“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22)
Note to Reader: If you have not yet read the previous posts I encourage you to take time and do so; we are on a Journey to a Place called Grace, and you are joining us in progress. Today’s post will make much more sense to you if viewed in light of what has already been written.
There are few things that shock me anymore; that leave me speechless in disbelief. But recently I was floored. I mean dumbstruck in total astonishment at what I saw – or, I should say, at what I didn’t see.
A kiosk in the Ancient Library is provided to assist us in our studies of the great volumes housed in this venerable place. I set my search engines on the word “grace” and selected for my range Genesis to The Revelation. I wanted to find every reference used in the entire Library.
The kiosk also provides several translations to choose from, and for my first search I selected The Contemporary English Version (CEV). I hit “enter” and, with utter bewilderment, saw the search results. There was not a single reference to the word “grace” anywhere to be found. No, the word did not occur even once in the complete translation provided by CEV.
I tried once more, supposing that I had misspelled “grace” or set the wrong perimeters in my search; or something. I just knew this couldn’t be right, so I had to make sure.
Once again I hit the “search” button and – zilch; nada; zippo. Not one single reference to GRACE anywhere in that particular translation of the Bible. No, not even one.
My curiosity at a peak, I then went and looked at specific verses where I knew the word grace was supposed to be; I wanted to see how they were re-wording those time-tested and life-proven passages. Here is what I found:
Saved by Grace?
We all know the Bible says we are saved by grace. But, that’s not how the CEV puts it — “You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own” (Eph 2:8 CEV). Huh? That’s not it at all!
The Glory of His Grace?
There are few phrases in the whole of Scripture that capture both in poetry and theology the unsurpassed majesty of God’s grand design than when Paul says, “to the praise of the glory of His grace”(Ephesians 1:6). A gifted orator could preach a series of astounding sermons just on that one text alone.
But then we have the softer and less sublime alternative given by CEV, certain not to ruffle any feathers nor stir anybody’s imagination. “God was very kind to us because of the Son He dearly loves, and so we should praise God.” (Eph 1:6). That’s it? That’s the best you can do?
The Grace of God was upon Jesus?
Luke tells us that as a child Jesus “grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40). The CEV sees it differently – “The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him.” Talk about watering it down!
The Throne of Grace?
There is a Throne in Heaven; it is the Throne of God. Specifically it is called the Throne of Grace, and once we truly understand what grace actually is, this expression becomes so packed with spiritual power that nothing can keep us down. Nothing.
Well, that is until you read it out of the CEV – “So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help” (Heb 4:16).
Seems to paint a picture of God as a kind, old grandpa who completely empathizes with our weakness and failures, and welcomes us nevertheless into His presence where He will help us figure out a way to get through another embattled day.
OK. That’s enough for now; tomorrow I’ll tell you in their own words why they did this…