RICHES AND GODLINESS
2 Corinthians 8:9 KJV: For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
It is the PERFECT will of God for us to be rich: financially and materially. This is because God loves us (Mt. 7:11) as His children and wants us to have the good things of this life; and also the Lord Jesus paid the price for us to be rich, just as He paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins and the price for the healing of sicknesses (Is. 53:4-5). Moreover, God knows that we need great wealth to establish His covenant (Dt. 8:18) on the earth and disciple the nations (Mt. 24:14).
Now, what is God’s definition of rich?
2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP: And God is able to make ALL grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may ALWAYS and under ALL circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].
Deuteronomy 28:11-12 AMP: And the Lord shall make you have a surplus of prosperity, through the fruit of your body, of your livestock, and of your ground, in the land, which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. (12) The Lord shall open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
Malachi 3:10-12 AMP: Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. [Mal. 2:2.] (11) And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. (12) And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
God’s definition of rich is to ALWAYS have ALL sufficiency in ALL things and so as to be able to lend to ALL nations.
Now, not even the richest men in the world as at today (June 2013) are this rich: they cannot afford to lend (they can lend to a few but not to many or all) to ALL nations; doing so will bankrupt them.
So it is obvious the church has not yet entered this level of prosperity.
Proverbs 30:7-9 NIV: “Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: (8) Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. (9) Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
Here the scripture says we should not pray to be rich, but to just have enough for daily provision. Is this a contradiction of the scriptures above that God wants to be very rich?
We cannot be trusted with great riches IF the sin-nature is still present and dominant in our souls: wills, minds and emotions and body (remember what happened to Solomon (1kgs. 11:1-11)). Such great riches will tempt us to be independent of and rebel against God, like Satan did:
Ezekiel 28:14-18 NIV: You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. (15) You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. (16) Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. (17) Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (18) By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
So great riches as defined in the scriptures above are ONLY available in the ‘promised land’ (Dt. 28:8) typifying the perfection and fulness of Christ.
So great riches will ONLY come with great godliness (1 Tim.4:8): God-like in nature, character, wisdom and ability.
If you try to be rich without developing great godliness you will fall into Satan’s trap of covetousness and destruction:
Proverbs 28:20 MKJV: A faithful man shall overflow with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 MKJV: But they who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which plunge men into destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is a root of all evils, of which some having lusted after, they were seduced from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
This is why the Lord Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell his possessions give it to the poor and follow Him. The Lord wanted to FIRST strip him of his pride and confidence (Pr. 18:11) in his money and then gradually over time as he developed great godliness make him 100 times richer than he was before (Mk.10:17-30) in this lifetime.
We become godly (LIKE GOD in character, wisdom and ability) by using the blood (Heb.13:20-21), the Word (1 Jn.2:5) and the Spirit (1 Jn.4:12-13) to operate the 7 pillars of wisdom.
A very good example of a person who was trusted with great riches is Joseph. It is instructive to observe that Joseph was taken through years of preparation (about 22 years from age 17 (Gen. 37:2) to age 39 (Gen.41:46, 53,54; 45:11)) during which he developed the godly virtues of humility (Gen.46:16), wisdom (Gen.41:39), self-control (Gen.39:7-13; 41:45), love and forgiveness (Gen.45.4-11; 50.15-21).
After fulfilling his purpose at the age of 39 Joseph spent the next 71 years (Gen. 50:22) of his life in pleasures and prosperity fulfilling:
Job 36:11 AMP: If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness and joy.
So let us copy Joseph’s example and inherit great riches by great godliness!