BY GRACE ALONE (PART 15)
If salvation could be earned, then it would not be by grace, and God would not receive all the glory for it. The Scripture does not say, ‘Not by the grace of God’, but “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done…” (Titus 3:5). The Scripture does not say ‘By works are ye saved not grace’, but “…by grace are ye saved…not works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). The Scripture does not say ‘Not of God’, but “not of yourselves” (Eph. 2:8). The Scripture does not say, ‘Who hath saved us and called us not according to His own purpose and grace, but according to our works’, but “He (God) hath saved us and called us…NOT according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace…” The Word of God is abundantly clear: “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” (Titus 3:5); “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. For we are His workmanship…” (Eph. 2:8-10). The saved man is a work of God by grace. The saved man is created by the grace of God alone. “Who hath saved us and called us with an Holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9). If all these Scriptures said the opposite to what they are saying, if grace was put for works and works for grace, there would be no difficulty, no confusion, in anyone understanding that salvation is by works alone, and not by grace at all. The antithesis of grace is works, therefore, salvation is either by grace or by works, it cannot be by an amalgamation of both (see Rom. 11:6). If salvation did come by merging grace with works, then there would be two wills involved: God’s and man’s. But as man’s will is not always aligned with what God wants, only one of these wills would prevail. So in many cases, according to the lost religionist’s beliefs, man’s will would override, it would be more powerful, than God’s will. The false doctrine that salvation requires two wills, God’s and man’s, is diametrically and irreconcilably opposed to the truth that man is a spiritually dead-in-sins creature unable and unwilling to come to the only true God. Grace and works cannot work in tandem, for they are eternally opposed to each other, and eternally incompatible. Grace and works pull in opposite directions and can never be reconciled. Religion teaches salvation by works, or, by a perversion of grace and works. True Christianity teaches salvation is by grace alone.
The teachings of men are constantly evolving, but the principle of what religion teaches never does, for it constantly and consistently teaches that you must do. The lie that a man must do is commensurate with its parent teaching, “…Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). You must do is the singular most anti-grace teaching there is. It was spawned by Satan via his blasphemous anti-God teaching that man would not surely die if he ate of the forbidden fruit (see Gen. 3:4). This satanic lie teaches that death is not the consequence of sin, not the wages of sin, but that disobedience to God did not bring spiritual death at all, but only physical death, thus leaving room for a man to make up for his sin, recover himself, as it were, and earn his way back to God. Moreover, it teaches that eternal life is not a gift by grace from God, but something which can, like death, be achieved through what a man does. Grace stands in eternal opposition to all this. Grace is a declaration by God that man is dead in sins, and can do nothing to gain salvation by anything he does. Grace says man does not need assistance to attain salvation, but rather requires salvation to be given to him, for there is nothing he can do to attain it. “By grace are ye saved”, not helped. Grace says man does not need assistance to attain salvation, but that he must be made a new creature in Christ Jesus. The elect of God are not saved by grace through works, but they are saved by grace through the gift of faith. The elect of God are not saved by grace through works of their own, but by grace through the gift of faith in the Person and Work of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. They cannot be saved through works, for they can only be saved by grace. You cannot be heading east if you are travelling west. GRACE IS THE WORK THAT SAVES A MAN FROM HIS SINS! If someone else, other than God, had to play their part in gaining salvation, then it would not come by grace alone, and if it is not by grace alone then it would simply not be by grace at all. Salvation is not gettable by works, but only giveable by grace. Salvation is something which is not determined by the individual through will and works, but is determined only by God because it is only by grace. Salvation cannot be given and earned, but only given or earned.
Election, the calling and predestination of man to salvation before the world began, can only work with grace, only if a man is saved by grace alone. How could salvation through election by works before the world began make any sense, when no works had even been performed? No person had yet to be created, indeed, the world had not even begun. How can a man be predestined unto salvation before the world began, if salvation all depends upon his choice of God after the world began? An interesting exercise is exchanging the word grace for God, and the word works for man in Ephesians 2. Firstly, to 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” (Eph. 2:8,9). Now let us see what the verse is saying by replacing the words grace with God and works with men: ‘For by GOD are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of MEN, lest any man should boast’. Grace is of God, it has nothing in the world to do with you other than to save you. Both grace and faith are gifts of, and from, God. Can you see the significance concerning the vast difference which exists between grace and works. Its magnitude is as vast as the difference between God and man. So, if we ask the question, ‘How is a man saved’, the answer according to this verse would be “…by grace are ye saved…” Now, we know that this saving grace is not that which enables a man to do something to get saved, because it is here, as well as in other places in Scripture, directly contrasted with works, ANY works. Grace is not compatible with works, they are not partners in salvation, but sworn enemies. One saves, the other does not save. Grace is instead of works, it has nothing to do with the works of men in order to complete their salvation, FOR “…ye are complete in Him” (Col. 2:10). Christians are perfect in Jesus because of Who Jesus is, and what Jesus has done. Life comes because of His obedience, not yours.
