FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
THE GIFT FROM GOD: Glorious Circle
Ephesians 2:8f #6
“For by graceG5485 are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
“GraceG5485” is another word in the Greek that the versions translate into at least twelve different words in the KJV: e.g., gracious, joy, liberality, thanked, thanksworthy, favor, thanks, pleasure, acceptable, benefit, and gift. For example, Romans 6:23 the “gift” is actually grace (charisG5485). When we look at how the word is used in the NT, we see a pattern of a circle from heaven to earth and back to heaven again.
The Opposite of a Complex Vicious Circle
During the fifties, I obtained a book from the Dyersburg Public Library (Tennessee) explaining why people did not see the Bible alike, even within a same denomination. The author of the book, a gospel preacher, used the expression “complex vicious circle” to explain the problem. First, there is a state of “ignorance” (Ephesians 4:18; Romans 10:3), which allows the devil to apply “deception” (Ephesians 4:14; 5:6) which once accepted produces “conceit” in the heart (1 Corinthians 4:19; Colossians 2:18) so that it prevents the heart from any correction. The circle was completed when new errors fed into one’s ignorance and seeded further deceptions. Hence, a “complex vicious circle” rejects truth and people can sincerely not agree on the Bible, even without the same group.
An antonym of “vicious” is “glorious.” Therefore, I would call the circle of Ephesians 2:8-10 a “glorious circle.” Therein we have God’s grace funneled through the gospel to create in Christ Jesus workers of grace toward God. That’s right. The good works performed by Christians are also called “grace” to God in the Greek. And those benefited by their good works are said to perform “good grace” to God. Hence, we have grace revolving from God through man and back to God according to the Scriptures.
The “Offering” Includes the Giving of Self in Sacrifice
According to Colossians 1:20-23 God furnishes our offering, the sacrifice of Jesus for the remission of our sins. Hence, sinner man is eligible by virtue of the blood of the Lamb Jesus to offer himself as a living offering in the “service” worship to God (Romans 12:1).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good [agathosG18], and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1,2).
This is accomplished through good deeds (agathosG18, “beneficial good”) in glorifying God. A service deed (ergonG2041) “is an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasized in opposition to that which is less than work” (Strong’s). That is, we are expected to walk (peripateoG4043), “tread around, ‘be occupied with’” (Strong’s) agathosG18 beneficial doings according to the perfect will of God.
Some Good Deeds in “Service Worshipi”
The apostle proceeds later to say in the epistle of Ephesians,
“Giving thanks* always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).
And its parallel companion in Colossians:
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks* to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).
*Now, the expression “giving thanks” is literally “good grace” (eu-charisteōG2168), “well favored” (Strong’s). We receive God’s grace of salvation through the gospel and, subsequently, we are to return (good) grace to Him in praise. Note: When one gives thanks for his meal, he says or asks “grace.” The Roman Catholics call the Lord’s Supper meal, the Holy “Eucharist.”
In both contexts of Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3, singing to one another, in “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”, is included as deeds that specifically direct praise (giving thanks) to God and the Father in the name of Jesus. *”Giving thanks” is a participle that modifies the song service and/or the deeds as mentioned.
Of course, good deeds include more than teaching one another and singing praise and making melody in our hearts to God; we also benefit others through our financial “offerings.” The Corinthians in two epistles were commanded to give for poor saints: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in treasury, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Our contributions upon the first day of the week also produces (good) grace to God in praise to Him, from ourselves and from those eventually benefited.
God’s Grace begets beneficial works!
“And God is able to make all grace (charisG5485) abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Grace should beget good works!
2 Corinthians show that the gift offerings of the Christians in the first epistle (1 Corinthians 16) is “grace” on the part of the people.
“Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift (charisG5485::“the gift [which is the good deed] of the 1 Cor. 16:2’s contribution” is called “grace”-GW), and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:4). “Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace (charisG5485) also” (2 Corinthians 8:7). Again, this ministry is called “this grace.” “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace (charisG5485) of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia” (2 Corinthians 8:1). Macedonia was the giver and yet what they did was called “grace.”
The “grace gift” produces “good grace” toward God by the receivers:
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace charisG5485 might through the thanksgiving (eu-charistiaG2169) of many redound [superbound] to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15). “And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace (charisG5485), which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind” (2 Corinthians 8:19).
“Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace (charisG5485) also” (2 Corinthians 8:6). “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). The grace requires the circle or else the grace of salvation is vain (empty).
Grace Is Giving Thanks
“Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving (eu-charisteōG2168) to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11).
The gift of God of Ephesians 2 is from grace to grace establishing a “glorious circle.” This “glorious circle” proves “grace” (charisG5485) is not unmerited. If anything, it is merited.ii
(1) Charis goes both ways; towards sinner man and back towards holy God by the redeemed.
(2) Charis is accessible by man only through the gospel which requires beneficial works with a prescribed walk in them.
(3) Charis produces charity of love.
(4) Charis becomes praise and thanksgiving.
i There are two types of service to God according to Jesus during His temptations: (1) items of service directed in conscious worship to God (Abraham with Isaac went to Moriah to worship God) and (2) total items of daily service in obedience to God (Romans 12:1 is the latter).
ii Merit: Dictionary, “something that deserves or justifies a reward or commendation; a commendable quality, act, etc.: