Grace or charis in ancient Greek is the divine influence upon the heart. Charis means to be gracious, loving, kind, extend favor, benevolent and life giving.
The word charis was used both in Greek and Roman mythology as the personification of graces. To be appropriated as having charis was to be divine.
Paul being an educated man of his era used the word Charis from the Greek to describe God’s desire to save mankind from sin. This word was understood by the Greeks and Romans in their culture to mean an act of divine kindness. Paul was using this word to convey to the Gentiles of his day how much God cared about them.
Paul went on to tell these Gentiles that the One true God’s charis could be extended to them through pistis or faith in Jesus Christ. In Greek mythology Pistis was representative of having good faith, trust, and reliability. Pistis was a principle used as a classical form of argumentation in Paul’s day. To fully persuade through logical reasoning. In other words, the mind must be fully persuaded in an argument to agree with the evidence presented to be convinced of a particular truth.
Today in law we use the term “good faith” or bona fide to describe the act of putting trust in and confidence with sincerity in something without intent to defraud with malice.
The Bible tells us to be fully persuaded about something in our mind. What we believe will determine our course of action. (Romans 14:5)
According to scripture, Thomas was not fully persuaded in his mind that Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus did not condemn him for his lack of faith or pistis. Rather he demonstrated his eternal word by revealing himself to Thomas. Some people think that faith is supposed to be blind. Just trust even though you have not been fully persuaded. This simply is not true!
Faith comes by hearing a word from the Lord! (Romans 10:17) Presumptuous blind faith has caused many a life to go ship wrecked.
Faith or pistis comes by a word from God who has worked upon the heart by his divine nature with benevolent intentions, through Grace or charis.
Pistis is being fully persuaded based on convincing. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit convinces us that something is true. (John 16:8)
Grace or God’s loving kindness convinces the heart through faith (which is relying upon as true) creating the assurance of what is hoped for but not fully materialized.
Faith or pistis persuades and convinces by divine intervention a truth.
Thomas was fully persuaded that Jesus rose from the dead by experiencing the logos manifest in the flesh. It is the word of God which creates the ability to believe with fully persuaded assurance.
Even though a person were raised from the dead, if a heart is not fully persuaded by the Holy Spirit they would not believe. The unbelieving heart would just explain away the miracle. It takes charis through pistis to be fully convinced of truth.
Divinely inspired reasoning through the word of God convincing the heart is what produces faith. Miracles confirm the word of God. Jesus is the logos made flesh. His word through scriptures by divinely inspired utterance or manifestation worked on the heart is what produces faith, pistis.
In Roman’s chapter one we are told that evidence for a Creator is made evident by the things which are made. That does not convince everyone of that fact however.
A mind can be fully persuaded to believe a lie. Satan has built up strongholds of delusion in many people’s mind. They believe something to be true when it is not. Hence the need to have full persuasion of the truth. Scriptures tell us plainly that not all men have faith (2 Thess. 3:2) and that all born again Christians have been given a measure of faith. Notice the word given. Faith is given. An act of divine grace.
Even among Christians this is so. Paul pointed out that one person in persuaded that eating meat is fine while others do not have faith to eat meat.
Paul says that if you do not have faith being fully persuaded about something and you go against your conscience then it is sin. (Romans 14:2-5)
We know from scriptures that God sanctified meats but that some cannot eat meat because of an unpersuaded mind.
To one eating food offered to idols is no big deal because to them the idol is just a man-made construct. A piece of wood or a rock. While to others it is a demon spirit’s offering. Therefore, the thought of eating an offering sacrificed to an idol is abhorrent. (1 Corinthians 8)
Adam and Eve were walking in the garden naked without a problem and then after they sinned their nakedness became sin to them. They felt vulnerable and unprotected. God made a sacrifice of an animal for their atonement and clothed them in the skin. What was the difference? Perception. Their nakedness was seen not from a perspective of innocent children but naked in their beings in front of a Holy God. (Genesis 3)
We see this same principle today in cultural practices. Some have liberty in somethings while others do not have that same liberty due to cultural beliefs.
Unless the heart is fully persuaded (having faith) through divine intervention about a matter they cannot believe. Faith is a supernatural attribute produced by divinely inspired grace.
The conscience if not adhered to can sear. Basically, can have a flamboyant disregard for something. Many non saved people have this. Their sin does not feel like sin to them because it is a natural practice. It takes Holy Spirit convincing to produce an awareness of sin. (Romans 1)
Charis divinely influenced upon the heart convinces that God’s word is true. Grace through faith produces a change of mind or repentance. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
Evidence that is presented by the Holy Spirit through the word; written, oral or even supernatural produces faith. (John 20)
God’s word graciously worked upon the heart produces faith.
Paul reasoned with, persuaded, argued, testified, to the Gentiles through scriptures that Jesus is both Saviour and Lord. The Holy Spirit divinely moved upon the hearts to convince.
Paul also performed miracles confirming the word of God that he preached through demonstrative power of the Holy Spirit. Charis demonstrated evidences of the truth of the gospel message.
Grace or charis is the divine work of the invisible God the Holy Spirit upon the heart. Blessed indeed are those who believe and are fully persuaded that God’s word is true.