Grace runs the whole gamut of salvation. Grace does not enable a man to perform works in order to get saved, for it imputes the works/Righteousness of Christ, the only works that save. Additionally, if the question, ‘Is salvation by God, or men’, be asked, the answer according to Ephesians 2 would be “by grace…not of works…” or, ‘…by God…not men…’ It is as simple as this: Salvation is only by that which God can do, and not by that which man cannot do. Only grace can draw a man to Heaven. No man has ever drawn Heaven down to him. Salvation is only by the work of grace, and so, by no works of man. It is all of God, and nothing of man. Salvation is of Himself, not by ourselves. It is by His grace, not our works. It is by His Righteousness not by our righteousness. The saved are given His Righteousness by grace because their righteousness by works is wholly incompetent to save. Salvation is by Christ’s Obedience so it cannot possibly be conditioned on a man’s obedience. Even a Christian’s obedience plays no part in maintaining his salvation, so how can anyone rationally take into consideration the colossal lie that an unsaved man can get saved by his obedience. That which only God can do cannot be done by man. A man is saved by God, therefore, he is only saved by grace. If there is nothing a man can boast in, then there is nothing a man must do, for there is nothing a man can do. This is the essence of grace and works. Salvation is by grace not by works. In other words salvation is only by grace and not at all by works. Salvation is by God not man. Salvation is by what God does, not by what He allegedly enables a man to do. Why would God charge His people with His Righteousness, if they could be saved by their own righteousness? If it takes the Righteousness of Jesus Christ to save His people from their sins, what makes those who are not His people think that they can save themselves by what they do! In other words, why the need for grace if works can get a man saved. Not only is what a man does not necessary to his salvation, but there is nothing for a man to do, or that a man can do that plays any part in his salvation, the attaining or maintaining of it. Salvation is entirely by grace. Salvation is entirely by God for His people. Salvation is by God for those who lie fatally hopeless and helpless in their trespasses and sins. God does not save the self-righteous, only those who have been made Righteous by Him. Grace does not save those who believe they have done, or can do, but only those who cannot do. God saves those who are dead in sins, not those who believe they have made themselves better. God saves, grace saves, because there is nothing a man can do to get saved. The grace is God’s and salvation is of the Lord. How can man possibly do anything to attain, to earn, the grace of God from which salvation comes? Grace means you can do nothing to get it, therefore, salvation is by that which you cannot do. Salvation is completely beyond the reach of man, for it abides in the arms of grace.
The doctrine of salvation by grace alone confirms the fact that man is dead in sins, and can do nothing to come to God. Again, in terms of salvation, grace is not God enabling man to do something, but grace is God doing everything. If salvation is “…by grace...not works…” (Eph. 2:8,9), then it must be all of God. Works are not an operative of God’s grace which He uses to save a man. They are separate and independent of each other. If one is saved by works one cannot look to grace, and if one is saved by grace one will not look to works. Salvation produces works—works do not produce salvation. Salvation is by grace, and is, therefore, totally reliant on grace, on what God has done, and never on what a man allegedly can, or, is supposedly enabled to, do. "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" (Eph. 2:8,9; cf. Rom. 3:27; 1 Cor. 1:27-31). The reason for this is revealed in the following verse: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). The reason why salvation is by grace through faith, and not by ourselves through our works, is explained by the fact that Christians, born again people, people whom God has made spiritually alive by grace alone, are exclusively the workmanship of God. Nothing conspired with God, with grace, to create this new creature in Christ. It was all purely done by grace alone. The only works spoken of in verse 10, unlike those mentioned in verse 9 which are of ourselves, are those God pre-ordained for His people to walk in. None of these works preceded salvation, and none of them performed after salvation have anything to do with maintaining the state of salvation in God’s people. This is done purely by grace. Further insight is given a few verses later when Paul shows that prior to salvation, all were “…without Christ…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). This reveals the Biblical reality that prior to salvation no works of man could have done anything to gain salvation, for a man without Christ and the Father is a man without any hope at all. Works are the refuge of the lost.
