I have been considering the words “gift of grace.” Paul tells us that it is God’s gift of grace that accomplishes our salvation. I wonder what that gift of grace means. Does the gift freely given have any expectations? When I was a child, I went to the birthday parties of my friends and classmates. We took them gifts and when another one of us gave a party gifts were expected in exchange. Is God’s gift like that? A partial clue would be in the Greek word for “gift” and I don’t know enough without a lexicon to do that. So I am going to examine this word without that help, which may be dangerous. In his letters, Paul reveals information about himself. He was a Jew, a Pharisee trained by some of the most important Pharisees in Jerusalem at the Temple. He had been entrusted with the important task of persecuting Christians prior to his Damascus experience. He was well versed in his history as a Jew, and he knew the Torah (the first five books of the Christian Bible and the most important Jewish scripture) well. Throughout the Torah, God is always dealing with a wayward people, Israel his chosen. Each time they found themselves in trouble, God granted a new Covenant and forgave them. The expectation of God’s act of grace, the new Covenant, was that they would keep this Covenant. Paul was likely to think in these terms about God’s gift of grace. So Paul’s expectation of our response was, in all probability, that we would do all that we could to love God and our neighbor. This is a summary of the new and final Covenant.