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Monday, February 11, 2013

GRACE: Ability or All Sufficiency


Ephesians 2:8 (New American Standard)...For by grace you have been saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God
Romans 5:2 (New American Standard)...through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
1 Timothy 1:14 (New American Standard)...and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
As I ponder GRACE I am challenged to challenge my own understanding of the word. As I listen to Dr Jim Richards, read his book "Grace the power to change", and listen to others who teach on GRACE I begin to understand that there more to this word, just as I learned years ago now that there is more to the other words we use to throw around so freely. For example "The Blessing" means WAY more than most of us in Christianity ever knew! (See this video: The Blessing) and read this book (The Blessing by Kenneth Copeland).


Grace/Charis(St G5485): Favor, Kindness, God extending himself toward man.

Faith/Pistis(St G4102): Belief, conviction of truth.

Love/Agape(St G26): Brotherly Love, Affection, Good Will

Christ/Christos(St G5547): Lit: "Anointed" or Messiah

Let's take a closer look at these words we use so often in Christianity.

Faith/Pistis(St G4102): Belief, conviction of truth.

Faith doesn't just mean "Belief". In fact in the bible belief is a slightly different topic. Faith is defined for us in Hebrews 11 and re-enforced all over the bible. Heb 11 says: "Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things unseen." You study Faith throughout the bible and you see that Faith is actually THE substance and creative force of God. God didn't create this world out of nothing. That's not biblical. God created this world out of something unseen. It's a substance called Faith. (Great book on this topic: Faith and Confession, by Charles Capps)

Love/Agape(St G26): Brotherly Love, Affection, Good Will

Love isn't just a warm fuzzy feeling. 1 Corinthians 13 shows us what Love (agape God kind of Love) really is and does. We see Love is far more about action based on our will and choice than on feeling or emotion. In fact emotion is really nothing more than an afterthought to true Love. Love is a Choice, based on Will.

Christ/Christos(St G5547): Lit: "Anointed" or Messiah

Christ isn't Jesus' last name! It isn't really even his title, although it partially is. The word Christ in Greek, Messiah in Hebrew, and Anointed in English all mean exactly the same thing. To Anoint means: to smear, rub on, pour over with an oily liquid. The Hebrew word for Anoint/Anointed/Anointing was also translated into the word Fat in many cases in English because Fat/Oil are very similar, if not same, substances. They are even used interchangeably by most Chef's in today modern kitchens. We see in Isaiah 10:27: "It shall come to pass in that day That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, And his yoke from your neck, And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil." So Christ then is defined as Anointed. Anointing is "the burden removing, yoke destroying, power of God. " So He is Jesus The Anointed One. We can do all things through "Christ" which strengthens me. Some translations say who, which isn't entirely inaccurate because it is Jesus that anoints us and it is His anointing. But any time you see "Christ" it is talking about The Anointed One and His Anointing. You can't talk about the Anointing without referring to the Anointed One, and you can't talk about The Anointed One without talking about His Anointing. The correct rendering of this verse then could be: "I can do all things through Anointed One and through His Anointing WHICH strengthens me..." It's the Anointing that is at work strengthening me. This is a lot more powerful than just some wishy washy idea that I'll get a warm fuzzy feeling from knowing Jesus and that will somehow help strengthen me.

Grace Defined

Grace/Charis(St G5485): Favor, Kindness, God extending himself toward man.

So then what is Grace in light of the Word. Let's see if the Word can define what it means. In all the above cases the Word defines these terms for itself in a way that exceeds the basic meaning of the letters themselves. The words each have meaning beyond the base definition. What is this Favor? What is this loving kindness that God extends toward Man? Do a search for "Grace" in the the New Testament alone and there are so many uses of the word. I came up with 122 occurrences.

Are there Key places it is defined as we've seen with other words? Let's find out. I honestly don't know because I'm searching as I'm writing this. I have ideas, but I still don't quite get it. So I'll find out with you...

