• We exist to change the lives of believers through equipping them to live out who they are in Christ, edifying the body of the Christ (the Church) while coming to a oneness of faith through a full experiential knowledge of the Son of God unto a mature person according to the stature of the fullness of Christ so that we are no longer tossed around by every wind of teaching by the trickery of men who cunningly seek to deceive the saints.
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  • A Gift for Favor

    The gift [is] a favorable stone in [the] eyes of its owners, unto all which it turns it causes to be prudent. Proverbs 17:8

    So-had (שֹׁחַד) is a gift that is given for the purpose of bringing favor. Although not specifically a bribe, it can be used to gain favor in an illicit way and is prohibited under the Mosaic law for being used in this manner (Deuteronomy 16:19); however, when used correctly the result will be a favorable attitude towards the one giving the gift. It is the one who walks righteously and speaks with equity while shutting up bribery that will see God (Isaiah 33:15), where a wicked man accepts a gift to pervert the way of justice (Proverbs 17:23).

    We see this type of favorable gift being given in negotiations (1 Kings 15:19), which is not meant as a bribe, but to bring favor. When used this way, it will cause the one receiving it to be wise in handling practical matters while exercising good judgment related to the circumstances bringing about the gift.

    The negative side of giving is seen with one who uses money to gain favor. Such as with Ananias and Saphira giving a gift to the Apostles (Acts 4:37), Simon trying to bribe the Apostles into giving him the ability to give the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:18-20), and Felix seeking a bribe from Paul to release him (Acts 24:26). However, when used properly this type of gift will result in a favorable attitude from the one receiving it. In business, when a shop is willing to offer free service, such as fixing a flat tire, the one receiving this generosity is far more likely to come back and spend money because of the favorable attitude the gift produces. Those who are honest with this type of gift still offer the best price for their services, but the one seeking to use this to up sale a customer are really just giving it as a bribe, which always ends in a dissatisfied and often angry customer.

    This world is a malignantly evil place, but that does not mean we cannot walk in wisdom through it, redeeming the time and knowing the desirous will of God (Ephesians 5:17). Gifts should never be used to pervert justice, or manipulate people, but are of value in setting a positive frame of mind towards us. This aspect of giving can also be seen in being kind. Kindness is not a trait that humans intuitively seek to express, (There are none that do kindness – Romans 3:12); however, when we as Christians are using the fruit of the Spirit, God’s quality of kindness can be expressed through us, which puts others at ease (Galatians 5:22). So a gift is not just a tangible item, but a friendly disposition, a helping hand, and even a manifestation of kindness. Remember, it is the kindness of God that brings a change of the mind, not wrath (Romans 2:4).

    Therefore, as the elect of God, let us put on kindness (Colossians 3:12) and be wise in the way we walk in this malignantly evil world, for we are children of the light and walk in the day, not as unbelievers in revelry, drunkenness, and lewdness according to their own lusts (Romans 13:13; 2 Peter 3:3) who use bribes to dishonestly gain. Gifts can be offered in a wise way for the purpose of gaining favor without becoming a bribe. For a gift can truly go a long way in subduing anger and producing prudence in the one receiving it.

    1. published a bulletin

      ReadWord of Grace Studies
      Sunday Morning Main Service
    2. published a bulletin

      ReadWord of Grace Studies
      Early Sunday Morning
    3. Good (ἀγαθός)

      Good is a word that describes activity that is beneficial, wholesome, and sufficient to be acceptable for its purpose. It is used to describe humans, trees, treasures, speaking, and most of all God.  

      Although humans can do good, only God is good (Luke 18:19), for goodness is an aspect of His nature. However, even though humans are not good by nature, we do know the difference between good and evil and can choose to produce good things in our lives rather than malignantly wicked things (Romans 2:15). The heart is the center of a human, where the person resides. It is within here that we will store up good treasures to use later, or malignantly evil ones to use against others (Matthew 12:35). What we allow to remain in our minds and within our hearts directly impacts our actions; therefore, our weapons are not fleshly, but are mighty in God for the pulling down of those strongholds within us that raise themselves up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-6), by which we destroy the evil treasures, so our storehouse is filled with good.

      Although the law is good, we do not live by it because through it is the full experiential knowledge of the sin nature (Romans 7:12-13) and rather than giving us victory over it, it becomes the sin natures strength against us (1 Corinthians 15:56). Trying to do good by law leads us into frustration and the realization that within our flesh no good dwells, for as soon as we desire to do good, we find that we lack the ability to do it through our flesh (Romans 7:18-19), and we end up doing things that lack in character, which we do not want to do. However, we are to do good in every aspect of our lives (1 Peter 2:15-16). This is done by getting our minds in the right place and seeking to fulfill the desires from the Spirit resulting in rejecting a worldly view and the desires from the flesh (Colossians 3:1-2) so our actions are beneficial, not by using law, but by living out from faith.

      Because God is the only one that is good by nature, to manifest true goodness we need to mimic God (Ephesians 5:1; 3 John 11). To imitate God, we have to use the fruit of the Spirit, for we are not able to produce a character that has God’s quality of life apart from who we are in Christ through the filling of the Spirit which makes it possible for us to manifest the life of Christ in us (John 15:4; Colossians 1:27).

      We are not to allow wrong (that which lacks in character) to overcome good by repaying wrong for wrong, but rather we are to give thought to what is proper and whenever possible live peaceably (Romans 12:17-18), while abhorring evil and clinging to what is good (Romans 12:9). We will be rewarded for what good or bad we do in this life (2 Corinthians 5:10); therefore, we should be careful what we allow within our lives to influence us. This includes what we speak, for nothing rotten should come out of our mouths, but only that which is beneficial and gives grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29).

      When it comes to good works, God has not only prepared them beforehand for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:1), but also supplies what we need to perform them (2 Corinthians 9:8); therefore, let us take every opportunity to do good, especially to those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10), for our commandment is to love other Christians as Christ loved us (John 13:34) and by this love for each other all will know that we are disciples of Christ (John 13:35). How we treat other saints is important,  especially those who are weak in the faith regarding food or drink. For we do not want our good to be blasphemed because of eating and drinking (Romans 14:16-17). Love is kind, seeks the best for the one loved, rejoices in truth, and never falls, therefore love will only produce that which is good.

      Good is doing that which is beneficial. It is not actions that are focused on making a person feel good, but ones that are sufficient to be beneficial according to the situation. Therefore, let us be wise in how we do good so that we overcome that which is wrong, being fruitful in every good work while increasing in the full experiential knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).

      1. published a bulletin

        ReadWord of Grace Studies
        Sunday Morning Main Service