BY GRACE ALONE (PART 18)
The only way to God is the grace of God, and this grace is found only in His Son the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There is no road paved with works which leads to the only true God. Works only lead to false gods, just as any false teaching about the true God can only lead you to a false god that cannot save. Grace is the only road that leads to Heaven. The reason why works, by which a man seeks to establish his own righteousness, will never lead to God, is that the only righteousness that does lead to God is God’s very own Righteousness! Imperfect righteousness does not lead to the only true God. Despite a man’s sincere belief, anyone who tries to work their way to Heaven by their own righteousness is in direct competition with the Righteousness of Christ. The apostle informs us: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…For therein is the Righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16,17). To be saved is to trust completely in Him, completely in His Righteousness. That is what happens when a person is blessed by grace through the gift of faith. The just shall not live by works, they shall not trust in themselves or in anything they have done, but solely in the Righteousness of God by grace-given faith. The people who are justified by God do not live by faith in what they have done, but by faith in what GOD has done. CHRISTIANS ARE SAVED BY GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS NOT THEIR OWN! Christians are saved by what God has done not by what they have done. The only way a man can be saved is by God making him alive. GOD IS THE GIVER, AND HE HAS FASHIONED HIS ELECT TO BE THE RECEIVERS OF THAT WHICH COMES ONLY BY GRACE. Grace does not involve any man doing anything to get saved, for the very presence of grace reveals that there is nothing a man can do. A man is saved by grace because there is nothing else by which he can be saved. “…by grace are ye saved...not of yourselves…not of works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). Grace is given in light of the fact that man cannot do anything to get saved. It is given to a man by the Father to come to the Son, for it is a literal impossibility that a man can, by nature and according to his works, come to the Son of God. In other words salvation cannot be by that which is deserved—works—but only by that which is undeserved—grace. Therefore, man’s only hope for salvation lies not within him, but exclusively in God. No man can come to Christ, no man seeks God, etc., unless it is given him by the Father, and unless he has been given by the Father to the Son. Man being unable to do anything due to the Biblical fact he is dead in sins, shows clearly that he cannot be saved by any meritorious act of his—it is not what man does that makes the difference—for he is exclusively saved by the grace of God, and this grace is, of course, undeserved. Clearly, if man cannot do, then God must do in order to save His people from their sins. Hence, salvation is by grace and not by works. It is by God, and not by man.
Salvation is by grace, not through works, not through anything done by a man about which he can boast, but through the gift of faith. If salvation is through faith alone—and faith is not of man, but a gift given to man—then salvation must, and can only be, by grace alone. Grace is unmeritable, therefore, grace is undeserved, consequently, there is nothing a man can do to deserve salvation or secure salvation. “By grace are ye saved” means works are unnecessary. Works are unnecessary, for works achieve nothing. The dead works of spiritually dead people are completely unprofitable. They are the last thing any man would turn to if they could see how vain they are. The man saved by grace never turns to his works to justify his salvation. Just as nothing can be done to deserve grace, so too, the dead works of the lost are deserving of nothing but condemnation. The people who do not stand condemned at any moment in time are those whom grace has placed in Christ Jesus (see Rom. 8:1). The people who are in Christ Jesus walk after the Spirit, not after the flesh. Works are a lost man’s impotent, heretical, attempt at doing what only God can do. The doctrine of works is the ‘grace’ of religion. God’s means to salvation is grace, man’s way is works. Spiritually dead man’s concept of grace is dependent on his works. God’s grace is dependent on Him. Dead men look to works. People made alive by God look only to grace. Grace is the Good News of salvation for those that are saved, works are the ‘good news’ of lost men. ‘You can choose God’ is the lie loved by lost men. ‘God has chosen you’ is the truth loved by saved men. For the saved Jesus Christ is the only way, for the lost their own works are the only way.