I find something interesting. 1 Corinthians 12..."Now brothers concerning spiritual there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit..." The word used for "Gifts" here is the word Charisma, from Charizomai, from Charis. All meanings bring this word to mean a gift of grace. Gift, Grace, Favor, Pleasant Gift, a favor one receives without merit of his own... So in actuality when we see gift in 1 Cor 12 we are actually seeing the same word that we see in 2 Cor 9.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (New American Standard)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed ;
So we could translate 2 Cor 9 to say: "God is able to make all gifts abound to you..." We could translate 1 Cor 12 to say: "There are a variety of Graces but the same Spirit...". What's most interesting about these two seemingly unrelated verses (both written to the same people by the same author) is that they both involve God doing something for us, that we could not do on our own, and that we could not deserve or earn. He does for us, without Merritt. Found a great article by someone who's done some study on this already:

Same Measure

Let's take a look at a few other verses. Ephesians 4:7 "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." Incidentally this word "gift", for Christ's gift, is a different word (Dorea) and does just mean gift or present or freely given. So to each one of us is given (grace/gifting/favor) according to the measure of Christ's freely given gift to us. So it's according to HIS measure not ours. We are not given this Grace at different levels. I don't get more or less than you. We all get the same measure of The Anointing of The Anointed One. Intersting.

Grace at Work

Here we find another use of this word earlier in the same book.
Ephesians 2:8-9
"For by grace you have been saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

We have been saved By Grace Though Faith... Dr Richards pointed this out in a message once and it's been simmering in my mind for the last few days. It's actualy the verse that caused me to want to do this study. Ask any Christian audience...

"You have been saved by __________" 

...and they generally fill the blank with "faith". But the verse actually says "by Grace THROUGH Faith." So it was Grace that did the saving and Faith that did the receiving. I imagine a pitcher and catcher in baseball. Grace through the pitch, Faith received it. You need both to complete the circuit. What's really a mind twister is that it's Jesus' Grace and Jesus' Faith doing both! So it's really none of you and all of Him... but if you weren't involved He couldn't do it for you, because you have to participate.

I guess it's almost as if you give a child a basket ball. You pick the child up. You hold him right up to the hoop. He puts the ball in the hoop. And then you congratulate him on what a good job he did. He really didn't do anything, but you cheer and smile and get excited as if he were Michael Jordan himself. Why? It's not that imrpessive. If someone held a fully functioning healthy grown man up like that at a real game and he slowly dropped the ball through the hoop people who have lots of reactions, but cheers and excitement would not be among them. Why do we get so excited when a little child does something, if you actually did most of the work for them?

God feels that way about you. He gives you HIS Faith, HIS Grace, and then you receive HIS Best! Then he get's excited when you do it! It's the same Father's heart at work.


This through me for a loop the first time I heard it, having come from prior background in other Christian cirlces...

2 Corinthians 12 (King James Version)
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure . 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.
Ask anyone I went to Church with prior to 2003 and we all would have said that this verse proves it's not always God's will to heal or deliver you. Sometimes God perfects you through trials and tribulations... Well we were wrong. That's not what this says AT ALL! In fact, this whole verse is saying the EXACT opposite of that. But we didn't bother to let the bible define the bible. We used our western english minds, filled with centuries of religion, define it for us.

First of all, the messenger sent to Paul was not from God but from Satan. Jesus says in John 10:10 that He came to give life and life abundant. But Jesus also mentions Satan's job on this earth. The theif came to steal, kill, and/or destroy. He also told us in Mark 4:15 that when the Word is sown into a life Satan's first attempt to stop it from bearing fruit is to steal it. Then he goes on to say that if he can't steal he'll try to put pressure on it through persecution to kill it, and then if that doesn't work he'll try to sufficate it through cares/anxieties/worries of this world destroying it's fruit. Well, Paul had received revelations from Jesus about the Kingdom of God.

