God’s Economy, Part I
God’s economy is based on giving: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16). God knew that man in his fallen and sinful state was incapable of redeeming himself. No amount of works could repay the debt of sin that man owed to God for his disobedience. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:23).
God’s demonstration of grace to us acknowledged the problem of sin and supplied the solution He required—the sacrifice! God’s economy of giving offers restoration and repatriation of relationship between God and man. The enmity caused by Adam’s original sin had separated God and man. Adam was the fountain of man’s progeny and when he sinned the seed of sin passed unto us all. God’s gift of redemption, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sin, would pass to all who would accept it by faith; God’s heavenly currency!
God’s motivation for giving was based on His love. To effectually operate in God’s economy, our motivation must also begin with love. If we give bountiful gifts but do so without love then we have not entered into God’s economy.
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profits me nothing. Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts (brags) not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil.” (I Cor. 13:3-5).
Sin is disobedience to God. On our behalf, Jesus Christ was obedient to God, even unto death. (Philippians 2:8) Therefore, God chose faith in Christ crucified as act of obedience on our part to receive His gift of salvation. One must receive His gift of salvation by believing upon Jesus Christ and the sacrifice God made necessary to redeem man from sin.
“For by grace are you saved though faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
CONSEQUENCES OF THE FALL
The earth’s condition was greatly affected by the fall. The consequences of sin not only affected Adam’s relationship to God but it also affected man’s dominion over the earth. Changes occurred in the terra firma and the animal kingdom that would make man’s work difficult. Slowly but surely after the fall man would live and operate his life without God. He sought to build his own world derived from his sinful and fallen lusts. As this progressed, we can observe from Scripture how Cain’s society would develop after he rejected God’s way and sentenced to the land of wondering (Nod).
Some of the observable operating components of Cain’s society are:
Each one of these characteristics warrants a long discussion, but for the sake of space it is sufficient to say that all of these can be summed up in man’s total selfishness. The distorted behavior of sinful man seeks to take and only gives out of motivation to get something more in return. God displayed His love through giving while fallen man behaved in selfishness and self-centeredness. Another challenge that confronts man after the fall is Satan’s dominion of the world’s system. He is referred to as the “Prince of the power of the air,” and, as “the god of this world.” We know that the earth is the Lord’s, but the world system is of the Devil. Satan offered the kingdoms of the world to Jesus during Satan’s temptations in the desert. Satan is ever offering fallen man the same.
THE WORLD SYSTEM
We are admonished by the Lord not to love or operate using the world system.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I Jn. 2:15-16).
The world system appeals to the fallen nature of man. The sin nature rules and dominates unbelievers and holds them hostage to their lust and desires.
“And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:1-3).
The world system seeks to exploit others to gain wealth and control of others. The sin nature is never satisfied with status quo and ever desires to have more. Whether it’s a tyrant seeking a nation or an individual desiring to satisfy themselves, the sin nature will not stop unless it is rendered inoperative by one being crucified with Christ. In fact, the world system ever seeks to make gains by taking instead of working honestly.
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your own lusts that war in your members? You lust, and you have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss (self-indulgence), that you may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:1-3).
God’s economy works by faith through love. It is not governed by lusts, or by position, or societal standing. It does not discriminate by race or gender; Jew or Gentile.
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love” (Gal. 5:6).
CONDITION FOR GIVING
Our willingness to cooperate while in God’s economy is essential. The Lord does not tax His followers. He desires them to use the faith He has supplied them and they are to willingly respond in faith. God freely gave His best to redeem us and we in turn give “to prove the sincerity of our love” for Him.
Also, because we understand His love and sacrifice for us, we also realize that we are “debtors” to present the gospel to everyone. A wonderful example of giving is when Moses was asked by God to take an offering from the children of Israel to build the tabernacle in the wilderness.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man that gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering” (Ex. 25:2).
“Take you from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD” (Ex. 35:5).
The response of the people was so significant that Moses had to tell them to stop giving. They gave willingly as their hearts were stirred by the Lord.
And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service” (Ex. 35:21. Also read Ex. 35:29; 36:6-7).
The outcome of their faithfulness was the presence of God abiding with them throughout their sojourn in the wilderness. God would use Israel to be a priestly nation unto the Lord. Today we are “made kings and priests unto our God: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10).
As priests we intercede on behalf of a lost and dying world. Believers are called to go and preach the gospel to every creature. God’s economy is all about His giving to save humanity. Our participation in God’s economy must first be about us lovingly and willingly to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1).