2 Corinthians 8:12
For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
God's Acceptance of His People's Will for the DeedT. Boston, D. D.2 Corinthians 8:12
Readiness AcceptedD. Fraser 2 Corinthians 8:12
The Christian Accepted According to His AdvantagesH. W. Sulivan, M. A.2 Corinthians 8:12
The Rule of AcceptanceJ.R. Thomson 2 Corinthians 8:12
Willing Minds Putting Value on GiftsR. Tuck 2 Corinthians 8:12
Appeal to the CorinthiansC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Things that Belong to CharityE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 8:10-15

Justice is distinctive of all the demands and of all the proceedings of the providence of God. Often, as in the case before us, the righteousness of the principles of the Divine government is so apparent that no question can possibly be raised concerning it.

I. THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE HERE PROPOUNDED. It is that the requirements of God correspond to the possessions of man.

1. What men have, they have received from the undeserved bounty of their Creator. This holds good with regard to property and to talents and opportunities.

2. An account is expected from every man by him who is the Judge and sovereign Lord of all. We are to some extent and in some matters accountable to our fellow men, but foreverything to him in whom "we live, and move, and have our being."

3. The rule according to which the supreme Governor will judge mankind is one of absolute rectitude - "according to that a man hath." The feeble man will not be expected to have done the work of the strong; the dull man the work of the genius; the peasant the work of the prince; nor the beggar to have given with the generosity of the millionaire. But each must answer for that which has been entrusted to himself. In all things the disposition, the spirit, the endeavour, will be taken into account; "if there be first the ready mind" - "if the forward zeal be at hand." Such is the universal condition of Divine acceptance and approval.


1. In the matter of gifts there is scope for moral culture and watchfulness. Unless liberality be shown upon definite principle, it will most likely not be shown at all. There is need of watching against selfishness and avarice.

2. It is well for every Christian to anticipate and apply beforehand the Divine principle - to judge himself, that he may not be judged by God; to put to himself the question, "How much owest thou unto thy Lord?"

3. Especially should the inspired rule of liberality be observed by those who are prospering in the world. As means increase, let gifts be enlarged. The Judge cannot accept from the wealthy the gifts which were approved when offered by the poor. - T.

If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath.
We are led to judge of our own merits by considering what we would do if we were in situations different from that in which we have been placed. Had we unbounded wealth, we say, how would we use it for the benefit and happiness of mankind! Had we our place among the mighty of this world, what a field should we have for doing good! Thus we lose ourselves in vain imaginations, in mere dreams of fancied usefulness. And why is this but because we forget the words of the apostle, God accepts a man "according to that which he hath, not according to that which he hath not." Thus, then, it seems that it is a mistake for a man to dwell upon what he "hath not"; let him rather apply himself seriously to consider what he "hath." And here every one will most surely find that he has enough. And some things there must be which every man hath; some of the duties of life must be in the power of every one; he is a son, or a parent, and then how much opportunity he has for forbearance, and succour, and self-denial: or he has friends, or he has enemies, and this enables him to exercise the Christian graces of forgiveness. But while he sees in it abundant matter of serious self-examination, it suggests also equally strong motives of consolation. God accepts according to what a man hath, not according to what he hath not. If it be asked, why we are thus accepted in the sight of God, we may be assured that it is not for the works' sake. When we have done all, be it more or less, we can only say we are unprofitable servants. And yet there is One, for whose sake they are accepted, as the tests and fruits of faith. "A willing mind," this is the sacrifice required on our part; and what does this expression imply? In the meaning of Scripture, more perhaps than we should at first suppose; it implies a sincere disposition to submit to God in all things, to be led by Him, without any reference to the degree in which such conduct may interfere with our own selfish inclinations and objects. The absence of a willing mind is seen in the case of those who say that they intend at some future time to repent. We have all our opportunities and means of serving God. We have seen that those opportunities may be greater or less. If they are greater, our responsibilities will also be greater.

(H. W. Sulivan, M. A.)


1. In what particular cases God accepts His people's will for the deed.(1) Where there is a sincere will to serve Him in a piece of work requiring some external abilities which are wanting (Acts 3:6).(2) When doing the best we can through grace, our work after all is attended with many blemishes.(3) Going as far as we have access in a work, but meeting with a providential stop (Hebrews 11:17). There is a great difference betwixt the stops men make and those which God makes; the former argues an unwilling mind, but the latter not so.(4) Services that one really desires, and fain would perform for God, but have not opportunity (2 Chronicles 6:8; Philippians 4:10).(5) Services performed with a real desire of success for God's honour and men's good; the Lord accepts the good will to the success denied, as if it had succeeded according to their wish (Isaiah 49:4; 2 Corinthians 2:15).

2. Why does God accept such will for the deed?(1) The sincere will to a work is present, which God mainly regards.(2) We have a merciful High Priest to present that will for acceptance, notwithstanding all the weaknesses, blemishes, providential hindrances, want of opportunity, and failure of success, that it may be attended with (Hebrews 4:15, 16).

3. We have a merciful Father to deal with (Psalm 103:13, 14).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

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