What does the "it" refer to?

Eph 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”. Paul mentions two things in this verse: grace and faith. And then later, Paul refer to one of these two things with “it”… Which did Paul refer to by “it” ???

Dear friend

I would say that St Paul here is referring to grace, because IT is by God’s grace that we have the gift of faith and so by ‘it’ he means grace.

God Bless you and much love and peace to you

Teresa

[quote=mainelyned]Eph 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”. Paul mentions two things in this verse: grace and faith. And then later, Paul refer to one of these two things with “it”… Which did Paul refer to by “it” ???
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Yes, in this case, “grace” is what is meant by “it” and it can only be given to us by God.

However, I may be a little cynical, but I smell “sola fide” being hinted at here. For one, the poster is using the King James version of the Bible for his post and the full quote (from RSV version) is as follows:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God-- not because of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

This verse can be used to argue that “works” are not revevent when it comes to salvation. However, this passage is only relevant to receiving the gift of grace from God. It cannot be earned though works.

But it is what we do afterwards that guarantees our salvation. Both faith and works go hand in hand for our salvation. In James, faith and works is directly discussed:

What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

James is the only place where the term “faith alone” is mentioned and it is in sentences with “works” to say “faith alone” is not enough. Faith and works go hand in hand. They cannot be mutually exclusive.

PF

[quote=WanderAimlessly]Yes, in this case, “grace” is what is meant by “it” and it can only be given to us by God.

However, I may be a little cynical, but I smell “sola fide” being hinted at here. For one, the poster is using the King James version of the Bible for his post and the full quote (from RSV version) is as follows:
This verse can be used to argue that “works” are not revevent when it comes to salvation. However, this passage is only relevant to receiving the gift of grace from God. It cannot be earned though works.

But it is what we do afterwards that guarantees our salvation. Both faith and works go hand in hand for our salvation. In James, faith and works is directly discussed:
James is the only place where the term “faith alone” is mentioned and it is in sentences with “works” to say “faith alone” is not enough. Faith and works go hand in hand. They cannot be mutually exclusive.

PF
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OOPS. The quote above is from James 2:14-26

PF

I vote for salvation as being the gift here. We were walking around in the muck of sin and the gift is that we were raised up out of it to be made alive in Christ.

Dear friend

This cannot be what is referred to here as St Paul makes no distinction nor does he use the word ONLY. He speaks of the gifts of God, but that does mean we are to be idle recipients who do not then USE our gifts for the good of our own souls and that of others by our ‘works’.

A gift is a present from God and a present is no good at all unless it is unwrapped and used. A present can be left unopened and pushed under a cupboard and never used ‘do not hide your light under a bushel’

By His grace we are redeemed but it is the acceptance of grace and the fulfilment of grace within ourselves that brings about God’s work in His Kingdom on earth… ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done’

To merely accept the present and leave it unwrapped is not fulfillment of faith, it is simply acceptance of faith. Christ fulfilled the scriptures He did not speak without good works and such as we clothe our souls in Christ we must also be as Christ, become Christ-like, in striving in faith and good works. Neither should be neglected, we should have the double spirit of Elijah, to live in the presence of God and to ACTIVELY show the love of God to all we meet, this is fulfilled in Christ Jesus and as ‘none are greater than the Master’ then we too follow after the Master, Christ Jesus in works and faith.

Our Blessed Mother Virgin Mary accepted faith and God’s will by her fiat, her yes, but her faith did not end there, her works were to follow God’s will and actively bring the Saviour into the world, she pondered all those things in her heart, but she actively served Jesus as mother and disciple (follower)

Even to our own Divine Love, we pray to God and ask for Him to DO, we petition Him for ‘action’ therefore as we ask so should we also DO.

Nothing happens without God’s will and therefore it is His gift of grace that enables faith to be fulfilled in works as well as the gift of faith itself, grace pertains to both works and faith and faith is dead without works, therefore for faith to be fulfilled in humanity it must manifest itself in works. God gifts faith to all people’s by the power of the Holy Spirit, but it is what we DO with faith that He leaves to our own freewill, to reject, to accept, to half accept…

No single word or verse in the Bible should be read without placing it in context with the whole of the OT and NT, it is a continuing flow of both the old and the new and nothing contradicts itself in any part, there is a continual thread and light throughout all of Sacred Scripture and that is Christ Jesus. His compassion and love does not flow inside of Himself but is gifted to all and in gift is the work of God indeed all humanity and all of creation is a work of God and therefore if we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father we too are to work and gift of ourselves firstly to God and then to each other. What is gifted to us, should flow from us to all we meet and it can only do this by outward works to the good of all humanity. Look at the servants and their talents, did you bury yours or did you send yours out into the world and increase your talents fourfold? threefold? etc

God Bless you and much love and peace to you

Teresa

continued

St Paul here in this passage of Sacred Scripture is referring to what God has gifted to us and that no gift comes to us without God’s grace, because we who are unworthy are now worthy in His Son Christ Jesus.

