BY GRACE ALONE (PART 11)
The Christian has not been given a faith with which to partially believe and trust in the Saviour. The faith God gives to His elect is one which trusts completely in the Saviour. No part of God-given saving faith leads a man to ever trust in himself, partially or otherwise. One’s whole faith, and complete trust, must be in Christ as total and complete Saviour for there to be explicit, and incontrovertible, evidence that one is saved of God. Salvation is totally of God, and not at all of man. The fact that salvation is by grace shows conclusively that salvation could be by nothing else. Salvation comes by no other means but grace, and no other one, but God. Salvation is, therefore, completely UNMERITED by man, and so must be all by grace, the free favor which God gives to His elect children. “…if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace…” (Rom. 11:6). If salvation is by grace, then it is solely by God, it cannot be by works, by anything which a man does. If man had to do anything prior to being saved, then salvation would not be a free gift by grace, but would come as a reward, a payment for something done, rather than that which love has given. What the carnal mind of a lost man can never do is see the reality of the fact that GRACE NEEDS NO AUGMENTATION! The grace of God needs no man-made enhancement to complete it, or increase its power to save, for grace IS God’s power to save His people from their sins. God’s people are saved by His grace. A man is saved not by what he has done, but by that which he does not deserve. A man is saved by that which he does not deserve, therefore, by that which he could never do. The fact salvation is by undeserved grace, alone, proves conclusively that salvation is not conditioned upon anything a man can do to deserve it. There is simply no room for a man’s works in salvation which comes only by grace. Works that come from salvation are fine, in fact, they are ordained of God, but there are no works that can procure salvation, or maintain it, for salvation is wholly the domain of grace. There is no deficiency in the power of grace to save which man must supplement by what he does. What is done by God does not need to be, for it cannot be, complemented by anything a man does. God does not require any man’s help to save His people by His grace. The whole basis for grace is that man can do nothing. He cannot do anything to deserve salvation, so it must be given to those God wants saved. There is simply no room in “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8), for anything a man does.
You cannot describe and define God's saving grace by what you do, for God's grace is all about what God has done. Grace is God doing what the sinner cannot do, that is why salvation is by grace alone and not by any work of man’s at all. Salvation, therefore, is only by what God does, not what a man does. Salvation comes not by, or because of anything we do, but only by and because of what God does. All who are saved by grace alone trust in grace alone. Those who do not trust in grace alone are not saved. If you trust in anything else but grace alone, you are not saved; if you claim to trust in grace coupled with anything else, you are not saved. Salvation is not about thanking God for what you have done, but is all about thanking God for what HE HAS DONE, for "...Salvation is of the Lord" (Jon. 2:9). "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what HE HATH DONE FOR MY SOUL" (Psa. 66:16). The Pharisee of Luke 18, and the pseudo-Christians of Matthew 7 did not thank God for what He did, but only spoke of their works. The Pharisee: “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess” (Lk. 18:12); the lost of Matthew 7: “…Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matt. 7:22). Jesus’ response concerning the Pharisee: “…every one that exalteth himself shall be abased…” (Lk. 18:14 cf. Lk. 16:15); Jesus reply to the pseudo-Christians: “…I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23). All works before salvation are iniquity, they are self-serving: ‘serving one’s own interests in disregard of the truth’. All works before salvation are dead works, and so, profitless. A true Christian’s boast is in God, not in himself. Salvation does not depend on man but solely upon the God of all grace.
“Upon election, being called ‘the election of grace’ (see Rom. 11:5), the apostle forms an argument, showing the contrariety and inconsistency of grace, and works, in that affair; proving, that it must be by the one or the other: and if by the one, then not by the other; and that these two cannot be mixed and blended together in this matter. If election is ‘by grace’, as it certainly is; for no other reason can be given why God has chosen one, and not another, but His own Sovereign pleasure, or that free favour and unmerited love, with which He loves one and not another; and not because they are better, or had done or would do better things than others; ‘then is it no more’, or not at all, for it never was ‘of works’, was not influenced by them, does not arise from them, FOR IT PASSED BEFORE EVER ANY WERE DONE; and those that are done aright spring from it, and therefore could never be the rule and measure, causes, motives, and conditions of it; ‘otherwise grace is no more grace’; If there are any ifs to salvation, any conditions which a man must meet, then no one is saved by grace, for `grace is not grace, unless it is altogether freed’, it will lose its nature, and ought to change its name, and be no more called or reckoned grace, but a due debt: ‘Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt’ (Rom. 4:4); and a choice of persons to salvation should be thought, not to be what God is free to make or not, but what He is obliged to, as a reward of debt to men's works: ‘but if it be of works, then is it no more grace’ (Rom. 11:6).” If election or salvation are no longer by grace then they are no longer by God. Any attempt to join grace with works is like saying ‘I will give you this for free if you pay me’. Grace cannot come after a work is done, for it would then no longer be grace. Salvation does not come after a work is done, for then salvation would be conditioned on works, and so, could not possibly be by the undeserved favour of grace. Grace is not a reward, but a gift. Grace cannot be earned, therefore, it does not come after something else is done first. Grace is preceded by nothing apart from the will, purpose and love of God. Grace only comes from the will of Almighty God. It is based on His benevolence, not ours. “If election springs from, and depends upon the works of men, let no man ascribe it to the grace of God; for there is nothing of grace in it…these things are contrary to one another; and so unalienable and unalterable in their natures, that the one cannot pass into the other, or the one be joined with the other, in this or any other part of man's salvation; for what is here said of election, holds true of justification, pardon of sin, and the whole of salvation. The Ethiopic version applies it to justification.”
