Making God’s Righteousness Our Standard

"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 become rich."

2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

When did riches and poverty become a yardstick in measuring our relationship with God? The righteousness of God has been the scale to measure one's relationship with God. If someone is not having the righteousness of God in him he has no place in God, it doesn’t matter if he is rich and flamboyant or if he is poor and wretched in this world.

At face level, it appears that the quotation (2 Corinthians 8:9) is making blanket promises of salvation and blessing to anyone and everyone below the poverty line. For this reason many have adopted just such an interpretation and have felt that they have a special call to aim their ministry at the downtrodden in making them rich. Well, nobody was called to make anybody rich. We were called and given a great commission in our hands to preach repentance from sinful life to people; so that they will be worthy of the Kingdom of God and to make them disciples of this message. Apostle Paul in another verse in the Bible puts it more rightly. 

As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live, as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing , as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6:9 

From this quotation above, it is obvious that Apostle Paul was not talking about making people rich physically, for there was no place we saw in the Bible that Apostle Paul went to preach the Gospel and people started making money as a result of that. It is not mentioned in the Bible that he gathered people and started teaching from the Bible that if they believe they will become millionaires overnight. He made mention of possessing all things, yet it was not mentioned in the Bible that he owned a lot of properties and fleets of ships, houses and all worth not; but all things of the spiritual values which are supposed to be the desire of every spiritual Christian. 

What Did Jesus Teach?

Jesus in His ministry never preached to people about prosperity. He knew that prosperity is not the problem of humanity. He knew that there is wealth everywhere in the world. He also knew that whatever condition we are in this world does not in any way determine our status in God. He knew that the hope of our glory is not in this present world, that whatever it is that we are passing through cannot be compared to the glory that awaits us. Many have been taught that this is the era of shining. This is another lie from the pit of hell, given that there is no shining or glory in the life of any Christian now. We are still in the era of labour, so if you have been deceived it is better you go back to the field and start labouring with your tools again. 

Let's get it right. I am not trying to undermine the power of God in blessing the handiwork or labour of His people. But this should not take the center stage in the Gospel, considering that the Gospel is the power of God to give men salvation in which the righteousness of God is revealed in the life of the individual concerned from faith to faith. If riches should be the focal point in the Gospel, it will be ridiculous to preach to a rich man who does not know God; because he already has what you are preaching about. 

Looking at Different Schools of Thoughts

There is a school of thought which holds that the prosperity message is aimed at empowering Christians to be wealthy in order to be able to sponsor the Church to take the Gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth. Well, this school of thought is wrong. Evidences on ground have shown that those who preach the prosperity message have only succeeded in amassing wealth for themselves and their family members as they bequeath the conglomerates called branches and the hospitals and schools and every other investment owned by the Church to their wife and children. 

Again, it is wrong to think that for the Gospel to spread to all the nations of the world money should be a major factor to be considered. It is very obvious in the Bible that God never used money to aid in the spreading of the Gospel. Both in the Old Testament and the New Testament days God has indirectly used persecution to spread the Gospel and that same system and method is still working for God up to date. God is only looking for vessels that are ready to do the job; the means to do the job has not been a problem with God. I don’t know the kind of flight Philip entered that conveyed him to meet the Ethiopian eunuch. If not for persecution, the disciples wouldn’t have spread across to preach the Gospel. If not for persecution even from among believers Paul would not have gone to the Gentiles with the Gospel. If not for persecution the Bible we are reading today wouldn’t have been translated into many languages. The money has always been there, but without the vessels that are ready to face persecution the Gospel will not be preached.

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