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JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Ephesians 2:8 question

Ephesians 2:8
King James Version (KJV)


"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

Does the 'and that not of yourselves' refer to the grace or the faith?

 2006/12/21 11:37Profile
GaryE
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Joined: 2005/4/26
Posts: 376
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

 Re: Ephesians 2:8 question



Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Here is what John Wesley said in his notes about this verse:

Eph 2:8 - By grace ye are saved through faith - Grace, without any respect to human worthiness, confers the glorious gift. Faith, with an empty hand, and without any pretence to personal desert, receives the heavenly blessing. And this is not of yourselves - This refers to the whole preceding clause, That ye are saved through faith, is the gift of God.
...............................

Clarke wrote:

But whether are we to understand, faith or salvation as being the gift of God? This question is answered by the Greek text: τῃ γαρ χαριτι εστε σεσωσμενοι δια της πιστεως· και τουτο ουκ εξ ὑμων· Θεου το δωρον, ουκ εξ εργων· ἱνα μη τις καυχησηται· “By this grace ye are saved through faith; and This (τουτο, this salvation) not of you; it is the gift of God, not of works: so that no one can boast.” “The relative τουτο, this, which is in the neuter gender, cannot stand for πιστις, faith, which is the feminine; but it has the whole sentence that goes before for its antecedent.” But it may be asked: Is not faith the gift of God? Yes, as to the grace by which it is produced; but the grace or power to believe, and the act of believing, are two different things. Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with that power the act of faith is a man’s own. God never believes for any man, no more than he repents for him: the penitent, through this grace enabling him, believes for himself: nor does he believe necessarily, or impulsively when he has that power; the power to believe may be present long before it is exercised, else, why the solemn warnings with which we meet every where in the word of God, and threatenings against those who do not believe? Is not this a proof that such persons have the power but do not use it? They believe not, and therefore are not established. This, therefore, is the true state of the case: God gives the power, man uses the power thus given, and brings glory to God: without the power no man can believe; with it, any man may.
............................

Gill wrote:

----- (I asked the following question from a Greek and Hebrew professor:

"In this verse, to what does the word "that" refer to? Adam Clarke, Wesley & company say that it is neuter plural and "Faith" is feminine hence it cannot refer to faith, (Such an admission would destroy their theological system.) However "Grace" is also feminine as is "Salvation".''

His reply was:

"Here you ask a wonderful theological/exegetical question to which I can only give an opinion, and not a definitive answer. The problem is that there is NO precise referent. Grace is feminine. Faith is feminine. And even Salvation (as a noun) is feminine. Yet it must be one of these three at least, and maybe more than one, or all three in conjunction. Since all three come from God and not from man, the latter might seem the more likely. However, it is a tautology to say salvation and grace are "nor of yourselves," and in that case it certainly looks more like the passage is really pointing out that man cannot even take credit for his own act of faith, but that faith was itself created by God and implanted in us that we might believe (i.e. the normal Calvinistic position). In which regard the whole theological issue of "regeneration preceding faith" comes into play. So, that is basically my opinion, though others obviously disagree strenuously, but from an exegetical standpoint, the other positions have to explain away the matter of the tautology.


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Gary Eckenroth

 2006/12/21 11:57Profile
JaySaved
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 Re:

Gary,

Thank you for that information. What is your understanding of the text?

 2006/12/21 13:38Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Does the 'and that not of yourselves' refer to the grace or the faith?



Roman's 5:17 lets us know that the free gift is that of [i]righteousness[/i]. Your righteousness is not of yourselves it is the gift of God (lest any man should boast). It is not earned or any such thing. It is 'imputed' by grace through faith. That is the means that God chose to distribute the free gift of righteousness.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/21 13:53Profile
JaySaved
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 Re:

RobertW,

Let me clarify, the options in this context were:
1) grace
2) faith

 2006/12/21 14:01Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
Let me clarify, the options in this context were:
1) grace
2) faith


There may be another option. [color=0000ff]“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and [b]that[/b] not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Eph 2:8 NKJV)[/color] Is the question we are asking "what is the 'that' which is not of yourselves but is the gift of God'?

The word 'that' is a demonstrative pronoun. Greek demonstrative pronouns have to agree in gender and number with the noun to which they are linked. The word 'that' (τουτο) is in the neuter gender so it ought to be connectable to a neuter noun. The problem here is that neither 'grace' (χαρις) nor 'faith' (πιστις) are neuter nouns; they are feminine. However there is a neuter noun in view in this sentence; the word 'gift' (δωρον) but as it comes after the demonstrative pronoun we wouldn't normally link the pronoun with this word.

I think the demonstrative pronoun is simply pointing to 'our having being saved' rather than either to the grace or the faith. It is 'salvation' that is the 'gift of God'. This is Paul's familiar theme that salvation is not by human contribution but God's own work.