If election, salvation, are in any way dependant on what a man does, then they cannot be by grace at all. Grace and works are two entirely different prospects. Grace and works are not so much at opposite ends of the scale as they are on two entirely different scales altogether. Their very definitions prove this point: Grace is, and gives, what is not, and can never be deserved; works are rewarded with what can only be deserved. Those who have been taught that a man is saved by the power of grace enabling him to do what is necessary to attain salvation have been greatly deceived, for they are either ignorant, or do not realise, that salvation is only by grace through faith, and not works. If salvation is only by grace, then it is only by God. Grace is what saves a man. God is the Saviour, not works. Grace saves, works do not save. Compensatory acts do not save a man, but only the mercy of God (see Rom. 9:16). Grace cannot be mixed with anything anyone can/must do, for grace is that which is undeserved. You cannot earn salvation by what you do, and also be given it as a free gift. A gift is that which requires no payment, and “nothing is owed in return…there is no cost to the person who receives a gift. A gift is free to the recipient, although it is not free to the giver, who bears all the expense…once a gift has been given, ownership of the gift has transferred and it is now ours to keep…When a gift changes hands, the giver permanently relinquishes all rights to renege or take back the gift in future. God’s grace, and the salvation it brings, is ours forever (see Titus 2:11)…the Bible teaches that grace is completely unmerited. The gift and the act of giving have nothing at all to do with our merit or innate quality (see Rom. 4:4; 11:5,6; 2 Tim. 1:9,10). In fact, the Bible says quite clearly that we don’t deserve God’s salvation. Romans 5 says, 'But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life' (Rom. 5:8,10)."
Works cancel out grace, and grace cancels out any need for any works. To say salvation is by works, or even partially by works, is to say that salvation is not by God. No one would be stupid enough to say salvation is not by God, so why do people, even those who think they are Christian, say that salvation is not by grace alone. Anything done by man to procure salvation precludes him from any claim to anything done by God, including salvation. To attempt to mix that which is undeserved with what is deserved is to go against everything the Word of God teaches about salvation, and the eternal incompatibility which exists between grace and works. The entire concept of the essentiality of a man doing before he is saved runs contrary to the Biblical teaching that all are dead in sins and children of Wrath by nature having not the faith which pleases God. It cannot be overstated that the word ‘grace’ simply says it all. Grace saves. Grace is God saving by what He does. Grace is God doing and God doing first. Grace is God saving before, and without, anything done by man. Grace requires no works, no prerequisite to be met, for it is grace alone that saves. Grace makes no demands upon you to do what only it can do. God does not enable His people to build the house. God GIVES them the house by grace. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” (Psa. 127:1). This is simply another way of saying salvation is by grace not works. “…it is no wonder that they labour in vain, who reject and lay aside the foundation and corner stone, Christ; who deny His Deity, despise His Righteousness; or mix grace and works, law and Gospel, together…” God graces His chosen with salvation. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, 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” (Eph. 1:5,6). The original Greek says ‘He graces us’ in Ephesians 1:6. Man cannot work for his salvation, for all of salvation is given by God to whomsoever He is willing to be gracious and merciful to. Grace is God saving whom He wants, and by what He does, not by what He has allegedly enabled a man to do. A man attempting to work for his salvation has no interest whatsoever in the salvation which the only true God gives by grace alone. What God provides is grace, mercy, the Saviour and His Righteousness, nothing else is necessary to a man’s salvation. A man is saved by what God does. A man is saved by grace because he cannot be saved by works, for his works are as dead as he is: dead in sins and dead to God. Moreover, the whole business of man saying he can do to get to God assumes that man wants the only true God and knows Him. This is in stark contrast with the Word of God which says there is no man that seeks the only true God, and that God must be revealed by the Son, otherwise, He cannot be seen or recognized. “…no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). The word reveal here is “particularly applied to supernatural revelation”. The key is not whether a man will choose God, or wills to see God, but is solely in the hands of the Saviour Who reveals God supernaturally to whomsoever He pleases. The choice is God’s, not man’s. Becoming a Christian is not about a person’s choosing God, but being blessed with the realisation that God has chosen them (see Jn. 15:19; Jn. 17:16). “Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee…” (Psa. 65:4). God says: “…I chose Israel…and made Myself known unto them…” (Ezek. 20:5). Before a man is made alive by God, born again by the grace of God, there is no love in any man, by nature, for the God Who saves by grace alone.
