above) regarding every Believer's responsibility to be an ambassador. In verse 2 he quotes Isaiah 49:8 (see notes) where God promises to make Israel thrive before the other nations by the Redeemer. Paul seems to be appealing to the Corinthians to exhibit a positive testimony before the world to reflect the glory of Christ our Redeemer. He commends himself to them as one who has made great sacrifices to proclaim Christ. Notice the extent to which Paul sacrificed to do so in verse 3, "Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:" Paul was more interested in reaching people for Jesus Christ than satisfying his own desires. He details the components of his ministry in verses 4-10 - the sacrifices and joys of the ministry along with the power given him to do so through the Word of truth, the Holy Spirit and the power of God (verses 6-7). As you can see from his words, his ministry had some joyful times and some sorrowful times. Now to the point in verses 11-13: Paul made his sacrifices to the ministry out of love, and in this case, love toward these Corinthians (verse 11). Although they have not demonstrated this same level of love toward Paul (verse 12), they are encouraged to do so in verse 13.
Who are you hanging with? (II Corinthians 6:14-18)
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
This may seem like the introduction to a whole new subject, but perhaps not. Let's follow Paul's progression of thought from his encouragement in 5:18 where he admonishes these Corinthians to be "ambassadors" for Jesus Christ. He then recommends in the first 13 verses of chapter 6 a lifestyle (like his own) that is free from actions which would impede people from coming to Christ. This emphasis upon testimony continues into this statement in verse 14, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." It is exactly that unequal yoke with unbelievers that causes Believers to lose their resolve for the ministry of reconciliation
These are great concept verses establishing the Believer's proper relationship with unbelievers. They have been used appropriately to guide Believers in business, marriage and personal relationships. It's like this: When you choose to partner with those who are unsaved, they will likely, at some point, call upon you to compromise your testimony.
Paul's usage of the word "Belial" in verse 15 is interesting. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word "belial" is transliterated in the KJV as a proper name, but in fact was a general-usage word for "worthless persons." It was not the name of an Old Testament god. The Greek word here is a transliteration of the Hebrew word, and then the same word is transliterated into English. All three languages use the same, exact word. It is only used this one time in the New Testament. Since worthless persons are equated with being motivated by Satan in many instances, perhaps Paul is using the word as an equivalent to Satan himself here. Whatever his exact intentions are, we certainly get the point.
Paul further makes his point by directly referencing the concept of several Old Testament scriptures regarding the dwelling place of God in the Holy place when he says in verse 16, "for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Paul may have been referencing any number of Old Testament passages to make that comparison (Leviticus 26:11-12, see notes) or in the establishment of the tabernacle in which God would dwell among the Hebrews (Exodus 25:8, see notes) or Solomon's temple (I Kings 6:13, see notes). As a temple of God, Believers don't thrive very well in an environment that has an animosity toward God. That concept is embodied in this passage. The lesson: Just as God (who dwelled among the Jews) insisted on the separation of Israel from the surrounding godless nations, so God desires that we separate our lifestyle from those who have rejected Christ as Savior. That is the strong message of verses 17-18, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." In that verse Paul quotes Isaiah 52:11 (see notes) regarding ceremonial purity. It is clear that Paul emphasizes the ceremonial purity that should be associated with the dwelling place of God, the body of each Believer.
Verses 17 and 18 receive more explanation in the discussion of 7:1 (below).
Putting a cap on chapter 6 (II Corinthians 7:1)
1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Paul declares in verse 1, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." This verse finishes off chapter 6 by making reference to the promise in verse 18, "I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." In other words, choose your friends from among Believers. Those who are committed to Christ should find that they have little in common with those who have chosen to reject Christ as their Savior. When Israel violated this principle, they fell into sin and turned their backs on God. Generally, Believers who embrace unbelievers as friends end up doing likewise. So...let's put it together into one thought: "Wherefore come out from among them..." in verse 6:17, coupled with "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" in verse 7:1.
Now...about that letter I wrote you (II Corinthians 7:2-16)
2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.
4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.
13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.
15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.
16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.
Here are some very personal comments to these Corinthians. Paul makes reference to a previous letter he wrote to the Corinthians. Most scholars believe this was a very harsh, no-nonsense letter which no longer is extant (available), written after I Corinthians. It must have been a humdinger, because Paul spends quite a lot of time in II Corinthians talking about its effect on the Corinthians in the church there. He was concerned about the impact the letter might have had on the Corinthians; his mind was set at ease when he received the positive report from Titus (verses 6-7). Based upon the report from Titus to Paul, they had received the letter, and it had some favorable impact upon them
Paul then talks about repentance from a Christian's perspective beginning in verse 9. It is important to recognize that Paul is talking about saved people repenting from sinful actions. Notice that he identifies "sorrow" and "repentance" as two different processes. He then expands his discussion to the relationship of sorrow, repentance and salvation in verse 10. Here's the relationship: Godly sorrow leads to repentance which leads to salvation.
