BY GRACE ALONE (PART 12)
Salvation is by the unmeritable favour of God, therefore, it simply cannot be based on works, or on grace and works. That which is unmerited is a gift, therefore, to entertain the notion that one must work for the unmerited, or must earn the unmeritable and undeserved favour of God, is simply ludicrous. Salvation cannot be bought by the works of men, but only given by the grace of God because it has already been bought by the blood of Christ. If something is unmeritable it can never logically also be that which can be merited. Though salvation is unmeritable by man, does not mean it is not unmerited. Salvation is merited by Christ Jesus Who is the Substitute of all His people both in Sacrifice and in Works. “…by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…” (Heb. 9:12); “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). Salvation has been obtained by the Lord Jesus Christ for His people. He is their Substitute. He is the One Who has done what they could never do. Christ earned salvation for His people, so to even entertain the notion that His people must do something before they can be saved runs contrary to the Word of God. If salvation were by the works of man what of the Work of Christ? Paul the apostle succinctly answers, “…if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21 cf. Gal. 5:2,4,5). Any appeal to works is a denial of Christ. If salvation comes according to a man’s obedience to the law, works, then it cannot be by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, grace. If salvation were by the works of man then it would obviously not be something unmerited; it would be a reward and not a gift. If salvation is a gift then it cannot be a reward, and if salvation is no reward then it is not because of anything a man has done, but only by grace alone. If salvation is given as a reward, then it cannot be a gift. When it comes to salvation it is always an either/or prospect. It is either by grace or works, by a gift or by reward. It can never be by both grace and works, it can never be a gift and a reward. “Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty.” Those who work hard for salvation have never, and will never, obtain it, for it is something which cannot be gained, only given. There is no price any man could pay to gain salvation. Salvation is not for sale. Salvation is not a do this and you will get it situation. Salvation is not a quid pro quo situation, for it is a priceless gift given by God to whomsoever He wills to give it. No matter what anyone has done in their lives, good or evil, “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), this is why a man is “…justified freely by His grace (not works) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
The Lord Jesus said: “The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (Jn. 7:7). “…even those works of it, which were reckoned good works; Christ bore His testimony of these, that they were evil; being done either not according to the command of God, but the traditions of the elders; or not from a right principle, as of faith and love, nor to a right end, as the glory of God; but only to be seen of men: and very severely did He inveigh against the pride, covetousness, hypocrisy, and uncleanness of the Scribes and Pharisees: and so He continued to do, and this drew upon Him their hatred and ill will.” The works of an unsaved man, even religious works, kindnesses, etc., are evil works, therefore, dead works which no spiritually dead sinner can be saved by (see Heb. 6:1; 9:14). The apostle Paul taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that grace and works do not work together (see Rom. 11:6; Gal. 2:21; 5:2,4). They cannot be combined, for they are the antithesis of each other. Grace and works cannot collaborate, for they are mutually exclusive, and, therefore, irreconcilably incompatible. The presence of one immediately cancels out the need for the other. “In logic and probability theory, two events (or propositions) are mutually exclusive or disjoint if they cannot both occur at the same time. A clear example is the set of outcomes of a single coin toss, which can result in either heads or tails, but not both…Both outcomes are collectively exhaustive, which means that at least one of the outcomes must happen, so these two possibilities together exhaust all the possibilities. In logic, two mutually exclusive propositions are propositions that logically cannot be true in the same sense at the same time.” If it's heads it’s not tails, if it’s tails it’s not heads; if it’s grace it’s not works and if it’s works it’s not grace. There is no need for works when one has grace. Salvation cannot be by neither grace or works, and it cannot be by both grace and works. Salvation is either by works or by grace. The coin will either show heads or tails, it cannot be neither and it cannot be both.