To be saved is to be made alive which can only be done by a supernatural act of God. This is yet another reason why a man can only be saved by grace, and not by works. To condition salvation, or any aspect of it, on what a man must do is to vainly attempt to displace grace with works, or to join works with grace, however, these concepts are both ruled out by the Word of God which states that a man is saved by grace, without works, through faith which is given to him. Salvation follows grace, not works. Works which come by grace follow salvation and are not the catalyst for it, nor that by which salvation is maintained, but solely the fruit of it. Salvation is not of the works of man but of the grace of God. Ephesians 2 states this clearly. Salvation is by grace through the gift of faith, and not by grace through works. The fact that error has many sincere people on its side does not in any way qualify, or legitimize it as being truth. Those who are in error, know not the Scriptures, nor the power of God (see Matt. 22:29 cf. 1 Jn. 4:6). However popular many erroneous teachings are, all of them combined cannot outweigh the reality of truth. The Christian lives by what God says, not by what the carnal minds of lost men think. Jesus said: "...It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4 cf. Deut. 8:3). “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure.” “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16 cf. Psa. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19). Saved by grace is what the Bible teaches. It does not qualify this declaration by adding that man is saved by grace empowering him to do that which is required for salvation. That is simply the wolf of works dressed as the grace of God. What is required for salvation is done by God, for salvation is by grace. If salvation is by grace, then it must mean that all salvation requires is the grace of God. Grace is God saving. Man’s believing he must do, but can only do by God giving him the grace to do it, is mixing grace with works which is precisely what Paul said could not possibly ever be (see Rom. 11:6). It makes no Biblical sense. If it is by one then it is not by the other at all. If you are saved by grace you will not look to your works at all. If you believe you are saved by what you do, then you have no right to expect to be saved by that which is totally undeserved. The Bible attributes everything in election and salvation to God.
Election being by grace before the foundation of the world was laid—before there was anyone to perform any works—proves conclusively that grace is not a tool of empowerment which God gives to His people so that they can perform the works necessary for them to obtain salvation, but something by which God actually saves. The saved receive the benefits of grace, they do not perform works by it in order to gain or maintain salvation. The fact that God has chosen His people by His grace, and not according to their works, speaks volumes as to the true meaning of what grace actually is. God is deserving of all the glory because everything election and salvation required is of Him. The saved man is a chosen vessel, a vessel of mercy and nothing else. God’s grace does not do anything but save, and it saves because only it can save. Grace means God, and works means man. The two can never be fused. Salvation is not a joint effort between God and man, for One is the Giver, and the other merely a receiver. One is the life-giver, the other is as dead as his works. Grace is not something which must be accepted by man, but is something which is given to, or bestowed upon him. Saving grace is what makes a dead man alive, not a live man compliant. The Word of God teaches that all mankind is dead in sins. The whole race of man is accursed. Grace does not empower a man to do that which he must do before he can be saved, for this would allow room for failure on God’s part. If salvation is left to the discretion of a man to firstly accept God’s grace, and then do what he needs to do (whatever that may be), so that God can then save him, it would make grace not only subject to the will of God, but predominantly to the will of man. Man’s will would then be more powerful than the will of God, for God could only will to bestow His grace, but a man’s will would be the deciding factor in making it operational. God would be rendered powerless to save, and so He could only hope that the people He wants to be gracious to and save will do Him the honour of accepting Him!
