Monday, March 30, 2009

64 - Grace pilgrimage - 2

I don't wish to be OVER-SIMPLE - but maybe I should just confess it right here - simple concepts changed my life. Maybe the MOST simple was about GRACE. I am used to definitions which do NOT define and explanations which actually explain away the concept with which we start. The oldest definition I remember for GRACE was "unmerited favor" - and there was Lexical evidence for it. My problem was - is there merited favor? Well - I'm talking from God's realm - do we EVER merit His favor?

OK - my answer was "not hardly" - what was yours? Well - if that is true - why use THAT as an answer? So - I began a search for the root concept - the basic idea of the Greek word, "Xaris" or "karis" - (my only granddaughter is named that - so it is quite cogent to me) - and I found a simple four letter word which captured it - GIFT. Funny thing - everyone already KNEW that. So - I began to use it - and each time I had problems with someone over my definition - they wanted "unmerited favor" - because "gift" as too simple. Besides, another word is translated "gift" as well - and we don't want to confuse.

Well - translators already did that - "gift" is used for at least five words in the NT. Actually the one other main word could be better translated as "present" - but I use that as a synonym for gift anyway. What to do? Well - at least we talked about it a little - let's just admit the word MEANS gift - no matter how we translate it - at least in our common vernacular. So - my trek took me to a simple definition - but the concept might be a little more complicated. We're talking about God GIFTING us with salvation as a present. Once I saw the simplicity of THAT - my study changed and so did my life. Grace was a simple word with impressive complications. I could now BOAST of God and what HE did - in Christ and begin a new full, confident focus on what GOD DID - and the focus was better - and more Biblical. Jesus really DID begin to get "all preeminence" as Paul wrote is should be in reference to God's desire and structure. For me - the focus was sharply changed - to put God in the thoughts and focus of NT Christianity. AND - many scriptures became more understandable and simple. When Paul taught about a "faith apart from law" I could actually see a faith apart from law with no twisting involved.

When I saw a sentence in our NT which taught "Christ is all and in you all" - I could appreciate that fact. HE was given to me to be my new life. His performance was a GIFT to me. His confidence is now my confidence - because as John wrote - "As HE is, so are we in this world." (Don't forget, that was written about confidence on judgment Day - we SHOULD have that - but the focus is HIM.) Just as I was thinking that thought - I "ran into" a thought in 2 Corinthians 3:4 "SUCH is the confidence that we HAVE through Christ - toward God - NOT that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim ANYTHING as coming from us - our sufficiency is from God." Note that Paul said the sufficiency came "through Christ" - so allow YOUR motto to be the same as mine for today - "ALL sufficiency is from CHRIST - NO sufficiency is from us" - thanks Paul for that great help.

Ah - but that means we are saved by grace - and the sufficiency was IN CHRIST - so guess how we STAY SAVED - though Christ. (Otherwise there might actually BE some sufficiency somewhere else - right?) Wow - Christ actually IS ALL - and we can count on it. No wonder that expression is in your NT - "Thanks be to God for HIS indescribable GIFT"

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