Saved by Grace
(Read Ephesians 2:8-10)
"For by grace…"
1) Good will, loving-kindness, favor.
2) God's grace is commonly defined as unmerited favor.
3) Another definition of grace is the bending down of one who is superior to lift up one who is inferior.
Just how inferior are helpless, dead, blind, rebellious, sinners? Just how superior is the all powerful, ever living, all seeing, and all loving God of heaven? The contrast is like no strength and all power; like death and life; like total darkness and brilliant light; like enmity and rebellion and perfect love. Each contrast between God and man declares man's total need and dependence upon God and His grace in salvation.
"For by grace are ye saved"…
To be saved means:
1) To be delivered or rescued from danger or destruction (from the miry pit).
2) To be preserved from danger of destruction (continual deliverance).
1) saved from the penalty of sin:
Rom. 5:9…saved from wrath; 1Th 1:8-10…delivered from the wrath to come…
2) saved from the power of sin:
Col 1:12-14 … hath delivered us from the power of darkness…
Rom. 6:14 …For sin shall not have dominion over you…
3) saved from the presence of sin:
Ps. 17:15 "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."
4) saved from the pleasure of sin:
Eph. 2:2-5; Tit. 3:1-5
The three tenses of Salvation:
2Co 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us…
Thus, salvation is all of grace- from start to finish- past, present, and future!
"For by grace are ye saved through faith"…
Faith in God means:
1) Believing; trusting; total dependence upon the Lord.
2) Belief that God exists; that He is the Creator; that He is the sovereign ruler of all things; that He
sent His Son into the world to save His people from their sins.
3) Belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and your Lord and Savior by His work on the cross for your sins.
Faith is the vehicle by which the grace of God in salvation is received! John 3:15-18. It is not faith in and of itself that saves, but rather the object of faith. Thus, a man may have faith in God, but not in the object of saving faith, which is the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are saved through faith in the proper understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People must have saving faith to go to heaven, as no one enters therein without it!
"For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God"…
Saving faith is not natural, but supernatural. We were not born with it, we didn't develop it, but we received it as a free gift from the Lord. Matt. 16:15-17, Rom. 10:17. No man can say that he has saving faith in and of himself. Except the Lord give us saving faith as a free gift, we all would perish in our sins.
"Not of works"…
1) Any thing accomplished by the exertion of energy.
2) Work here is used to contrast the gift of faith. If we could help God with one little finger, salvation would be owed in part to our works!!!
What are some of these human works that cannot save us? Keeping the law; keeping religious creeds; being baptized; joining a church; performing any religious activity whatsoever; doing good deeds to others; holding out faithful to the end; etc.
"Not of works lest any man should boast"…
To boast means:
To glory or to brag- If salvation was at all because of our works then we would be able to boast in ourselves (1 Corinthians 1:27-31). God will not share His glory with another. No saved sinner in heaven is boasting in his works, but in God's works for his salvation.
"For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus "…
In contrast to being saved by our own works, we were created anew by God's works in salvation! (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). We are a new creature, or a new creation. We have a new man dwelling in us that we didn't have before. This new man was created within us in regeneration, which is the new birth. Regeneration is the divine work of God, which the Holy Spirit performs on the lost sinner independently of the sinner's own will or works. God is sovereign and has the right to do whatsoever He pleases with His creation.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works "
Good works cannot save or even help save us in any way, but we were saved to do good works. Good works are an evidence of salvation!
What are some good works? Serving the Lord in His Church; Bible study and prayer; keeping God's commandments; living Holy, godly lives; witnessing to others; helping others; being a good neighbor; obeying the laws of the land; etc.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Before ordained means:
To prepare before, or to make ready beforehand. God not only foreordained salvation, but also our works. Therefore a life of good works for a Christian is just as certain as has salvation. You say that you are saved, then where are your works? "I have no good works nor do I care about them". Well, then, you are not saved but deceived- for just as sure as one is saved, he will manifest salvation by a life of good works and service to his Lord.
To walk in good works means:
To progress or go forward in the Lord's service; to live and regulate one's life by good works; to make use of the opportunities that God has given us to serve Him; to ask, seek, and knock in order to find out what the Lord would have us to do as we go through this pilgrim journey. To continue on steadfastly in fellowship with and in service to the Lord, etc.
Ephesians 2:8 & 9 speak of God's sovereign work in salvation. "Salvation is of the Lord". There is nothing that any man can do or has ever done to help God in his salvation. If you are trusting in your works, even just a little, then you are not saved. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross for your sins and you shall be saved.
Ephesians 2:10 speaks of our responsibility as recipients of God's grace to serve Him with our lives, in and through His local, New Testament Baptist Church. Are you saved and yet have not submitted to baptism and church membership? Do so today. As a member of a true New Testament Church, is your life one devoted to good works? No? Examine yourself to see whether you are truly in the faith, lest you be deceived and perish in the eternal torments of the lake of fire.
(Sermon preached by Pastor Burke at the Faith Baptist Church of Lawtey, Florida)