Salvation is not what you work for, but is something which is freely given to you. “…BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED…NOT OF WORKS…NOT OF YOURSELVES…” Notice how there is no qualification here applied to the word works. Works of any kind, be they foreseen, solely attributable to a man, or something which man believes he is enabled to do by grace, DO NOT PLAY ANY PART IN THE SALVATION OF A MAN. This is the Message of the Gospel of grace. Salvation is not by anything which a man does, therefore, no part of salvation is dependent, or contingent, upon what a man does: not on what he has the ‘potential’ to do, or what he is ‘enabled’ to do, or what was allegedly foreseen he would do, but only on what he is given. Salvation is purely by a work of God, and not by a work of man. The substance of salvation is grace. A man’s works have no substance. They are vain, and empty of anything that could ever be of any profit to him. God saves His people by His grace through the gift of faith in the works of Christ Jesus the Lord, not in their own works (see Phil. 3). The true believer in grace has no confidence in his works (see Phil. 3:3,9). The word for works, in Eph. 2:9, is "...‘ergon’ and that particular word means ‘deeds’ or ‘actions.’ And the word ‘boast’, in the same verse, actually means ‘a glorying'. Now, it’s a different Greek word than the other word ‘glory’ – like we have the glory of God (and that’s the word ‘doxa’). But this type of glory is a word which is found many times in the New Testament, and it is defined by its context. For example, ‘not of works, lest any man should boast’ or 'not of works, lest any man should GLORY in those particular works'...grace is the bestowing of salvation on people who have done NOTHING to earn it. And you can even really add an addendum on there that not only is the bestowing of salvation on people who have done nothing to earn it, but it’s the bestowing of salvation on people who do not EXPECT it...Now, of course, there’s a great movement out there which seeks to ‘accept Christ'. And of course, you CANNOT ‘accept Christ’ that would be a work, because that’s an ACTION. That’s an ACTION on our part...the salvation plan of God is void of ANY action on the part of the one that, by grace, has received the gift of salvation". We are reminded of the original Greek text of Ephesians 2:9: “…not out of you…not out of acts…” Salvation is given not based on our actions, but because of God’s will, purpose and grace. Salvation by grace alone is never expected because prior to it, everyone is trying to earn it by their works.
The gift of grace can only ever be given, therefore, it can only ever be given according to the will of the One Who gives it. None ever choose grace, for by nature man is preoccupied with getting to Heaven by his works. No one to whom grace is given has any prior claim to it, for nothing they are, or have done, can draw the grace of God to them. Grace is undrawable, unearnable and, therefore, undeserved. Grace comes by no other reason than the will of God to save the people of God chosen by God. Grace is completely unmeritable! This means there is nothing a man can do for which God will reward him with grace. Saving grace does not come in response to works, but only to the will and love of God for His people. “Grace is a gift given without regard for worth. Sin, nothingness, and death— these identify the site at which the God of the Gospel of grace does His giving. And His gift creates the opposite: salvation, existence, and life. The reference to life from the dead (see Rom. 4:17; cf. 4:24,25) is the Christological clue: Paul is not working with an inherited or contextually common-sense definition of grace. His definition is derived from the gift: ‘God did not spare His own Son, but gifted Him for us’ (see Rom. 8:32); Jesus is ‘the one Who loved me and gifted Himself for me’ (see Gal. 2:20); and it is this specific grace — this gift of Christ — that Paul does ‘not nullify’ (see Gal. 2:21). It is this gift that defines grace for Paul, and its incongruity that provides the grammar in which Paul always proclaims the Gospel — whatever the vocabulary: those in bondage are set free; the ungodly are declared Righteous; slaves are adopted as children; enemies are reconciled; the dead are made alive. So who am I? Whoever I am, ‘I’ am is not the answer to the question. ‘I no longer live’, says Paul to the Galatians (2:20); but, as he elsewhere confesses, ‘by grace, I am’ (1 Cor. 15:10)”.
Prior to salvation, even in the last nanosecond before salvation, all a man is, is a creature in bondage to sin (see Rom. 8:15,21; Gal. 4:3; Heb. 2:15); completely ungodly and unrighteous, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). The apostle goes on to say, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). The fact all were without strength shows “They were powerless to work out their own salvation; ready to perish” The words without strength show they were “Impotent to deliver themselves from sin and judgment by anything they could do. The words are in contrast to the might of the Deliverer”. In other words, they were without hope, “Either to think, will, or do any thing good; were utterly incapable of making any atonement for their transgressions, or of delivering themselves from the depth of guilt and misery into which we were plunged”. Man’s works in trying to get saved or maintain his salvation are “unequal to the task”. How can a man perform works pleasing to a God Whom he does not even seek. God is the only One Who justifies the ungodly, and He does it only and eternally by grace. Those who believe this show they have been saved by grace. Unreconciled enemies, remain DEAD! (see Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18,20; Col. 1:21). If grace was deserved then it would no longer be grace. Grace cannot be lured or procured, only given. Nothing a man can do could ever deserve grace, for a saved man, a born again man, is only what he is BY grace: “…By the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Cor. 15:10). This includes the fact that a saved man is a saved man purely by the grace of God. By the grace of God means by what God has done, and not by ‘what God has enabled me to do’.
