5485 CHARIS (153): favor, grace, thanks. In God's FCM (NT) charis is usually translated by the word, "grace." But the word "grace" is mainly used in religious contexts and does not reveal its primary meaning of "favor." In its primary meaning of "favor," charis means an unearned benefit bestowed upon a person or category of people. Although the benefit is unearned, it may be necessary to meet predetermined requirements before the charis will be given.
That charis means "favor" can be seen in Act.7.9-10: "And the patriarchs, becoming jealous, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him out of all of his hardship, and gave him favor (charis) and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt." Similarly in Rom.15.15-16, "...I wrote to you boldly, partly because of the favor (charis) given to me (Paul) from God, to be a servant of Jesus the Anointed One to the nations..."
1Co.1.4, 3.10 and other passages also speak of God or Jesus giving favor, showing that charis means "a favor bestowed or given." Note that in the FCM, humans also may show favor: "...and Felix, desiring to show the Jews a favor (charis), left Paul bound" (Act.24.27).
In Rom.11.5-6 Paul writes, "...therefore in the present time also, a remnant has come about, according to a choice of favor (charis); and if by favor (charis), no longer of works; otherwise favor (charis) no longer becomes favor (charis)." Thus a "favor" of God is something which cannot be earned by "works." Further, in Rom.4.4 the reward one receives for "work" is not a favor (charis), but is debt that is owed. And as stated in Eph.2.8-10, the favor (grace) of God which grants salvation to believers is not due to their works. That is, no worker can demand salvation from God as payment for his works.
But note in these examples and throughout the FCM that God's "favor" is never something given to all humans. His charis is only given to certain individuals or to a category of humans who meet certain requirements. That is, God's charis (favor) is always conditional.
So, to favor someone only under stated conditions does not mean that it no longer is a favor (or "grace"). For instance, we may decide to favor needy brothers and sisters by giving them material assistance. In that event any favor we bestow upon them is conditional, based on their needs.
In James 4.6 God does the same thing: "...but he (God) gives greater favor (charis), for this reason it says: 'God resists arrogant ones, but to humble ones he gives favor (charis).'" So God favors (graces) one kind of humans but resists a different kind.
Compare this to God's "conditional favor" of Eph.2.8: "you+ are rescued by a favor, through trust." (This is usually translated, "by grace are ye saved through faith"). Note that the "you+" (plural form of "you") refers to those who" trust" (4100 pisteuo ) God. Those humans who do not "trust" God are not favored because they do not meet the "condition" that God stated. "Without trust (faith) it is impossible to please [God]..." (Heb.11.6), and, "Trust (faith) [comes] by hearing; and hearing through a word of God..." (Rom.10.17).
So then, these first eight or so words of Eph.2.8 ("You are rescued as a favor, through trust") evidently describe God's conditional favor to mankind. God's part is to "favor" each human who meets the condition of "trusting him," by "saving" him. And a human's part is simply to "trust him." This statement could be described as God's "New Covenant" or "New Agreement."
So God does favor some humans over others, in that he offers to rescue those from their sins who trust him, but not those who reject him. Does this mean that God is a "respecter of persons?" That is, does God arbitrarily play favorites? Not at all. In Tit.2.11 he offers to save all: "For God's rescuing favor (charis) appeared to all humans..."
Charis is used in the FCM in a second sense, "thanks." When a person is benefited in some way, he may gratefully respond with "thanks." So then, when charis is towards God rather than from him, it means "thanks." For instance 1Co.15.57: "But thanks (charis) [be] to God, the one who is giving us the victory through our Master, Jesus the Anointed One."
Charis in the sense of "favor" is used in a third way, when it occurs in context with the word "gift" (1431 dorea). The resulting expression, "dorea charis" means "a gift of favor," and is thus synonymous with 5486 charisma which also means "a gift of favor." For example, Rom.5.15: "But the offense is not also as the gift of favor (charisma). For if by the offense of one [human] many died, much rather by the favor (charis) of God and the gift of favor (dorea en charis) of the one human, Jesus the Anointed one abounded to the many."
See also the verb forms "to favor" (5487 charito'o) and "give favor" (5483 charizomai), listed below.
FAVOR OR APPROVAL IN THE SIGHT OF SOMEONE OR BY SOMEONE:
FAVOR OF A HUMAN IN THE SIGHT OF GOD OR BY GOD:
SOURCE OF FAVOR NOT EVIDENT; OR FAVOR BY OR WITH HUMANS:
CHARIS FIGURATIVELY REPRESENTING THE GIFT:
CHARIS USED IN CONTEXT WITH "GIFT" (1431 DOREA):
THANKFULNESS FOR A FAVOR RECEIVED:
THANKFULNESS TO GOD:
THANKFULNESS TO HUMANS:
CHARIS USED IN CONTEXT WITH "GIFT" (1431 DOREA):
5487 CHARITO'O (2): to favor or be favored. See "favor" (5485 charis).
5483 CHARIZOMAI (23): to give favor or to favor someone by forgiving them. See "favor" (5485 charis). Example of forgiving, 2Co.2.10: "Now to whom you+ forgive (charizomai) anything, I also. For indeed, what I have forgiven (charizomai), if I have forgiven (charizomai) anything, it is in the person of the Anointed One."