Friday, August 3, 2018

X Marks the Spot

In any good treasure hunting movie we learn that “X” marks the spot.  Our “X” is for Xaris, the Greek word for Grace.  It is pronounced with a “CH” sound as in Christian.  Our English letter “x” comes from this letter, but it did not keep the sound.  What we do like the sound of, however, is the sound of grace as in John Newton’s hymn, “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound”. 

Xaris is on the list of frequently used words in the New Testament.  It is used 153 times. It is the mother word for Xara which is used 59 times, Xairo which is used 74 times, Xarisma which is used 17 times, euXaristos which is used 55 times and Xaristao which is used only twice.  All forms of this word are used 300 times in the New Testament.  That means that it is a pretty “x”citing word to learn.  Grace is indeed “x”citing.  Just the thought of God’s amazing grace should get us up and singing a rousing chorus of praise.
Xaris is also an “x”ceedingly important word.  Without it there is no joy (Xara), no thanksgiving (euXaristos), no rejoicing (Xairo) not to mention none of God’s wonderful gifts (Xarisma).  What would the Christian do without these “x”ceedingly important parts of God’s wonderful grace?  These beautiful words are also translated as favor, gladness, accepted, thanks and variations of these words.  All that is part of God’s “x”ceedingly wonderful and “x”citing grace.  When we think of grace we need to grasp the whole of what it means.  It means everything that we find necessary for a positive outlook on life.  It means everything that makes us really pleasing to those around us.  It means everything required for personal peace.  All of this is wrapped up in one little word “grace”. 
It is no wonder that so many songs are written about grace.  Philip Doddridge wrote a hymn that is little used anymore.  It is titled “Grace! ‘Tis a Charming Sound”.  The first stanza reads, “Grace! ‘Tis a charming sound, harmonious to the ear; heaven with the echo shall resound, and all the earth shall hear.”  The fifth stanza concludes with a plea to make God’s “x”citing grace an integral part of our life.  “O let Thy grace inspire, my soul with strength divine; may all my powers to Thee aspire, and all my days be Thine.”  That is truly a proper attitude toward God’s “x”ceedingly wonderful grace.  

  The Friday Benediction
Until Monday, my friends, may the good God envelop you with His grace; may you prove the common confession of faith, “I believe in the holy Christian church and in the fellowship of the saints”, and may you be enriched with joy and hope as you exercise that confession this weekend.  Amen

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