There are two main definitions as to what the grace of God is. Firstly, it is the “unmerited favor” of God. God giving us what we do not deserve, eg Salvation. We are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Someone has made an acrostic of the word grace: “ God’s Riches Available at Christ’s Expense”. God’s provision for our every need when we need it.
Secondly, it refers to the divine power, and ability of God flowing and operating through us. In other words, it is God’s enabling power through which He gives us the desire and ability to do what pleases Him (Phil 2:13)
Grace giving can be defined as giving that is motivated by God’s grace. It is giving yourself first to God and then your substance willingly and cheerfully regardless of your situation, Grace giving is an evidence of love - love for Christ and mankind. Grace giving means that we believe that God is the great giver (He is our source, provider). He will meet our needs as we help to meet the needs of the Church and others.
The background of the passage read is that during Paul’s third missionary journey, he organized a collection of funds for the poor Christians in the Jerusalem Church, the Corinthians volunteered to contribute, like many people they had made promises but they failed to keep them.
Paul made another appeal to them, citing the example of the Macedonia Churches, who had become involved entirely on their own initiative, and gave beyond their means though deeply poor and greatly afflicted. Paul indicated that they were able to do this not by their power but by the grace of God. (2 Cor. 8:1) the enabling power of God motivated their hearts to give willingly.
Ownership belongs to God. Psalm 24:1 says “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; ”everything that we have comes from God, and we are simply stewards of His resources and that includes our finances. God gives us all things for His service so that He can achieve His purpose on earth. In order to practice grace giving you have to see yourself as a steward not owner of your money. A steward is a person who manages the affairs or property of another person (Illustration reaching for neighbours purse/wallet).
How can we tell if we are practicing “grace giving “?
1. When we give in spite of our circumstances. (2 Cor. 8:2)
If our giving is motivated by grace we will not allow our circumstances to dictate to us. The Macedonia Churches going through great affliction and they were deeply poor but that did not hinder them. They gave willingly as much as they were able and even beyond their ability. Their focus was on God and God’s work and NOT on themselves.
2. When we give enthusiastically. (2 Cor. 8:3-4)
The Macedonia Churches needed no prompting or reminding as did the Church at Corinth. They were more than willing to share in the collection, they gave entirely on their own.
Grace not only frees us from our sins, but it frees us of ourselves. The grace of God will open your heart and your hand and so that your giving is not the result of cold calculation but rather, warm-hearted jubilation.
3. When we give as Jesus gave (2 Cor. 8:5)
Like Jesus Christ, the Macedonian Christians gave themselves to God first, and then to others (2 Cor. 8:5) if we give ourselves to God, we will have little problem giving our substance to God.
Paul appeals to us in (Romans 12:1) to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God which is our reasonable service. It is only when we give ourselves totally to God that we will be able to practice grace giving.