All of salvation, from election to the end of eternity is owing to the grace and mercy of Almighty God. The Christian man is “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10). Salvation is freely, fully and only by Almighty God. Nothing more needs to be done to get a man saved, or keep a man saved, than what God by grace has done for all His people. It is the Gospel of the grace of God, not the works of men (see Acts 20:24). Grace gives a man salvation, and mercy does not give a man Wrath. God’s chosen are saved by the power of grace, and they are kept by the power of grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith…Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation…” (Eph. 2:8 & 1 Pet. 1:5). Lost man has got it stuck in his brain that he must do to get saved, and that failure to maintain a life in accord with some designated standard, can see him lose his salvation. The saved man believes that salvation is all by God, all by grace, and so, nothing can be done by man to gain salvation, and nothing can be done by man to lose his salvation, for the saved man is saved and kept entirely by the grace of God. It is God Who saves a man, and keeps him saved, by grace. Romans 8:35-39 is where Paul the apostle talks about nothing being able to separate the Christian from the love of God. You’ll notice that Paul does not mention sin in this passage. Many pseudo-Christians believe that a Christian can lose his salvation, but according to Paul there is nothing that can do that. The reason Paul does not even mention sin, is because sin, past, present and future has been entirely dealt with by Christ, and the debt His people owed has been paid in full by Him (see Jn. 19:30; Col. 2:14). The saved man has been brought into an eternal Covenant with God by God. Grace has secured eternal salvation for all of God’s chosen people, AND SIN HAS BEEN PAID IN FULL! The fact God’s people have been granted eternal salvation, eternal life is testament to the fact that there will never be a time where anyone, or anything, even their own sin, will be able to separate them from the love of God and the saving grace of God. If a man is saved he is saved forever. He is saved, kept, preserved and reserved by the grace of God. “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not His saints; they are preserved for ever…” (Psa. 37:28); “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” (Jd. 1:1 cf. 1 Thess. 5:23); “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation…” (1 Pet. 1:2,4,5). The inheritance of the saints will never fade away. How could it, when it is reserved in Heaven for them who are kept by the very power of God (see Jn. 10:28,29).
There is no other kind of true salvation apart from eternal salvation. Christ has redeemed His people FOREVER. There is no sin of His people which has not been nailed to His cross. If death shall no longer have dominion over the saved, then surely no sin could ever undo the work of grace which has imputed the Righteousness of Christ to His people. A man is saved by grace through the gift of faith in the Righteousness of Christ. No saved, forgiven and redeemed man can ever do anything which can take the eternality out of eternal life. Nothing can be done to gain eternal life and nothing can be done to lose it. Salvation is conditioned on and sustained by the Righteousness of Christ, and not the individual righteousness of saved men. A saved man is eternally forgiven of all his sins, past, present and future. This is why once saved a man can never lose his salvation. What sin can a saved man commit that has not been forgiven him? Christians are saved forever based on God choosing to be gracious and merciful to them forever. Christians are given eternal life, and so, their sins have been blotted out. How can a blotted out sin end a saved man’s eternal life? Grace is the power of God unto eternal salvation. The Gospel of the grace of God entails God’s salvation plan for His people for whom He sent His only begotten Son do die. By that death, Christ Jesus has completely done away with the debt His people owed for their sin. Christians now owe nothing to God but to love Him and praise Him forever for what He has done. Their debt has been paid in full. Man is not saved by grace enabling him to do something, anything, but by grace alone. Grace is indeed the gift that keeps on giving. Salvation is a work of grace. Electricity does not help a toaster to work, it makes it work. Without electricity the toaster still exists, but it is completely useless, lifeless. It can do nothing without electricity and it can do nothing to get that electricity. Only with electricity will the toaster actually work. The toaster cannot decide in favour of electricity, to be turned on by it. The toaster has no say in the matter just like there was no decision for the apostle Paul to make before he saw the Light. He saw the Light because he was shown the Light. The decision for Paul to see the Light was made by God. The decision to connect the toaster with the electricity is made by a third party. Grace makes a man alive. When God brings His grace and His people together, salvation is the result. Grace saves, and without grace no one is ever saved, for nothing can be done to gain that which is unprocurable. There is nothing in existence which needs to be done, or can be done, before receiving something for free. Free things, just like free grace, can only be given. There should be no confusion in anyone’s mind: that which is unobtainable is inaccessible. Grace does not help a person to get saved, it makes the person saved. Electricity does not help the toaster to work, it makes it work. Grace does not help a person to get saved, it makes salvation HAPPEN! Before grace a man is dead in sins. The moment grace is given, a man is made alive. Salvation is being made alive by the grace of God. Without grace a person still exists, but they are useless, lifeless in terms of being able to do anything to successfully gain grace. A man dead in sins can do nothing without grace, and he can do nothing to get that grace. Only with, and by, grace can a man be saved. The man cannot decide in favour of grace, to be made alive by it, for he is dead prior to grace being given. The decision to connect the two is made by a third Party. God makes the decision to save by grace, and it is by grace alone that He saves.
