Matter of Faith: Peddling grace


From: Jamie Smith

Recent letters to “A Matter of Faith” give a murky view of how God works. What does this mean: “God will give you salvation.” How is the English word “give” used?

The context is that if you make a decision to believe in God that He will “give” you salvation. So in this case “give” means the following: “To let go for a price, sell. To deliver in exchange or recompense, pay,” Farlex Free Dictionary.

How subtle the deception to use a word like “give” and attach conditions to it. It hoodwinks the mind to adapt the word “grace,” as in salvation by grace, so that mental activity, a work, is required to receive it. Then, whenever the word “grace” is read in Scripture, the reader will think it refers to receiving something in exchange for a payment.

The English word “give” is sullied in that it has several meanings as in giving without conditions vs. giving with conditions. Therefore, an English translation must be diligent to use the most accurate words and phrases available. The Greek word for grace (charis) is pure. Always, in every case in Scripture, the underlying meaning of “grace” conveys gratuitous, without cause, favor, gratitude, bounty and like synonyms. There is never a repayment or compensatory gift or reward associated with it. It cannot be gratuitous in one verse and then compensatory in another.

If “give” is to be used to convey the meaning of “charis,” it would be better represented by something like “given gratuitously” or a “gratuitous gift.” That would bring out the proper understanding of someone getting something without a cause or payment. The giver would then not be selling the gift to the receiver for a price. After all, the price has already been paid by His Son.

I used to get upset as I would see church leaders promote the concept of grace being given by God in response to our good actions concerning faith. But the misunderstanding is only so because it is God’s intention at this time for His grace to be misunderstood. If He wanted it understood properly it would certainly be understood.

The correct apprehension of grace is that due to God’s saving grace, we believe. Belief is the gratuitous gift that signifies that we have already been saved through Christ’s faith.

What about everyone that does not believe? They have already been saved, just like a believer, but they don’t realize it. It is salvation by grace through Jesus Christ’s faith, not our faith. Ro. 3:22 states, “yet a righteousness of God through Jesus Christ’s faith, into all, and upon all who are believing, FOR THERE IS NO DISTINCTION.”

As our awareness of the sovereignty of God matures, it will be seen that this darkness concerning grace is contrived by God Himself for His purpose. In due time all will realize truth as God intends.

1 Ti. 2:4: “Who wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth.”


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