You may say, "Yes, but God allowed this to keep Paul humble..." Well 1 Peter 5:6 says that if we humble ourselves before God He will exalt us in due time. And in fact the text of this verse says that Satan didn't want Paul to be exalted (lifted up in order to preach the good news). So Satan sent his demons to beat up on Paul and try to steal, kill, or destroy that word. The progression of Mark 4/John 10 is the same progression. Satan always uses the same tactics. Try to steal through lack of understanding, if that doesn't work kill through pressure, if that doesn't work destroy the fruit through choking anxieties/cares. Satan is not very creative.

So what did God say to Paul regarding this? "Paul... stop asking me to do something. I did everything I'm going to do on the Cross! I gave you my Grace... my Grace IS sufficient for this problem. Take my Grace and run it out of your life!" How do we know that's what God meant? Let's flip back just a few pages in the SAME BOOK to 2 Cor 9 again:

2 Corinthians 9:8 (New American Standard)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed ;

Not only did Paul give us the very definition of Grace, but he used the same two words. GRACE is SUFFICIENT. So what is Grace then?

Grace: Always having all sufficiency, in all things, having abundance for every good work!
GRACE is God's ability to overcome!

So then, Grace means that we all have the ability of God, we have it in the measure of Christ, not our measure. We can do all things. We are more than conquorers. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. We are given a variety of graces by the same spirit. 1 Cor 12:6 also says that the same God works all of these graces in all men. So it's not about "Brother X got tongues and Brother Y got healing gifts". These aren't their gifts. They are the Graces of the Holy Spirit and he works all of them, in all men, when, where, and how He sees fit to do so. The Holy Spirit literally enables men to do things through this un-earned favor.

This brings light to Romans 8:11 the same Spirit that raised Christ (The Anointed One) from the dead lives in your body giving life to your body too! In fact, we see the Holy Spirit decend as a dove on Jesus at his baptism by John and THEN his Anointed ministry starts. The Holy Spirit is the Anointing of Jesus. So that same Anointing is at work in us 24-7 if we'd just allow Him to work. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we are to take up the Armor of God and stand against the strategies of the Devil. Notice who is to take that stand? God? We hide behind God and ask Him to get rid of the devil for us? No! WE take God's tools and WE stand against the devil ourselves.

In fact THAT is one of the KEY revelations that Paul had received and therefore it is ironic that Paul even had to ask God three times to take out the devil from his life when it was one of the very revelations Paul had received that contained his answer. No Paul, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT... take up my Armor and DRIVE THAT DEVIL OUT!

Brother Rick Renner enlightened us on this word "stand" in the greek. It is also a very intersting Word. Stand/Histemi (St G2476): "Cause to stand, make firm, unmovable" It is the word we get our English Medical word: Histamine. This word is a verb, meanig it is an action word not a passive word. It's not just about standing still or in one place. It's about standing in opposition to an enemy. Wiki Expounds:
Histamine triggers the inflammatory response. As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens...
If you are Histemi, you are taking your position of authority and standing against an attack. Literally calling up all your power/ability/authority in response to foreign enemies attacking you. It would be the position of Soldiers in a castle taking defensive but aggressive positions against an invading force. I get the image of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings: "You Shall Not Pass!" Sure, it looks like Gandalf looses in this move, but it's actually the move that turns him into a victor, and he becomes Gandalf the White. Just saying it wasn't enough. There was a battle that ensued. But he won!

SO... take your pick I like all three definitions...

Grace: Always having all sufficiency, in all things, having abundance for every good work!
GRACE is God's ability to overcome!
Maybe you have a better way to word this? Comment below.

Have questions about anything I said here? Want to share your story? Comment Below!

I call you empowered 2 prosper with good success!

N2 Good SuccessDarrell G. Wolfe
Facebook: Facebook.Com/EmpoweredTooProsper

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