Grace: Reflection on Ephesians 4:32 - Delaware Gazette (2023)

Grace: Reflection on Ephesians 4:32 - Delaware Gazette (1)

There are many lines in the Bible that are full of meaning. An example is from Ephesians 4:32:

"Be kind and compassionate to one another and forgive one another as God in Christ forgave you."

In this phrase, Paul summed up the biblical message: that we are to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. Elsewhere, the gospel is summed up in different ways.

In Deuteronomy 6:5 we are taught, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and in Leviticus 19:18, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." same." same", which is in the Gospels and letters is repeated. In the Gospels, Jesus says that these two commandments sum up the whole law (Matthew 22:40). Jesus also said, according to the Gospel of John (15:13), " There is greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend."

Or Paul writes in Romans, "I beseech you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God; this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12: 1).

But it is not explicitly love or sacrifice that is presented here in this verse from Ephesians, but grace. The translators chose "forgive and pardon." But the main word for forgiveness is missing from this command to forgive. In its place comes the term usually associated with grace.

The word "grace" is one of the most remarkable words in the Bible. It's multifaceted, a bit like the Hebrew word hesed, which is often translated as "unshakable love" but can only be defined through a litany of phrases, no word or phrase can sum up carrying the load.

So it is with grace, which means benevolence, favour; the expression of favor associated with giving a gift. It is one of the words used to express the state of bliss or happiness, very close to “joy”, and it is the same root embedded in the concept of gratitude. It is even used once when Jesus healed a blind man (see Luke 7:21). And it implies mercy, which is one of the Bible's words for forgiveness.

On the contrary, people's behavior is often based on something like the so-called survival instinct: take care of yourself, no one else; not trust anyone; If you want something to work, do it yourself; do anything to survive.

There is a stark contrast between “anything that outlives selfishness and self-sacrificing divine love, and that is the contrast with which we find ourselves. We are called to a life of service and sacrifice. "Grace" is one of the mottos of this appeal.

In the English language, the noun "grace" is not accompanied by an associated verb. But in the original language and in this verse, that is exactly what is found, the verb form with the same root. It is an action, rich and varied, that can only be defined by a litany of expressions; give generously, have gratitude and mercy, heal, serve, sacrifice and forgive.

The translators had to choose one word from several possibilities, and they chose 'forgiven', but it means more than that. I took the liberty of creating a verb in English, if only for today's reflection. The term is "grace".

Let me repeat that sentence with this new verb, bearing in mind the rich variety of meanings it contains. Even if it goes against current habits, it is something we aspire to, at least something we should consider. Listen like this:

"Be kind and tender of heart, honoring one another as God has honored you in Christ."

Also, it's not a bad reminder of who we are.

Grace: Reflection on Ephesians 4:32 - Delaware Gazette (2)

Dr. Mark Allison

your pastor speaks

dr. Mark Allison is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Delaware.

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