A REASON AND PURPOSE FOR EVERYTHING (PART 13)
Grace is God doing — Grace is God giving — Grace is God saving — Grace is God loving, first. Grace is always first, therefore, salvation can only come as a gift. Grace is preceded by nothing but the will and love of God. God is the reason for grace. Nothing a man can do draws forth the grace of God, for it is God who draws the man. One can see from this that if any are to be saved it would have to be by an act of God, for it cannot be by anything a man can do. Man can do nothing to deserve that which is undeserved, nor can he merit the unmeritable. Grace and mercy come from God, they are not freely available only freely given. If there was anything a man could do, then salvation would no longer be a gift. The very fact that man is dead in sins immediately rules out any legitimate conversation concerning what a man must do in order to get saved. Salvation is not about what a man must do, but what must be done to/for the man. To be saved, man must be made alive. Man is not enabled, but enlivened. Jesus says: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing…Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:63,65). Man can do nothing before he is made alive by God, and he needs to do nothing after he is made alive by God in order to be, or remain, saved. It is all grace. Grace makes alive, and nothing can be done prior to life. No man can come unto Jesus BEFORE he is made alive by the Spirit of God. The fact a man has been made alive to God by God, born again by the will, love and power of God, shows there is nothing for the man to do in order to induce a saved state, for being made alive is being born again is being saved. In any case, how can one enable a dead man to do anything? What can a man do to be made alive who can only be made alive by grace? What can a man do to be made alive who can only be made alive by the Spirit of God? (see Jn. 3:5,6). What is there which a man must do to be saved, born again, when he can only be made alive, born again, by the power/grace of God? Why the need for grace which cannot be merited, why the need for mercy which is totally undeserved if a man can himself do something to come to God? Grace and mercy are the telling signs that man can do nothing to save himself, or assist, cooperate, in his salvation. Grace and mercy reveal that it is only God Who can save, it is only by what God does that saves a man. How can a man be saved by what he does (works), if he is only saved by what God does (grace)?
It is transparently clear from the Word of God that “…by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16 cf. Gal. 2:21), therefore, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:27 cf. Gal. 6:14). “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth's sake” (Psa. 115:1). All the glory for salvation belongs solely to God for His mercy and truth, without which none can be saved. “Not unto us, O Lord! not unto us, but unto Thy dear and adorable name be the praise! We were enemies in our minds, and by our wicked works; but Thou hast redeemed us unto God by Thy Blood: all our choicest actions were polluted and unclean, but Thou hast worked out for us a Perfect and Everlasting Righteousness." There can only be no boasting when there are no works present, no act of his own which a man can look to as the moment that turned him from darkness to Light. Grace excludes all boasting, any pointing by man to what he has done. THE NECESSITY FOR GRACE IS BECAUSE MAN CAN DO NOTHING. Man has nothing to boast of in his salvation, for salvation is not conditioned on his works, but solely upon God’s grace. God is the Father of salvation, and He gives it to all His elect children. The saved man is saved by grace through faith without any works. There is no boasting in a saved man of what he has done, because he knows he has done nothing, for what can a man do before God has made him alive. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake” (Psa. 115:1). The saved man boasts only in what can be boasted of, and that is, what God, by grace, has done for his soul: “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul” (Psa. 66:16 cf. 1 Cor. 15:10). The Word of God states “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8). What else is a man saved by? Nothing but grace! A man is saved by God. Who else is he saved by? No one but God!
