A Gospel Message by A. C. Gaebelein
3. The Most Wonderful Fact
BY HIS POVERTY WE ARE MADE RICH.
“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” (2 Cor. 8:9).
What a most wonderful theme we have here for our contemplation.
The great, the deep, the unfathomable poverty of the Son of God on the cross has procured us riches, incredible riches.
How great these riches must be, riches that have been won for poor lost sinners, for whom Christ died, but who now believe Him and His Word.
We shall find indeed that while the Riches of Christ that He had with the Father before the world are wonderful, the fact that such a One became so poor brings something greatly wonderful before our hearts, and that is the most wonderful of all: Riches that God has given us in Christ. This is the fullness of the blessed Gospel, a fullness that is so little preached and less believed today. Some emphasize in Gospel preaching the fact of the forgiveness of sins and, how the believing sinner is freely justified from all things.
A great blessing this is indeed, to know sins forgiven and put away forever. That blessedness David knew when he wrote the Thirty-second Psalm.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psa. 32:1–2).
But forgiveness is but a part of God’s blessed salvation. Others make prominent the impartation of the new life, eternal life; the certainty of salvation and deliverance from the wrath to come.
All these and other precious fruits are part of the blessed result of the finished work of the Son of God. There is, however, a higher revelation of what the believing sinner saved by Grace has become in Christ. This fullest blessing is ours in Him as our beautiful text reveals. It is that we have become wonderfully rich through Him.
And what are these riches that belong to us on account of the wonderful poverty of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Have we ever considered that these Riches are actually ours in the Lord Jesus Christ? How rich are we in Him?
We are saved by Grace, through faith, by the poverty of our Lord Jesus Christ when He was forsaken on that cross. And now, we are as rich as He is in yonder Glory!
This is a great assertion and it is a wonderful claim, yet it is fully true, true forever and ever, even for the countless ages of a never-ending eternity.
Let us now ascertain as to how rich He is, Who was our Substitute on the cross of Calvary.
Where Is He Now?
The tomb could not hold Him; He could not see corruption. The Father raised Him from the dead and after He showed Himself alive after His passion, He was received up into Glory.
What a scene it must have been in heaven when He came again into the presence of the Father.
He had passed through the heavens, upon that cloud, which took Him out of sight of the gazing disciples, and He was ushered into the presence of God’s throne; that glorious Throne, the great center of the universe. How full of wonder the angelic hosts must have been as He returned to the Father. They knew Him there in heaven before He took upon Himself the form of man. They had gazed upon Him when He was down on the earth. They were with Him in the desert during His journeys; with Him in His toil and service. He might have commanded a legion of angels in that hour when the power of darkness came upon Him. How they must have watched Him as He hung upon that cross. They were present when the resurrection morn dawned and they gave the disciples that good and glorious news that He would come again in like manner.
What must it have been to the Father, our loving God and Father, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, when His beloved Son returned to Him?
He had given Him up. He smote Him on that cross as He stood in the sinner’s place, but now the Son arrives back to the Father and appears in His presence in the form of a Man, the glorified Man. A human being with a body of glory, but still a body of flesh and bones, and He comes into the presence of the throne of God, for He is Son of God raised from among the dead; the Head of a new creation. How unspeakably grand and glorious it must have been when He came thus to the Father.
He advanced to that Throne and the Father welcomed Him.
“Sit on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.”
“Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 1:13; 5:6). And surely amid the shouts and praises of the heavenly hosts, He sat down.
Where is He now? He is back there with the Father, He is in the Father’s presence as the glorified Man.
Did God do even more in that great welcome to Him, the One with the body in which the nail prints were still seen?
Yes, He did!
God appointed Him heir of all things.
God made Him heir of all creation. He gave into the hands of that glorified Man the entire universe. All power in heaven and on earth He gave to the Son of His Love.
How rich is He then?
All creation belongs to Him. He is the rightful Lord over all.
And what else does this One possess?
The Father’s Love
The Love of God is centered upon Him once more. That eternal Love that He ever knew and enjoyed before, the riches of that Love, are now His once more.
How greatly God must love Him, that lovely One, Who did His will, Who exalted God’s eternal righteousness and made known God’s love to a lost and guilty world of sinners.
Is there more that He has received when He ascended upon high?
We look again and exclaim: “But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2.9).
There Is Glory Upon Him
The Father put Glory upon the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a Glory it must be! Who can give full account of His Glory? Who can describe the Glory which He has now and will have manifested in the day of His power when He comes again as Lord of lords and King of kings?
But now reader, pause.
He was rich in eternity in these three things —
in Possessions, for all belonged to Him;
in Love; the Only begotten of the Father;
in Glory, the Glory of God.
