Welcome back to our study on prosperity. We saw last week that prosperity is not a dirty word. In that study, we examined how scripture lists prosperity as a covenant blessing based on our relationship with God in Christ, and also that His prosperity has a purpose: to share His generosity and blessing with those around us.
Now today, we are going to discuss how this happens, and how to receive the blessing of prosperity into your life, because just as with every other aspect of grace, people tend to inject a layer of works over what God gives as a gift in Christ
Join me today, as we discover how to prosper in Christ.
The Source of Prosperity
As we begin today, let’s return to our scripture from last week, specifically 2nd Corinthians 9:6-12:
“But this I say, He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
(As it is written, He has dispersed abroad; he has given to the poor: his righteousness remains for ever.
Now he that ministers seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God.
For the administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings to God;”
One of the most common ideas in certain prosperity groups is “seed faith”, and the “give to get” mentality. There are many who teach it, and one of the core scriptures used for it is right here in this section of scripture. However, as we read these verses together, we get a larger picture of the context here, and see a deeper truth about God’s prosperity.
Verse 6 is where the “seed faith” and “give to get” idea are typically based. He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will reap bountifully. On the surface this sounds like this says the more you give, the more you will get. And if we view it from this perspective, often this line of thinking leads right back to our performance.
I was caught up in this same mindset for a long time as well, always trying to give, not because I really wanted to, but because I felt that I had to, in order to continue my prosperity. I later came to realize that I wasn’t alone in this, as others expressed the same idea to me.
Yet this common idea completely ignores the very next verse of scripture, which states Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.
Notice the emphasized portion: Not grudgingly, or out of necessity. Deep-down if I was being honest with myself, I wasn’t giving cheerfully back then, I was giving out of necessity because I believed I needed to give to increase my prosperity; using scripture as a method or magic spell.
Prosperity Should Be Expected
As we examine the text though, and consider the broader perspective, we will see some very intriguing points. The first of which being that in order to “sow seed” one must first have seed. You cannot sow seed into the ground if you do not possess seed to start with. So where did the seed even come from? Check out verse 10:
Now he that ministers seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness
It is God Himself who ministers your seed, and your bread for food, and He also multiplies your seed sown, and increases the fruits of your righteousness. We know that this is speaking of God here, because He is supplying your food, multiplying your seed sown, and increasing the fruits of your righteousness.
This is the missing piece of the puzzle for us as far as giving freely, cheerfully and free from the bondage of the Old Covenant Law. Understanding that God is your provider, and being secure in His provision for you, is the release that we need to be freely generous.
So we can see that this is not “giving to get” or any kind of seed faith doctrine, but rather this is being secure in the covenant prosperity that God constantly supplies you with, and thereby being free to give because your Heavenly Father richly and freely gives to you.
Living in God’s Prosperity
How then does God’s prosperity come to us? There are a great number of Christian’s today who are not prospering in their lives, and some have experienced much confusion over this. So let’s now examine 3rd John 1:2, and we will see something powerful:
“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”
This is the opening of John’s letter to his fellow Gaius, but it contains a potent truth for us as well.
The verse starts off with beloved, and this is such an essential word, because it speaks directly to the relationship between God our Father, and every single believer in Christ Jesus today. You are the beloved of God (John 15:9, 1st John 3:1). And we need to understand and fully receive this truth. We should recognize that we are not paupers, or beggars, but we are king’s and priests in God’s Kingdom, and even more than that we are dearly beloved children in His family.
Once we fully understand this point, then the rest of it becomes rather obvious: I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health.
The word “prosper” here means “to go well” in a broad range of things including business and finances.
As we saw in part one of this study series, this is God’s will for all of His children, and He gives prosperity as a gift and blessing. There’s no need to go over this again here, but it’s always good to be reminded of it. Now let’s look at how it happens in the last part of the verse: I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.
God wants us to prosper in all areas and to be in health, and the way that this happens is through our soul prospering. The phrase “even as your soul prospers” means “to the same degree as”, meaning the more that your soul prospers, the more the rest of your life will prosper as well. Metaphorically, it is l like a window that is open to fresh-air and sunlight; the more the window of your soul is open, the more light and fresh-air fills your house.
So the obvious question is how does our soul prosper? A religious legalist would try to bring works and behavior in at this point, however that’s a big stretch considering that our soul is our mind, emotions, and will. And as we consider how our mind, emotions, and will prospers or “goes well”, we may already begin to see our answer… our spiritual identity in Christ!
Jesus Christ is our Prosperity
Our prosperity comes from Jesus, and even more specifically, Jesus Christ is our prosperity! We prosper as we embrace our spiritual identity in His righteousness, holiness and blessedness. The scriptures contain numerous references to the LORD prospering our soul in righteousness, such as: Proverbs 10:3:
“The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casts away the substance of the wicked.”
and Psalm 25:11-13:
“For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity; for it is great.
What man is he that fears the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.”
I especially like these verses of Psalm 25, because they mention God pardoning iniquity for His namesake (which is Jesus).
So we can clearly see that it is through the finished work of Christ that our iniquity is pardoned, and our soul prospers, which in-turn prospers our entire life, as we spiritually feast on what He has accomplished for us.
Let this truth prosper you today, for the rest of your life, and all eternity!