God does not aid a man in his salvation, He does not help a man to do what must be done for him to be saved, for it is by grace alone that God actually saves a man. Grace is God’s power to save. Salvation responds only to grace, and grace responds only to the will of God. Grace needs no help from man, for it is by grace that a man is saved. It is by an act of God that a man is saved. The Source of salvation is God, and the means to salvation is the grace of God. The means of salvation is God doing, not man doing. The means of salvation is God gracing, not man working. The minute any teaching takes your eyes of God, and onto yourself—off what God has done and causes you to look to what you must do—then you no longer have the Gospel of the grace of God. You no longer have true Christianity. Salvation is completely dependent upon God from Whom salvation comes, for it is His and His to give, and He gives this eternal gift to whomsoever He pleases. “…Salvation is of the Lord…Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…” (Jon. 2:9; Psa. 3:8 cf. Psa. 37:39). Salvation is not according to what any man does, abstains from, thinks, or believes, but is solely based on the mercy and grace of an Almighty God Who has mercy only on those whom He wills to be merciful to (see Ex. 33:19; Rom. 9:15). Salvation comes because of mercy not merit. Only those who believe the Gospel of God, who believe in salvation by what God has done, show they are saved. True Christians evidence the work of God in them, for which, and to Whom, they are eternally grateful. Those who do not believe, who will not believe even unto their dying breath, will be damned to suffer an eternity in Hell, and the smoke of their torment shall rise forever. True Christianity is about salvation, and salvation is only by the grace and mercy of God. The sole source, reason and purpose for salvation is God.
The following is an article entitled ‘What Must I Do To Be Saved?’, which briefly presents the Gospel of God. For a more detailed explanation please see my books: ‘God’s only Gospel’, ‘Born of the Gospel’, ‘The Doctrines of the Gospel of the Grace of God’, or ‘For God so Loved…WHO?’.
Most people seem comfortable with the distractions of day to day living. Countless numbers seem unconcerned about the future and what effect it will have on their lives. Increasing numbers rarely stop and think of the need each one of us has; of those last days of our lives when our thoughts will inevitably turn to ‘What happens beyond death’, and, ‘What if there really is a God?’ Where will I spend eternity?
The Word of God says that everyone, by nature, is spiritually dead in sins, meaning, they are separated from and without Christ, without God, and, therefore, without hope in this world (see Ephesians 2:1,5,12). Man is a sinner in need of a Saviour, One Who can do what it is impossible for any man to do. Contrary to what religion has taught us, no man can work his way to Heaven. No man can obey God to the point where God accepts him into His Kingdom. “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20). “…there is no man that sinneth not…” (1 Kings 8:46). “No man, though ever so ‘good’, is perfect on earth, or free from sin.” “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Proverbs 20:9). Salvation is not about what a man needs to do, but about what he needs to become: born again. Salvation is not about what a man needs to do, but what needs to be done to him: made alive. The Word of God says that man at his very best state, that is, the best a man can be, and the best a man can do, is nothing but vanity, profitless, in the eyes of God. “…every man at his best state is altogether vanity…every man is vanity” (Psalm 39:5,11).
When asked “…who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25), Jesus replied: “…with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Salvation is by the grace of God, not the works of man, therefore, salvation cannot come by what we do, but only by what God does. Our best is never enough. The Word of God says all men, by nature, are dead in sins (see Ephesians 2:1-5). They are dead to the true God, so much so, that “…there is none Righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:10,11).
Religion is quite often, and in countless ways, the voice of ignorance. Religion is man. Replete with false ways and means to salvation, Religion’s underlying and insurmountable problem lies in the fact that all are dead in sins, and so, man can hardly be called upon to do that which is said to be necessary to obtain and/or maintain salvation, by adhering to a list of religious duties, etc. This, far from being the way to God, is the very evidence that one is in a cursed state, for the Word of God says: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse…” (Gal. 3:10 cf. Gal. 5:3). "…as many as seek for justification by the works of the law, and trust in their own righteousness for acceptance with God, these are so far from being blessed or justified hereby, that they are under the curse…” Their very efforts in seeking acceptance with God by their feeble, and utterly inadequate obedience, is that very thing which condemns them. By nature, that is, according to his natural state of being, lost man has always trusted in that which can only condemn him, i.e., false gods, salvation by personal obedience, etc. The Word of God says: “…a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). If one has not perfectly obeyed every law of God, then one remains in a cursed state: “…Cursed is everyone that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). Those who try to obey God’s Law in order to get saved or ‘stay saved’ are identified by the Word of God as among the cursed. The only way to God, the only way to salvation is Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of His people. Jesus said: “…I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6 cf. 1 Cor. 1:30,31). The apostle Paul, writing to believers stated: “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:4). The Lord Jesus also says: “…No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (John 6:65). Unless the Father gives no man can come to him.
