By Jim Olsen
In this session, we’ll be taking about the giving nature of God, which is displayed in grace and also how that grace should be given away. Charis, that sweet, joyful, welcoming presence of God… always gives… and he delights when we share his goodness with others.
The principal of grace; a vision of God as a giver, giving to his children gifts is very good news. So good, that many people look at it as ‘too good to be true.’ But, that’s not the case. God’s grace is totally giving, it’s sweet, pleasurable, charm and gracious qualities are available for every believer to receive for doing absolutely nothing, just receiving… and then being careful to give it way to others.
Jesus didn’t use the word charis very often, the full revelation of the grace of God came after the Holy Spirit filled up the church on the day of Pentecost. But Jesus set in motion the principles behind grace, specifically by laying down his life for the world. The greatest gift in all human history was a free offer of forgiveness of sins, Biblically known as a substitution sacrifice, where one man received all the punishment meant for all mankind so any who received it can be free from the consequences of sin.
So, let’s start with how Jesus taught grace. In Luke 6:35, Jesus ends his teaching explaining what charis is. He says God is kind to the ungrateful. The Greek literally says he is ‘kind, mild’ to those who are not; a negated form of the Greek word. Jesus strengthens the negated word by adding a stronger word, poneros, a word used of evil demonic spirits. Loving your enemies and blessing those who hate you are like many teachings of Christ; they are impossible without first receiving a gift of his grace. So read the passage in Luke with the idea of receiving a grace-gift first.
Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit (charis) is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit (charis) is that to you? Even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (charis) is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
Our human minds do a subtle twist when reading the prior passage. We read – First, perform then receive. That’s not what Jesus is saying. The relationship is somehow lost in translation or how the words were ordered, because we cannot perform or give away anything that we do not already have. To lend, we must have something in the bank. Grace works by receiving and then giving what you’ve received.
Paul clarified this grace of giving, explaining what the good news of the gospel is all about. The grace of Jesus is explained as Christ’s riches, which he gave up to become poor. He became poor, on the cross, so that we might we might receive his riches. The intent is to give his grace-gifts away, having a generous heart, understanding that the provisions you have for your life are a gift and part of that gift must be given away. Excelling in Greek is perisseuo, becoming super-abundant. Giving financially follows the grace model: give away God’s grace gifts to you.
2 Cor 8:7 “But just as you excel (perisseuo) in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, and in the love we inspired in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving (charis). 8 I am not making a demand, but I am testing the sincerity of your love in comparison to the earnestness of others.9 For you know the grace (charis) of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
As you just saw, the true nature of grace is not often taught. Most Christians today fall into a group that either emphasizes giving out of faith or sacrifice. Christ taught a different kind of grace: Where Jesus became poor, so we could become rich, so that we could give away the riches he gave us, so other people could become rich. But the grace of God means we never really give anything away, it comes flowing right back to us. Consider the following teaching in Luke.
Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Jesus is saying that we’ll never run out. A little of the Greek is needed here. Jesus used the word ‘measure’ as a ‘limited portion.’ When that measure is given away, when it is pressed down (packed), shaken together (disturbed) and running over (overflowing), it comes back to you in the same way you gave it out. A picture of what how grace works.
Paul also emphasizes freedom in what and how you give. God loves a cheerful giver. When you decide to give cheerfully, God is able to make all grace abound, which means excel, super-abundance. Grace will give you all you need for every good work. The same goes for everything about grace; all of God’s joy, sweetness, pleasure is meant to be given away to others.
2 Cor 9:7 “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not out of regret or compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad His gifts to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.””
So, we go forth with a new understanding that grace has giving built into it. Every human heart wants God’s grace, the sweetness, abundant joy and peaceful, welcoming, gracious presence of God is available to every single person. Romans 10:19 explains that if you believe in your heart Jesus is alive, risen from the dead and confess it with your mouth, you can begin this journey. God’s grace will capture your heart; forgive you and give you power. You’ll understand that since this gift grows and prospers as it’s given away. Be blessed as you walk your grace life.
Definitions are from InHisVerse Bible (IHV) - www.InHisVerse.com.
Copyright © 2019, 2020, Jim Olsen, Olsen's Apps LLC, All Rights Reserved
Bible Quotations From: The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB (BereanBible.com). Copyright ©2016, 2019 by Bible Hub. Unless Otherwise Noted.