Vol. 17, No. 39 – September 30, 2018
Eph 6:21-24, The Encouragement, (cont.).
Eph 6:24, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.”
Last week, we noted the first nine of the 12 applications in Ephesians of the word “grace,” to see the context of God’s grace plan for our lives. This week we conclude with 10-12.
10.) Eph 4:7, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
In the context of this verse being unity within the church, the body of Christ, we see several principles of grace.
The first thing we see about grace in this passage, is that it is “given” to us, just as in Eph 3:2, 7-8, with the utilization of the Passive use of the verb DIDOMI, “give, give out, hand over, entrust to, etc.” It means, “to give of one’s own accord and with good will and to give as an expression of generosity.” That means that God is the source of grace, God is the cause of grace, God is the provider of grace, God is the supplier of grace, God is the benefactor of grace, God is the “gifter” of grace, and God is the worker of grace in our lives.
The other context we have in this verse is the application of your spiritual gift that God, in and by His grace, gave to each one of us at the moment or our conversion. Within the body of Christ, each member enjoys a share of God’s grace. As in Eph 3:2, this grace is for equipping rather than saving. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit works to develop unity among God’s people, He also takes into account our individuality based on the spiritual gift, ministry, and effect the grace of God has given to us. In fact, He uses our differences to attain that unity, cf. 1 Cor 12:4-7.
1 Cor 12:4-7, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
As we noted in Eph 3:8, in 1 Cor 12:4, “gifts” is the Greek word CHARISMA, a cognate of CHARIS or grace, that means, “A gift, grace, or favor.” In 1 Cor 12:4, it emphasizes the spiritual gift itself as a grace gift from God. Therefore, the giving of spiritual gifts is truly one of the great graces we have received from God personally, as well as the entire Church, Rom 11:29; 12:6.
Spiritual gifts are a supernatural endowment of the Holy Spirit whereby every Christian is empowered to perform a certain function which edifies the Church and glorifies God, Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:4ff. The function of Spiritual Gifts is noted in Rom 12:1‑8. The team concept of Spiritual Gifts is noted in 1 Cor 12:1‑31. Notice, that the “grace” of all three members of the Trinity is involved in the giving and application of our spiritual gifts.
Rom 12:6, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…”
All three members of the Trinity are the source of our spiritual gifts:
- God the Father is the source as noted in Heb 2:4.
- God the Son is the source of Spiritual Gifts as noted in Eph 4:7-8.
- God the Holy Spirit gives a Spiritual Gift to each of us at salvation as He wills, 1 Cor 12:11; Heb 2:4.
In 1 Cor 12:4-6, each “variation” has a different empowerment from the Godhead:
- Gifts – the Holy Spirit is the giver and enabler. He gave us our gift; the skills needed to play on the team. (Using American football as an example: A person having good hands to catch the ball.)
- Ministries – the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of the humble servant in the prototype spiritual life. He determines the position we will play on the team. (For example; a wide receiver.)
- Effects – God the Father is the planner and designer. He determines what the responsibilities of our position will be. (For example: Will this receiver be a deep threat or run short patterns over the middle?)
As such, it is inconsistent to say, “I am a Christian, but I do not have a ministry,” because the Holy Spirit gives us a spiritual gift, Jesus Christ gives to every Christian a ministry in order to use their spiritual gift, and God the Father has designed from eternity past the effect our gift and ministry will have during our time here on planet earth. All of this comes from the grace of God. Therefore, your spiritual gift is a God-given ability to serve God and other Christians in such a way that believers are edified and Christ is glorified. Nevertheless, the indwelling Holy Spirit empowers each of us to perform to the fullest the task at hand in the position we have been given inside the body of Christ, 1 Cor 12:7.
There are two categories of Spiritual Gifts:
- Temporary Spiritual Gifts were operational during the pre-canon period of the Church Age, i.e., from A. D. 30, the day of Pentecost when the Church Age began, to approximately A.D. 96. On the day the Church Age began there was no New Testament. Therefore, temporary Spiritual Gifts were designed to take up the slack in the Church Age until the New Testament canon was completed and circulated, and the mystery doctrine of the Church Age was reduced to writing. 1 Cor 13:8-10, explains the temporary function of certain Spiritual Gifts.
- Permanent Spiritual Gifts also functioned from the day of Pentecost and will continue until the Rapture of the Church, whenever that occurs.
