Saved By Grace Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Saved By Grace
Text: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” ( Eph 2:8 (KJV)
Of all the things that I have spoken to you about, the subject of today’s message sums up what I believe about the salvation of men and women. I’m happy to say that there have been great preachers of God’s word, who have held the same beliefs that I have.
Today, at the beginning of my message, I want to talk about those things, which relate to salvation. Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth...” (Rom.1:16). It’s the gospel and the word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to work the miracle of salvation in the heart of a sinner. It is God’s word, spoken by God’s people that cause men and women to repent of their sins and to take Jesus as their Savior. The word of God is what is important, not what we say about it. Some preachers are better than others, but none of them can preach a better gospel.
The origin of salvation is found in today’s text: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” ( Eph. 2:8 (KJV).
We can be saved only because God is willing to save us. And He was willing to give His only begotten Son to save us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 (KJV). It’s God’s love for us, not our love for Him, which saves us. We have seen that God’s grace is the source of our salvation, but I want to add that the means of salvation is “through faith.” But Paul also added, “and not of yourselves.” Salvation cannot come from anything we do, because of the weakness and inability of human nature.
God spoke about the depravity of man early in human history, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5 (KJV). And don’t think that we are better today than those who lived six to eight thousand years ago. In fact, when God said this, mankind had not been out of the Garden of Eden very long. When God spoke these words, everyone knew about Him and believed in Him, but they didn’t obey Him or love Him.
We have laid the foundation for today’s message, and there are five points that I want to share with you that relate to salvation.
1. There is salvation available today.
2. At the present time, salvation must be through grace.
3. At the present, salvation by grace must come through faith.
4. Salvation by grace, through faith, is not of ourselves.
5. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
I hope that when we are done looking at God’s plan of for salvation, that we will see how wonderful and how wise God is.
Our first point is, “THERE IS SALVATION AVAILABLE TODAY.
The apostle says, “Ye are saved.” He doesn’t say, “Ye shall be,” or “Ye may be;” but “Ye are saved.” He doesn’t say, “Ye are partly saved,” or “in the process of being saved,” or “that you can hope to be saved.” Let’s be as clear on this point as he was, and let’s never rest until we know that all of us are saved.
At this moment, each of us is either saved or unsaved. That is a fact. Which category do we belong to? I hope that, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, all of us can say, “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has also become my salvation.”
Our second point is this, “AT THE PRESENT TIME SALVATION MUST BE THROUGH GRACE.”
If we can say about any person, “you are saved,” we would have to add the words, “by grace.” There is no salvation today, which doesn’t begin and end with grace. As far as I know, there isn’t anyone in the whole wide world who preaches or possesses Christian salvation, except those who believe that salvation is all by grace. I have heard that there are those who claim that salvation can be obtained by works, but I have not made their acquaintance.
Some may say that the Catholic Church teaches salvation by
works, but no one in the Catholic Church claims to be presently saved; completely and eternally saved. Such a claim would make them a heretic. A few Catholics may hope to enter heaven when they die, but most of them have the miserable prospect of purgatory before their eyes. There are constant prayers for departed souls, and that would not be necessary if they were saved. Masses for the restfulness of these souls indicates the incompleteness of the salvation that The Catholic Church has to offer. The salvation they preach is by works, but even if it was possible to be saved by doing good works, no one could ever be sure they had done enough to secure their salvation.
There are people all around us, who know nothing about the doctrine of grace, and they never dream that they could be saved right now and where they are at. They believe that they will be saved when they die, or at least they hope they will. They believe that after years of being dedicated to holiness, they may, perhaps, be saved at last, but they don’t have any hope of being saved now. And for them to know they are saved, would be a presumption that is quite beyond them.
At the present time, there can be no salvation, unless it stands upon this foundation; “By grace are ye saved.”
It is very interesting that no one has stood up to preach that you can be saved in the present by works.
It would probably be too absurd. Where there were works, which were unfinished, the salvation would be incomplete; or if the salvation were complete, there would be no motive to continue doing good works.
Salvation must be by grace.
If a person is lost because of sin, how can he be saved, except through the grace of God? If he has sinned, he is condemned; and how can anyone, by himself, reverse that condemnation? Suppose that a person could keep the law all the rest of his life; then he would only have done the minimum; what he was always obligated to do, so he will still be an unprofitable servant. What could be done about this man's past? How can old sins be blotted out? How can you retrieve lost opportunities?
According to scripture, and according to common sense, salvation can only be through a free act of kindness by God. Salvation at the present time must be by the goodwill of God, and it is a free gift. People may compete for salvation by doing good works, but you won’t hear anyone defend their case by saying, “I am saved by what I have done.” That would sound holier-than-thou, and it’s something that few men would do. This type of boasting and pride would not make any friends. No, if we are saved, it must be a gift of God. For salvation to be complete, it must be a free act of kindness.
When those who belong to God are about to die, they never put their hope in their good works. When those who have lived holy and useful lives are in their final moments, they always put their trust in God’s grace.
That is not a time when anyone would put their confidence in their own prayers or their religiousness.
Those who are prepared for death simply trust in the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ and place no value in themselves. If this is the case in our last moments, when we have almost finished the good fight, we ought to trust in Him, even more, when we are in the thick of the fight.
If a person is completely saved in this present time of war against Satan and temptation, how can it be, except by grace? A child of God must grieve over the sin that is within him, and he must confess many shortcomings and disobedience, and sin is mixed in with everything he does, so how can he believe he is completely saved, unless it comes as a free gift of God, and from the mercy and grace of God.
Paul speaks about salvation, like it belongs to the Ephesians. He wrote, “By grace are ye saved.” The Ephesians were into witchcraft, and fortune-telling, and Devil worship. Now, if men and women, such as these are saved, it must be by grace alone. And it’s the same with us; our original condition and character make it clear, that if we are saved, we must owe it to the free favor of God. I know it’s true in my case, and it may also be true for the rest of you believers.