If we look to any single piece of Scripture without looking to the whole OT and NT then we will certainly misread it, if we look to any part of Scripture without looking to the early church Father’s and the Majesterium, built by the early Church father’s we will misread it and the guidance of all of this is the Holy Spirit Himself.

Therefore we must look to all of Christ’s teachings and all of the OT as Christ is the light and unifying thread of all of scripture and is the fulfillment of it all. How did Adam and Eve fall from gace with God? Not by their words, not by their thoughts, but by their WORKS, by their ACTIONS, the DID what God had told them not to do. This is the first lesson in works and if we are to refrain from acting against God then we are also to then act for God and acting for God can only be by good works.

Prayer is good works, prayer is an action, it is a work. Fasting is an action. How do we fulfill almsgiving if we do not act and work, what alms will we have to give to God and to the poor if we do not take a job and ACTIVELY work in the world? How are we to conduct ourselves whilst we work in the world? Should we work selfishly, trampling on work colleagues or should we seek work in the world that will glorify God?

Take the story of the Good Samaritan are we to ignore this and say we are a brother to our brother’s and sister’s if we pass them by when they are in need and then congratulate ourselves that we still fulfill our gift of faith? No of course we cannot fulfill the gift of faith without actively turning our will to God’s and uniting it with God and therefore ACTIVELY fulfilling God’s will in ACTION/WORKS.

There are so many parables in Christ Jesus teaching instructing us how to perform good works that I find it intolerable to even consider for one minute that God is satified with acceptance of faith which then does not bear good fruits. The greater glory is given to those who make themselves last and those who make themselves last are those who SERVE and those who serve do so ‘even to the smallest of these , so you DID this to me’…If we are to live faith, we are to serve.

ACTION/WORKS cannot be seperated from FAITH.

God bless you and much love and peace to you

Teresa

My favorite verse :slight_smile:

The key to understanding this verse
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—(Eph 2:8)

and specifically understanding “It” is to analyze what “This” is referring to! Read it again, you will see –

** **Much debate has centered around the demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto). Though some think it refers back to “grace” and others to “faith,” neither of these suggestions is really valid because the demonstrative pronoun is neuter whereas “grace” and “faith” are feminine. Also, to refer back to either of these words specifically seems to be redundant. Rather the neuter *touto, *as is common, refers to the preceding phrase or clause. (In Eph. 1:15 and 3:1 *touto, *“this,” refers back to the preceding section.) Thus it refers back to the *concept *of salvation (2:4-8a), whose basis is grace and means is faith. This salvation does not have its source in man (it is “not from yourselves”), but rather, its source is God’s grace for “it is the gift of God.”%between% %between%

I debated this with a Protestant and I think the “it” refers to the “grace.” Without the grace of God and the help of the Holy spirit, faith would be difficult to achieve. Faith is not a gift, but a virtue. Grace is the gift and faith flows from it. I used the KJV because this friend used it! I am 100% Catholic!!
God bless…

The expression “it is” is not found in the Greek – it is added in an attempt to make the sentence more readable. The word “gift” is gramatically linked to the word “grace” in the sentence, so the added expression “it is” refers back to grace, not faith or salvation.

Deacon Ed

[quote=Deacon Ed]The expression “it is” is not found in the Greek – it is added in an attempt to make the sentence more readable. The word “gift” is gramatically linked to the word “grace” in the sentence, so the added expression “it is” refers back to grace, not faith or salvation.

Deacon Ed
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Dear Deacon Ed

Thank you

God Bless you and much love and peace to you

Teresa

[quote=Deacon Ed]The expression “it is” is not found in the Greek – it is added in an attempt to make the sentence more readable. The word “gift” is gramatically linked to the word “grace” in the sentence, so the added expression “it is” refers back to grace, not faith or salvation.

Deacon Ed
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To Deacon,

Can you explain in what way the two words doron and charis are linked in the sentence? They are not declined the same way, so I’m not sure what way you mean.

To all,

To me, St. Paul seems to be talking about initial justification with the phrase, “by grace you have been saved”. Read Eph2:1-5. It talks about how bad they had formerly been and then were made alive in Christ. This is initial justification. The same phrase is used in verse 5 and verse 8. I think verses 1-5, which culminate in that phrase, help us understand the use of the phrase in verse 8.

Remember from Trent that, “none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.” Trent itself quotes Eph2:4 in its stuff on initial justification, so it is not unreasonable for me to take it that this area of Ephesians is talking about initial justification in some way.

I think it is perfectly in line with Catholic doctrine to take the gift to be initial justification (initial salvation). Baptism of an infant surely is not done by the works of the infant so that it may boast. It is a gift. Yes, it operates by grace, etc.

I agree with awalt that the “touto” can be talking about a whole phrase. I think springbreeze makes some lovely points about taking scripture as a whole and how our actions do matter.

