The sentence continues in the Greek as the thought now turns to the observable lifestyle of the wealthy. First Paul calls them to service, much as he does any believer. To do good, as Paul quickly translates into their vernacular, is to be rich in good deeds. The two expressions are equivalent, each describing the observable outworking of genuine faith (2:10; 5:10). The readers are to strive to amass spiritual wealth, and as the command continues, it is clear that they are to put their material wealth to use in this effort.
Their material blessing involves a special responsibility. For them, the normal Christian life of good works must include practical expressions of generosity and the willingness to share. The principle of economic equality in the Christian community that Paul enunciated explicitly in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 implicitly undergirds this instruction. Since all they possess has come from God (v. 17), the rich are to assume a healthy attitude of detachment toward their wealth and use it to help the needy. Paul envisions a stewardship of the world's goods, and those blessed with this wealth are to be responsible administrators of it (Lk 16:8-9).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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