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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Prosperity in the Gospel

Image from 8 Tracks.
I was watching this popular Filipino evangelist on TV preaching about prosperity. I respect him and learn a lot when I watch him, but there are certain things I don't agree with him---like his view on God's prosperity. He suggested there may be something wrong with you if you've been a born-again Christian a long time and still poor.

Yup, God's will is prosperity. I agree to the max. He even quoted 3 John 2 and Deuteronomy 18.8 and I believe them with all my heart. Yet, we have to get a hint from Jesus and see how he came to earth. He came as a poor fellow and left still a poor fellow, if not poorer. The same with John the baptizer. And look at how James (1) put it:
Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field.


In the Old Testament, prosperity was material. But these are just shadows of the realities in Christ, said Colossians 2.17. In the Gospel, true prosperity is spiritual. Jesus said, "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions," and "what people value highly is detestable in God's sight." Who then is genuinely prosperous, according to Jesus? We find it all in his Beatitudes. It begins with those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness and so on.

Here's how we can leave poverty and get God's prosperity. Click here.

It's good to be rich. It's God's will. Praise God for it. But it is not God's prosperity. It doesn't mean you're more favored than your poor brother. It doesn't mean your mega church ranks higher in the Kingdom than the small church. Riches don't mean anything at all except that God made you rich by his grace and mercy. Period.

God allows corrupt officials and drug lords and syndicates to get rich. He also blesses those who go to church so that God will protect their riches. Such general blessings are given to both the good and bad alike, like how God provides sunlight and air to all, including atheists. Riches like that are not God's Kingdom prosperity; they're merely his general blessings given to both the wicked and righteous. Something like what he gave Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Pharaoh, Balaam and even Judas.

But God does not favor bad people with the Jesus life and cross. It is given only to those who desperately pursue Jesus no matter what, for richer or poorer. And the life and cross of Jesus is genuine prosperity in the eyes of God.

However, if it's God' will that we prosper materially as well, why are there poor believers? It's because rich believers miss the point altogether. They think their riches is for bragging and belittling their poor brothers. They don't get it that they're made rich by God so they can give it all up. Riches are meant to be given up to God.

If all rich believers and churches give up everything they have to God so that wealth can be distributed according to God's will (like what happened in Acts), there would be no poor believers and churches. Do you see the large properties of big denominations? See how expensive the buildings and facilities of mega churches are? If they sell all these and give to the poor (that's what Jesus said), no one in church will be poor. The world will see this and take the church seriously.

Problem is, they don't believe what Jesus says, they don't sell their possessions and share to the poor, and then they wonder why there are poor believers and churches. Instead of giving up all, they keep their wealth and brag about it, displaying them as trophies they got from their hard works. They forget that it's all God's grace---merely entrusted to them---and that good stewardship means giving up everything to God and sharing with the poor.

You won't truly appreciate The Beatitudes (I mean, seriously live it daily) unless you become truly prosperous in Christ.

For more radically life-changing insights, get my e-books! GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!