“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”—Romans 8:3 (NIV)
As you saw yesterday —and hopefully listed—there is no shortage of examples of God’s generosity. The list is endless. And while everything we can think of, everything we can list, are amazing blessings and gracious gifts from God, there is one act of generosity that stands heads and shoulders above anything else, and it’s detailed in John 3:16 (NIV): “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
There is truly no greater example of God’s generosity than the gift of Jesus Christ. Like Paul says in Romans 8:3, we were completely powerless to save ourselves; we were hopeless and in dire need of rescue. But the extent of His generosity goes beyond that. Why? Because we weren’t innocent victims; we were God’s enemies (Romans 5:10)—unrighteous (Romans 3), wretched (Romans 7:24), and deserving of death (Romans 6:23).
Think about this for a minute: It’s one thing to be generous to the poor or to rescue innocent, helpless children from a fate they don’t deserve. It’s another thing to be generous to a murderer or thief; to rescue an evil, wicked person. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NASB).
That is the beauty and great mystery of the gospel in a nutshell. It’s in the overwhelming and completely undeserved generosity of God the Father to send Christ to bear our curse, to pay our debt, to die in our place. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB).
Here is what we want you to understand above all else through this study: For the Christian, a lifestyle of generosity toward others should be a natural response to the generosity of God in sending Christ to save and redeem us. It should be a byproduct of the Spirit of Christ in us.
From the inside out, Jesus challenges our natural mind to embrace the heavenly reality that the most fulfilling life is the generous life in which we empty ourselves for the sake of others (Philippians 2). Sadly, many Christ-followers lack joy in their walk because they never enter, embrace, and experience a generous way of life.
If we’re seeking Him daily, growing in our discipleship walk with Him, being transformed by His Spirit, and conformed to His image, then the qualities of God we’ve discussed this week will pour out of us. As we become more like Christ, this will be evident in our generosity. A generous lifestyle is a byproduct of a deep, abiding, growing relationship with Christ. Why? Because generosity is not only a quality of our God, but it is also a form of worship. And when we abide in Him, we want to worship Him in every way possible, through every avenue of our lives.
Our great reward comes from glorifying Christ and experiencing a deeper, more profound and faith-filled relationship with Him because we are becoming more like Him. If nothing else sticks in your mind and heart throughout these four weeks, we hope this does. If it does, this month of teaching will have been worth it.