No one can ever be obliged to give a gift, for a gift is by the giver’s will and no one else’s. God’s motivation to grant the gift of salvation comes from within Him, therefore, nothing a man does can possibly influence God to save him. This, of course, sounds strange to a man’s natural concept of ‘God’, but salvation by grace is salvation by nothing which a man can do even if he were doing it in service to the only true God. The very presence of the notion that ‘I must do to be saved’, reveals the lostness of man. No man knows the true God until the true God saves him. As salvation is by God’s grace, not a man’s works, so too, salvation is not by a man’s choice, but by God’s choice. Man by nature has everything in reverse: belief, works, salvation. God’s way is: salvation, belief, works. Of the pantheon of false gods man has created for himself, all demand a man’s works before salvation. The only true God, the only one whom man did not create, nay could not even conceive of, cannot be either attracted or appeased by anything a man does, for salvation is only by the grace of the true God. If the giver felt in any way coerced or obligated to give, it could no longer be termed a gift, but something he somehow felt compelled to let someone have. If God was obligated to save anyone, then the motivation would come from within man, and not within God, again ruling out salvation as a gift according to the purpose and grace of God, and making it a reward based on the will and efforts of man. Grace comes from God because of God. Grace and mercy come because of God’s will, and He gives grace and mercy to whomsoever HE wills. “I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Ex. 33:19 cf. Mk. 3:13,14).
Salvation is based on the One Who gives it, and no one else. It is God and grace, not man and works. A man is saved, a man is made alive purely by what grace has done. If God felt in any way obligated to give grace because of what someone else had done, it would no longer be grace. Grace can only come because of God’s will according to His purpose. Grace can only come where there has been nothing earned. When anyone claims to have been saved by what they have done they nullify grace (see Gal. 2:21), they nullify the need for a salvation based solely on the Righteousness of Christ imputed to a man which in turn nullifies any need for a man to perform some act of obedience in order to get or remain saved. Nothing in the universe can draw God’s grace to any man, but the Almighty God’s will to love. Salvation is because of God’s unwarranted love and unconditional election. God’s love is a love which chooses whom it will love, for it cannot be swayed by anything outside of God. Man cannot impress God, either by will or works. Man cannot change God’s mind, for God is gracious and merciful only to those He is willing, whom He has chosen in eternity, to be gracious and merciful to. If grace can only be given, then there is nothing a man can do to warrant it being given. Grace is according to the good pleasure of God Who grants it to whomsoever He will. How else can a gift be given, how else can something be properly referred to as a gift, other than by it being something completely unwarranted? If there is a reason for the gift being given outside of the motive and purpose of the gift giver, then it is not a gift. It is a reward, a wage of some kind. If something was done prior to anything being given, then that which has been given is in fact a reward and not a gift. It is not a gift at all despite a man’s ignorance convincing him that it is a gift. Presents are given to loved ones, not because of their love, but because of the love of the gift giver. If a so-called present is given because of another’s love, then, again, it would not be a gift, but a payment. If the motive for the ‘gift’ lies outside of the gift giver, then it is a reward and not a gift. God gives to His people out of His love for them, not because of their love for Him. This is due to the fact that their love for Him, can only come AFTER His love for them. “We love Him, BECAUSE He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19).
Something received is either by gift or reward, just as salvation is either by grace or works. There is no justification for saving grace outside of God. Grace cannot come, but by the will of Almighty God. The Grace of God is the undeserved love of God expressed in the salvation of all His people. The saving grace of God is activated by the undeserved love of God for all His people. As soon as something is warranted, or earned, it simply ceases to qualify as a non-conditional free gift, a gift given solely because of the will of the giver. If salvation was something which had to be earned, God could never have elected His people before the world began according to grace. If there is a reason for something given which exists outside of the gift-giver, then it cannot be a gift, but only that which has been earned. Christ Jesus has paved the way for grace to be shown to all His people by Who He is and by what He alone has done as their Substitute. A gift is like something which the giver has willed by his love for you. One can earn another’s respect, but any ‘gift’ given in lieu of that respect is because of what was done to earn it. It is not something which comes purely because of the love and will of the gift giver, but because of, and after, the act, or acts, performed according to the will of the one who has performed them. A true gift is not something given because of another’s love, but because of the giver’s love. Since grace is that by which God saves, it dictates that nothing else needs to be done to make grace giveable or functional in a man’s life. If anything were to be added to grace then salvation would cease to be a gift. Any condition or works added to grace nullifies it as a gift, and teaches it as a reward, i.e., a wage earned. However, seeing that salvation is not by ourselves, not by what a man does, there is nothing which can be added to God’s grace, for salvation is by grace alone. If salvation cannot be earned, if man cannot attract grace by any means, then the only way one can ever have salvation is for it to be given solely and exclusively by grace alone. Therefore, grace and the resultant salvation—the entirety of salvation—must be given and can only be given by the One Who possesses it, and because of the One Who possesses it. Accordingly, salvation can only come because of the Giver’s will, and not that of any other’s. Therefore, salvation by grace is completely subject to the discretion of the One Who gives it. Salvation is a gift, so how could anyone ever do anything to earn it. Only those who do not know God attempt to earn salvation from Him. More accurately, those who do not know the only true God attempt to earn their salvation from any one of the myriad of false gods conceived in the minds of lost men.