These three — Possessions, Love and Glory — He had given up, laid aside. In that dark hour as He hung naked, alone, forsaken on the cross, He was stripped of all. But now in resurrection, we see Him, the risen Son of God back with the Father. All power is given Him and He is the heir of all things. The Father’s Love is upon Him and that Glory enshrouds Him once more. He has again exactly the same riches that He had before the world was, but with this difference only, He is now the Man in the Glory.
Just as rich as He is, the glorified One, so also is the vilest sinner who has now believed on Him; who is washed in the precious blood of the Lamb.
His eternal Riches, are your Riches, child of God they are yours upon believing Him and they are yours forever.
Open eye and heart wide to receive fullest knowledge of the measure of the Love and Grace of God in Jesus Christ.
This One saw a world of ruined men and women who were rebels and enemies of God. He was not taken by surprise when mankind fell. He knew it all in that past eternity. He had made provision for the sin of His much loved creation. Here was that lovely One Who always dwelt in The Father’s bosom, and by Whom and for Whom all things were called into existence. God purposed to have others with Him as sons with that One Only Son. These vile rebels and enemies are to be taken out of the power of darkness and placed alongside that Only Son, to share His inheritance, share the Father’s Love, and His Glory for all eternity.
How could He accomplish all this?
He gave up His Son! He let Him depart into that dark world. He let Him go and even sent Him forth.
He then smote Him, as we have seen, upon the cross. He then raised Him up as victor over death and the grave, and took Him into His presence again, seating Him at His own right hand in the Heavenlies. And in Him God has accomplished His wonderful purpose to have sons in that Son, as sharers in His Riches.
Could any other have ever conceived such a plan?
Could all the wisdom of this world ever discover such a scheme? The Only begotten of the Father, The Rich One, Who created all things was made a little lower than the angels and now He is made so much better than the angels, obtaining by inheritance a more excellent Name than they (Heb. 1:4). And all this was done for us lost sinners that we might become sons with Him and share that place which He has in highest Glory.
As rich as He is in the Father’s presence, so also are you, believers, for such is the wealth of every saved, believing child of God.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs With Christ” (Rom. 8:16, 17).
Sonship and Heirship are inseparably connected. We are Heirs of God because as believers we are sons. Our inheritance is nothing less than the inheritance of Him Who is the First begotten from the dead. God appointed Him the heir of all things and we are joint heirs and fellow heirs of Christ. Can there be anything plainer than that?
God told Abraham to walk through the land He had promised to him and to his seed. We can readily imagine what joy the father of the faithful had as he walked through that goodly land with its green pastures, springs of water, rivers and lakes. How his eyes must have delighted to gaze upon the beautiful mountains. Yet he did not actually possess it all then, but in faith he truly enjoyed it all.
Our God and Father does not ask us to walk through a land here in this world. He tells us of much more than that. He has given all to the Son of His Love; the whole earth belongs to Him actually the whole universe; and because it belongs to Him it belongs to us. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens above with its wonderful mysteries, its countless heavenly bodies, its unfathomable space, its solar systems beyond the reach of the most powerful telescope. It all belongs to Him. He holds it in His blessed hands and it belongs also to us. It is your inheritance. With Him we shall be in the possession and enjoyment of the heavens and the earth. What it all will be, and how great our riches are, who can fully tell? There never will be reached in all eternity a time when we shall come to the end of our riches in Him, with Whom we shall dwell for the eternal ages.
God the Father desires that you now enjoy by faith your riches.
What are all the possessions we may strive to obtain and keep on this earth? We may call them “riches,” but what are they in comparison with our riches as sons of God? These thing here are but “bubbles” and “baubles,” simple miserable toys of time that before long must all be left behind.
Child of God, look beyond. In wealth or poverty, in abundance or in want, every day remember your eternal, your abiding riches in the Lord Jesus Christ. Rejoice in faith and triumph in it over all earthly conditions and circumstances as being Heirs of God.
The Riches of Love
And now He fully enjoys as before the Love of the Father. And the love wherewith He is loved of the Father is the love with which we are also loved. We are the sharers of the same love. This is why believers are addressed in the New Testament as “Beloved of God.” We need to listen only to His high priestly prayer in John 17 to realize that this is so. He tells the Father all about Himself and His redemption work, and all about His own, who have been given to Him by the Father.
It is a wonderful thing that all the great facts of our salvation, our standing before God, our present responsibilities and privileges, our future glory, are all revealed by Him, the Author and Finisher of the faith, in this prayer. This prayer with its blessed depths may be called the germ of all the subsequent unfoldings of the Gospel of Grace. All the great salvation truths and revelations in the great Pauline epistles, are herein foretold. These teachings in the 17th chapter of John may be grouped around seven words: Salvation; Manifestation; Representation; Identification; Sanctification; Preservation and Glorification.
