Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

This passage occurs in the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B, most recently August 12, 2018.

Summary:  It is summer, so I only offer a brief commentary here.  I mainly want to look at the words related to grace!

χαρις (grace; 4:29)  The word grace appears a number of times in Ephesians.  I want to consider what this particular writer (okay, I get it, there is a lot of debate about whether Paul wrote this letter.  If it turns out not to be Paul, the person who wrote it was a spiritual genius and student of Paul).  I am going to break down grace a bit, which is theologically impossible, but I think it is a necessary intermediate step

  • Out of the richest of grace, we have redemption through the blood on the cross (1:7)
  • Grace is revealed in the resurrection of Christ and us (2:6)
  • Grace is the revelation of the mystery of Christ (3:2)
  • Grace is imparted through faith (2:8) and leads to a life of good works
  • Grace becomes a way of life, building others up (4:29) and giving grace to others through forgiveness (4:32)
  • Grace, one might argue, is that which predestines us (1:6)

Grace isn't conferred in one moment, but becomes the vehicle, it seems through which the Spirit works; to put it another way, grace is the heavenly currency that can never be earned.

χαριζομαι (give freely or even forgive; 4:32)  This word typically does not mean "forgive" but means "be gracious" or "be generous", which includes forgiving one another.  I like this word here first because it reminds us that our forgiveness toward our neighbor is not an abstraction but must bear fruit in real life.  Second it connects to the broader theme of grace!

εχαριτωσεν (from χαριτοω, meaning "bestow freely"; 1.6)  The writer declares we have been freely bestowed with God's blessing through Christ.  The only other New Testament appearance of this word is in Luke's Gospel, to describe Mary as the "highly favored."  Turns out that in Christ we are all highly favored, bears of God's word to the world.