The Gospel and Generosity

The gospel and generosity are tightly connected in Paul’s final words to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:32-35). Understanding this will help us fully appreciate Philippians 4:19. He commends them to the God and the “word of grace” meaning the gospel. This means handing them over to the gospel with confidence that they will behave accordingly. The same word is used of handing over our souls during a trial (1 Peter 4:19), and Jesus handing over his spirit at death (Luke 23:46). Basically you need to turn yourself in to the gospel like you would to the authorities. If you do, there is a promised inheritance. Secondly Paul talks about generosity. He poured himself out in obedience to Christ who said it is more blessed to give than to receive. If you are taken into custody by the gospel, the result will be radical generosity. He doesn’t shift gears. He doesn’t change subjects by proclaiming indifference to material wealth. One leads to the other. By implication, coveting and greed are the opposite of living according to the word of grace. But it’s my stuff, you protest. Jesus shows that releasing what is rightfully yours to benefit others is living out the gospel you claim to believe (Philippians 2:5-8).

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