Grace not only shows that no work needs be done, but that no work could ever be done that could save a man. The need for grace demonstrates how completely out of reach salvation is by any work of man’s. Man cannot reach salvation by what he does. Just as “Wisdom is too high for a fool…” (Prov. 24:7), so too, salvation is too high for the lost. The Saviour saves those who cannot save themselves, by making those who were dead to Him, alive in Him. It is only those who know they did nothing, nor could have done anything, to save themselves, or assist in their salvation, that are the truly saved children of God. God makes those who did not desire Him, to desire Him, and no other; to believe in His Gospel of grace, and no other. Salvation is not achievable, or procurable, it is not attainable nor accessible by man which is why it must be a gift given, which at once rules out salvation as something which can be earned, or in any way deserved, thereby, proving it comes only from God and according to His will and grace. The presence of grace shows there is no need of works, for no work could ever be done by a man in order to purchase salvation, for salvation is a gift and gifts cannot be purchased except by the gift giver. Grace does the saving and that according to the will of God. The grace of God is a manifestation of God’s will to save a man. Nothing can possibly interfere with that will! If anyone or anything could stop God from performing His will, then he/it would be God. The reality of the situation is that God is Almighty and All-Powerful, and there are none like Him. To condition salvation by grace on how a man responds to it, immediately cancels out grace, for anytime a condition is met the reward is not of grace, but of works: “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt” (Rom. 4:4). If salvation depends on what you do, then it is because of you and not God, by works and not of grace. Grace does not help you to do, it saves you. Grace does not involve you doing, but God saving. Grace does not employ your works to save you. Grace does not delegate the work of salvation to a mere man. In other words, grace does not save you by what you do, but only by what it does: “By GRACE ye are saved”. Grace saves by itself. GRACE SAVES BECAUSE WORKS CANNOT SAVE! God is the only Saviour, and He saves only by the means of grace. To say salvation is by grace, but that it only comes after something you have done is perfectly ridiculous. To say salvation is by grace, but you must first decide for God, is to condition salvation on works, and not grace at all. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CONDITIONAL GRACE IN ALL OF GOD’S WORD! Grace comes because you can do nothing. Where grace is needed, then it is obvious that no work of man’s could ever do what only grace can do. How can one attach a condition to that which is given solely based on the giver’s will. Salvation by grace is salvation conditioned only on what God has done, and only on what God alone wants. How can a person truly want salvation when, by nature, every man rejects the only way that saves: grace alone. Prior to a man being saved, it is only God Who wants that man saved by grace alone, for every man, by nature, is seeking salvation by works.
The definition of salvation by works, is making salvation dependent in any way and to any degree upon anything you must do. If you believe that what you do contributes to your salvation in any way, or is essential to your salvation—meaning you cannot be saved without your doing it—you are a lost person. If you believe that getting saved or maintaining one's salvation necessitates your doing something, then you have not the God Who saves by grace alone. To condition salvation on what you must do is to take your eyes off God, it is to trust in someone else, it is to trust in yourself. It is to trust in man’s way, and not in the Lord Jesus Christ as THE ONLY WAY to salvation. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6). No one comes to the Father, no one can come to the Father, but by the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Who HE is and what HE has done. To say salvation is by grace, but a man must first agree to be saved, or choose to be saved, or do to be saved, is to make God’s will effective only after man has consented by his alleged free will. To have a salvation plan that must be countersigned by man is to have no salvation at all. Salvation does not require a man’s validation. To condition any part of salvation on a man’s will turns the whole matter into salvation by works, and not grace. The moment you condition salvation on anything a man must do—whether it is by word, thought or deed—you no longer have salvation by grace, nor the only true God Who saves His people only by grace alone. Salvation by grace through faith without works is the glorious Good News of God.
Salvation by grace alone is salvation by God alone. God does not need anyone else to save His people, and the grace of God does not require anything to be done by His chosen to hasten, or ensure their assured salvation. Grace does the Work, therefore, salvation does not require the works of a man. God is the only Saviour, therefore, grace is the only way to salvation. Salvation by God through grace is the only salvation that saves! To truly believe in the Gospel of grace is to reject the foolish, non-Biblical notion that any part of salvation is in any way conditioned on man. If you have been taught that you must do something before God can save you, you have been taught a false gospel of salvation by works, and Scripture says that no man is justified by what he does. If you have been taught that what you do enables, or empowers, God to save you, rather than God’s grace alone enabling salvation to have its way, you have been taught one of the many lying gospels of men. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…by grace are ye saved…” (Titus 3:5 & Eph. 2:8); “…a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16 cf. Psa. 143:2; Rom. 3:20); “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith” (Gal. 3:11). Grace comes by an action of the will of the grace giver, and is in no way conditioned on the will of the one to whom grace is given. What would be the point in conditioning anything on that which can do nothing. How can you place a condition on that which is undeserved?
