Archeologists recently have unearthed the actual tomb of the Apostle Paul, martyred in the 1st century, under a pizzeria in Rome. The tomb, marked clearly The Apostle Paul, died August 15, 67A.D. with the inscription “I lost my head over you” is preserved. The site was discovered when a worker at the pizzeria heard a noise in the basement and went down to check it out.
“There were shaking and stones falling all around, I thought it might be an earthquake.” said Angello Pasqualini, “then a large chunk fell and there was a box in the hole. The Saint must have been very excited about something, rolling and jumping in his grave.”. Coincident with the timing I’d been “shown” that Paul hid a special gift from God in one of his letters.
Yes, that’s make believe, but I believe that Paul, if he could, would be rolling in his grave trying to pound his way out to set straight a thing or two. I’d recently been shown, by a Reformed Theology person, that Paul used a Greek writing trick say to that, by some transcendental mysticism, God forces us to believe in Jesus. Yes, that’s right, even the King James guys missed that one. This is what she says on the Stand Up for the Truth (now that’s an oxymoron) website:
“you state in your opinion – ” Now faith is mortal not something magical that you and Lyn have inferred. ” Nowhere do I state faith is ‘magical’. What I do state is what the Bible teaches, faith is a gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. ” Ephesians 2:8-9
The phrase ‘and that’ is a neuter demonstrative pronoun; meaning it has to agree in gender and in number with its antecedent. ‘And THAT” is neither male nor female, it has no gender. ‘Demonstrative’ means it has to point to a particular thing; now, faith is feminine, so it doesn’t agree in gender with ‘and that’, meaning ‘that’ is not pointing to faith. However, the word ‘grace’ is also feminine and does not agree in gender, the same holds true for the word ‘salvation’, it’s masculine in gender…none of those words agree in gender with ‘and that’! There’s a rule in Greek grammar that whenever you find this kind of sentence construction, the writer did it on purpose because he was NOT trying to point to any one word – ‘and that’ refers to the WHOLE collective phrase! – ‘grace, saved, faith’ make up that collective phrase.
see the complete and accurate teaching of this text at http://youtu.be/o3dodm97SY4 “
Now I’d challenged that but got rebuffed, “Being regenerated is not magical – it’s supernatural. Faith is God’s gift to His elect, it cannot be lost.” Apparently, according to her, you have to get this gift of faith, first, in order believe and repent. So God arbitrarily gives this gift of faith to those He likes and literally, to hell with the rest. Wow, that’s fairly despotic.
So what does Ephesians 2:8 really say, in the Greek?
2:8 τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον
χάριτί chariti feminine ((literally: influence that calms and cheers, grace is a made up inclusion by calvanist translators) Where we get charity)
σεσῳσμένοι SESWSMENOI verb saved
διά dē-ä’ through (A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act)
πίστεως pisteo (feminine) Faith
δῶρον dō’-ron gift
First chariti , not charis is different in usage. Secondly de-a is a preposition tying pisteo to an act, not a noun or object (gift) . Third do-ron (the gift) is tied to the whole thought (salvation) by the colon (kjv).
So the practical translation is,” by the influence that calms and cheers, you have been saved through the act of faith, not by any works you’ve done: of God IT is a gift.” Even in the Greek you have to maintain context.
The Gift of Faith (the only one) is listed in 1 Cor 12:9
12:9 ἑτέρῳ δὲ πίστις ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ πνεύματι ἄλλῳ δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ πνεύματι
πίστις pistis faith
χαρίσματα charisma gifts
There is no second Gift of Faith. These folks maintain that you can’t possibly walk away from God because it’s God’s faith, not yours and if you do walk away then you were never really saved. In that, they create this exclusive club of predestined elect that you can never really be sure if you belong. ( I’ll deal with the elect, pre-destination, replacement theology, etc in the FAQs)
God is not precocious, choosing this one and leaving that one just because. But He is sovereign and just as He is loving and gracious. His will is that no one, not one, would be lost, but men, in free will, will reject Him, or choose to walk away when things get tough. Is this where you are? Have you walked away or never come to Him in the first place? God loves you, and His will is that you wouldn’t be lost. That’s why He brought you here. You have an opportunity to see Him, accept His free gift to you, or reject it. Time is getting short, take His free gift to you now.