Grace – Gifts – BT1
Grace is a completely different-in-kind New Covenant Way distinction
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Here’s a more extreme statement from a scholarly work about grace: “There is no word in the Hebrew OT that can represent all the meanings of unconditional-favor-of-grace in 118 verses of the NT, and in the OT Greek Septuagint charis ‘grace’ itself is practically used only as a translation of the Hebrew chen ‘favor’ or ratson ‘acceptance’ in such passages as Isaiah 60:10 and Psalms 44:3, or chesed ‘kindness/mercy’ as in Exodus 20:6, etc. That is because technically, salvation by unconditional-favor-of-grace in the NT is opposed to an OT doctrine of salvation by ergon works (a), or, what is the same thing, by Law (b) – i.e. men and God are thought of as parties to a contract/covenant-agreement, to be fulfilled by each independently. Most of the legislation seems to presuppose some idea of man as an entity quite outside of God. But the promise is made that the God who has manifested Himself as a forgiving Father will in due time take hold of His children to work in them actual righteousness (c).” Whatever the Law was, it sure wasn’t “[singular] unconditional-favor-of-grace” or “[singular] The Truth!” <Notes> a) Romans 4:4; 11:6, b) Romans 6:14; John 1:17 “The Law was given through Moses, but [singular] unconditional-favor-of-grace and/coupled [singular] Truth came into being through Jesus Christ”, c) Isaiah 1:26; 4:3-4; 32:1-8; 33:24; Jeremiah 31:33-34; Ezekiel 36:25-26; Zechariah 8; Daniel 9:24; Psalms 51:10-12.
Furthermore, trusting-relying-faith and unconditional-favor-of-grace associated together are pretty much New Covenant distinctions from the OT. That’s exactly Paul’s logos gospel message of The Truth! The gospel is the enabling-power of God for salvation that reveals God’s “way of righteousness by unconditional-favor-of-grace apart from obedience to the Law” – but only to those who have trusting-relying-faith in Christ (a). Jewish myths, genealogies, controversies, dissensions, quarrels, and the like about the Law (b) are worthless and unprofitable (c), even the reading or teaching of the Law (d), as is anything else other than Christ and His sound logos gospel messages (e). However, Paul and the writer of Hebrews say there are gramma letters (f) of graphe scripture that are “a kind/class/category/portion of” (g) scripture that Jewish-Christians, like Timothy and his family, commonly used to catechize/convert (i) fellow Jews to Christ to “make them wise reaching/arriving at salvation thru-the-realizing-channel-of trusting-relying-faith in Christ Jesus” (h). <Notes> a) Romans 1:16- 17, 3:21-22, 25-28, 30, 5:1-2; Galatians 2:16, 3:24; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 1:27, 3:9, b) scholarly debate is still encouraged to ‘unlock’ or ‘unpack’ the scriptures, and the Jews see it as “worshipping God with their minds”, c) 1 Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9, d) 2 Corinthians 3:7, 15-18; 1 Timothy 1:3, 7; Romans 7:6; Colossians 2:16-23; Titus 1:11, e) 1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 2:1; Hebrews 13:9, f) writings, but in context: portions of sacred writings, g) pas is rarely used as “the whole of,” h) 2 Timothy 3:15-16, i) katecheo: repetitive instruction of foundational truths: Luke 1:4; Galatians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 14:19; Acts 18:25.
Unconditional-favor-of-grace and unconditional-love are nearly synonymous, the former’s grace-favor the result of the latter’s love, but both are unconditional! We see “unconditional-favor-of-grace and peace” as a blessing for “those unconditionally-loved by God” (a), and “unconditional-favor-of-grace to all who unconditionally-love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying unconditional-love” (b), and “may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who unconditionally-loved us and/coupled by His unconditional-favor-of-grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope” (c). The Triune God is involved in blessing us: “May the unconditional-favor-of-grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the unconditional-love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (d). Paul knows where all this comes from: “The unconditional-favor-of-grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with trusting-relying-faith and unconditional-love that are [both] in Christ Jesus” (e). Finally, “unconditional-favor-of-grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and/coupled from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, shall indeed be with us in [singular] Truth and [singular] Unconditional-Love” (f). <Notes> a) Romans 1:7, b) Ephesians 6:24, c) 2 Thessalonians 2:16, d) 2 Corinthians 13:14, e) 1 Timothy 1:14, f) 2 John 1:3.
Because unconditional-favor-of-grace and unconditional-love are so integrally connected, and trusting-relying-faith is so connected to unconditional-favor-of-grace, the connection between trusting-relying-faith and unconditional-love is even clearer – so many verses that you can look deeper into on the Obedient Steps of Faith and Unconditional-Love pages!
As Christian musicians, don’t we want the worship music to represent the completely different-in-kind New Covenant that speaks of the unconditional-favor-of-grace and unconditional-love of God that we can all have through trusting-relying-faith? If this is all about “unmerited, unearned, no-strings-attached loving favor,” then why are we referring to OT “spiritual disciplines” like fasting at all, when all these are based on the “merited, earned, conditional-love” of the Law of commandments? You need to ask why Christ’s disciples didn’t fast and why Christ’s defense was that you absolutely can’t put new wine into old wineskins or sew new cloth onto old fabric without ruining BOTH (Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39). Many pastors like Francis Chan have recognized that the oldest NT manuscripts don’t teach fasting at all, but that this is simply a “tradition of men” passed on down by the Byzantine Catholic Church. Is there anything else we are “borrowing” from the OT to build the foundation of The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit in the Church today?