There is nothing in the world which is given freely that man has any problem with, except the grace of God in the salvation of His people. His people do not complain about it, but only those who are not among His chosen, they are the ones who dispute the predestinating will and the saving Sovereign grace of Almighty God. There is no schism within true Christianity, there is no disagreement between those who have been saved by grace alone, for they have all been given the faith of the elect of God which believes only the Gospel of salvation by God’s Sovereign grace alone. The only ones who argue against salvation by Sovereign grace alone are those who are not saved. Pseudo Christians are the ones with the problem, for they are not saved. True Christians are in unison, they are in agreement, for they have been saved by the SAME GOD the SAME WAY!!! God saves whomsoever He wills to save, not whomsoever wills to be saved. Lost mans’ argument is not so much with free grace as it is with the God Who grants it according to His Sovereign will alone. Only with the grace of God comes the willing and believing, for prior to grace all a man has is dead works. There is no such thing as a Christian who believed in grace alone prior to his being saved by grace alone. To will to be saved by God, God’s way, comes only by the grace of God. It is the grace of God which saves; it is the grace of God which makes a man willing to believe, it does not enable a man to believe. A man’s believing is a gift given to him by God. Salvation is a supernatural act performed by God on lifeless creatures. Salvation by grace is enacted solely by God. God breathed into man physical life (see Gen. 2:7), and when He makes a man born again, a new creature in Christ, He breathes into him new spiritual life and he is saved. The new man now sees, understands and knows the True God and believes His True Gospel, for he is made alive, a new creation of God which no longer rejects Him, but has been made alive to Him by grace, and now loves and follows only Him. He believes only God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone.
Everything done by man comes as a result of God’s making the man alive unto Him. To truly love God comes only by God loving the man first. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19 cf. Rom. 8:28-31; 1 Jn. 4:10). So too, to truly will to be saved by God, God’s way, is something which comes only by the will and grace of God in saving the man, for by nature all man knows and understands is works. To will, and to believe and to love are all products of grace, they are the result of grace come from God, and are given by God to all His people. No good work done by a saved man helps to get him saved, for he already is eternally saved by grace alone. He does those works because he is saved, not in an endeavour to get saved, or, by them, remain saved. Eternal salvation is by grace UNTO good works not as a consequence of good works. Before salvation a man can only perform dead works, vain works, works which cannot profit him at all. After salvation a man performs the works which God has ordained for him to perform, works which do not get the man saved—for they can only be performed after salvation—nor can they keep a man saved, for this is done only by grace. The works God has ordained for a man to walk in are for the saved man to perform, not for the lost man to perform in order to get saved (see Eph. 2:8-10). A man is saved from the moment he is born again to the end of eternity by grace alone. Nothing a man has done prior to salvation, or does after salvation, has anything to do with acquiring, or maintaining, that salvation, for this is solely the domain of grace. Anything a saved man does is because of that grace, because of the fact he is saved by grace, and not to get him, or keep him saved. Along with salvation, acceptable works are what grace brings with it. Acceptable works are done by saved people, not by dead people who seek to be saved on the basis, or at least, partly on the basis of what they have done. Acceptable works are ordained by God for saved people to perform. These works are not performed prior to salvation, but only after a man is saved. Believing God is believing God’s only Gospel. Such trust comes only by grace alone, and is nothing more than a manifestation of God’s love for His people. He saves them. They are saved by what God does, not by what they do. “By grace ye are saved” means by God ye are saved, not by you, or by what you do. Salvation is not by man, therefore, no part of salvation is conditioned on man in any way. Salvation acts, it is triggered, by what God does, and not by what a man believes he has done. Salvation comes by grace alone. Salvation happens because of grace alone. God is the One Who makes salvation happen, and He makes it happen by grace alone through faith not works.