It is what God does, not what God ‘enables a man to do’ which saves him. For the Christian, what God gave you saves you. Scripture speaks in no uncertain terms in declaring the fact that “…by grace ye are saved” (Eph. 2:5). Now which of the following two statements most resembles this Scripture: What God gave you saves you, or, What God gave you enables you to do that which needs to be done before God can save you. It’s a no brainer, as they say. This latter teaching is nowhere to be found in Scripture. It only exists in the minds of lost men who know not God, His Word, or His Grace. People say grace is that which enables a person to do what they must do before God can save them. Does this enabling make the person alive? No? Well then if they are not alive how can they do anything. And if they are spiritually alive what could they possibly need to do for them to get saved? Salvation is being made alive by God according to grace alone. Saving grace only gives eternal, spiritual life. There is no other ‘life’ which grace provides so that a person may then be enabled to choose spiritual life. God chose His people to give life to His people by grace. At any given moment in time a person is either spiritually alive, or spiritually dead. To be saved is to be made eternally, spiritually alive by the grace of Almighty God. Nothing can be done by a man before he is made alive, after which there is nothing that needs to be done, for God has done it all. Mercy does not give a man what he deserves: Wrath, and grace gives a man what he does not deserve: Salvation. By one a man is kept from Wrath, and by the other God saves. Grace does not empower, it enlivens. Grace is not given so that we can do, but so that God can save. Salvation by grace alone ensures the spotlight is never taken off God. In its most absolute sense, God is the reason for salvation, in a man’s being saved, and in a man’s eternally remaining saved. GRACE IS THE ONLY CONDITION FOR SALVATION. This immediately rules out any part of salvation being conditioned on works. Grace is God’s only method of salvation, and the grace of God is the only means to salvation for His chosen ones. Just as there is only one Saviour, Jesus, there is also only one way to salvation, grace.
Anytime there is a reliance upon works of any kind, salvation by grace alone is immediately compromised. God saves His people by grace prior to their performing ANY works of obedience. Salvation by grace alone is eternal. There is no such thing as salvation by works in the Word of God, such a concept exists only in a lost man’s mind. God saves His people from spiritual death, from a state wherein nothing can be done to please God, or to come to Him. The gift of God is eternal life. The ordained works that follow the salvation of the chosen are the produce of a man's salvation by grace alone. They do not help a man remain saved, they are merely the fruit of grace. They are what grace produces in a saved man, not that by which a man is saved. No man is saved without being born again which can only happen through the will and grace of God. No man can play any part in his getting saved, for prior to his salvation he is dead in sins. By grace alone a man is saved. By grace alone is a man born again. By grace alone is a man made alive. Being saved by grace cannot be separated from being made alive by the power of the grace of God. These things occur after God has done something, not after man has done something. That is grace. Grace is God doing, not man doing. Grace is God doing first without man doing anything. Grace is the Alpha and Omega of salvation. God is the Author and Finisher of salvation (see Heb. 12:2). Grace cannot be grace where something has been done prior to its arrival. Grace cannot be lured, only given. The grace of God does not merely assist a person in getting saved, for it is “…the grace of God that bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11). Salvation by grace leaves no gaps for a man to fill. Grace covers all of salvation, hence, salvation is all by grace. Grace is God’s complete one-piece salvation kit. Nothing can precede grace but the love of God. The incentive for God to love His people is His will and purpose. Grace is given to spiritually dead people, not so they can gradually come alive, but through which they are made instantaneously and eternally alive by a supernatural act of God. No man can receive grace after any act of his is performed. Nothing that is of man can precede grace, and nothing needs to be done after grace has been given. You cannot earn that which is free. You cannot earn that which was obtained by someone else for you. What a Christian is given was earned by Another.
To say, ‘By grace are ye saved, IF…’ or, ‘By grace are ye saved, BUT…’ immediately rules out grace from salvation altogether. Inserting any qualifications, or provisos, in Ephesians 2:8,9: “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”, means adding a condition, or conditions, to grace. It’s like saying, ‘By grace are ye saved if you accept God’s offer of it’, or ‘By grace are ye saved as long as you do this’. Salvation is by grace alone, and grace alone means there cannot possibly be any ifs, ands or buts about it. Those who add conditions to grace, anything a man must do before grace can save him, do not know grace at all, or the God Who gives it. To add an ‘if’ or ‘but’ to “by grace are ye saved”, is to declare you are not saved by grace. To add a condition to grace is to say that grace alone cannot save you. It is to say you cannot be saved by the free, undeserved favour of God unless you do something. So that which saves is changed from grace to works, indeed, from God to you. In other words, it is to say you cannot be saved by that which is free, but only by that which you have earned. You cannot be saved by free grace if there is a condition to salvation you must meet. If something else has to be done, then it is not grace which saves you, it’s by grace and something else. In fact, it’s the something else that would actually make salvation ‘by grace’ successful. The something else is the key ingredient, that upon which salvation depends, for grace alone cannot save. Anything added to grace invariably becomes the reason and means by which one is saved. Someone who has added works to grace may say they cannot be saved without grace, however, they are also saying that they cannot be saved without works. This is the fundamental lie of all false gospels. The fiery lies from Hell keep coming, but the truth of God keeps extinguishing them all! To add an ‘if’ or ‘but’ to “by grace are ye saved”, is to make salvation dependent on something other than grace. It shifts the attention from God onto you. If God’s grace is subject to a condition which is outside of Himself, then grace becomes something which cannot do anything without something else being done by someone else first. If this is the case then grace is not free, but must be earned. This, my friend, is Satan’s subtle way of convincing you that the grace of God is fine, but if you do not do something first, or in addition to grace, then grace becomes an ineffectual, religious idea. The fact of the matter is that every one of the thousands of man-made religions of the world says man must do to get saved, and/or remain saved. Man doing is an ineffectual religious idea. God doing is grace.