Salvation as a gift instantly rules out anyone’s protestations as to why it is not given to all, for God is not under any obligation to give it to any. A true gift is given by one who loves one who does not love him. And that is precisely the situation when it comes to God giving salvation by grace to those who were his enemies: “…God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us… when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son…” (Rom. 5:8,10). If they had done anything prior to salvation that pleased God, or that in some way earned them salvation, they could hardly be called His enemies. The entire basis of, and for, salvation by grace is predicated on the fact that God’s people love God only because He loved them first (see 1 Jn. 4:19). Gifts are only an obligation, a testament, to the love of the gift-giver. Even a man cannot be criticized because he has given a gift to one person but not to another, for gifts are not merited. A gift is freely given by the choice of the one who gives it according to his will and love. If I should choose to grant a gift to one enemy, how can this possibly be construed as being unfair, as doing an injustice, to my other enemies? How can God possibly be criticized for giving what was undeserved to one enemy, and not to all His enemies. No one deserves what God gives, especially salvation, so no one has a right to protest. Man, by nature, simply does not believe that the only true God is the One Who grants salvation to a predestinated, elected people who did nothing to earn it. They reject the true God for the false gods who only give ‘salvation’ to those who have done something to earn it. Such a salvation is false, and the gods who give it counterfeit. How can God be criticized for giving something that He was not obliged to give, and that no one could ever earn? Moreover, how can God rightly be criticized for giving something that was entirely undeserved. If one cannot earn salvation, then no one has any right to complain about who God gives salvation to, or the fact that He does not give it to all. If man cannot earn salvation, then God has every right to give it to whomsoever He pleases. If one cannot earn salvation, then the only way it can come is if God gives it solely by grace.
The guilty do not have any claim to grace, or any right to mercy. If God is not obliged to give salvation to any, then no one has any right whatsoever to complain that it is not given to all. If there is nothing man can do to acquire salvation what makes him think that he has any right to it, or that he is in any way qualified to even pass comment concerning who God gives salvation to? No one has ever been a recipient of a gift which they earned. If they earned what they obtained, then it would simply not be a gift, but rather a wage or reward. You cannot do anything to get a gift, if you could then it would not be a gift. A gift is something which is impossible to earn. The minute you are given something because of your efforts, it immediately loses any prior claim of being a gift. If salvation is by God then it is a gift, and if salvation is in any way by man, then it is a reward, and man deserves some glory for it. If salvation is by God it is by grace, if salvation, however, comes as a reward for what a man has done then it is according to works, and not solely according to grace as the Scriptures declare. For salvation to be by grace, then it must not/cannot be conditioned on anything a man does. Man’s doing anything to get saved is the antithesis of what salvation by grace is all about. SALVATION IS BY GRACE BECAUSE NOTHING CAN BE DONE TO ATTAIN IT. Salvation by grace highlights the goodness of God, not any meritorious work of man. Salvation is by grace through the gift of faith, not works. One person who corresponded with me questioned whether faith is a gift. She simply assumed that faith to believe comes from within man who does not need a gift to believe. Christian people have the faith of the elect. They were elected not because they had faith, but so they would all receive the gift of faith by grace to believe exclusively in the Gospel of God. Again, this all boils down to what happened in the Garden. God said man would die, Satan said he would not die. If man cannot come to God, this means man is spiritually dead, and so the only way he can be saved is by grace through the gift of faith. If man did not die, as Satan contended, then man must be able to come to God anytime he so chooses. This is the lie that deceives the whole world.
There is no way one could classify a gift as that which has been earned. Your weekly wage is NOT a gift, for it is something, and ONLY something, which you have earned. It is an offer you have taken up, met its requirements, and thus thoroughly earned. Grace is none of these. Neither grace or salvation are offers, but gifts, therefore, they are not something you have accepted, nor have you met any of their requirements, for salvation is a gracious act which is conditioned only upon the will and purpose of God. Conversely, you have a right to a wage, and the one for whom you performed the work is obligated to reward you with it based on the work you have done and the hours you have worked. On the other hand, no one has any right to a gift, no one can do anything in order to obligate anyone to give them a gift. It is an impossibility. This is why salvation with man, by man is impossible, for it cannot be earned. You cannot force God to save you because of anything you have done. Salvation is not because of you, but solely because of God. That is grace. Salvation is conditioned on, and can only come by, the grace of God. Salvation is according to God’s will and work, not a man’s will and works. Salvation is not God’s response to anything a man has done, or asked for, otherwise it would not be by grace. Salvation is not according to our works, but His grace; not by our wills, but solely HIS Sovereign will. Salvation is nothing of us, but all of Him. How can salvation be a gift by grace, if something was done which paved the way for it to be given. If something done, other than the will and love of God, triggered the gifting of salvation, then most assuredly grace could not have been the motivation behind the gift. The motivation would have been to fulfil a debt owing not of gift giving. If salvation is given after a man has met some condition, then it becomes a reward for works, a wage which God would be obliged to give. But seeing as grace is no reward, but a pure gift from God which is completely undeserved, it stands to Biblical reason that nothing can be done to attain, or attract it. Salvation is a gift, grace is a gift and faith is a gift, therefore, salvation cannot be earned, grace cannot be earned, and saving faith cannot be that which is inherent in any man. The fact that salvation is a gift conclusively shows that it can only come by means of grace. Salvation is of the Lord, by the Lord because of the Lord. Saved people are vessels of God’s mercy, and, therefore, cannot be vessels which have in some way earned the right to salvation, to be made a certain way. They were appointed to salvation by the will, love and purpose of God according to His grace and mercy, not their will, love or works. There is nothing to distinguish one piece of clay from another which have both come from the same lump, EXCEPT what the Potter has chosen to make of them: one a vessel of mercy, the other a vessel of Wrath (see Rom. 9:18-23). If salvation is something which is merited, then it can never rightly be called something which is given by way of grace. The only one that can justify a gift being given is the one who has given it. The reason, purpose and means all emanate from within the giver. If something is deserved, then it cannot be given but paid. If something is deserved then it can never be undeservedly given. If it is deserved it is deserved, and if it is not deserved it is not deserved. If it is by grace then it is not of works, and if it is by works then it cannot be by grace.
