SALVATION AS GOD DESCRIBES IT
"For by grace are ye 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
††††††††††† With all the babble, confusion, and religious nonsense there is in this world, -- in this age when the house of God seems to lie in a heap of ruins, -- in this day of obvious divine judgment -- in this day in which we and our fathers have been kindling the wrath of God for generations, burning incense to other gods, I wonder if it might not be wise for us to go through all the ruins of Godís house, like Hilkiah the high priest during the days of Josiah, and search for the Book of God. Like that faithful man, pick it up, dust it off, and read it. Then, after reading it, like that godly young king, we would be wise to inquire of the Lord concerning the words of this Book.
††††††††††† We would be wise to lay aside our church creeds, catechisms, and confessions of faith, -- all of them! Lay aside our theology books, religious papers, religious traditions, customs, and even the opinions of great men of the past. How I wish we could do that! How I wish I could get men and women to simply hear what God says in his Word about his salvation!
††††††††††† I wish we could just forget about Calvinism and Arminianism, Catholicism and Protestantism, Pietists and Puritans, Baptists and Pedobaptists, Liberals and Fundamentalists, and simply seek to find out from Godís own Word what God himself has to say about his salvation. If we could do that we might find out what salvation is. We might even come to possess it!
Can we do that? Can you lay aside everything you have ever thought, heard, and learned about salvation from all other sources, and look with me into the Word of God to see what God has to say about this thing called salvation?
Everywhere salvation is spoken of in Holy Scripture, everywhere it is illustrated, everywhere it is explained, it is presented to us just as it is right here in Ephesians 2:8-9 -- ďFor by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ē
Here God the Holy Spirit tells us five things about Godís salvation. These five things are always characteristic of Godís saving operations. Wherever salvation is found, wherever salvation is experienced, these five things are both obvious and gladly acknowledged.
1. Salvation is by grace alone.
2. Salvation is through faith alone.
3. Salvation is in Christ alone.
4. Salvation, in its entirety, (even the faith by which it is experienced) is the gift of God.
5. This salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is accomplished entirely without works of any kind on the part of the one who is saved.
††††††††††† Be sure you hear what I am saying. We are saved without works! Our relationship with God certainly determines what we do; but what we do, either good or bad, has absolutely nothing to do with our relationship with God. ďBoasting excluded, pride I abase, Iím only a sinner saved by grace!Ē††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† AMEN.