"Repentance" in the New Testament is not "to be sorry for your sins." The Greek noun for "repentance," ("metanoia") means a change of one's mind or attitude. "So, what does one repent from at salvation?" you might ask. The answer is in Acts 20:20-21 (see notes) where Paul says in verse 21, "...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Literally, repentance is a change of mind/attitude toward a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This repentance may or may not be prompted by godly sorrow as we see in verse 10.
Paul then gives them a little bit of a pep talk about how well they received his previous harsh letter and corrected their actions. He expresses that he wrote the letter in love. In verse 12 Paul refers to the offending individual in the church (see notes on II Corinthians 2:5-11). He expresses the thought that it was equally as important that the church come to a unified, godly position regarding this offense as it was to deal with the offender himself. Paul is thankful that this appears to have been done there according to his report from Titus.
Assisting brethren in need (II Corinthians 8:1-15)
1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5 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.
6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
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.
10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
Paul first mentioned assistance to the Believers in Jerusalem back in I Corinthians 16 (see notes). Why they needed assistance, it is not known; a famine there is suspected. In this passage, Paul brings up the fact that the Corinthian neighbors (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea) about 200 miles north in Macedonia had given to the cause (verses 1-5), and the Corinthians were encouraged to do the same as evidence of their love (verses 6-8). Paul had apparently asked Titus to address this issue of their giving on his trip there.
Paul indicates in verse 9 that since Christ gave everything for our salvation with our spiritual wealth in mind, a sacrifice of material needs for fellow brethren should not seem like a big deal. Based upon this principle, he encourages them to give of their surplus to those in need as they had purposed to do a year earlier (verses 10-12). Now its time to follow through with their commitment. Verse 13 has an interesting stipulation that flies in the face of modern-day preaching that proclaims, "Give 'til it hurts!" Notice that Paul's admonition there is to provide for them with offerings, but not to the point of bringing a burden upon the giver. In verse 14, Paul then makes the point that one's abundance within the body of Christ is appropriately shared with those who lack. In verse 15 Paul quotes from Exodus 16:18 (see notes) to make his point. This passage deals with the abundance of manna for the Children of Israel.
Who's going to take the money back to Jerusalem? (II Corinthians 8:16-24)
16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
Paul gives a hearty recommendation that Titus head up the collection campaign for the Jerusalem church, and two unknown assistants are referenced to help him in this passage. Verse 19 describes the first as a well-known, able preacher among the churches. The second assistant is identified in verse 22 as a spiritual brother. Verse 20 indicates that Paul would go to Jerusalem himself to take this generous gift to the church there, but he did not want to be accused of using money to soften up the attitudes of those Jewish-acting Believers in Jerusalem toward him. In verse 24 Paul makes yet another appeal for the Corinthians to give generously for this relief cause as a demonstration of their love.
More about the financial need in Jerusalem (II Corinthians 9:1-5)
1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
Speaking of Corinthian giving, he's still not done. Paul continues with his discussion about the saints in Jerusalem needing financial assistance. The Corinthians had promised, along with Believers in Macedonia, to help with their need a year ago. Paul is reminding them of their promise and expressing the need so that they might prepare in advance to meet this previous commitment.
A key to giving (II Corinthians 9:6-15)
6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Paul explains to the Corinthians, and to us, the need for giving willingly and cheerfully. As indicated above, it is misguided preaching when it is said, "God wants you to give until it hurts!" Giving needs to be done under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. When we are led by the Holy Spirit to give, it may be a sacrificial amount we give, but the prompting to do so and resultant joy come from the Holy Spirit, not the persuasive speech of one trying to gather the funds. In other words, our offerings need to be gifts that people under the influence of the Holy Spirit gladly give to the ministry. When folks don't give, that's just a symptom of a greater spiritual problem. Fixing the symptom does not provide the missing victory in the Believer's life that only comes as one is led by the Holy Spirit.
Notice the specific instructions given by Paul about giving in verse 7:
Verse 6 does say, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." Paul emphasizes that stinginess begets stinginess and generosity begets generosity.
And what's the result of generous giving? Verse 8 says that, when we are generous, God meets our needs and gives "all sufficiency in all things." He quotes Psalm 112:9 (see notes) in verse 9 to emphasize the attribute of righteousness that is associated with sacrificial giving to others. He continues to enhance this principle along with the thankfulness of the recipients for the extension of love to them represented by the gift itself in verses 10-14.
Paul concludes this discussion in verse 15 with these words, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." Apparently he's going back to the concept introduced in verse 8:9 when he emphasizes, "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 light of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, how can one squabble over a little bit of money?