Grace—"the gift of God"

A particular phase of St. Paul's theology is being emphasized in current religious discussions. It's embodied in his statement, "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." Eph. 2:8, 9. The word "gift" in this context is subject to a variety of interpretations. Some have considered this as an outright gift with no strings attached, and others may be aware that a gift includes demands upon the individual.

For instance, a musician may be considered to have a "gift" of talent. And yet anyone with a knowledge of artistry knows what intensive training and discipline are necessary to realize that gift in practical experience. There's no room for complacency, laziness, or irresponsibility. The gift is not without its demands.

Paul's statement is often interpreted as though one had nothing to do to deserve the gift or the grace. One popular definition of grace is the unmerited favor of God, and this offers a healing balm to those who feel unworthy of God's grace. Yet experience shows that one doesn't inherit or reflect this grace unless he's somewhat prepared to receive it. It's through the spiritualization of one's thought and life that he comes into the grace of God. Mrs. Eddy says, "God only waits for man's worthiness to enhance the means and measure of His grace." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 154.

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"No change my heart shall fear"
May 3, 1982

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