2Corinthians 8:8-15 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich. 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. 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 you have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man has, and not according to that he has not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and you burdened: 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: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
‘I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.’ Paul did not order them to do this. He had no authority over their property. What they gave to charity should have been a willing work on their part. He took the occasion of the quickness of other congregations to help the poor (8:2-5), to prove the sincerity of their love.
‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.’ The grace of giving was not by commandment (8:8), but by the example of other congregations (8:2-5), and especially by the supreme example of the Lord Jesus Christ. He became poor for all Christians, that by this poverty they might be rich.
‘Rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.’ If Jesus Christ was a mere man, as some contend, in what sense was He rich and how could He make many others rich by His poverty? His family was poor. He possessed no property from the manger to the cross. He died a poor man and was buried in a borrowed grave. The answer to these questions would have to be that He was and still is more than a mere man. He was God from all eternity (Mic. 5:1-2; John 1:1-2). He created and owned the vast universe (Eph. 3:9; John 1:3; Col. 1:15-18). He laid aside His divine form and riches and took human form to redeem. He became poor and died as man’s substitute. He now saves all who believe (John 3:16). They become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ of all God owns (Php. 2:5-11; John 3:16; Rom. 8:17-18; Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:10; 11:15; 22:4-5).
‘A year ago’ – about a year ago they started the growth of this grace. Now is the time to finish it (8:10-12).
‘For I mean not that other men be eased, and you burdened’ – Paul did not mean that some are burdened and others eased, but that there be equality and he explained as follows: At this time they can share your abundance and supply their need. It may be that circumstances will change and they may by their abundance supply your need (8:13-14). ‘He that had gathered much had nothing over, and he that had gathered little had no lack.’ Quoted from Exodus 16:18.