To condition salvation on a man’s positive response to grace, changes grace from that which saves to something encountered along the way to salvation. Whatever causes salvation to take place, that is what it is based on, that is what makes it happen, that is what you are saying makes the difference between saved and lost. Grace does not cause a man to do something before God saves him, for it is by the Divine action of grace that a man is saved. Salvation is triggered by what God does—grace—and not by what a man does—works. “…by grace are ye saved…not of yourselves…not of works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). Whatever one conditions salvation on, THAT is what a person is trusting in for their salvation. "By grace are ye saved" means it is God Who is the difference maker. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7 cf. Jn. 3:27; Rom. 11:35,36). Those who foolishly base their alleged salvation on what they have done, are glorying in the lie that the salvation they claim to possess comes because of what they have done. The Word of God teaches that it is God by grace Who makes the saved man to differ from the lost. If one believes that salvation is exclusively conditioned upon grace, then their faith, their trust, is only in God and what He has done. If, however, a person believes that salvation is conditioned on what they do—with, or without grace—then their faith, their trust, is only in themselves. Every works-based gospel—whether it includes a version of grace or not—ultimately hinges all of salvation upon what a man does, thereby denying that salvation is only by what God does. “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…” (Jer. 17:5). These are the people who, like the Pharisee of Luke 18, and the false Christians of Matthew 7, trust in themselves, exalt themselves by thanking ‘God’ for what they have done rather than rejoicing in what God alone has done by grace. The Word of God makes it transparently clear that God’s people are saved by grace alone, therefore, NOT by WORKS at all! This clearly shows that salvation is conditioned on grace, on God, and not on who a man is or what a man does. God’s grace is the first and last word on salvation. Salvation is the exclusive domain of the grace of God. The false concept of grace, held to only by lost men, is believed to prompt a man to act, and their false salvation, is said to follow. The true grace of God simply makes a man alive. True grace acts on the condition of man, it does not help man to meet a condition of salvation. True grace makes a man alive, it does not collaborate with the man in order for him to come alive. The true grace of God makes a man saved just as God makes a man alive. None can make themselves alive, likewise, none can do anything to get saved. The grace of God tips the bucket of water over a man, making him clean, it does not get the man to do it. The grace of God washes a man clean, it does not give him the soap and water in order for him to make himself clean.
Many people think that salvation is on the other side of what we do. God approaches with His grace, man then decides on whether or not to accept it. The conclusion is that only after a man has ‘accepted’ grace can he be saved. So, again, we see salvation by ‘grace’ and even one work is a salvation that cannot save without that work. The Word of God states clearly that salvation by grace through faith in the Righteousness of Christ is WITHOUT WORKS. “…David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth Righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:6). Salvation is for the man that worketh not, not for the man who works. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for Righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). This is the faith which is given by grace. Salvation is not by the works of men, or by the faith of men, but solely by the Work of God. Romans 4 and Romans 9 in particular cut a swathe right though the lie that salvation is in any way due to what a man does. Romans 4:5 shows in no uncertain terms that believing is not a work of man’s, but a gift from God. Believing is NOT a work: “…to him that worketh not, but believeth…”. The faith a saved man has does not originate within him, but is given to Him by God through grace, otherwise, faith would be a work of man’s. The lost say God’s grace enables them to do what needs to be done before they can be saved. In other words, God cannot do what He wants unless a man does what is required of him to do, first. This kind of teaching always has man first, and God’s will subordinate to man’s will. It has God’s love dependent upon a man’s will to love Him first. It has God’s grace dependent on a man’s works. To claim that man can only do what needs to be done because of grace is to redouble the ridiculous, for grace does not empower a man to do that which must be done before he can be saved, for it is by grace itself that a man is saved. “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8). Grace alone is what God uses to save His people. If it is not grace alone that saves, then the only thing left is works, or the monstrous hybrid of perverted grace and works. Salvation cannot be free if you must perform some act before receiving it. It cannot be a gift if it can only come after you have performed some meritorious act. A gift cannot be subsequent to anything, but the love of the giver. Salvation can never be by God and man, never by grace and works, not by a gift and reward, but only by God or man, only by grace or works, only by a gift or reward. Salvation can never be by God and man, for God is alive and man is dead; God is the One Who makes alive, and spiritually dead man can do nothing. To paraphrase a 17th century Puritan, “Fire and water may as well agree in the same vessel as grace” and works in the same gospel. Grace and works are mortal enemies as are fire and water.
One of the most critically important principles in the whole of Scripture, which those who believe a man must do before he can be saved have failed to grasp, is the fact that the grace of God which Scripture speaks of is not an enabling grace, it is an enlivening grace, it is saving grace not enabling grace. God’s saving grace does something to you, it does not enable you to do something for yourself. Grace is not a helping hand, but a rescuing hand. Salvation is by what grace does, not by what you do. Grace makes alive, it does not assist you in coming alive. Nothing a man can do can make him spiritually alive, just as nothing a man can do can make him born again. It has to be done for him, it has to be done to him, by grace. The only thing that can be done for a dead person is to make them alive, you cannot assist them in doing, for they are dead. The only thing that can be done for a spiritually dead man is for him to be made alive. Grace does not help you to wake up, it makes you alive! God does not gently nudge His people awake, HE SUPERNATURALLY MAKES THEM ALIVE! God's chosen are not awoken from sleep, but are made alive from death. You cannot help grace make you alive, because prior to being made alive you are nothing but dead. Grace brings life, grace gives life to all God’s chosen, hence they are saved only by grace: not by grace and, but by grace ONLY! Those who insist on works do not believe in grace. The moment anyone doubts the competency of grace by insisting upon the works of a man as an essential ingredient in the salvation of a man, reveals they are not speaking about, nor believing in, the grace of God. It does not matter how much a man professes to believe in grace, if he follows a statement such as, ‘Yes, a man is saved by grace’, with the words and, but, or if, then he simply knows not what grace is, nor Who the God of the universe is Who gives it. If you do not know Him you cannot believe in Him. If you do not believe His Gospel you do not believe in Him, your works are iniquitous—He does not know you. Grace produces the new creature. Grace makes a man believe, it does not make his believing possible, but simply irresistible! Grace works alone, for like God, it needs no assistance from man. Grace works alone, for like God, it is the only thing that makes alive.
