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 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Ephesians 4:32

It used to bother me when I read this verse, because I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what exactly was being said. God, it seemed, had forgiven us “for Christ’s sake”, i.e., because of or for the sake of Christ. Being thoroughly convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that God is ONE[1], and there is only ONE person in the Godhead or Deity[2], it was confusing, to say the least, to consider the implications of this passage. According to the scripture, Jesus Christ is the mighty God and the everlasting Father[3]; so why does this verse seem to be implying the involvement of two separate and distinct entities in the process of forgiveness?

Looking deeper into the original language of this passage reveals the answer. Note the original text for the words “God for Christ’s sake”:[4]

Original Koine Greek: θεὸς ἐν Χριστῷ

English transliteration: Theos en Christo

The translation of the Greek phrase “Theos en Christo” is “God in Christ”. This, indeed, is the translation given in many versions of the Bible, including but not limited to English Standard Version, American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, Darby Translation, New American Standard Bible, New King James Version and Young’s Literal Translation.

With this more concise translation in mind, the meaning of our text is much clearer:

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ hath forgiven you.”

Or, in other words, God has forgiven us our sins in the person of Christ. As a MAN (the INCARNATE WORD, God manifest in Flesh)[5] He forgave HUMANITY. Notice the words of Paul to the Colossians and the Romans:

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”[6]

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”[7]

We are crucified with Jesus Christ when we repent of our sins – to Jesus Christ! We are buried with Jesus Christ when we are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins! We are risen from the dead with Jesus Christ when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – or, more precisely, the Spirit of Jesus Christ! Each phase of the New Birth experience (death, burial, resurrection) involves identity with and connection to Jesus Christ![8] This, then, gives the true sense of Paul’s words to the Ephesians “even as God in Christ hath forgiven you.”[9]

It is interesting to note that this more accurate rendering of the phrase “Theos en Christo” corresponds closely with the following words of the apostle to the Corinthians:

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself….”[10]

Original Koine Greek: θεὸς ἦν ἐν Χριστῷ

English transliteration: Theos ēn en Christo

Jesus plainly said that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him![11] It is relatively simple to grasp the notion that Christ, the Son or Flesh/Body of God was in the Father – the eternal, invisible omnipresent Spirit; it is equally easy to comprehend that the Spirit of God was dwelling in Christ: this, cried the Voice of God, is my beloved Son (Body of Flesh) in whom I am well pleased![12]

In HIMJesus Christ! – dwells all the fullness of Deity bodily![13]

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh,
justified in the Spirit,
seen of angels,
preached unto the Gentiles,
believed on in the world,
received up into glory.”[14]

Pastor Tim D. Cormier
27 August 2011

[1] Deut. 6:4; James 2:19

[2] Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3

[3] Isa. 9:6

[5] John 1:14; 1 Tim. 3:16

[6] Col. 2:12-14

[7] Rom. 6:3-6

[8] Acts 2:38

[9] Eph. 4:32

[11] John 14:10-11

[12] 2 Pet. 1:17; Col. 1:19

[13] Col. 2:9

[14] 1 Tim. 3:16

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.


Comments on: "For Christ’s Sake…." (2)

  1. Shirley Christian said:

    I like this Elder, sending a copy to Brother Randy Ensor.


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