The works of man are an impudent slur on the grace of God. Works are the surest way of maintaining one’s path on the road to Hell. Works could never do what only grace can do. Man could never do what only God can do and has done for all His elect. Man can do nothing to get grace, and, therefore, he can do nothing to keep it. This means no act of man’s is involved in the salvation process. Again, with salvation comes good works, but these good works do not contribute to salvation in any way. Works which a saved man is ordained to walk in, are not what maintain his salvation, for that is solely the domain of grace. At no point does a man deserve to be saved or remain saved by what he does. You cannot be saved by that which is undeserved, and then deserve to remain saved by what you do. At no point in a man’s salvation is he kept saved by his works. “Grace is getting what we do not deserve from God. We do not deserve forgiveness of our sins, but He gives it to His people through Jesus. We do not deserve to go to Heaven, but we are able to do that through Jesus. So, to be saved by grace means that the judgment due to God’s chosen because of their sin against God, i.e., lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, coveting, lust, etc., will not befall them; that is forgiveness. But in addition, they get what they do not deserve, being in the presence of God. So, in justice, we get what we deserve. In mercy, we do not get what we deserve, and in grace, we get what we do not deserve.” The only way to be saved is by God giving you the gift of faith by grace so that you will believe only in Him, only in His Gospel, only in His Way of salvation. “Jesus paid the price. He satisfied the penalty of the law by dying on the cross for His people (see 1 Cor. 15:1-4).” There is nothing for a man to work for. The saved man has nothing to make up for by any good works of his own, for his sins have been blotted out by the Saviour Jesus Christ. The saved man does not have to work to produce an acceptable righteousness of his own, for he is charged with the Righteousness of the Saviour Jesus Christ. All the work has already been done by the Saviour Jesus Christ.
Due to the fact “every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5), and that “…surely every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:11), coupled with the truth that all his “…righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isa. 64:6), nothing a man can do can assist in his salvation. Rather than being the way, works are a roadblock to salvation. Being saved by grace means you cannot get saved by works. Man’s spiritual state is as follows: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12). Now, the fact that any man can read these words and come out the other side believing that God’s Word says we must do in order to get saved, is nothing but a testament to his lostness. No matter what anyone does, and no matter how much of it they do, "there is none Righteous". That Scripture will never change. Go out and do a ton of good in the community, pray and fast all day, give away everything you own, that Scripture will still tell you "there is none Righteous". Nothing man does can ever make him Righteous, therefore, working your way to Heaven is nothing short of a delusion. It is not Biblical thinking, but delusional religious thinking that has convinced a man that he can get to Heaven by what he does. Those who seek to do are not seeking after the true God, they are not seeking salvation by His Righteousness, but by their own feeble attempts at becoming Righteous. People think they are doing good in God’s sight, but Scripture declares "there is none that doeth good". How can a man who can do no good get himself saved by what he does? People think they are being righteous, but Scripture declares "there is none Righteous". This is the reality that all must conform their thinking to, or else suffer the consequences of their religious delusions.
CHRIST JESUS THE LORD IS THE WAY! He is the only Way to God. Salvation is not by what we do, but by who He is and by what HE has done. Faith in Christ is salvation by grace, and not faith in our works. Christ has finished the work, so there is no need for a man to begin to work for salvation or to maintain it. THE WORK IS FINISHED! It all had to be by grace, from election to believing to final glory, for man could do none of it. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace…” (Rom. 4:16). Salvation is "by grace through faith", not through works. To be saved is believing salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. “On this account the promise is mercifully grounded, not on obedience to a law, but on the infinite goodness of God: and thus the promise is sure to all the seed - to all, both Jews and Gentiles, who, believing in Christ Jesus, have a right to all the blessings contained in the Abrahamic covenant. It should be well observed that faith and grace do mutually and necessarily imply and infer each other. For the grace and favor of God, in its own nature, requires faith in us; and it is the gift of faith given to us, in its own nature, which supposes the grace or favor of God. If any blessing is the gift of God, in order to influence our temper and behavior, then, in the very nature of things, it is necessary that we be sensible of this blessing, and persuaded of the grace of God that bestows it; otherwise it is not possible we should improve it. On the other hand, if faith in the goodness of God, with regard to any blessing, is the principle of our hope and actions, then it follows that the blessing is not due in strict justice, nor on the foot of law, but that it is the free gift of Divine goodness.” Salvation is by gifts which are given by God to all His people, and these gifts entail nothing that any man by nature could ever do. Man can do nothing to save himself, therefore, salvation is by the gift of faith to believe what God has done by grace. By grace through faith, the Christian trusts in Whom he does not deserve, giving him what he does not deserve by what he does not deserve. Salvation is by the grace of God not the works of men.