Speaking of the Lord Jesus, Scripture pronounces: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 cf. Jn. 14:6; 20:31).“Christ is the only Saviour and Redeemer, Who was promised and prophesied of as such; Who has saved and redeemed His people from the law, sin, and Satan; nor is salvation to be sought and hoped for from any other; not in a man's self, nor in any other creature, angels or men; not in and by his own works, and legal righteousness; not by obedience to the law of Moses, moral or ceremonial; nor by the light of nature, much less by an observance of the traditions of the elders: 'for there is none other name'; thing or person, be it ever so great, or whatever show of power and strength, of holiness and religion, it makes; as the name of kings, princes, and the great men in the world; or of ministers and preachers in the church; or even of Christians and believers, which may be only a name to live; none but the name of Jesus, His Person, Blood, and Righteousness: 'under Heaven': throughout the whole earth, in all the nations and kingdoms of it; nor even in Heaven itself, among all the mighty angels there, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; none but the Father and the Spirit, Who are one with Christ: there is none but He 'given among men'; and He has been freely given by His Father, as an instance of His matchless love to His chosen; and also freely given by Himself, to be a sacrifice for the sins of His people; and is freely preached among men, as the only Saviour of them; for there is no other, 'whereby we must be saved': God resolved in His purposes and decrees, in His council and covenant, upon the salvation of His chosen people; and He appointed His Son to be the salvation of them, and determined He would save them by Him, and by no other, and in no other way; wherefore, whoever are saved, must be saved by Him. God says, 'But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen' (Hos. 1:7), the Arabic version adds, ‘unless by Him only’.” As none are saved but by the Lord Jesus Christ, so too, none are saved but by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 cf. Jn. 20:31). It is equally accurate to say: ‘Neither is there salvation by any other way than grace: for there is none other means under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved’. Jesus Christ is the grace of God personified that saves His people from their sins (see Jn. 1:14,16,17; Rom. 5:15; Titus 2:11-14).
Salvation by grace is independent of anything done by man. Ephesians 2:8,9 teaches “Salvation is not our achievement, but is a gift from God. That truth is made stronger by contrast. It is 'not of ourselves' and ‘not of works’. Salvation is indeed the most extraordinary expression of God's grace. Salvation is of Divine origin. But it is not anything that God was bound to arrange by the necessity of His nature. It is the result of His gracious will. Had it not been for His good pleasure, salvation would never have come” (see Eph. 1:1-7). “By grace are ye saved.” “The Greek grammar denotes not the act of being saved, but the fact of having been saved.” The original Greek has it, “…for grace ye are ones having been saved…” “God's grace rather than human merit is the source of the whole arrangement. The elect are saved gratuitously. Salvation is a gift; it is not earned. The four word phrase ‘the grace of God’, is a synonym for Jesus: ‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation…’ (Titus 2:11).” “Grace is the single most important aspect of the people of God’s spiritual and eternal salvation, and God's giving of it to His people is completely and totally unmerited. Even though the grace of God is the foundation for good works, the good works, by themselves, do not and cannot earn us grace.” You cannot use that which is freely given to you to earn what has been given to you. If grace is something which could be earned by way of works, then it would simply not be true grace, God’s saving grace, that would be under discussion. Grace can only be, and is only, a gift, it is given freely not under any obligation. “While most of the New Testament writers use ‘grace’ at some point, Paul makes the greatest use of it. It can almost be said to be his word. The seven other NT writers together use the word 51 times, but Paul alone uses it 101 times. Essentially, his usage of grace has given us its unique Biblical application. The apostles took an ordinary Greek word, charis—and that word has been translated into English as grace—but they turned it into a word of very profound theological and spiritual significance. The word all by itself, as it would be used in secular Greek, is ‘gratifying in manner’, or we might say, ‘that which causes delight’. It is the causing of it that gives the word its distinctive usage. The emphasis of the word is on the causes. It has the delight that we receive. The apostles used this word to indicate unearned or unmerited favor. It always has the idea of something completely undeserved, something that we could never have achieved by ourselves. For example, John 1:14 teaches us that God came to earth to live and to die, and that is not something which humanity could manipulate or deserve because we earned it. It was something that He freely did. He gave of Himself (see Gal. 1:3,4). Men did not have this in mind, that God would come here and demand that this occur because we are so good and we need to be saved. God, on His own, decided that He would use this means to introduce Himself into the flow of life on earth and provide man with a Saviour.