The Good News is that the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death has redeemed His people from the curse of sin that condemns every man by nature (see Galatians 3:13 & Hebrews 9:12). The Word of God states that salvation comes, not based on the obedience of each individual, but solely by the obedience of One: the Lord Jesus Christ. “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Romans 5:19). Salvation comes by way of the sinless, not the sinful. This is the key factor which distinguishes true Christianity from the world’s religions, and a true Christian from an accursed person. We’ve seen that man at his best is altogether vanity, and that no one can be saved based on their best, sincerest and most concerted, efforts at obedience toward God. For one thing, how would any of us know whether we had been obedient enough? The fact that no one can answer that question has subsequently given rise to what most people have come to accept in the matter of salvation: the idea that doing one’s best in life will be enough to get them into Heaven, for who can do more than their best. This is man’s conclusion, this is man’s religion. Religion pats man on the head and says, ‘Do your best, God knows your heart’, while God’s Word says: “…every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psalm 39:5). All that a man is, or does, amounts to absolutely nothing. Man needs a Savior. Doing your best will get you nowhere!
What man does is not his immediate problem, but that which he is. Man is a sinner in need of salvation, not reformation, not a revival of a societally acceptable collection of values, but salvation. It is not outward works performed by man which will save him, but that great work which is done within him by Almighty God. Man does not require re-invention, but is in need of re-creation. Man does not need that which he can do, but only that which God can do. Man does not need application, but regeneration. Man does not need a legion of New Year’s Eve-type resolutions. Man does not need to do better, he needs to be born again. He needs to be made alive. He needs to be made a new creature in Christ Jesus the Lord (see John 3:3; Ephesians 2:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The saved man is the workmanship of God in Christ Jesus unto good works, not because of good works (see Ephesians 2:10).
Perfection is what God demands. Man needs to be freed from the guilt and punishment due unto his sins, and a perfect Righteousness established if he is to be accepted by God. Seeing that no one is perfect, no one can even begin to obey perfectly. How can an apple even begin to become a fig? No one can do anything to make up for their sins, or the fact that they are sinners, and that everyone at their best is, at the very least, imperfect. God has sent a Savior to the earth to die for His predetermined people, taking away their sins through His sacrificial death on their behalf, and charging them with His own Righteousness, or perfection. A man is made Righteous by what the Saviour has done, not by anything that a man has done. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The sinless for the sinful. This is the great Gospel of God, His Good News to those who will believe it. The Good News is that, though man is a sinner who cannot, by his own obedience, gain salvation, or maintain it, salvation is obtainable, and only obtainable, by the grace of God through the obedience of Jesus Christ on behalf of all those God has given Him, whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world to be His people. God’s people rejoice in the fact that God has chosen them in Christ “…before the foundation of the world…having predestinated us…according to the good pleasure of HIS WILL, to the praise of the glory of HIS GRACE, wherein HE hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:4-6). Salvation is neither by man’s will or works, but solely by God’s will and grace. Without God, man is hopeless. There is nothing man can do to merit salvation. Nothing we do, or don’t do which can get us saved. Nothing which we can do, or abstain from doing, that can rescue us from a state of lostness. There is nothing of ourselves by which we can recommend ourselves to God. God’s Justice demands full payment for sin, and God’s Holiness requires full and perfect obedience. Only the Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled both criteria. It is God alone Who makes a man accepted.