Here we hear Him say to the Father: “That the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me” (John 17:23).
And again: “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26).
It is truly so that the love wherewith the Father loves the Son, is the love wherewith He loves each who belong to Christ, and who by believing, are saved. God is Love and how He loves! It was love that gave the Only Begotten and the object in view was that He might be able to have us poor sinners saved, justified, sanctified as children of God, sharing that eternal love.
Take hold of it in faith, Beloved of God; in Christ Jesus, where Grace has put you, there is for you from God the Father nothing but love. In all reverence we say God can do nothing but love those who are His children by faith in Jesus Christ.
Learn to consider all, even the darkest and strangest conditions and experiences, in light of His love. Nothing, nothing at all can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
By nature and by practice, far,
How very far from God!
Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him,
Through faith in Jesus’ blood.
So near, so very near to God,
I cannot nearer be;
For in the person of His Son,
I am as near as He.
So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love wherewith He loves the Son,
Such is His love to me.
The Greatness of His Glory
And what about the Glory? How great the glory He has revealed. It belongs to us in Him and with Him. We but need to remind ourselves of another utterance in His prayer. How good of Him that He spoke all these words before He left the world. His disciples heard Him utter these words, and from them all may learn His love and the believer’s glorious destiny.
And we, in reading the 17th chapter of John, can hear Him still praying. The word that tells us of Glory: “And the Glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them…”
“Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My Glory, which Thou hast given Me” (John 17:22, 24).
Is this not sufficient? We shall share His glory. We shall forever be with Him! Our bodies of humiliation will be fashioned like unto His glorious body. We shall see Him as He is and shall be like Him. Our glorious destiny is to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. At last glorified with Him, God will show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.
What a Glory that will be forever with the Lord Who loved us and gave Himself for us.
And soon that Glory will be upon us. The Lord is at hand. The blessed moment for which He has waited upon the Father’s throne to have us all with Him, and for which generation after generation have waited, is very nigh, even at the door. Soon we shall hear the voice of the Bridegroom calling His beloved Bride to come away, to come into His presence and then we shall fully and completely share His Riches.
And is it so! I shall be like Thy Son, Is this the grace which He for us has won? Father of glory! (thought beyond all thought!) In glory to His own blest likeness brought!
Oh, Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee? Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll, The saints the prize and travail of Thy soul.
Yet it must be; Thy love had not its rest Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest; That love that gives not as the world, but shares All it possesses with its loved co-heirs.
Nor We alone; Thy loved ones all, complete In glory round Thee there with joy shall meet, All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord, Object supreme of all, by all adored.
—J. N. Darby
How poor and weak our comprehension. How dull the mind, how slow of heart to believe all and to enjoy all the promises of God.
How often we go about cast down, disappointed, because of earthly conditions, of things temporal, things that have not turned out to our comfort. Perhaps we too have been murmuring and complaining. However, if our hearts are fixed constantly upon the Christ of God, upon the wonderful Riches that are His in Glory, which now also belong to us, there would be no room for care or complaining, impatience or distress. All would be praise and thanksgiving.
It is this in which the Father delights. He loves to hear the voice and praise of those who were once afar off and are now brought nigh, giving thanks in that precious, adorable Name. He loves to see His blood-bought people rejoicing in His Son.
Old Testament Riches
A mother in Israel came to praise God. Her prayer had been answered. And as she poured out her heart, the Spirit of God opens her vision. In holy joy she cries out: “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them” (1 Sam. 2:8).
A great conception this was and yet it still does not express fully our glorious inheritance, our riches in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Poor beggars upon a dunghill we are by nature, but that blessed One came down into our misery and took us from the dunghill to where He is; into His Riches, to His Glory to share His Throne.
How little our hearts enter into it all. And yet our God desires us to enter by faith into these wonderful thoughts of love towards us in Christ.
More than anything else, the true conception of our Riches in Christ, which we shall before long share with Him in Glory, will keep us in the place of separation unto Him and teach us to walk worthy of the Lord. With such Riches in view and such a destiny, how holy our lives will become. As these Riches are before our souls, we shall be satisfied to walk in His path, the path of humility and suffering, satisfied to be nothing here and willing to share His reproach. How simple it then becomes to take the lowest place, and with joy, welcome all that humbles us. For His sake, Who gave up all, we can become constrained by His mighty love and know the joy set before us. As joint heirs we shall be more and more willing to endure the cross and despise the shame. As we consider His Glory, His Riches and our place in Him now, we know that soon with Him we shall enjoy fully His Riches and Glory forever.