Nothing man does can draw God’s love toward him, therefore, nothing a man does can draw salvation to him. Accordingly, if there is nothing a man can do to get saved, obviously, salvation must come as a gift: that which is entirely undeserved. This is precisely what the Holy Spirit, by Paul the apostle, has stated: “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8). Moreover, this means that salvation requires perfect Righteousness, that Righteousness must and can only come from ANOTHER’S obedience which is precisely what the Word of God states: “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19 cf. 1 Cor. 15:21,22). If it is by the obedience of One, then it can be by none other. Salvation can only come from Another’s Righteousness, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21), and from Another’s will: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:12,13); “Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth…” (Jas. 1:18); “All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him” (Lk. 10:22). Saved people, Christians, are not born again of their own will, but only of the will of God. Man is dead in sins, and his will to choose the only true God is just as dead. How can a man be dead in sins, but still have a will to choose the only true God? Salvation only ever occurs without any deed of man’s. No will, no choice, no deed. That is what being spiritually dead is. What need is there for further evidence of man’s lostness, than his natural affection for false gods. The spiritually dead follow the gods that cannot save. No true God, no true Saviour, no true hope for a man lost in sins. Salvation comes only by grace through faith in the obedience unto death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only Christ’s obedience saves His people from their sins. People who seek salvation by their own efforts will die in their sins. It is Christ’s Righteousness that saves and it is imputed to His people by grace. Grace being undeserved, means that salvation is NOT based upon what any man has done, but only upon that which Jesus Christ has done. 2 + 2 = 4. Add anything to that answer and all you will have is an incorrect answer. So too, insert any act of man’s into the picture in terms of getting saved and/or remaining saved, and you no longer have true Christianity, you no longer have saving grace. A ‘grace’ that has your works attached to it cannot save you. The only thing a saved man does do is believe and trust in the Saviour, however, this act is not something which originates from within him, that is, it is not of himself, of his own nature and of his own prompting, it does not originate from his will, nor is it something which is sustained by him, for it is a gift given by God to ensure he believes and trusts in the fact that God saves His people by grace alone. “That is why the Bible tells us that we are made right before God by faith, 'Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God' (Rom. 5:1,2). Therefore, to be saved by grace means to be safe from the Righteous judgment of God by the unmerited favor found only in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.” The Christian is saved by grace, saved by Christ, safe by grace and safe in Christ.
Grace is something which was decided upon before the foundation of the world. The reason why grace is necessary is that sin has brought spiritual death to all mankind, thereby, absolutely destroying any chance any man had of ever coming to God of his own free will. Salvation could never be justified by anything a sinful man did, so the only alternative was grace. If man could not work for his salvation, it would have to come as an undeserved gift. If man could do nothing to deserve salvation, then the only alternative would be salvation by that which man could do nothing to deserve. By sin, man killed off any chance he had of ever coming to God through the means of works. Therefore, grace would be the only answer, the only possible way anyone could come to God. Grace is eternal. God’s love for His chosen is eternal. Grace was always going to be given to God’s chosen, and it will cradle them and protect them throughout eternity. Grace is God’s plan. All of salvation is by everything that is not deserved. All of salvation is by everything a man cannot do. Grace is the only means possible to save a man who is dead in his sins. Grace would not be necessary if a man could do something to get saved, if he was not dead in sins. But the cold, hard and absolutely Scripturally irrefutable fact of the matter is that man is dead in trespasses and sins, and, therefore, can do nothing to attain salvation by anything he does. “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect” (Rom. 4:13,14). “That is, if the Jews who are under the law, and are seeking for righteousness and life by the works of it, should, on the account of their obedience to it, be heirs of the grace of life and of glory, faith is made void; for if the right to the inheritance is by the works of the law, there is no room for faith; that can be of no use or service; and the promise made of none effect: if salvation is by works, it is to no purpose for God to promise, or men to believe; for the thing promised depends not upon God's promise, but upon man's obedience to the law; and if that is not perfectly observed, as it cannot possibly be, then the promise of God stands for nothing, and is in course made void. The apostle here argues from the absurdities which follow upon the doctrine of justification by works, as he does from the different effects of the law, in the following verse, ‘Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed…’”.
Just as the gift of faith is made void by obedience to the law for justification, if a man could do something to get saved, in other words if salvation was by works, then Christ would have died in vain: “…if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). If you have accepted a gospel which has convinced you that salvation cannot come to you unless you perform certain works that will ultimately save you and/or keep you saved, you have made faith void, and the death of Christ a vain thing. You have no Biblical right to even utter the word ‘grace’ those of you who look to even one act of obedience of your own as being essential to salvation. The false doctrine that a man can attain to Heaven by what he does at once cancels out not only what Christ has done, but also Who He is: the Saviour of His people, as well as salvation by grace through faith. But the Word of God speaks clearly in declaring that Christ did not die in vain, He is resurrected, and so, Righteousness does not come by the law, but by faith in Christ “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). Jesus came to save because His people could never be saved by what they did. Righteousness is not established by what a man does, but by Who Christ is and what He has done. The saved man is given the gift of faith from God to believe in His Son, in the perfect Righteousness of God, by grace alone. This is salvation! The seeking of one’s own righteousness ceases the moment one is saved by the grace and Righteousness of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Grace means that man can only be saved by that which is undeserved, therefore, never by that which is deserved. Man does not get saved by what he does, for salvation is only by the Obedience and Righteousness of Another: the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. HE is the Saviour, and it is by what HE has done that saves His people from their sins. It is not Christ’s death that is in vain, but every work of man’s done in an effort to get saved. Works are made void, redundant, by the presence of the gift of faith which comes from God and given to all His people who are saved by grace alone. A righteousness of your own will not save you. Only the Righteousness of Christ saves. Works are a counterfeit currency used in an attempt to purchase salvation in the absence of the only thing that has genuine purchasing power: the grace of God. Grace is to the glory of God’s goodness. Grace is that which makes God’s salvation plan effective. It does not require the assistance of man to do anything, for man is dead in sins. Grace is that which does everything to save a man and keep him saved. Without grace there would be no Saviour, no Righteousness and no salvation. Everything that God has done to save His people from their sins comes under only one heading: GRACE. Without grace no one could ever be saved, for there is no redeeming feature in any man that could possibly save him. “…There is none Righteous, no, not one…there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10,12 cf. Eccl. 7:20; Jer. 17:9). Man is vanity and ALL his righteousnesses are as filthy rags (see Psa. 39:5,11; Isa. 64:6). A better explanation of hopelessness one would be hard-pressed to find. Anything a man does is like laying filthy rags before God and expecting to be accepted on the basis of them!
Salvation requires the grace of God, for man is completely lost in his sinfulness. Many people are under the impression that God saving by grace is God enabling a person to do that which He requires before they can be saved. This is one of the biggest lies that anyone could ever be deceived by, for it launches man into an unending quest to seek and establish for himself a righteousness of his own. Grace is not enabling, grace is enlivening. If saving grace comes into contact with a man he is instantly made alive by it. What a saved man does after he is saved is because he is saved. These works do not lead him to salvation, but are because he has been saved. They are works which God has ordained for him to walk in because God has saved him. He is not empowered to do anything which will make him alive, for it is grace itself that makes alive. THE SAVING GRACE OF GOD DOES NOT ENABLE THE LIVING, IT BRINGS LIFE TO THE DEAD. The grace of God is His resurrecting power that makes one who was dead, alive again! Grace restores life to that which was dead. Grace reinstitutes life to that which was dead. A man is saved by grace because man is dead, and, therefore, cannot be saved by works. What can a dead man do that will make him alive? A man is saved by grace because there is no other means that can save a dead man who can do nothing. There is no other means God uses to bring a dead man to life again other than grace. This simply goes to show how dead a lost man is. He needs something outside of himself to save him. He needs SOMEONE outside of himself to save him. Man needs that which he could never have imagined, much less, pleaded for. He needs grace not works; he needs God not himself. As God is the only Saviour, grace is the only means to salvation. Grace is the power source for all of salvation, and for everything that needed to be done in the salvation of God’s people. God’s entire salvation plan is based on grace. Without grace there is no election, no salvation, no Saviour, no mercy and no hope. As man is dead in sins, he needs precisely that which he cannot do to save him. The whole principle of salvation by grace is man being saved by that which he cannot do. Man being saved by God is man being saved, not by anything he has done, but only by that which only God by grace alone can do. Man needs something which only someone else can do. The something is grace, and the someone is God.
Grace is not an instrument of God used to merely make salvation possible, but is the very power of God that saves. A saved man is a man activated by the power of God: grace. “…by grace ye are saved” (Eph. 2:5). “…we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” (Acts 15:11). Saved by grace, saved through grace, there is no salvation if it is not salvation by grace alone. Grace saves! Saving grace saves! What a man needs to be saved by is only what grace can do. Grace is the power of God that saves His people from their sins. Trying to get saved by what you do is ridiculous, for a man is saved only by the grace of God. Grace does not enable anyone to do that which salvation requires before they can be saved, for it is grace itself that makes alive! Salvation needs grace to save you, not you or your works. Works make grace and faith void; grace and faith make works—when performed in an effort to get saved or stay saved—obsolete. Salvation by grace through faith produces a life of works, but works can never result in salvation. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24). “By Christ the object of faith, by His Righteousness, which faith looks unto and receives, and not by the law and the works of it; the people of the Jews were in such a state under the law, and the law of that use unto them before the coming of Christ, as above represented, that it might be made manifest, be a clear point, and out of all dispute, that there is no such thing as justification by the law; for how could ever such a blessing be expected from it, when men were kept under it as under a military guard; when they were shut up in it as in a prison, and were treated by it as malefactors, convicted and condemned; and when they were under the discipline of it, as a rigid and severe schoolmaster? this being their case till Christ came, when it ceased to be all this to them, He being the end of it for righteousness, it became a thing self-evident, that justification is only by Him and His Righteousness, and so the end here mentioned was answered.”
Obedience to the law by anyone has saved no one. Only by the obedience of Christ comes perfect Righteousness, the only Righteousness which is acceptable to God. Man’s obedience could only ever establish an imperfect righteousness. In fact, whether man obeys, or does not obey the law of God, the best a man can ever produce is an imperfect righteousness which cannot save. A pile of filthy rags is the sum total of a man’s righteous deeds! “…we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isa. 64:6). What, other than filthy rags, could possibly come from an unclean thing? “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one” (Job 14:4). The law was given to show man that man could never be saved by obeying it, for unless a man obeyed it perfectly he could never be released from its curse. The Word of God says: “…if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily Righteousness should have been by the law” (Gal. 3:21). Therefore, seeing that there has never been a law given which could have given life, Righteousness CANNOT ever be by the law! The Word of God has the following to say to those who believe they are saved by their doing: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 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. 3:10,11). How can anyone expect to be saved by what they do, when their vain, imperfect attempts at obedience is far outweighed by their, death-deserving, perfect disobedience. Man’s best attempts at obedience are tantamount to disobedience, for his obedience is imperfect. “…as many as seek for justification by the works of the law, and trust in their own righteousness for acceptance with God, these are so far from being blessed or justified hereby, that they are under the curse, that is, of the law; they are under its sentence of condemnation and death, they are deserving of, and liable to the second death, eternal death, the Wrath of God, here meant by the curse; to which they are exposed, and which will light upon them, for aught their righteousness can do for them; for trusting in their works, they are trusting in the flesh, and so bring down upon themselves the curse threatened to the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm; not only that trusts in a man of flesh and blood, but in the works of man; his own, or any other mere creature's: besides, by so doing, he rejects Christ and His Righteousness, whereby only is deliverance from the curse of the law; nor is it possible by his present obedience to the law, be it ever so good, that he can remove the guilt of former transgressions, and free himself from obligation to punishment for them: nor is it practicable for fallen man to fulfil the law of works, and if he fails but in one point, he is guilty of all, and is so pronounced by the law; and he stands before God convicted, his mouth stopped, and he condemned and cursed by that law he seeks for righteousness by the deeds of.”