Salvation is by God. God has done everything to save, God has done everything that will save, His people from their sins. “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). Salvation is by the grace of God Who has provided a Savior that HAS merited salvation for all those He died in place of. Christ’s death was an atoning death, meaning, the sacrifice of Himself to God has put away all the sins of all those God entrusted to Him (see John 17:2). Christ’s Righteousness has/will be imputed, or charged, to these people, and, so they are saved for all eternity based on what God has done, not upon anything they have done, or will do. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). This is why salvation can only be by the grace of God, and not at all by the efforts at obedience by any man. It is only by the Obedience of the sinless Man that any are saved. “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). Seeing that salvation is clearly by grace, and grace alone, there is nothing which man can boast of, therefore, there is nothing that any man can do to get saved.
David described “…the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth Righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:6). “This righteousness cannot be the righteousness of the law, or man's obedience to it; for that is a righteousness with works, is a man's own, and not imputed; and indeed is not Righteousness in the sight of God: nor does man's blessedness lie in, or come by it; no man is, or can be instilled by it, nor saved by it, or attain to Heaven and eternal happiness by the means of it; but the righteousness here spoken of is the Righteousness of Christ, called the Righteousness of God; and is better than that of angels or men; is complete and perfect; by which the law is honoured, and justice is satisfied. This is freely bestowed, and graciously imputed by God. Just in the same way His Righteousness becomes ours, as Adam's sin did, which is by imputation; or in the same way that our sins became Christ's, His Righteousness becomes ours; and as we have no righteousness of our own when God justifies us, this must be done by the Righteousness of another; and that can be done no other way by the Righteousness of another, than by imputing it to us: and which is done ‘without works’; not without the works of Christ, of which this Righteousness consists; but without the works of the creature, or any consideration of them, which are utterly excluded from justification; for if these came into account, it would not be of grace, and boasting would not be removed. Now such who have this Righteousness thus imputed to them, are happy persons; they are justified from all sin, and freed from all condemnation; their persons and services are acceptable to God; it will be always well with them; they are heirs of glory, and shall enjoy it.”
The Christian lives a life of obedience to God, but this obedience is not what his salvation is based, or relies, on. Salvation does not require your obedience, for it is completely satisfied with Christ’s Obedience for His people. Eternal life is not chosen, but is given to God’s chosen because of the merits of Jesus Christ, because of what He has done for them. Salvation is based on what Christ has done for those who could do nothing to obtain it. “…to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for Righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). As with grace, this faith given by God to His people stands in eternal and direct contrast with the flawed principle that salvation can come by the works of a man. This saving faith with which all Christians believe, is called “…the faith of God’s elect” (Titus 1:1), it is not their own, but a gift given to them by God that ensures they will believe only in the true God and His only Gospel forever (see Ephesians 2:8).
What must I do to be saved? Simply “…believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31). Believe on Jesus as He is revealed in the true and only Gospel of God, and you have eternal life. Believe in the true Jesus whom God bears record of in His mighty Gospel, and no other, and you have eternal life. “…he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record, that God gave of His Son….He that hath the Son hath Life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not Life” (1 John 5:10,12). To have Him is to believe in Him is to have Him. To have Christ is to believe and trust in His Righteousness alone, and not one’s own. Do not be deceived by a false jesus of a gospel which conditions salvation on what you do rather than SOLELY on what Christ has done. Acknowledge, believe and trust only in what God has done, by grace, to save His people from their sins, and you will see that you are one of those people, one of His people. Believing does not get anyone saved, for it is the evidence that God has saved you. Nothing a saved man does can come before the grace that saves him. Believing does not get you anything, for it is the evidence that you have been given everything. Believing is not an instrument, it is not the tool which prises salvation from God, for it is but a gift from God given to those whom He has chosen to save by His grace alone. To rightly believe God’s Gospel is to repent of, and reject all others as having any merit to save anyone from their sins.
There is a reason and a purpose for everything and everyone. “The Lord hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prov. 16:4).
REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL