You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

salvation-handsHere is the basic verse I am looking at. Ephesians 2:8 (paraphrased) For you are saved by grace, through faith; it is the gift of God.

Grace is God’s influence on the heart. It is freely given, not based on anything we have done. We don’t earn a gift. The Greek word translated as grace is charis, from which we get the word, charismatic.

Now see this: the word translated as gift is doron. It means a gift, present.

  • gifts offered in expression of honor
  • of sacrifices and other gifts offered to God
  • of money cast into the treasury for the purposes of the temple and for the support of the poor
  • the offering of a gift or of gifts

So the gift of God’s influence and favor (charis) is given as an offering or honor. In other words, grace is freely given, showing divine favor. But it’s more. Jesus gave Himself as an offering, for us, as the word doron implies. He is our salvation. Our gift. Amazing God, amazing grace!

Here is a friend’s breakdown of the Ephesians 2:8 sentence:

Subject: “You” Predicate: “are saved” (present participle I think) Adverb phrase: “by grace” modified by additional adverb phrase “through faith”… then compound sentence this is the subject (being saved) “is” (implied predicate) “of yourselves” is prepositional phrase modifying subject, then simply “it” (subject) “is” predicate “the gift of God” is the predicate object. How’s that for “it’s Greek to me”? (Thank you, Michael Proctor)

I think we can read it this way: So then by His grace/divine influence on our hearts (and His favor towards us) we are made whole (and delivered from death) because we have trusted/believed God; and this wholeness is a gift from God. We did nothing to earn it. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the agency by which this works.

God has made us so that we have the ability to trust/believe/be persuaded/have faith. Then He is working, drawing us, through grace. It’s twice a gift. Grace is a gift, and salvation is a gift.

Grace opens our hearts and draws us to God. Then we hear and we are persuaded and we trust. In other words, we have faith and believe. It’s the same word in the Greek – pistis, to trust or be persuaded; or being trustworthy and faithful.

Or, in some cases, we just see and believe. Who can stand in the light of His love? I don’t believe anyone can see Him and not be changed. Some believe that eventually everyone will see, and run to meet the One who is running to meet them.

 What an awesomely beautiful thing He has done.

 

1 Corinthians 13:12 (Amplified Version)
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“For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].”
Ever wonder why this passage is worded the way it is?

Take a look at a common 1st century mirror. It is made of polished metal. They really did not have metal backed glass mirrors at that time. Polished metal mirrors are not like glass ones. They are dimmer.

And when we look, we looking to understand God. We aren’t looking to see ourselves in the mirror. That is not the meaning of the passage. We are looking to know Him more fully. This is something we cannot know in our present bodies and with our present eyes and minds.

This passage is a metaphor.

Yes, we are unveiled and are becoming more like Him. We aren’t there yet. Not until we are fully with Him will we truly see. You see, the mirror is still dim in this life.

But the mirror is not the written word (which is scripture). Jesus is the word, and He is transforming us by His spirit, from glory to glory.

 

 

Grace Chart

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This is what the announcement of the birth of Jesus says. The word translated good will actually means good will, kindly intent, benevolence, delight, pleasure, satisfaction, desire.

It does not say “to men who God favors” or “to men in whom God is pleased.”

How have we allowed this to be so twisted from it’s original meaning? How have we turned the good will and benevolence of God into fear?

The angels said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” All the people. Not some of the people.

Jesus came and changed the whole order of things. Let’s get it right and proclaim peace on earth and goodwill to men.

 

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We are never dead, ‘spiritually’, and never have been. Not even Adam. And especially not Jesus.

Two reasons. Well, three. First, we are whole, body, soul, and spirit. Second, I can find no clear statement in scripture that this is so. And third, some groups teach this. The Mormon church is one, and the only things they cite to support it are from the Book of Mormon. It smacks of gnosticism, quite frankly.

The church as a whole has been influenced for centuries by pagan thinking, which was absorbed and made to look biblical. We are living souls (see Genesis) and we have a spirit (the original words mean ‘breath’ or ‘animating force’) which makes us alive. If we could die spiritually, then we would be dead physically as well.

There is a sense in which we are filled with the Holy Spirit and become alive to the things of God. Spirit in this case means influence or motivation. Jesus had the Holy Spirit without measure. But when we die, the spirit in all it’s meanings, goes back to God who gave it.

Jesus gave up His spirit to the Father. And He died. And He was buried. And on the third day He arose by the same spirit of God. And that same spirit will make our mortal bodies alive again one day. That is the great hope of the church. But ‘spiritual death’ is not scriptural.

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