Without life, man can do nothing. Every saved man knows that he could never have done anything to get saved. Therefore, every saved man acknowledges the fact that he could only ever have been saved by that which he was not deserving of. Never saved by what he did, for GRACE ALONE SAVES! Salvation does not come by doing, but by being given life. Grace is that which makes alive, so prior to grace being given what can a man possibly do? How can a man do something to make grace come? What can a dead man do in order to merit that which is undeserved! The only way a man can escape answering that question honestly, is to deny the fact that man is spiritually dead, and to do that one has to go outside of the Word of God, outside of that which God has authored. How can a man meet some alleged condition to become alive, when unmerited, undeserved grace is that which exclusively makes alive? You cannot do anything to get grace, you cannot do anything to get saved. Spiritually dead people are made alive by grace. Therefore, there is nothing a man must do because he simply cannot do anything prior to grace making him alive. That aliveness does not afford man the opportunity to do in order to get saved, for that aliveness is salvation itself. There is nothing but spiritual death before spiritual life. The evidence of grace is spiritual life. Once a person is made alive by grace there is nothing whatsoever a person needs to do to be born again, for they have already been made alive by grace. If being made alive is not being born again, then what pray tell is it? Can a man be born again without life? Can a man be spiritually alive without being spiritually born again? There are not several steps to salvation, such as God sending grace to enable a man to do that which grace awaits before it becomes operational so that it can then finally save, for grace is the power of God that saves.
Salvation is all about God. Biblical Salvation draws your attention to the only true God Who saves only by grace alone. Enabling is all about you. The next word in a discussion about God enabling, is God enabling you. God enabling you to do something rather than God doing all that needs to be done is plainly and simply a false gospel. Remember, if it is by grace it is NOT by works (see Rom. 11:6). This means if salvation is by grace then it is by God doing, not you doing. Salvation is by grace not works. One man stated, ‘The key is our utter dependence on Him’. Rubbish! The key is our NOTHING! The key is God’s GRACE!! The key of grace is what causes our utter dependence on God. The key is not our doing anything. The key is God doing everything! The key is the cause, not the effect. So then, it is totally unbiblical to say that salvation, in any way and to any degree, involves God enabling a man to do something, for this is not the grace of God. “…if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Rom. 11:6). If it is by grace it is not by you doing anything. If it is by works, then it is not by grace at all. These words of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, show that salvation is not by grace and works, but can only be by grace or works. If it is by one then not by the other. If you are convinced you must do so that God can then save you, you are not a believer in salvation by grace. And, if you truly believe salvation is by grace, you will never again subscribe to the lie that salvation cannot occur before a man fulfils some condition first. The basis for salvation is grace, not works. Salvation is not dependent on two things: grace and our response to it. That, my friend, is nothing but works, for such blasphemous teaching makes salvation ultimately dependent on what we do. Any salvation plan which teaches grace and works is a lie, for its ‘grace’ is merely a word used to disguise the fact that such a salvation ultimately depends on what you do, for if you do not do then the grace you claim you are partially saved by is useless. Salvation plans that combine grace with works merely give lip service to grace and make works that upon which salvation essentially depends. Salvation by grace and works is consenting to grace with one’s lips, but dissenting from grace in one’s heart. Salvation by grace and works is an oxymoron (see Rom. 11:6).
