Like nothing else could ever do, the Gospel instills in me a heart for the downcast, the poverty-stricken, and those in need of physical mercies, especially hen such persons are of the household of faith.
When I see persons who are materially poor, I instantly feel a kinship with them, for they are physically what I was spiritually when my heart was closed to Christ. Perhaps some of them are in their condition because of sin, but so was I. Perhaps they are unkind when I try to help them; but I, too, have been spiteful to God when He has sought to help me. Perhaps they are thankless and even abuse the kindness I show them, but how many times have I been thankless and used what God has given me to serve selfish ends?
Perhaps a poverty-stricken person will be blessed and changed as a result of some kindness I show him. If so, God be praised for His grace through me. But if the person walks away unchanged by my kindness, then I still rejoice over the opportunity to love as God loves. Perhaps the person will repent in time; but for now, my heart is chastened and made wiser by the tangible depiction of what I myself have done to God on numerous occasions.
The Gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me. Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the Gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the Gospel to my own benefit as well.
Galatians 6:10 “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Revelation 3:17, 20 “…you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…” “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hearts My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
Matthew 5:44, 45 “But I say to you, love your enemies…” “…so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of Gods leads you to repentance?”
Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”
2 Corinthians 8: 7, 9 “… see that you abound in this gracious work (of giving)…” “…for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”
Ephesians 1:7b-8 “… the riches of His grace which He lavished on us…”
For more information about “A Gospel Primer for Christians” or how to receive it, please visit Focus Publishing at www.focuspublishing.com.