WFT- usufruct

27 July 2009

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 13th was usufruct (YOO zuh frukt).

Here is the definition they provided:

1 : the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another 2 : the right to use or enjoy something

And the insightful (as always) etymology:

Thomas Jefferson said, "The earth belongs in usufruct to the living." He apparently understood that when you hold something in usufruct, you gain something of significant value, but only temporarily. The gains granted by usufruct can be clearly seen in the Latin phrase from which the word developed, "usus et fructus," which means "use and enjoyment." Latin speakers condensed that phrase to "ususfructus," the term English speakers used as the model for our modern word. "Usufruct" has been used as a noun for the legal right to use something since at least the 1630s. Any right granted by usufruct ends at a specific point, usually the death of the individual who holds it.

This brings to mind a passage from John 1:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  - John 1:12-13

The Greek word translated as "right" in the NASB is exousia.  It comes from the word exesti which means "lawful".  The sense of the word is the lawful power or authority.  To those who received Yeshua as the Messiah He gave them the right/privilege/power to become children of G-d.  Notice that it does not say He made them children of G-d... it says He gave them the legal ability to become so.

Messiah was the Son of G-d (Matthew 26:63-64) and He had the lawful right to enjoy the blessings of that position.  Instead He gave up His position, served as the Redeemer for all mankind, and, upon His death, gave to us the right to become children of G-d.

In the eyes of G-d's Law we are guilty (Romans 3:23) and are deserving of condemnation (Romans 6:23).  There is no allowance or condition within the Law for anyone to be pardoned or excused or forgiven so some means outside the Law had to be found.  G-d's Law must be upheld for G-d is a righteous judge (Psalm 7:11).  How then can any be spared?  By meeting the requirement (the penalty) of the Law resulting from our sin: death.

By His sinless death, Messiah gave us the lawful ability to become children of G-d: a clean slate and no debt of life owed as a result of our sin.  What good news can be found in Paul's letter to Timothy:

"...in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."  - 2 Tim 4:8

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