“In addition to this, the word ‘grace’ also has the idea of beauty contained within it. Its opposite, its antonym, in the Greek is erga, which is translated into the English word ‘work’. Now ‘work’ or erga carries the connotation of something deserved because it has been earned by conduct or activity.” The Greek word for grace in Ephesians 2:8 is chariti or charis. Many lost people have twisted its meaning in many ways. However, seeing that the antonym of grace is erga meaning work, “something deserved because it has been earned by conduct or activity”, the minute anyone tries to interpret the grace of God as including any work it supposedly enables a man to do in order to get saved, they have corrupted, and, thereby, destroyed its true meaning. Literally, grace means ‘NO WORK’. “So you have these two opposites, these two contrasts. Grace on the one side, something that is given and provides delight, favor that is unearned. On the other side, we have erga—work—something that is earned. It is merited because of things that we have done.” From this we learn the clearest of teachings about salvation, that salvation cannot be something which is both given and earned. Salvation is not the result of a combined effort on the part of God and man, for it is clearly something given by grace which can never be deserved or earned by any person through any work. The Lord Jesus Christ earned salvation for His people by establishing a perfect Righteousness, and by dying for their sins. Grace has done all that needed to be done for God’s elect to be saved, because no work could ever have earned salvation. There is no further work necessary to save a man, for grace has done it all. The Greek has Ephesians 2:8,9 saying: Salvation is “not out of you”, “not out of acts”, but ‘of God’ by grace. Salvation is not of man, but of God, therefore, salvation is not of works, but of grace. Grace removes all boasting from everyone except God in the work of salvation. God saving by His grace leaves man with no room to do anything. Not only is what a man does unnecessary, but it is also unfruitful: “…man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5).
Believing can only come as the first fruit of salvation, in the form of the gift of faith, therefore, it cannot be that which comes prior to, produces, or results in, salvation. Grace and faith are both gifts. Those who love God do so because He loved them first, so too, those who believe in God do so because He has blessed them by grace through the gift of faith first. Nothing man does comes before God. Believing is not the cause of salvation, but merely one of its many fruits. Believing the truth of God is not a work, but a gift. Faith is not what a man offers to God, but what God gives to a man of His choosing. Faith can only come as the fruit of salvation by grace alone. Nor is believing, the tree which bears the fruit of salvation, but it is the tree of the grace of God whose branches provide salvation that produces the fruit of believing. Heresies come from the heart of man, they are a work of the flesh, whereas, faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ comes from the grace of God (see Gal. 5:19,20). Faith is a gift. The root of the tree does not depend on, nor is it sustained by, the branches, but the branches, and the fruit which they bear, are completely dependent on, and sustained by, the root which is the antecedent will and purpose of God. Belief is a fruit of the grace of God, and not that which bears the fruit. Believing has no capacity to produce the fruit of salvation, for believing IS the fruit of salvation. Believing comes from salvation, whereas salvation does not come from believing, otherwise, salvation could not be by grace. God saves His people by His grace, and by nothing the person is, or does. Anything a person does after salvation is because of grace. No work of man’s can gain him life. God does not wait upon the will of man to do anything, for man can do nothing, and so, it is by the will of God alone that a man is saved. The tree is not dependent on the fruit, it produces the fruit by what it is and by what it does. Salvation is not “…of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:13). Salvation is not dependent on the will of man. Man’s willingness comes because of grace, not because of man. Man’s willingness does not precede salvation, but comes as the result of salvation. Everything a saved man does is the fruit of grace, it does not produce grace. God does not wait upon the will of man to do anything, for it is by the will of God alone that a man is saved. Man’s willingness does not precede salvation, but comes as the result of salvation.
