Saved  By Grace Alone
     Through Faith Alone in Christ Alone

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9

     The great number of different religions in the world can easily overcome most of us with hopeless confusion. However, that confusion can be greatly simplified when we realize that all the religions of the world can be placed under two categories: One, man saves himself by his works; Two, God saves man by grace through faith in Christ. Writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God the Apostle Paul makes it as clear as human language can make it that man is saved by Godís grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

TWO GROUPS OF MANKIND AS SEEN BY CHRIST
     Jesus divided the world into two groups - believers and unbelievers. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life: and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him"" John 3:36 To believe or have faith means to rely on. We exercise faith every time we sit down in a chair. We "rely on" that chair to hold us. We exercise faith every time we eat food. We "rely on" those who have processed and packaged the food that it is safe and nourishing. Even so, we must rely on Christ alone to save us from the condemnation of sin.
      We cannot "rely on" Jesus 95% to save us and 5% on anything else. If we do, we are not truly relying on Him. As much as we would like to do something to save ourselves, we must listen to the scriptures that teach us that we must "rely on" Jesus alone for our salvation. 

 I.  SAVED

     The word saved can have shades of meaning depending upon what people are being saved from. Some have been saved from the threat of death; others have been saved from disasters such as fire, flood, storm, earthquake or volcanic eruption. Others yet, have been saved from bankruptcy, embarrassment or emotional trauma.

    
The Apostle Paul is talking about being saved from condemnation by Godís holy law.
      In his natural state man is a sinner by nature, choice and actions. Unless he is saved by Godís grace man abides under that condemnation. Romans 3:19,  "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."   To be saved from the condemnation of Godís law means basically:

  1. To be delivered from the condemnation of Godís law
  2. To be preserved from the condemnation of Godís law  

     The reason that God sent His Son into the world was to make it possible for the world to be saved through faith in Him.

     John 3:16, 17,  "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." 
    
The instant a person under condemnation puts their complete trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior they are saved from condemnation.
     Many times we have read of convicted murderers on death row making a series of appeals all the way to the Supreme Court or to their state governor. In some cases they were given a stay of execution for a period of time. In others they were pardoned from the death penalty. In some cases they were put to death at the appointed time. 
     What a difference it would make if every condemned sinner understood they are on Godís "death row", but they can be delivered and preserved from their sentence of death if they will turn in sincerity to Christ and trust Him as their Savior.

II.   By Grace Alone

an insight into Godís grace:

     A reading of Ephesians 2:4,5 will give us an insight into Godís grace: "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you have been saved;)" 
    
A theological definition of grace might be, "grace is the unmerited favor of God towards fallen man whereby, through the sacrifice of Godís Son on the cross, God freely bestows His salvation on all sinners who receive Jesus Christ by faith as their Savior.

GRACE DEFINED

     Grace has also been defined as "God doing for us what we do not deserve." Indeed, Ephesians 2:8 says, "By grace you have been savedÖit is the gift of God." A gift is paid for by the giver and should the receiver of the gift do anything to pay for the gift it would no longer be a gift. The purchase price of salvation was fully paid at Calvary. There is absolutely nothing fallen sinners can do to add to that purchase price. What they can do is humbly and gratefully receive Jesus Christ by faith as their Savior. "As many as received Him  to them He gave the right to become the children of GodÖ" John 1:12. One such grateful sinner saved by Godís grace wrote:

           Naught have I gotten, but what I received,
          Grace has bestowed it, since I believed;
          Boasting excluded, pride I abase,
          Iím only a sinner saved by grace. 
          Once I was foolish, and sin ruled my heart
          Causing my footsteps from God to depart;
          Jesus has found me, happy my case,
          I now am a sinner, saved by grace."
The only salvation that makes us acceptable to God is when we are saved by Godís grace.

III.  Through Faith Alone

     The venerable Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. preached, :"Man wants to buy salvation. What is wrong with the world now is that men are trying to find the means by which they can earn something that the Lord Jesus Christ wants to give away. The average man has an idea something like this: The angels are keeping the books up in Heaven. If he does a good deed, it goes in one column. If he does a bad deed, it goes in another column. When he dies, the angels will add up the columns. If the good outweighs the bad, he will go to Heaven. If the bad outweighs the good, he will go to Hell. That is the idea the average man has.    But that isnít so. You donít go to Heaven for doing good deeds, and you donít go to Hell just because you do something bad. ĎAs a matter of fact, if you are a sinner, you canít do good deeds. The Bible says that "all our righteousnessesí are as filthy ragsÖí"  Isaiah 64:6 

     Our text not only says "by grace are you saved through faith", It also addresses the futility of trying to help our faith out with our works. It adds, "not of works, lest any man should boast." No one will be able to boast in this world or in Heaven that they helped God out in salvation by the good works they did. 
     When the Philippian jailer fell on his knees before Paul and Silas and asked, "sirs, what must I do to be saved?", the only condition they gave him was, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house"-Acts 16:30,31

What about repentance? 

     Repentance is part of believing. Repentance means "change of mind". Before a person is saved their mind is all wrong in regard to salvation and their relationship with God. In order to be saved through faith they must have a change of mind about trusting themselves, their works, or their religion and begin trusting Christ. 
     A good question each of us should ask is, "Where is my faith?" Is it in my works, my church, my religious practices, my goodness or in Christ?"

  IV.  In Christ Alone

     Jesus said it Himself. "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father, except through  Me." John 14:6. 
     Peter said it to the spiritual rulers of Israel, "Nor is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. 
Is this narrow"?  Indeed it is. But we can only be broader than Jesus and the word of God regarding salvation at the peril of our souls.

     Instead of complaining that there are not many ways to God and man should be able to pick out whichever one suits him best, we should be immensely grateful God has provided an absolutely reliable way.
     Jesus has extended an invitation, "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."   Matthew 11:28.  The best decision any sinner under the condemnation of Godís law can make is to accept the invitation of Jesus and come to Him in faith relying on Him completely for his/her salvation.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from the NKJV unless otherwise noted

 

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