The following is a list of the Spiritual Gifts for the Church Age:
- The Temporary Gifts included the following: 1) The gift of Apostleship, 2) Prophecy, 3) Miracles, 4) Healing, 5) Tongues (languages), 6) Interpreting Tongues, and 7) Discerning Spirits.
- The Permanent Gifts include: 1) The gift of Pastor and Teacher, 2) Evangelism, 3) Administration, government, or ruling, 4) Ministering or Service, 5) Helps, 6) Exhortation, 7) Giving, 8) Showing Mercy, and 9) Faith.
- There are two other gifts that are applied to the Church, 1) Word of Knowledge, and 2) Word of Wisdom, cf. Acts 6:3, 8-10; 1 Cor 12:8; 13:2, 8, where the first most likely has ceased, i.e., was temporary, 1 Cor 13:8.
We are all commanded to use our spiritual gift, 1 Peter 4:10. Therefore, learning what your grace gift is will equip you to serve God and man.
1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Next, we see in our verse, Eph 4:7, as in Eph 3:7, “gifts,” is the Greek Noun DOREA, δωρεά that means, “gift, free gift, or present.” The emphasis here is upon the “freeness” or unearned nature of Jesus’ gift bestowed upon us. DOREA is used here to emphasize the grace giving aspect of the gift, rather than the gift itself, as in Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:4; 1 Tim 4:14; 1 Peter 4:10, etc., with the word CHARISMA.
In the context of Eph 4:8-13, Christ specifically freely gave the communication spiritual gifts to the Church, “12For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
Compared to the other texts on gifts, in our passage we see the exalted, Christ-centered focus. Paul highlights Christ’s generosity and authority. Jesus Christ died, rose, and ascended into heaven as the victorious King with all authority and gave gifts to His people, displaying extravagant grace and generosity.
Therefore, “grace given according to the measure of Christ’s gift,” is speaking about God’s grace in the granting of communication spiritual gifts by Jesus Christ so that His Word, Bible doctrine, would be made available to and for the Church so that each member could grow and excel with our own spiritual gift to build the body of Jesus Christ.
And finally, this is another example of how Jesus is a grace giver! Being the victor at the Cross and winning the spoils of the war of the Angelic Conflict, at His resurrection, Jesus then distributed the spoils He won. The spoils of His victory are spiritual gifts to the Church, especially the communication spiritual gifts, as noted in vs. 11. Have you ever thought of your spiritual gift as a “spoil of warfare?”
Likewise, in our Christ-like nature, we too are to be grace givers. We are to be generous with the use of the spiritual gifts we have received. These gifts are ways in which we extend the ministry of Jesus on this earth for the building up and growth of the Church. This means that if you do not exercise your gift in the body, you stunt the growth of us all. Therefore, when you see spiritual gifts at work, you should adore God who gave them. When someone’s gift blesses you, you should see that as God blessing you with the result that you praise Him!
11.) Eph 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
The context of this passage is in relation to our former manner of life, that we do not go back to the sinful ways of our old self, our Old Sin Nature. From vs. 17 forward, we are exhorted to not fall into reversionism, the hardening of our heart, the black out of the soul, etc. Instead, we are walk in the newness of life in Christ.
Beginning in vs. 25, we have several examples of living in the old life that included; lying, anger, stealing, and using sinful speech or sins of the tongue, as we say, that can include; coarse jesting, gossiping, maligning, slandering, false flattery, etc. Instead, we are to use our speech to rightly lift people up by edifying their souls with truth, especially with the Word of God.
When we use our speech to “edify according to the need of the moment,” we are in fact “giving grace” to others. Therefore, in this passage, we see the application of grace towards others in our speech, through our grace positions of Royal Ambassadors for Christ in the utilization of our spiritual gifts.
Here, “grace” is the Preposition CHARIN, χάριν that typically is translated, “because of, for the sake of, or for this reason,” cf. Eph 3:1, 14. It is used 10 times in the NT, but only here is it translated “grace.” In classical Greek and the Septuagint, it is used for “in favor of” or “for the pleasure of.” Looking at the other Ephesian passages that use CHARIN in this book and translate it “grace,” we could say:
In Eph 3:1, instead of, “For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles.” We could say, “By grace, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles.”
In Eph 3:14, instead of, “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father.” We could say, “By grace, I bow my knees before the Father.”
