“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work”2 Corinthians 9:8
Church history refers to the 19th century as the century of missions. In all parts of the world, there were pioneers of the gospel who were passionate for Jesus Christ.
One who counted on God’s possibilities
William Carey (1761-1834) was this kind of person. Until the age of 28, he was an unknown shoemaker, but then the Lord called him into service. God laid a burden on his heart for the millions of people who did not know Jesus.
At a conference in 1792, he preached a sermon on Isaiah 54:2. In his message, he addressed two points: “Expect great things from God” and “Do great things for God.” Carey was an ordinary man, but he understood that we can count on God’s power.
God is able
We really need to understand this. When Paul told the Corinthians about the financial concerns the Jerusalem church faced, he didn’t tell them to pray earnestly that “our great God” would meet these needs. Rather, we need to be available for God to work through us. We are supposed to be the extended arms of God. We need to create the possibilities to allow God to reveal His power through us!
Learning to see through God’s eyes
In order for God’s blessings to flow, we need to learn to see from God’s perspective.
A counselor, dealing with a young man addicted to drugs, is faced with integrating him back into society. If he only considers the inherent disposition of this person, he will quickly concede defeat. However, if he looks at the young man through God’s eyes, he will be encouraged to have faith in God’s power!
We can look to God with confidence because He is able! When we become aware of God’s goodness and abundance, as expressed in a song by Paul Gerhardt: “You always make a way, You never lack the means,” then we are fully aware of our helplessness. This drives us to our Lord, who is mighty and able to help.
Do we still expect great things from God?
A teacher expects a student’s achievement to align with his stage of growth and development. A good teacher will always strive to broaden the learning horizon of his student.
In the same way, God also wants to expand our awareness of His power in our lives, to show us more opportunities for spreading the gospel of His kingdom in this world.
Do we still expect great things from God, or do we depend only on our capabilities? We read about Abraham: “By faith Abraham…offered up Isaac…concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:17–19). Abraham released his expectations – he didn’t have to offer Isaac, but he depended on God’s omnipotence.
When God says “but”
In 2 Corinthians 9:8, there’s a little, important word that is easily overlooked. Here it is: “And [the original Greek word also means ‘but’] God is able to make….” This means God’s power and mercy has no limits. We find this “but” in several places in God’s Word. In Ephesians 2, we read: “You…who were dead in trespasses and sins, but God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (see verses 1-5). When God says “but,” it opens up possibilities that are impossible from our human perspective.
The Bible refers to various types of grace
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you.” The Amplified Bible says: “And God is able to make all grace [every favor and blessing] come in abundance to you.”
God’s Word does not refer to grace in the singular but rather in the plural form! It refers not just to the saving grace of God, as in Ephesians 2:5, “By grace you have been saved.” See also see Titus 3:7. It tells us of sanctifying grace (2 Corinthians 1:12; 6:1), of grace in suffering (Philippians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Peter 2:19), of grace to labor (1 Corinthians 15:10), grace for giving (2 Corinthians 8:1), and of the many gifts of grace (Galatians 1:6; 1 Peter 5:10).
We would minimize God’s grace and its effect and hinder the “grow[ing] in grace” in 2 Peter 3:18 if we restricted God’s grace to salvation alone. Grace, as evident in its various, positive effects, is the vital element in the life of a Christian. John testifies: “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).
Dear reader: Join in the ranks of the soldiers of the faith and rest assured: God is mighty. He is able! Expect great things from God. He can use you as His useful servant, and you can receive grace upon grace from His superabundance, as a songwriter shares:
Jesus is waiting with gifts beyond measure –
Waiting with gifts from His storehouse above.
You were unworthy, He made you His treasure.
Grace upon grace through His mercy and love.
Jesus will make a way when you are hopeless,
He calms the waves of the wild, foaming sea.
He can revive and yes, He heals the lifeless.
Seek Him in faith, touch His hem, and believe.