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Ron Bailey

 2006/12/21 14:30Profile
JaySaved
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 Re:

In this context:

If the Gift (Salvation) is being referred to as "not being of ourselves" and the Gift (Salvation) is by Grace through Faith, then wouldn't both Grace and Faith also be "not of ourselves but a gift from God"?

What I am saying is, If the grace and faith comprise the salvation and the salvation is a gift, then wouldn't the grace be a gift and the faith be a gift as well?

Thoughts?

 2006/12/21 14:43Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
Let me clarify, the options in this context were:
1) grace
2) faith



I think Ron is right here also. I was going to simply say 'your salvation', but I wanted to connected Paul's use of the term 'gift' with what has also been revealed in Romans. The Jews thought their righteousness to be of their own working. But our righteousness is as filthy rags.

The opposite extreme is to place the entire process into the hands of God including man's own response to God. There are some camps that view even the act of faith itself as 'works'. Therefor even faith has to be God from start to end. I think this is saying far more than what is revealed. Our right response to God is our faith exercised. Grace is certainly God from start to end. We receive God's grace by faith.

The Holy Spirit appropriates all that Christ has done for us on the cross when we turn and exercise faith. God reveals and we respond- this is faith. No revelation= no faith. When revelation comes so with it comes the [i]possibility[/i] of faith. Faith [u]cometh[/u] by hearing and hearing by the word of God. God by His grace initiates contact through the revelation of Himself and His Gospel. This [i]is[/i] the gift. We did nothing to earn it. It is not of works. None can boast. What have we that we did not receive? (in other words) We decide whether we will exercise faith or not by our respone to God's grace made known by the revelation of His word. We either receive the gift or reject it. Either way it is not 'of' us or works; it is God's gift.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/21 14:56Profile
GaryE
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 Re:



Jsysaved,

I like what Wesley and Clarke said.

This quote of Clarke says it better than I probably could as to what my views are on this:

But it may be asked: Is not faith the gift of God? Yes, as to the grace by which it is produced; but the grace or power to believe, and the act of believing, are two different things. Without the grace or power to believe no man ever did or can believe; but with that power the act of faith is a man’s own. God never believes for any man, no more than he repents for him: the penitent, through this grace enabling him, believes for himself: nor does he believe necessarily, or impulsively when he has that power;

In quoting Wesley and Clarke I must mention that I really like Gills writings a lot. I've been very blessed by many of the words that the Lord has had him write.

As to which word grace or faith the words that not of yourself refers to, I wouldn't separate the two but think both grace on faith are not of oneself but instead given by the Lord. I believe that God gives a measure of grace and faith to all and all men are drawn by the Holy Spirit because God wishes no man to perish. The real problem is that men don't always respond to the wooing of the Holy Spirit or the measure of grace and faith that he has sent them. At that point of being drawn they either choose the Lord or not. There is a willful choice to serve the Lord that has to be made both at conversion and also as one grows into a victorious Christian that God prefers everyone to be for his service. We are not God’s puppets. He wants our willful heart to serve him.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Also, I believe that many people that have rejected by choice the Lord for many years sometime come to a place where he or she chooses life instead. Where there is life {a person is alive} there is hope.

God saves the worst among us. It is often that person who has refused to choose God for years and had chosen the world that ends up weeping at Jesus feet and worshiping him once the choice is made for Jesus.

Luk 7:40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

Luk 7:41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

Luk 7:42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

Luk 7:43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

Luk 7:44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

Luk 7:45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

Sorry I wondered off subject but don't you just love those verses? I sure do. I owed at least the five hunded pence.




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Gary Eckenroth

 2006/12/21 15:08Profile
JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Re:

This is where my confusion comes from:

Quote:
God by His grace initiates contact through the revelation of Himself and His Gospel. This is the gift. We did nothing to earn it. It is not of works. None can boast.



I agree that the grace is from God and we do nothing to earn it. I agree that Grace is not of works. No one can boast in grace.
I am confused in why you call Grace the Gift. Didn't you and Philologos establish that the Gift was Salvation?


Quote:
What have we that we did not receive? (in other words) We decide whether we will exercise faith or not by our response to God's grace made known by the revelation of His word. We either receive the gift or reject it. Either way it is not 'of' us or works; it is God's gift.



Also a point of confusion:
You are calling Grace 'the Gift', this goes back to the feminine/neuter argument presented earlier. Philologos told us that both the Grace mentioned in Eph. 2:8 and the Faith are feminine. The Gift referred to (according to Philologos and yourself) is Salvation.

Another point I need clarification on is the seemingly lack of consistency in the following statement:
Quote:

We decide whether we will exercise faith or not by our response to God's grace made known by the revelation of His word. We either receive the gift or reject it. Either way it is not 'of' us or works; it is God's gift.



This is telling me that salvation is not based on anything we have done or can do, but the only way to receive salvation is for us to do something.

Either salvation is non-meritorious or or it is dependent on our meritorious action of faith.

 2006/12/21 15:21Profile





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