An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 166 of 270
Can man be held responsible for not believing, if believing is in the
sovereign disposal of God?  We might as well hold that a man be held
responsible for the fact that he cannot live without food, water or air.
Before attempting an interpretation of this or any other passage, attention
must be paid to the grammar.  The word 'that' in Ephesians 2:8 is the Greek
touto and it is Neuter; the word 'faith' is Feminine, therefore 'the grace by
faith salvation' must be conceived of as a whole, the word 'faith' forming a
part of the parcel, and it is this, namely, this scheme of salvation, which,
while it excludes works admits faith, it is this, that is the gift of God.
Doron, the word translated here 'gift' is equivalent to the Hebrew
corban.  'It is corban' (Mark 7:11).  The fact that Ephesians 2:8 uses a word
meaning 'oblation', something 'offered', makes it all the more impossible
that this passage should mean that faith is the gift of God.  In what sense
can faith be conceived of as an oblation?  What depths of grace and heights
of love appear when we realize that here, in this dispensation of grace, it
is God, not the humble worshipper, Who brings the offering!  It is God Who
comes out with both hands full of blessing and pours them out at the feet of
the worthless and the outcast.  Salvation -by -grace -through -faith is the
gift, the oblation of God.  Let us close our lexicons, put aside our
grammars, and let us rather bow our heads in worship as we say out of full
'Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift'.
'There are three questions in relation to God which a competent
theology must undertake to solve: the first concerns His existence, the
second His nature, the third His perfections' (Thornwell).
Concerning the extent of our knowledge of God, two points of view have
been maintained.  One says, 'A God Who is absolutely incomprehensible by us
is a God, Who, in regard to us, does not exist' (Cousin).  The other party
says that the knowledge of God can never be a positive element of
consciousness.  God is and ever must be the great unknown.  Professor Fraser
complains that this philosophy 'seems to cut away every bridge by which man
can have access to God'.  In the figure 'every bridge' we find our answer.
God can be known, but only through a Mediator, and the Scriptures declare
with one voice that the One Mediator is Christ, that we Can see the glory of
God, but Only in the face of Jesus Christ.
The two most important names of God in the Hebrew Old Testament are
Elohim and Jehovah, rendered generally in the New Testament by the Greek
equivalents for God and Lord, namely Theos and Kurios.  Among the conflicting
etymologies proposed as the origin of the word Elohim only two appear to have
any claim to a serious consideration:
Alah, which signifies One Who is the object of fear and
Alah, which signifies to swear (2 Chron. 6:22).