To believe that God’s saving grace is conditioned on a man’s conscious reception of it by his alleged free will, is to completely abandon the Biblical teaching that God does whatsoever He wills and He saves whomsoever He wills by His grace alone. The idea of giving man the deciding ‘vote’, if you will, in salvation, changes the true and Almighty God into one who is barely more powerful than a man. It changes God’s Sovereign grace into a conditional grace reliant not upon God’s will to save whom He will, but on a man’s will to validate, or sanction God’s will. One of the major problems with this is God’s will is NOT subject to any other’s. This is the true and only God, and not some fantasy of man’s whose gods often kowtow to a man’s will. If God’s will was subject to any other’s will, then it could not be said that God does whatsoever He wills, “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa. 115:3). This is the only true God. God does what He wants, when He wants and with whomsoever He wants. Any so-called ‘God’ who cannot do whatsoever he has pleased is NOT the only true God. The only true God says: “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand” (Deut. 32:39). “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Dan. 4:35). “‘And none can stay His hand’: stop His power, resist His will, or hinder Him from acting, or cause Him to cease from His work, which He is bent upon; His will in both worlds is Sovereign, and His power uncontrollable.” The reins of a man’s will can never be attached to the bridle of God’s will. “…in creation, God said, and it was done; it is so in providence, He does what He pleases; there is nothing done without His knowledge and will, and there is no counsel against the Lord: it is so in His works of grace; in the great work of redemption; no difficulties could discourage or hinder Christ from the performance of that arduous work, He being the mighty God: and in the work of grace upon the heart of a sinner, when God begins to work, none can let; not corruptions within, nor Satan without; nor can anything hinder the carrying of it on; not indwelling sin, nor the snares of the world, nor the temptations of Satan. The purposes of God cannot be disannulled; His hand cannot be held, stopped, or turned back from the execution of them; He will do His will and His work in the world, and in His churches, and on particular persons, notwithstanding all the opposition of men and devils. 'Or say unto Him, what dost Thou?' ‘what is this Thou hast done? and wherefore hast Thou done it? why was it not done in another form and manner, and for other ends and purposes?’ 'Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?' (Isa. 45:9), all such like questions are vain and foolish, and are despised by the Lord; He gives no account of His matters unto the children of men. Some may with wonder say, ‘What has God wrought!’ but none ought to say, in a complaining and murmuring way, ‘What doest thou?’ and should they, it is of no avail, God will do what He pleases.”
God does whatsoever He wills to do, and whatsoever He wills to do is always right. Salvation, as with all things, is conditioned upon God: His will and His purpose. No man can be saved without the will of God. The empty, powerless conditional grace born in the minds of lost men, is always dependent upon what a man does, therefore, it cannot be the grace of God which is being spoken about, or that saves him, but that which a man does in response to grace, or with the assistance of grace. Many lost people agree that salvation is by grace, but always add that a man must also do something! This type of teaching conditions salvation upon what a man does, and not because of what God alone has done. It always brings a man’s will into the picture, thereby, denying spiritual death. This type of teaching says if a man is not willing, then what God wills will not occur. All false gospels promote the ‘almightiness’ of man! The grace of God is not something dependent upon how you respond to it, for the grace of God makes a man alive. The grace of God is not something dependent upon how you respond to it, for the grace of God is the will of God to save His people from their sins. THE GRACE OF GOD IS THE WILL OF GOD IN ACTION! God’s will does not need the cooperation of a man’s will to come to fruition. God’s will is simply what is done. If anything or anyone could interfere with, or prevent God’s will from occurring, then it would be God. Who is more powerful than Almighty God? NO ONE! Therefore, nothing can interfere with, hinder or stop the will of God from occurring. “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand…For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (Isa. 14:24,27 cf. Job 9:12; 23:13; Prov. 21:30; Isa. 43:13). “Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked?” (Eccl. 7:13). What God does is irreversible, irrevocable and completely unstoppable.