Typically, CHARIN is a marker of purpose, pointing to the goal of an event or state, “for the purpose of, for the sake of, in order to, etc.” Therefore, in our passage, we see that “giving grace to others” is the purpose of our holy and righteous speech.
Nevertheless, in our verse, Eph 4:29, it follows the application of grace given to us in Chapter 3. It gives application for why we have been given the Dispensation of Grace with its grace gifts, so that we can impart grace to others in our speech, i.e., “a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Therefore, the imparting of grace is accomplished when we witness the Word of God in an edifying, building up way, Eccl 10:12; Col 4:6.
Eccl 10:12, “Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him.”
Col 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
As Paul notes in Col 4:6, speech “seasoned with salt,” is gracious speech, edifying speech, and glorifying speech. And, it is one that has wisdom too, “you will know how you should respond to each person.”
As such, we are to speak constructive words that are helpful and build up others; encouraging words that give grace to the hearers. With that said, it does not mean we are to flatter others to build up their egos. It means we are to speak the truth, and especially the truth of God’s Word, which is given to us in grace so that we can give it to others in grace, thereby strengthening, encouraging, and building up their souls.
We also see that when we witness or teach the Word of God to others, it is in stark contrast to the speech of the unbelieving world. At the same time, when we speak the grace of God, we are building up or edifying others, which also means the garbage in their soul is being replaced by the grace Word of God.
In addition, in the context of this passage, when we do not speak with grace and instead speak with the sins of the tongue, we are grieving the Holy Spirit, vs. 30. Sins of the tongue lead to the withdrawal of the influences of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, as we lose His filling ministry, cf. Eph 5:18. At the same time, we are frustrating His Common and Efficacious grace ministry working through us by not communicating the grace plan of God to others with our words, and we could add, our actions. Remember, the mouth and heart are connected, Mat 12:34; 15:18; Luke 6:45; Psa 19:14; 49:3; Prov 15:28; 16:23; Rom 10:9-10; 2 Cor 6:11.
As Jesus said to the Pharisees in Mat 12:34, “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
Mat 15:18, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.”
Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
Prov 15:28, “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
Psa 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”
Psa 49:3, “My mouth will speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart will be understanding.”
Prov 16:23, “The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips.”
Rom 10:8, “But what does it say? ‘THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART,’ (Deut 30:14), —that is, the word of faith which we are preaching.”
2 Cor 6:11, “Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.”
Before we open our mouths, we should ask ourselves, “Will what I am about to say or do please the Spirit or grieve the Spirit?” If the latter, stop! If the former, proceed.
We are to remember that there is more going on, than meets the eye, in our relationships within the local church and outside of it as well. Relationships involve spiritual warfare. Let us learn to walk by the grace ministry of God the Holy Spirit and yield to Him in our conversation and attitudes, eagerly maintaining the unity of the Spirit.
Remember, your words have power, either for good or evil, James 3. Satan encourages speech that will tear people down and destroy the work of Christ. Yet, Paul tells us to speak in such a way that what we say will build up our hearers and not tear them down. Our words should minister grace and help to draw others closer to Christ.
James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Your words should be vehicles of Divine grace, instead of harming others. The emphasis should not be on entertaining others but on edifying them. We are to ensure that our language has a beneficial effect on those who are listening, including the angels who are always listening, 1 Peter 1:12; Heb 13:2.
12.) Eph 6:24, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.”
As we have noted, “grace” is the key word of the epistle. It opened it in Eph 1:2, and it is the subject of it comparing Eph 2:7-8. Now, in its twelfth usage, it concludes the epistle. It is fitting because it is God’s grace which saved us and which sustains us every day.
In concluding his letter to the churches in Asia Minor, with the twelfth mention of the word “grace” in this letter, Paul desires that we all have and know the grace of God in our lives. Throughout this “Prison Epistle,” he places great emphasis upon “grace,” as we have noted in the previous 11 occurrences of its usage in this letter. Paul himself was a very “gracious” man because he was a recipient of God’s great grace in life, as we have noted above, and one of his main desires was that other people would also receive this grace. As such, in this closing “grace” prayer, we see another application of giving grace, as Paul desires and prays for “grace” to be in the lives of believers.
In this verse, “grace” is used to focus our attention on “the Lord Jesus Christ,” as do other closing salutations.
Paul’s Concluding Salutations in His Epistles:
Rom 16:20b, “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
1 Cor 16:23, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.”
2 Cor 13:14, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Gal 6:18, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.”