Something which is merited cannot be a gift. Something that is given only after a work is done, cannot ever be by grace. A gift is that which cannot be merited. A gift cannot come after anything has been done, but only when nothing has been done by the one who is given the gift. A gift is not a response to anyone’s doing anything. If it is a gift then it can only be by grace. A gift can never be given to you after you have done something, but only without you doing anything. A gift can never be motivated by the one who is given it. If you have given something to someone because they have done something, or because of who they are, then you have not given them a gift at all, but a payment which has been earned. They have attracted your attention, and, therefore, merited what you have given them by what they have done. Thus, what they have done is the principal reason they have received from you. In such cases, at least part of the motivation for the gift exists outside of yourself. If the motivation behind the ‘gift’ comes from anything or anyone outside of yourself, then it cannot be a gift. So if salvation comes after someone has done something then it is not a gift. If you are given something because of who you are—brother, sister, mother, father, friend, etc.—then you have not been given a gift. If something is given because of who a person is, or because of some antecedent act, it is not a gift but a wage, a reward, or even a bonus added because of good performance. A true gift is always and only motivated by something within the gift-giver, not the gift-receiver. A true gift does not come after anything but the love of the one giving it. That which is given to a stranger after they helped you in some way is NOT a gift either, however much you may think it is, but something paid in return for what was done. Salvation is not a reciprocal act of God, it is not a payment but a free gift. Salvation does not indicate appreciation or acceptance based on your person or deeds. Salvation is a gift given through undeserved means—grace—which comes from the One Who could never be appeased or attracted by you, or by anything you could possibly do. Salvation is a nonreciprocal unilateral act of grace. If salvation comes after the act of a man, then it is clearly motivated by what someone else has done, and not by the grace of God. If money was given in such an instance, it would be clear to all that a reward has been paid, and not a gift that has been given. When such a reward is in the form of a material blessing such as an ornament or article of clothing, we tend to see this as a gift and not a reward for a service rendered. A tip is also something which is given in appreciation for something done, or in order to uphold a tradition. Either way, a tip is given for reasons outside of oneself, therefore, it, too, fails to qualify as a gift. That ‘gift’ you gave to your mother, father, sister, brother or some other relative or friend is not a gift even if the relative did nothing to earn it. Many, if not most, ‘gifts’ are given because of who the person is, someone you have a relationship with. If one feels under any obligation to provide the ‘gift’ then it cannot be a gift at all. If the reason for the gift is external, then it cannot be a gift. A true, pure, gift is given because of your love toward one who has no love for you, and who has done absolutely nothing to warrant it: not by who they are or what they have done, or haven’t done, nor by what they have said, or have not said. The gift of salvation is given by the gift of grace and comes because of God’s love for His chosen, and not their love for Him, FOR, they love God only because He loved them first (see 1 Jn. 4:19). A true gift is always preceded by the gift giver’s love, and never by the love, or because of the love of the one to whom the gift is given. A true gift, like true grace, is something totally undeserved and can, therefore, never be something that can be merited.
