The Abounding Life

“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.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This well-known promise is sometimes misapplied, being interpreted to mean that the Christian life would normally be a life of material prosperity, popularity, and happiness. The words “abundantly,” “abounding,” and similar terms are all based on the same Greek word, which does, indeed, mean “abundant.” But it can apply to sorrow as well as happiness.

The Christian life, as our text indicates, should be abundant in good works for the simple reason that God’s saving and keeping grace has been manifested abundantly toward us. Having been “stablished in the faith,” we are to be “abounding therein” (Colossians 2:7). Christians, of course, should also “abound in love.” “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

But the Christian may also experience much sorrow and difficulty in his life. Paul was a classic example: “. . . in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft” (2 Corinthians 11:23). One may also abound in poverty. For the Christians at Philippi, for example, “in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality” (2 Corinthians 8:2). An abundance of suffering for the believer can always be overbalanced by God’s abounding grace. “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). Our God of all grace “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20). HMM

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