Saved By Grace Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The third thing to be observed is that “OUR PRESENT SALVATION BY GRACE MUST BE THROUGH FAITH.
Your salvation must be through grace, and salvation by grace must be through faith. You cannot get a hold of salvation by grace by any other means than by faith.
I suppose that it could be possible if God had willed it, that salvation might have been through works, and not by grace. If Adam had perfectly obeyed God, he would only have done what he was obligated to do.
If he had not fallen into sin, his salvation would have still been by grace, because God owed him nothing.
This would have been a very difficult system to work out since the object was perfection; but in our case, it would not work at all. In our case, salvation means deliverance from guilt and sin, and we could not be delivered by any amount of good works since we so very often fall into sin.
Suppose I was to preach to you that you must do certain good works, and then you would be saved. And suppose that you could perform them; that type of salvation would not have been by grace, but instead, it would be payment for a debt, which you were owed by God. Salvation obtained like this would be a reward for the work that you have done.
Salvation by grace can only be gripped by the hand of faith. Any attempt to grab a hold of it by your own efforts would cause grace to fade away. "Therefore, it is of faith that it might be by grace." "If by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Some people try to get a hold of salvation by grace through the use of ceremonies, but that will not work. You may be christened, confirmed and receive the “holy sacraments” from the hands of a priest, or you may be baptized, or join the church or take communion; but does any of those things save you?
Let me ask, “Are you saved?” If you did claim salvation of some sort, would you believe it was salvation by grace?
And you cannot get salvation by grace through your feelings. If you are saved today, it must be by grace alone.
If you go around saying, “I must feel that I am saved. I must feel a certain amount of joy or a certain amount of sorrow; otherwise I don’t believe that I am saved,” you will find that this approach will not work. If your hope is to measure your faith by your feelings, you might as well hope to see with your ear, or taste with your eye, or hear with your nose; because feeling is the wrong organ for believing. But after you are saved, it’s a different story; you can enjoy salvation by feeling its heavenly influences; but to think that you can grasp salvation by your own feelings is like trying to carry sunlight in a grocery bag; it would be absurd.
Besides, those results, which feelings can produce, are very unpredictable. When your feelings are tranquil and pleasant, they are soon interrupted, and they become agitated and depressed. The most changeable of elements, the feeblest of creatures, the most distasteful conditions, may sink or rise by your mood. Experienced men and women, come to rely less and less on their emotions. Faith alone brings salvation, but feelings are an uncertain platform for salvation to rest upon.
Feelings boil and rage then become lukewarm, depressed, and hopeless. They can’t be trusted, when our eternal security is at stake.
Now let’s look at our forth point; “SALVATION BY GRACE, THROUGH FAITH, IS NOT OF US.”
Salvation and faith is not of us. To begin with, we don’t deserve them, and they are not the rewards for our previous good works. No one has lived well enough that God is obligated to give him eternal life; but even if He did give him eternal life, it would be payment for a debt owed, and not by grace. Salvation is given to us, not earned by us.
Our early years always involves a wandering away from God, and our new life is a return to God. It’s a work of undeserved mercy conferred on those who need it but never deserve it.
Salvation is not of us, that is, it doesn’t develop out of our previous goodness. Salvation comes from above; it never evolves from within. Paul said that before we are saved that we are dead in our sin, so the question is, “How can eternal life evolve from one who is dead?”
There are some who even dare to tell us that faith in Christ and the new birth is only the product of good things that lay hidden in us by nature. But what we have inherited is not a good nature; it’s the nature of Adam, a fallen nature, a nature that sins; and what will develop out of it is only fit for the place prepared for the devil and his angels.
You may take any lost man, and give him the best college education, but when he graduates, he’ll still be lost, unless a higher power will come and save him from himself.
Grace brings into the heart, something that is entirely foreign to it. Grace does not improve anything and it doesn’t perpetuate anything; it kills and then makes alive. There is nothing in common, between our original natural state, and the state of grace. The first one is darkness, and the other is light; one is death, and the other is life.
Salvation by grace, through faith, is not of us, in the sense of it being the result of our own power. We are obliged to view salvation as a divine act of creation, and not of ourselves.
When a man believes, that belief is only one of the results of the life that God implants within the soul. Even the motivation to be saved by grace, is not of us; but it is the gift of God.
Everybody ought to believe in Jesus: It’s our duty to receive Him because God made Him to be sin for us.
But here lies the problem with man; man will not believe in Jesus; he prefers anything to faith in his Redeemer. Unless the Holy Spirit persuades a person’s judgment and restrains their will, they will have no desire to believe in Jesus.
I want to ask you to think about when you were saved; can you explain how it came about? You turned to Christ and believed in Him: these were your own acts. But what caused you to turn to Christ? What was that force, which caused you to turn from sin, and to want to serve Christ? Do you attribute what happened to you to something you have within, which those who do not believe are yet to discover? No, you would say that you would be just like that unbeliever, if it were not for that powerful something which touched your will and enlightened your mind, and then guided you to the foot of the cross. So it must be that salvation by grace, through faith is not of us, and I don’t believe that any of us would ever dream of taking any credit for our salvation.
Now, this is the last point…“BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD.”
Salvation is God’s gift; it’s the unspeakable gift, and it’s free and it contains immeasurable love.
Salvation is a gift of God, as opposed to a wage.
When a man pays another man a wage, he is doing what is right; and no one ever thinks of praising him for it.
But we praise God for salvation, because it is not payment for a debt; it is a gift of grace. No one gets eternal life because it is something that is owed to them: it is a gift from God. Nothing can be more freely given than a gift. And salvation is such an absolutely free gift of God that nothing can be freer. God gives it, because He chooses to give it. And He gives it according to that great verse, which causes many men to bite their lip in anger, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
You are all guilty and condemned, and the Great King pardons whoever He wants to from among us. But God never forces anyone to believe in His Son.
You can resist the Holy Spirit, and many men do resist Him. But it’s best to cooperate with Him because He wants you to receive Jesus and have eternal life. Remember, salvation by grace through faith is for whosoever will believe in the only begotten Son of God. Salvation is completely a gift of God, as opposed to the notion that it grows within. Salvation is not something that is naturally produced from within: it is brought from above and planted within the heart by heavenly hands.
The complete process of salvation is a gift of God. If you want to have it, there it is, complete. Will you accept it as a perfect gift? If you say, “No, I will produce it within myself,” you will be disappointed. We cannot do a work that is so rare and costly, a work that Jesus spent His life blood for.
Won’t you just freely take the gift that Christ on the cross declared was finished. It is the gift of God: that is, it is eternally secure, as opposed to the gifts of men, which soon pass away. Jesus said, “Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”
If my Lord Jesus gives you salvation at this moment, you have it forever. He will never take it back, and if He doesn’t take it from you, who can?
If He saves you now, through faith, you are saved, so saved that you shall never perish; neither shall any pluck you out of his hand. I pray that that is the way it will be for every one of us. Amen.