Grace. Why are there so many different ideas surrounding the meaning of grace? The grace I am referring to is the grace of God in the salvation of His people. The most popular, and quite correct, rendering of God’s grace is that it is undeserved. Incredibly, natural man fails to even understand the simple meaning of what true grace is, and has twisted the very definition of grace so as to include his own deeds as necessary to being and/or remaining ‘saved by grace’. How can anyone do anything to attract what is undeserved? This shows beyond a doubt how hopeless lost man is at discerning even the most basic principle of salvation: that salvation is only by the gift of the grace of God to undeserving sinners. You cannot draw the grace of God to you by anything you have done, or by who you are. Grace simply does not come that way. No man can believe in the only true God without grace. As a person cannot love God before He loves them, so too, doing something to gain the grace of God simply cannot be. It is a human impossibility. It is like using a wolf to attract a sheep. Salvation is not a response from God, it is an antecedent act of God. Therefore, salvation is not an offer, for whom it would be given to was settled before the world began. A gift does not need a prerequisite act done before it is given. Scripture says that a Christian’s love for God is due to the fact God loved the man first. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). Grace comes not from man’s love for God, but from God’s love for His people. Both God’s love for His people and their love for Him are motivated solely by God’s will. God’s love, grace and salvation are all unconditional, therefore, no condition can be met, for there is no condition to be met by man in order to receive them. With no condition to be met, that can be met, there is clearly nothing a man can do, or will, that will draw God to him. This is the hopeless condition all men are in by nature. Nothing can be done! “No man can come to Me…” (Jn. 6:44). The saving, Sovereign grace of God does not come because of a man’s love for God, but only because of God’s love for the man.
Grace is only administered by the will and love of God toward those He is willing to be gracious and merciful to. The only way a man can be saved out of his appalling sinful state is by the awesome grace of God which is not something that can be attracted by anything a man is, or by any man’s character or conduct. All that a man is prior to his being saved, is an enemy, a sinner and a child of the Wrath of God (see Rom. 5:8,10; Eph. 2:3). Grace is an act of God, and its place of origin is the will and love of God. Grace comes because of God. It is a supernatural act which saves a man, and is, therefore, something which can only come from God. Grace is something which can never be earned whether a man is dead in sins or made alive by God. A wage must be worked for, while grace is that which can never be worked for. Grace is not based on, or because of any man’s love for God, but can only enter a man’s life through the doorway of God’s love for him. Grace is the unmerited favour of God toward His chosen people. Therefore, there can be no condition or conditions that can be met by man so that grace can be given. Grace is free. Grace is the unmerited, or undeserving, unconditional favour of God toward those He has chosen to be His children. Whether a man does something or does nothing, grace always and only comes as a gift. The direction grace takes, and to whom it is directed, is controlled exclusively by the will and love of God. There is nothing and no one in this universe that can attract grace. Grace is of the Lord, and it is only given by the Lord to whomsoever He wills to give it. Election, the manifestation of who God would give His saving grace to, was settled long before any man did anything. Salvation is by nothing a man has done. Salvation was settled before the world began, thus, it could only have been purely by grace. Any so-called foreseen works, as well as actual works do nothing but nullify grace. A man’s love for God comes only because God loved the man first. A man’s love for the only true God comes only after grace. God acts on His love, not on a man’s love, for a man’s true love for God can only come from God’s love for him. Grace is according to the will of God, and there is no salvation without it. There would have been no Saviour without the grace of God. It is the will, love and grace of God that sent the Saviour to His vessels of mercy and has provided salvation for all His people. Grace is given instead of what a sinner deserves. Grace is not deserved, therefore, it cannot be something that comes after a person has performed some act. The salvation of God’s people is conditioned on what God Himself has done. Salvation is not that which can be merited or earned in any way, for God’s people are saved by grace alone, and not by works; only by what God has done, and not at all by anything the sinner has done lest he boast. If the gospel you believe has any room in it for anything you have done which can earn you anything with God, it is a false gospel, and not that unique Gospel which conditions salvation totally upon the grace of God.
The grace of God is about God’s unconditional love. We know it is unconditional because God chose those He wanted to be His people before He even laid the foundation of the world, before He made them, before they had done any good or evil (see Rom. 9:11; Eph. 1:4). Those who do not believe such indisputable Bible facts, are simply not Christians, despite anything they might do, or anything else they might believe. Clearly, those who only love the true God, who believe His only Gospel and that no other god can save, were chosen based on God’s will, and not because of anything they had done, or condition they had met, for they had not yet been created at the time they were chosen, in fact, the world had yet to begin. If God’s love was conditional, how could He ever have chosen His people prior to their being created? How can anyone have met any condition prior to their creation? The point in choosing a people for Himself before the foundation of the world is to show that God’s choosing was in no way conditioned on what those people did, or who they were. Election being based on the grace of God is further evidence which shows that man is dead in sins and can do nothing to come to the only true God. Salvation is based on that which is undeserved, so there is absolutely no way that it could ever have been based on that which a man has done. The fantasy that God chose His people based on foreseen deeds is ridiculous, for then salvation would be based on works not grace, on what man did, not what God wanted. God’s choosing is primarily based on His will to love certain ones, to reveal His goodness in blessing them with His grace and mercy. Grace can have no conditions, for if any condition had to be met, grace would no longer be undeserved, but deserved. In fact, grace would no longer be grace. This is why the apostle said, “…if it be of works, then is it no more grace…” (Rom. 11:6). Literally, if it be of works then salvation would no longer be of God, for a man could claim salvation after a work of his with no need for the grace of God, or a Saviour. Any way you look at it, if works could cut it then a man would save himself.
