Grace – Gifts – BT2
Grace verses works
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Paul says that “at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by charis unconditional-favor-of-grace. But if it is by charis unconditional-favor-of-grace, it is no longer on the basis of ergon works/doings; otherwise charis unconditional-favor-of-grace would not longer be charis unconditional-favor-of-grace” (a), exactly because “to the one who ergon works, his wages are not counted as charis unconditional-favor-of-grace but as his due. And to the one who does not in possibility ergon work but has trusting-relying-faith in Him who justifies the ungodly, his trusting-relying-faith is counted as righteousness” (b). Here the context is the ergon works of the Law as a Jew (c). Paul says: “You have been saved through trusting-relying-faith – and this is not your own doing; it is the grace-gift of God, not a result of ergon works, so that no one may boast” (d). <Notes> a) Romans 11:5-7, b) Romans 4:4-5, c) Romans 3:20, 27-28, d) Ephesians 2:8-9. The Greek neuter “this” pronoun doesn’t point back to feminine “grace” or “faith” but to the phrase “saved through trusting relying faith” – a common argument of Paul’s – not through our works!
And yet, Paul can balance this with: “God is able to make all unconditional-favor-of-grace abound TO you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good ergon work” (a). Clearly, God’s abound grace to the abound doer! Here the context is the Christian works (b) as “light shining before others” (c), associated with the unconditional-love of Christ (d), and done by God’s Spirit-power through unconditional-favor-of-grace working within you (e), the “bearing of much fruit that glorifies My Father” that only occurs when you “remain connected to the vine of Christ” (f). <Notes> a) 2 Corinthians 9:8, b) Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14, 3:8, 14; 1 Timothy 5:25, c) Matthew 5:16, d) Hebrews 10:24, e) Philippians 2:13; 1 Corinthians 12:6, 15:10; Hebrews 13:21, f) John 15:4-8.
James also strikes the balance: “So also trusting-relying-faith, if in possibility it has no ergon works, [is] dead/lifeless/useless” (a). He reminds these Jewish-Christians of “the perfect Law of liberty/freedom” where “mercy triumphs over judgment,” which in context is having compassion instead of criticalness and divisive favoritism they were showing to others in the local church, and he says this “faith” is all based on the “implanted logos gospel message which is able to save your souls” (b). Paul also reminds Christians that they are under a completely different-in-kind “Law of Christ, to bear one another’s burdens” (c). John reminds Christians that the completely different-in-kind “New commandment of Christ to unconditional-love (d) is what marks a Christian as genuine (e), as it is integral to the only 2 NT commandments (f). <Notes> a) James 2:17, b) James 1:21, 2:13, c) Galatians 6:2, d) John 13:34, 15:12; 1 John 2:8, e) 1 John 2:9, 11, 3:15, 4:20, f) 1 John 3:23.