Eph 6:24, “Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.”
Phil 4:23, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Col 4:18, “Grace be with you.”
1 Thes 5:28, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
2 Thes 3:18, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”
1 Tim 6:21b, “Grace be with you.”
2 Tim 4:22, “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.”
Titus 3:15b, “Grace be with you all.”
Philemon 25, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Eph 6:24, however, is unique among the closing salutations in Paul’s letters because it changes the usual second person plural address, “with you” or “with your spirit,” to a third person plural formulation, “with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ.” This emphasizes the caveat of knowing and experiencing God’s grace in your life. It speaks to being occupied with Jesus Christ, which we will note below.
Nevertheless, when a person truly responds to the unmerited favor bestowed by God, how can he help but respond in sincere love? As such, Paul was able to give a salutation of grace to the church because of their unceasing love for their Lord Jesus Christ. This is a very appropriate ending to the epistle, because all grace and blessings come to the saints from God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace, the free unmerited favor of God and all good, spiritual and temporal, is and shall be with (i.e., known and experienced by), all those who thus love our Lord Jesus Christ and with them only.
Therefore, Paul’s desire is that we all receive this grace because we all love the Lord Jesus Christ. Once we conclude this study of the 12 occurrences of “grace” in the Book of Ephesians, we will note in more detail the love for Christ that is “incorruptible,” that results in His grace towards us be known and experienced.
Conclusion to our Study on Grace as found in the Book of Ephesians:
“The blessing of grace, which was a liturgical form before it was an epistolary form, recalls the language of worship and the liturgical forms which frame the first half of the letter. It also recalls through its content two of the great themes of the first half—that all the privileges of salvation believers enjoy are theirs through God’s grace, which has been lavished on them in Christ, and that one of the greatest of those privileges is their share in Christ’s resurrection and exaltation, which they experience now but which they will continue to experience in the coming ages. Having exhorted his readers in the second half of the letter to maintain the Church’s unity and participate in its growth and to demonstrate the life of the new humanity in society, and having braced them for the battle against the powers of evil which this will involve, the writer comes full circle, as he once again points the readers back to the Divine resources that are available and calls on God to bestow his abundant grace and glorious immortality upon them.” (Word Biblical Commentary.)
L. S. Chafer wonderfully summarizes the principle of grace in his Systematic Theology. He notes, “Since grace only represents what God can and will do for those who trust the Savior, it must function apart from all human works or cooperation. It calls for no more than confidence in the only One who can save. The Scriptures assign to the operating of grace the only salvation now offered to sinful men. God’s grace also provides security for the saved one. This is done by continuing the grace work of God with the individual in spite of his imperfections. Grace also undertakes to direct the saved one in the new manner of his daily life after he has been saved. A new motive for this is set up by the fact that the one saved was perfected forever in the sight of God as being in Christ, therefore partaking of His merit and standing forever. Nothing of merit need be added to that which is perfected forever (cf. John 1:16; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; Heb. 10:14). Hence the obligation to gain merit is removed completely, and the whole law system with its merit ceases to be applicable to the saved one under grace. He is no longer under law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14). The new problem becomes that of how a perfected person should walk in this world. Grace teaches the saved one concerning his holy walk in daily life. The standard is as high as heaven itself. God requires, and with reason, that the saved one, by reason of being a citizen of heaven, should live according to the standards of heaven (cf. John 13:34; Eph. 4:1, 30; 1 Thess. 5:19).” (Systematic Theology)
In the application of the word “grace” in the book of Ephesians we saw:
In Eph 1:2, Grace is, “from God.”
In Eph 1:6, Grace is, “freely bestowed by God.”
In Eph 1:7, Grace is, “lavished upon us by God.”
In Eph 2:5, Grace is, “by God.”
In Eph 2:7, Grace is, “shown toward us by God.”
In Eph 2:8, Grace is, “gifted by God.”
In Eph 3:2, Grace is, “given,” to me for you.
In Eph 3:7, Grace is, “given,” according to the working of His power.
In Eph 3:8, Grace is, “given,” to preach the unfathomable riches of Christ.
In Eph 4:7, Grace is, “given,” according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
In Eph 4:29, Grace is, “to give grace to others.”
In Eph 6:24, Grace is, “to be with you all.”
And, grace is given to us by all three members of the Trinity!
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!