Before grace a man can do nothing to get saved, after grace there is nothing left for man to do, for he has been saved and will remain eternally saved because of grace alone. The very phrase salvation by grace shows that salvation is by God, it is something which is by His will and no other’s. Salvation by grace can only be because of God’s will, and, therefore, only when God acts can there be salvation. The reason why salvation by grace can only be by God’s will, is that salvation by grace is being made alive, it is being born again. Those who are not born again can do nothing, for they are dead in their sins. The irrefutable and overwhelming evidence that salvation by grace alone is not some man-made concept, is seen throughout the Word of God, and in the fact that of all the over 4,000 man-made religions every one of them include the lie that man must do or he will die. The apostle Paul received the Gospel of grace—God’s Plan of salvation—directly from GOD, not man, he said: “But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11,12). The claim was “…that the Gospel preached by the apostle had no other authority than human, or than his own to support it: wherefore he denies that it was ‘of man’; after the wisdom of man, an human invention and contrivance, a device and fiction of man's brain; nor was it after the mind of man, or agreeably to his carnal reason, it was disapproved of by him, and beyond his capacity to reach it; nor was it of his revealing, a discovery of his; flesh and blood, human nature, could never have revealed it; nor is it in the power of one man to make another a minister of the Gospel, or to give him or himself success in the ministration of it, but the whole is of God.” The Gospel of the grace of God in the salvation of His people does not come from man, but God. Anything and everything that opposes, or differs from, the Gospel of God which teaches the grace of God alone in the provision of salvation for all His chosen people, is a man-made lie. Salvation is either by grace or by works. Either true Christianity is the only faith which is correct, or every mutually contradictory man-made religion is correct. The problem for those who believe the latter, is the fact that every religion out there contradicts every other. There is no agreement as to how one is saved, nor who God is. Even that which each man-made religion says must be done by man differs depending with whom you are talking. The reason why mainstream religions are so popular is that their works-based methods of ‘salvation’ are most appealing to the flesh. Man, by nature, cannot think past doing something to get saved. This is the sin which has deceived every man by nature, and which a man must be saved from. The only faith that stands out is the true and only Christian Faith given by God to His people, and revealed only in His great and glorious Gospel of salvation by grace alone.
Salvation is not something which is in any way meritable, therefore, it cannot in any way be dependent upon a sinful, dead-in-sins, man. The sin that deceives all men by nature, and which is the centre point of every religion, is the belief that man can, therefore, must do something to come to God, appease God, and please God to the point God will save him. “The concept of saviour-gods was widespread in Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, even when people believe in gods who save, they still believe that works are necessary to earn the gods’ favour. The deepest thinkers among mankind have always thought that real forgiveness is possible only when due regard is paid to the moral law. How different is salvation depicted in the Bible…for the Gospel teaches that all glory for salvation belongs to God”, thereby revealing that He alone has done all the work, and that man is incapable of doing anything which is required to save his soul. Endeavouring to ‘get right with God’ is, without doubt, the most futile venture any man can embark upon, for salvation is only by the grace—an unmeritable act—of God. You cannot save you! What you do cannot save you! You and what you do are not the way to life. MAN IS NOT THE ANSWER, HE IS THE PROBLEM!! The deeper he looks within, the more he tries to solve his problem by his actions, the deeper the problem becomes. When a man does come to the Father it is only by the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done (see Jn. 14:6) for the sinner. Without the Father’s intervention no man can come unto the Son (see Jn. 6:44), and without the Son no man can come unto the Father (see Jn. 14:6). Christ is the Saviour, and only by the will and grace of God is a man saved. Without God, man does not even seek God. Man has no inherent desire for the true God, for all men are “by nature the children of Wrath” (Eph. 2:3), they are without God, and, therefore, ignorant of Him, thus, without any hope in the world (see Rom. 3:10-12 & Eph. 2:12).
Salvation awaits the will of God, and no one else’s. The entire concept of salvation by grace conditioned upon a man’s decision, or choice, is oxymoronic thinking. Moreover, it is anti-Scriptural thinking. One gentleman wrote to me saying “Grace cannot come without faith”. Can you believe the utter insane, confused state some lost people are in who actually call themselves Christian! The Word of God states that salvation is by grace, so the reality is that faith cannot be given by God if a man is not saved by grace. So many people have their ‘salvation’ conditioned on their work of faith obligating God to come and save them by grace! ‘Do something so that God can then come and save you by that which you do not deserve’! It is all so perfectly ridiculous. People are familiar with certain words, but have literally no understanding of their meanings. Most every person who believes themselves to be Christian will say they believe in salvation by grace, but relatively few actually believe in salvation by grace alone. Those who say they believe in a grace that is no grace at all make this mythical grace—the kind of grace that lost people naturally flock to—conditional upon their works. They say God does not save by grace alone, but only by grace coupled with a man’s works of obedience. Alternatively, the belief is that to be saved by grace one must first perform some work of obedience, or one must first believe. In other words, one must undergo a form of initiation, a rite of passage if you will, before God can step in and save you undeservedly. This is the best sinful, lost man’s unregenerate carnal mind can conclude from his empty understanding of the Word, the Sprit, the very essence of Who God is, and what God is like. Works of any description are the hope of lost, cursed men who know not God, and, therefore, place their faith in the doctrines of devils.