If God’s love was conditional, then what pray tell is it conditioned on? And how for that matter could God have chosen His people before they were even created if His choosing was allegedly conditioned on what they did or would do? It is they who would have done the choosing by their doing. Scripture teaches that God chose His people so they would be holy, not because they were holy. There were no holy works performed, and no holy works ‘foreseen’. There is no righteousness which exists in the unrighteous. Election is “…not of works (foreseen or otherwise), but of Him that calleth” (Rom. 9:11). It is not an election by works, but an “…election of grace…” (Rom. 11:5). “…He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” Eph. 1:4). None of God’s elect were chosen because they were holy, or because God foresaw they would be holy, or because they were without blame, but entirely because He would make them holy; He would make them without blame by grace alone. God’s chosen played no part in making themselves accepted by God, for it is God Himself that makes them accepted; they have not chosen Him, He has chosen them. “…He hath chosen us…He hath made us accepted…” (Eph. 1:4,6 cf. 1 Pet. 2:9). That is grace. Works could never do what only grace has done. There is no condition which can be met by man in order to gain salvation, and no condition which must be maintained by man that can keep it. Salvation is entirely by grace forever. No act performed by the saved sinner is necessary to maintain one’s salvation. The works of a saved man come because of grace, they come out of grace, they do not attract grace, for they are the fruit of grace. God saves His people by grace, and grace saves by nothing else, for it is “by grace ye are saved” (Eph. 2:5). The good works of a saved man do not save him, but rather show that he has been saved by grace. Though the sinner saved by grace is made a new creature in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them, none of these good works at any time play any part in keeping a person saved, for they are the result of salvation by grace, not that which produces or maintains it.
When you are saved by grace you are saved forever by grace. You are kept by grace, you are preserved by grace, you are reserved by grace for God. The whole of salvation is based on eternal grace. God is the sole reason you are chosen and accepted by Him. Grace is the will of God for His chosen to be His people eternally. The presence of grace reveals the absence of any condition to be met before the chosen can be saved, as well as any condition which must be met to remain saved. Grace is undeserved, therefore, how can one meet any condition in order to deserve it! One does not need to do anything in order to deserve that which is undeserved. Grace is free! You cannot do anything to get it, for it can only be given. Your will and efforts play no part in attaining it, for its delivery is conditioned solely on the will and work of God. The condition for salvation can only be met by God, and that condition is grace. Religion tells us that salvation is all about people, but it isn’t. Salvation is all about God! Many claim to believe salvation is by grace, but then immediately proceed to condition the maintaining of salvation not on grace, but on one’s personal obedience! This is nothing but a sham salvation by works. To say that a man must maintain his faith to stay saved is to be blind to the fact that the gift of Faith and subsequent works are the result of salvation by grace, and not the means to it, or the maintaining of it. Any time a man thinks that anything he does plays any part in being saved or remaining saved, he is following the dictates of a false gospel, a gospel of works, and not God’s Gospel of grace. It is God Who gives life, and it is God Who sustains life. Therefore, it is not that a man must ‘remain in the Faith to stay saved’, but that he WILL remain in the Faith BECAUSE HE IS SAVED! Anything apart from this is nothing but a works gospel.
Man’s insistence that he must do or he will lose his salvation, is spiritually dead man’s last desperate attempt to share in the glory for his own ‘salvation’. That though he was not able to get saved by works it must now surely be up to him to stay saved by works. This is nothing but a false gospel and only false Christians believe it. Salvation by works is the salvation you have when you do not have salvation. Salvation comes only from God, therefore, salvation can only come by grace. A saved man is not left to fend for himself to maintain his salvation, but is forever attached to the umbilical cord of God’s grace. Even if a person predicates their personal obedience on the grace of God, they are still basing their ‘salvation’ on what they do. When it comes to religion, salvation invariably depends on what the person does rather than on what God has done. If such a thing were truly the case, if the maintaining of salvation was dependent upon a man’s obedience, how would anyone ever know if they had been obedient enough? And who would provide the standard of measure against which we could test and see whether our level of obedience was satisfactory? Man would then become fearfully obsessed with his own obedience—forever wondering if he had been obedient enough—rather than resting, and being comforted in and by the obedience of Christ (see Matt. 11:28-30). Grace is not something given to a man which the man must maintain. There is no need for a saved man to continually be pumping the air of his good works into grace to maintain its power to save. God’s people are saved by grace alone which is always at its maximum, for grace is an airless tyre that never goes flat, it never loses any power to save or keep a man saved. Grace requires no assistance from those it saves and keeps saved. “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not His saints; they are preserved for ever…” (Psa. 37:28). Once grace has saved you, you are saved forever, kept forever, sustained forever with eternal life.