But not only are we to share all this with Him in the future, but even while here on earth, as saved ones who have passed from death unto life, we await Him and his Glory as those who are rich even now. At the close of that lovely Epistle to the Philippians we read: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His Riches in Glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
And in the beginning of Ephesians we read: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). In Colossians we hear that in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and that we are complete in Him.
Let us also remember that precious word that we find on the summit heights of the epistle to the Romans: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32)?
All we need in spiritual blessing, strength and power, all and everything, we have in Him Who paid so fully at the cross. He Who became so poor that we might be so rich.
How dreadful if we, inheriting such riches, with every spiritual blessing now at our disposal and a Lord Who is ready to fill us with the very fullness of Himself, shame on us if we do not use these riches, if we neglect so great salvation. Let us not be guilty of it. Many of God’s people need by faith to live upon their freely given riches in Christ.
Israel failed with their covenant and earthly land and did not take possession of it. We also fail in not entering into the riches that are ours. If Israel had gone in and possessed the whole land, they would have come to an end of inheriting the land for there was a limit to the boundaries of the land.
It is far different with the riches we have in Christ. We can never exhaust them for they are, like Himself, infinite.
We are children now, but when He comes we shall be full-grown sons. What a revelation we shall have then as to His Riches our Riches! What a Glory it will be when He has His completed church with Him and His full inheritance in the Saints. What a Glory when He comes as the Firstborn bringing the many sons with Him to glory. We shall share His Throne. We shall reign with Him over the earth and have control with Him over the works of His hand. And then shall roll on the mighty song of praise so feebly uttered now here below by the few: “Unto Him that loveth us, and has washed us from our sins in His own blood and made us kings and priests unto God His Father; to Him be Glory and Dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5–6).
Let us turn more to the Word of Prophecy. We read in the Old Testament and in our New Testament prophetic Scriptures, and the book of the Revelation that He received from God, and gave to us concerning His coming glories. These things do not concern Him alone, but concern us as His joint heirs also.
And now, are you, reader, yourself saved? Do you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ?
Do you know this marvelous Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, for your sakes became poor that you might be rich?
If you are not a Christian, not yet saved, still a stranger to that Grace, what hinders you from accepting Him now? Let me tell you that God “wants” you, and that God more than “wants” you, He loved you. It was for you He gave His beloved Son; for you He forsook Him on the cross. Could He do anything more than that?
And now the good news is that the Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished all for you and God invites you to “come.” He tells you that all is ready; He wants to welcome you home. God wants you to come out of all your poverty and your want, out of your sin and guilt, shame and confusion into the Riches of His own Son.
Can you, will you, doubt this? I am persuaded you cannot. It is so clear, so simple. Do not doubt that God does actually want the lowest and the vilest in order that He may give them the Riches of Himself.
Do you ask the conditions? There are none. God does not ask you to do anything, for He has done it all. All He asks is that you come just as you are, as a poor sinner and that you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior by trusting Him, by casting yourself upon Him.
Are you willing to do it now?
Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within, and foes without,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as l am, Thy love unknown,
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Charlotte Elliot, BHB
Will you accept God’s riches?
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.“He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life.” All God asks is that you accept the Riches, which the Son of His love purchased for guilty sinners on the cross.
Is this too good to be true, as some always say? If you say this and add a single thing to it, trying to do your own share by good works, even works of repentance, then you shut yourself out from God’s Grace. Believe it. Christ died for the ungodly; He died for you.
Nothing else will make you safe for eternity. God’s salvation makes you safe! And should you reject God’s offer of free salvation; what then?
It is almost impossible for the writer of these words to believe that anyone would reject such an offer, such riches, such love. And yet it is sadly true; thousands turn their back upon Him, Who died for them.
God grant that not one who reads these lines will reject the Lord Jesus Christ.
Reader, if you should reject Christ and go on in unbelief, in self-righteous religiousness, what then? You live on in the poverty, misery, discontent, unrest of the natural man. You could have eternal rest, peace, joy, happiness and contentment in the Lord Jesus.
You chose the unbelief and discontent but is that all? What about eternity? All pass into eternity having rejected that which God did for them. Deliberately some say, No to God and instead of the eternal Riches, they choose eternal poverty, eternal wrath and eternal shame. They are lost, no salvation; they never know what it is to be “safe,” eternally secure!
It is surely not necessary to enlarge upon these solemn facts of an eternity of misery. Such it must be for everyone who dies rejecting God’s offer of salvation. God’s righteousness demands it.
Once more we repeat the text: “For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that by His poverty we might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).