It is God’s Power, and not a man’s free will by which he is made willing to come to God: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of THY power..." (Psa. 110:3). One of the most forceful Scriptures that clearly demonstrates how a man comes to God says: "Blessed is the man whom THOU CHOOSEST, and CAUSEST to approach unto Thee..." (Psa. 65:4 cf. Psa. 33:12 cf. Jn. 6:44,65). Not only is God the chooser, but He is also the cause behind a man’s approaching Him. That is grace. It is not a case of God choosing, and then the man responding with a decision to approach God, but it is all of God, it is God Who chooses and it is GOD WHO IS THE CAUSE BEHIND A MAN APPROACHING HIM! Such is the inability of man—such is the Sovereign grace of God. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13 cf. Eph. 2:10). “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23 cf. Psa. 37:23; Prov. 20:24). The willingness of man to be saved always follows the willingness of God to save him, for man’s will cannot come into play prior to his being made alive by God. Salvation is being made alive by God. Nothing can be done before life. Man’s willingness can never be the forerunner of salvation, but only that which is subsequent to salvation. Jesus said: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (Jn. 15:4-6 cf. 2 Jn. 9).
It is God’s Power, and not a man’s free will by which he is made willing to come to God: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of THY power..." (Psa. 110:3). One of the most powerful Scriptures that clearly demonstrates how a man comes to God, states: "Blessed is the man whom THOU CHOOSEST, and CAUSEST to approach unto Thee..." (Psa. 65:4 cf. Psa. 33:12; Ezek. 36:27). No man comes to the Son except by the Father, except by the Father’s free gift of grace (see Jn. 6:44,65). No man can approach God unless he is chosen by God. God chooses, and God causes a man to come to Him. Jesus said “No man can come unto Me, UNLESS THE FATHER…” (Jn. 6:44). This means that all of salvation is conditioned on God, which is why no one is saved but by grace alone. Not only is God the chooser, but He is also the cause behind a man’s approaching Him. That is grace in action. That is what grace does. GRACE DOES! GRACE SAVES! Nothing outside of grace plays any part in a man’s salvation. Grace does not delegate anything necessary for a man’s salvation to a man. When saving grace appears on the scene, a man is made eternally alive, and so, needs do nothing to come, or remain, alive. Grace is sent to save, and save it most certainly does. Grace requires no assistance, for it alone does the work of salvation. Grace is an operative of God’s will not a man’s will. Grace does because of God, not because of man. Grace does not merely provide the lawn mower, hoping that a man will mow the grass, for the evidence of saving grace is a lawn fully mowed. God does the work which is why HE is called THE SAVIOUR! Salvation is not by who we are or by what we do, but only because of Who God is and what He has done. That is the difference between grace and works. Grace is the only difference between a saved man and a lost man, “For by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8). "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through Righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21). Anyone who still believes in works is a fool, for they do not believe in the true God, they do not believe in salvation by God alone through grace alone.
The Lord Jesus informed the Jews, “…ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (Jn. 5:40). This statement clearly testifies to the fact that these lost Jews had no spiritual life within them, which is why they did not/could not come to Jesus. Before a man is given spiritual life he is spiritually dead. A man, therefore, will not, because he cannot, come to the Lord Jesus. This is precisely why the Lord Jesus said “No man can come to Me…” (Jn. 6:44). Who are the ones that will come? “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me” (Jn. 6:45). “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). The only ones who will come to Christ Jesus, are those whom the Father has given Him. ALL whom the Father has given SHALL come. “…such who are given to Christ in eternal election, and in the everlasting covenant of grace, shall, and do, in time, come to Christ, and believe in Him to the saving of their souls; which is not to be ascribed to, any power and will in them, but to the power and grace of God. It is not here said, that such who are given to Christ have a ‘power’ to come to him, or ‘may’ come if they will, but they shall come; efficacious grace will bring them to Christ, as poor perishing sinners, to venture on Him for life and salvation.” The chosen will come, the lost cannot come. “…everyone that has heard the voice of the Father's love, grace, and mercy in the Gospel, and has learned of Him the way of peace, life, and salvation by Christ, under the blessing of His grace, comes unto Christ; trusting and relying on His Person, blood, Righteousness, and sacrifice, for justification, pardon, atonement, acceptance with God, and eternal life.” Who are the ones who will not come to Him? Those who “…have not His Word abiding in (them)…” (Jn. 5:38). “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the Doctrine of Christ, hath not God…” (2 Jn. 9). There is no other means of coming to God, but by His saving grace.