To do something so that you can then be undeservedly saved, is simply insane. Faith is a gift from God to His people, and He gives it by grace alone. Saving faith is “not of yourselves”, but "...OF GOD"! Saving faith is not a work, but a gift. Faith comes from God Who saves by grace alone. Faith is a product of grace. Grace cannot be induced by any man’s works. Faith cannot be present within a man unless grace has given it. A man is not saved because he believes, but he believes because he is saved by grace alone. The madness of “grace cannot come without faith”, makes as much sense as someone offering to give you something for free as long as you pay them $10 first! ‘Here is something I want to give you for free, but I will only give it to you if you respond to my offer by giving me $10 first.' This is nothing short of utter lunacy. In fact, being asked to do anything before one is given a ‘free’ gift simply does not make any logical, or Biblical sense whatsoever. It is completely irrational to take such a prospect seriously. If you must do something in order to get something for free, the entire premise of it being free is immediately and completely done away with. If you had to do something, how can you be given something for free. How can you earn that which is free. How can you condition anything that’s free on anything you must do! The person who did not do anything is the ONLY ONE qualified to receive that which is free! Any man who claims he has done something before God ‘saved’ him is a lost man. The person who has done anything cannot expect to receive anything for free. Salvation is that which is undeserved, and it is given by that which is undeserved. Any claim by anyone to have done anything immediately disqualifies the claimant from being given that which is undeserved. Eternal life is a gift given, not a wage earned. No one whom God sees attempting to earn favour with Him, is going to be given the free gifts of grace, faith and salvation based on their efforts. Salvation does not come after your efforts to earn it, “So then it is NOT of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy…on whom He will have mercy…” (Rom. 9:16,18 cf. Ex. 33:19; Jn. 1:13; Jas. 1:18).
Salvation is free by the gift of grace through faith not works. God does not offer grace, He gives it. Grace cannot be bought by anything a man does, this is one reason why salvation is a gift by grace which can only be given. Salvation can only be conditioned on the will of God and not at all on the will of man. “Of HIS own will begat He us…” (Jas. 1:18). The saved man is born again by the will of God, not his own will or efforts of any kind. If salvation by grace is conditioned on anything but God’s will, then it ceases to be true grace, for grace is undeserved. Salvation can only be conditioned on grace not works, not grace and works. Grace comes, and can only come from and by the will of Another. Grace is God’s to give, not for any man to earn. Grace is given according to God’s will and purpose, not man’s will and works. If grace was conditioned, that is, if grace could not be given before a man did something, then it would be something earned and no gift at all. The Biblical reality is, “Grace is the very opposite of merit…Grace is not only undeserved favour, but it is favour, shown to the one who has deserved the very opposite.” “…we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” (Acts 15:11). This statement and Scripture make for an irrefutable argument against the concept of salvation being something which must be earned by what a man does. The fact God’s people are saved by grace alone is proof positive they did nothing, nor could they have done anything, to get saved by any act on their part. The fact that a saved man is justified by grace should immediately dispel any thought that justification could be achieved by anything a man can do (see Titus 3:5-7). Grace rules out works, and works rule out grace (see Rom. 11:6). The presence of saving grace rules out any need for works. “By grace are ye saved” totally eliminates even the remotest possibility that salvation is in any way dependent upon what a man does. Grace is NOT a bridge to God that a man must choose to cross, for grace itself is that which carries a man into the waiting arms of God. Grace is sent by God to bring God’s chosen to Him. Salvation is a one-act play and grace is the star. Everything that the Father has done, everything that the Son has done and everything that the Holy Spirit has done in the salvation of God’s people is all because of, and exclusively according to, GRACE. Grace is free. Grace is not acquired by any man’s works. Grace is a free gift, and it is given freely by God, for it cannot be bought by anything a man does. Salvation is not a reward for something done, but a gift given despite nothing being done, or that was able to be done. Salvation is by grace so it cannot be by anything else. Salvation is by grace so it cannot be by works. Nothing at all can be done to save a man, but the giving of the free and undeserved gift of grace by God according to His will and purpose. Salvation is gifted not awarded. It is not given according to anyone’s will or work except that of the Giver. This is why Paul the apostle said that if it is by grace then it is not by works, and if by works it cannot be by grace (see Rom. 11:6).