[quote=awalt]My favorite verse :slight_smile:

The key to understanding this verse
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—(Eph 2:8)

and specifically understanding “It” is to analyze what “This” is referring to! Read it again, you will see –

Much debate has centered around the demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto). Though some think it refers back to “grace” and others to “faith,” neither of these suggestions is really valid because the demonstrative pronoun is neuter whereas “grace” and “faith” are feminine. Also, to refer back to either of these words specifically seems to be redundant. Rather the neuter *touto, *as is common, refers to the preceding phrase or clause. (In Eph. 1:15 and 3:1 *touto, *“this,” refers back to the preceding section.) Thus it refers back to the *concept *of salvation (2:4-8a), whose basis is grace and means is faith. This salvation does not have its source in man (it is “not from yourselves”), but rather, its source is God’s grace for “it is the gift of God.”
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I find if you read the verse:“For by grace you are saved by grace, and this is not your own doing…” and then ask “What is not your own doing?” and it takes you to grace and “it” is a gift of God. So grammatically, it refers to grace. I think salvation is the result of faith which flows from God’s gift of grace…
God bless…

[quote=awalt]My favorite verse :slight_smile:

The key to understanding this verse
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—(Eph 2:8)

and specifically understanding “It” is to analyze what “This” is referring to! Read it again, you will see –

Much debate has centered around the demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto). Though some think it refers back to “grace” and others to “faith,” neither of these suggestions is really valid because the demonstrative pronoun is neuter whereas “grace” and “faith” are feminine. Also, to refer back to either of these words specifically seems to be redundant. Rather the neuter *touto, *as is common, refers to the preceding phrase or clause. (In Eph. 1:15 and 3:1 *touto, *“this,” refers back to the preceding section.) Thus it refers back to the *concept *of salvation (2:4-8a), whose basis is grace and means is faith. This salvation does not have its source in man (it is “not from yourselves”), but rather, its source is God’s grace for “it is the gift of God.”
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I find if you read the verse:“For by grace you are saved by faith, and this is not your own doing…” and then ask “What is not your own doing?” and it takes you to grace and “it” is a gift of God. So grammatically, it refers to grace. I think salvation is the result of faith which flows from God’s gift of grace…
God bless…

[quote=Pug]To Deacon,

Can you explain in what way the two words doron and charis are linked in the sentence? They are not declined the same way, so I’m not sure what way you mean.
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Both are nominitive singular. The word *σεσωσμενοι *is also nominitive, but plural. So the gift would appear to be grace which leads to faith which leads to salvation.

Deacon Ed

Dear friend

But there is no initial justification without first there being grace. Grace resides with God, it is not of our making nor can it ever be, grace is the first gift from which all other gifts proceed should God will it. It was God’s grace that brought forth the Messiah and from Christ Jesus we have justification, not by our own merits, but by His, grace always resides with God and is gifted always.

Thank you for your kind comments towards my ramblings :slight_smile: .

God Bless you and much love and peace to you

Teresa

[quote=Deacon Ed]Both are nominitive singular. The word *σεσωσμενοι *is also nominitive, but plural. So the gift would appear to be grace which leads to faith which leads to salvation.

Deacon Ed
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Eeek! I typed them in as I remember them, I did not decline them as they appear in the text itself. Sorry! Grace appears as chariti (to me this is noun femimine dative singular) and gift as doron (to me this is noun nominative singular). My Greek is not good, however.

Springbreeze,

Yes! Grace first. God even gives us graces to help us be ready to respond to grace. Grace on top of grace on top of more grace. :bounce: It confuses me, actual grace, prevenient grace, etc…but I do know it is great that God is always there helping us, even to help us before we get baptized.

[quote=Pug]Eeek! I typed them in as I remember them, I did not decline them as they appear in the text itself. Sorry! Grace appears as chariti (to me this is noun femimine dative singular) and gift as doron (to me this is noun nominative singular). My Greek is not good, however.
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Actually, it looks pretty good to me. You are correct, that *chariti *is feminine, dative, singular. Even more interesting, dOron is neuter, singular but could be dative, vocative or accusative! In this case its usage is dative. So, although I typed that they were both “nominitive” I meant to say they were both dative. Sheesh! I wonder where my head was – or, perhaps, my fingers were “doing the walking” but were not actually connected to my brain!

Sorry for the confusion.

Deacon Ed

[quote=Deacon Ed]The expression “it is” is not found in the Greek – it is added in an attempt to make the sentence more readable. The word “gift” is gramatically linked to the word “grace” in the sentence, so the added expression “it is” refers back to grace, not faith or salvation.

Deacon Ed
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Half right, Deacon. There is no “is,” but there is an “it,” or more accurately, a “that”–touto, as mentioned above. Literally, “…and that not of-you, God’s the gift.”

As other posters have mentioned, the words for “grace” and “faith” are feminine, and Greek, like English and every other language I’ve studies, required that pronouns agree with their antecedents in gender and number. As others have already said, the most grammatically logical answer is the touto refers not to either grace or faith, but to the whole package, as expressed in the preceding clause.

Dave,

I agree with your analysis. As I mentioned in an earlier post the “gift” is grace which leads to faith which leads to salvation. This would be the “whole package” that you mention.

How does that seem to you?

Deacon Ed

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