Grace chooses the man and causes the man to approach unto God. Grace chooses the man, makes the man alive and brings him to God. It is “…the grace of God that bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11). Notice grace does not enable the man to choose to come to God, but is that very force that makes the man approach. A man is chosen and saved by God through the agency of grace alone. It is because of God that a man comes to God, for no one can do anything without God. Grace does not enable a man to choose salvation, but instead grace brings salvation to the man. GRACE IS GOD CHOOSING MAN. It is not a case of God choosing, and then the man responding with a decision to approach God, but it is all of God, it is all of grace. Grace chooses the man and makes him come. It is God Who chooses and it is GOD WHO IS THE CAUSE BEHIND A MAN APPROACHING HIM! Again, that is grace in action. Grace is God choosing and causing a man to approach Him. The decision is God’s because the choice is God’s made before the foundation of the world, and according to His grace alone. It is God Who saves His people from their sins by His grace. God is the Saviour, man is the sinner. Therefore, a man is saved by God. Such is the inability of man—such is the Sovereign grace of God. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13 cf. Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; Jer. 32:40; 2 Cor. 1:21; Eph. 2:10; Heb. 13:21). Jesus said: “…This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him that He hath sent” (Jn. 6:29). “Believing, as a principle, is purely God’s work; as it is an act, or as it is exercised under the influence of Divine grace.” “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23 cf. Psa. 37:23; Prov. 20:24). The willingness of man to be saved always follows the willingness of God to save him. Man’s will cannot come into play prior to his being made alive by God. Man cannot see the Light before he is shown the Light. Man has no natural love for the only true God. Any genuine love for God comes because of God’s loving the man first. Man has no love and no will for the only true God, prior to God’s will to love the man and to save the man—making him alive—for the carnal mind is perennially at enmity against God (see Rom. 8:7). Any willingness on the part of man to believe is on a par with Paul’s seeing the light. Paul did not see the light because he chose to see it, nor because he was willing to see it, but BECAUSE HE COULD NOT BUT SEE THE LIGHT. Paul saw the Light not because he chose to see it, but because God chose to reveal it to him. IT WAS GOD’S WILL THAT WAS ON DISPLAY ON THAT DAMASCUS ROAD, NOT PAUL’S.
God’s people are all beneficiaries, they are recipients of God’s grace and mercy, and not in any way deserving of His attention. Man is merely a recipient, but even his receptiveness to God is solely by the grace of God, for if he was not first made a vessel of mercy unto honor, he would never, and could never, have been saved (see Rom. 9). The effect of the influence of God’s Spirit on the heart is to make His people, those chosen before the foundation of the world, before they had done any good or evil, willing in the day of His power: "Thy people SHALL be willing in the day of Thy power..." (Psa. 110:3). "Eternal life is not bestowed because man had any original willingness or disposition to be saved, it is not because he commences the work, and is himself disposed to it; but it is because God is inclined to grant it by grace alone..." Man is not pardoned because of anything he has done, but solely because of the will of God, because God chooses to pardon him based on His will and grace. "The sinner, however anxious he may be, and however much or long he may strive, does not bring God under an obligation to pardon him, any more than the condemned criminal, trembling with the fear of execution, and the consciousness of crime, lays the judge or the jury under an obligation to acquit him. Weep and strive he may, but in this there is no ground of claim on God for pardon; and, after all, he is dependent on His sovereign mercy, as a lost ruined, and helpless sinner, to be saved or lost at His will. Salvation, in its beginning, its progress, and its close, is OF HIM. ‘...GOD HAS CHOSEN the foolish things of the world to confound the wise...THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE. But OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus...’ (1 Cor. 1:27,29,30 cf. 2 Cor. 1:21,22). He has a right, therefore, to bestow it when and where He pleases. All our mercies flow from His love and compassion, and not from our deserts. The essential idea here is, that God is the original and only Fountain of ALL the blessings of salvation." The very means by which God saves: His will, love, purpose, grace and mercy, is enough to show that man can do nothing to merit anything from God, let alone eternal life. If man had to do anything before he could get saved there would be room for him to boast, and salvation would not be by grace alone. Grace and mercy allow no room for any part of salvation to be based on merit. The fact that salvation is by grace and mercy does not prohibit man from doing anything to get saved, but highlights the fact there is nothing which a man can do in order to successfully obtain salvation. “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Heb. 11:6); “…they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). The faith which is given by grace does not lead a man to believe any part of salvation is conditioned on what he does, or does not do. The faith which grace gives to the elect of God believes only in what God has done to save them. The saved are they whom God wills to be saved; they are saved only by what God does which they cannot merit; they are saved according to His good pleasure, and they are saved by grace which they cannot earn, nor deserve.