“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

Every sinner, when confronted with the authentic Gospel, has been made fully aware that salvation is a life changing event. After all, to be rescued is defined as being saved out of a terrible situation. Things have to change in order for someone to be rescued and saved!

The difficulty comes when a sinner is on the fence about whether he wants to repent of treasured sin, or sins he dearly loves. He begins to weigh the cost between willful resistance to God and obedience to the Gospel call to repent, confess, forsake sin and trust in Christ. If the Christian has done his job, he has explained the purpose of baptism as an illustration of the significance of conversion. Trusting Christ’s payment of ransom for the sinner’s sinful soul patently admits that the sinner must be blood-bought. He no longer pilots his own life; God is in the driver seat.

Though the convincing/conviction of the sinner must come from the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will use the Word of God shared by the Christian to bring conviction to bear on the mind and heart of the sinner. There are many passages to use in this instance.

One of the best is the one quoted above. Even though it is a verse challenging believers about their giving, the same principles are appropriate for the awakening sinner. It points to Christ as the supreme example of grace in His activities toward the sinners He redeems. Grace is Christ bearing Himself with favor toward the object of His care, concern, and love. Only by grace is there any salvation, only by grace was salvation wrought on the cross, and only by grace is that salvation extended into the heart of the sinner.

The phrase “though He was rich” is worth considering. His pre-incarnate riches go far beyond mere wealth, as we would count it. Christ’s wealth was that in which the sinner hopes to share. Christ had unbroken fellowship with the Father. Jesus enjoyed total acceptance with the Father and was in total, harmonious agreement. His Father is uncompromisingly pleased with His Son. Being God, He was rich as God is rich!

While man cannot take part in many of the attributes of God, there are certain “communicable attributes.” These include justice, love, truth, wisdom, holiness, righteousness, purity, and sanctification. In these man can share, but sovereignty, majesty, power, and all-knowledge (to name a few) man cannot share.

Philippians 2:1ff teaches us that when our Lord took on flesh, became incarnate, He voluntarily veiled off His incommunicable attributes. He chose not to exercise them while He was on earth being the Lamb of God who would die to pay for our sins and carry them away from us. 2 Corinthians 8:9 reads, “yet for your sakes He became poor.” This is the only use of this particular Greek word for poverty found in the Bible. It means to become beggarly, to be in abject poverty. Can you conceive of what this verse really reveals about the big heart of our Savior? In order to save you and me He voluntarily set aside the independent use of His divine attributes, He left His rightful place beside the Father, He became a mortal man in order to fulfill the will of His Father and in order to save our poor souls. He, the sinless One, had to become our sin in order to pay the penalty of death for us (as a common criminal), to be our substitute. He embraced His impoverishment so “that you through His poverty might become rich!”

If you are looking for a definition of grace, this is it!

There are several other verses you may want to keep handy when you are faced with a sinner who is not sure he is ready to give up his sin. Luke 12:16ff contains the parable of the rich farmer who was so focused on his possessions that he did not have a clue what was soon to happen. He wanted to keep all his possessions but he lost everything overnight, “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you, then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Mark 8:35ff records the words of our Savior concerning discipleship: “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Our Lord’s point is: Why hold on to your fallen soulish will, power, reason and feeling when you can lose your life? His admonition is for you to lose your self-interest and gain salvation. There is absolutely no comparison between temporal life and eternal life!

Paul’s words in Philippians 3:7ff come to mind as the opposite of a sinner foolishly grasping over what he cannot keep, and forever losing what he must obtain. Trust and obey.