Salvation by grace and works is an unbiblical concept by which no one has ever been, or ever will be, saved. Salvation is dependent only upon grace. Grace saves, and grace keeps a person saved. Grace causes the effect of repentance, believing and obedience, however, salvation is not based on the effect, but that which caused the effect: Grace. Grace is God doing, and that doing is God saving you, not enabling you. The false doctrine of saving grace enabling you to do, always trains the spotlight on you and what you do, rather than on God and what He has done. Salvation is not, ‘Wow, I’m a believer, I have repented, I obey’, but ‘PRAISE GOD HE HAS SAVED ME BY HIS GRACE AND NOTHING MORE!!’ If it is grace it is God, and nothing of you. Those who falsely teach that grace enables you, are saying that grace only makes salvation possible. They say that grace enables you to make the right choices, and to do the right and appropriate things so that God can THEN save you. They are saying that grace is a mere stepping stone to that which really saves you: works. If grace only enables, then it is what it has enabled you to do that actually saves you. To reduce grace to that which only assists a man in salvation, and does not save him outright with no assistance from works, is completely unbiblical. The reality of the situation is that only saving grace saves you by grace alone. Only salvation by grace alone gives all the glory to God, and leaves no room for man to boast. The man who is saved by grace is saved by grace alone. It’s not rocket science. It’s not complicated. You do not need a doctorate in theology to understand the fact that salvation is by grace alone through the gift of faith alone in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. Any way you look at it, if salvation can only come after you have done something, performed a work, etc., by whatever means, then all you have is a salvation by works. Saving grace does not enable, IT SAVES. Grace is the cause behind a man’s salvation, it does not enable or assist you in doing what needs to be done. Salvation is not by grace through works, but by grace through the gift of faith. SAVING GRACE DOES NOT GET YOU TO PERFORM WORKS, IT GETS YOU TO BELIEVE AND TRUST IN THE WORK OF GOD!!! Salvation has to be by grace alone, for the moment you attach any works of your own to it, grace is no longer grace. “…if it be of works, then is it no more grace…” (Rom. 11:6). If you believe salvation is by works, then you do not believe it is by grace. If you believe that salvation is by works, or by grace through works, you stand deceived and condemned.
A man’s salvation is God’s choice and God’s choice is only made possible by God’s grace. God does not enable a sinful nature, He creates a new nature, a new creature in Christ by grace alone. Grace is about God saving His people according to what He does, for they, prior to salvation, are dead! Salvation cannot be by grace if it is by works. Likewise, salvation cannot be by works if it is by grace. In light of spiritual death, and based on the fact there are only two alternatives —grace or works—there is nothing else salvation can possibly be based on, or come from, other than the grace of Almighty God. If man cannot do, if no man can come to God, then obviously it must be God that comes to a man. Salvation is about God reaching down by grace, not a man reaching up by works. Dead people can do nothing. The question must be asked, ‘Why are so many people who believe themselves to be Christian not able to see the truth of salvation by grace alone?’ The unequivocal answer to that question is seen in the unavoidable and indelible fact that: Spiritually dead people cannot discern the things of God. Being spiritually dead cannot stop a lost man from believing he is saved, from believing he is a Christian. Those who are lost, but believe they are Christian, are led by the nefarious, deceiving spirit of error. The lost “…are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. (Christians) “…are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4:5,6). I mean, there is no other answer that will fit this equation. By grace, Christians believe the truth, those who believe not the truth have, at best, only a profession of Christianity. “…if the Gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). The Lord Jesus said: “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (Jn. 8:47). The Lord Jesus also said: “But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn. 10:26,27). If a person claims to be a Christian, but does not believe God’s Gospel of grace in the salvation of His people, he is lost. People are so quick to assume a person is a Christian just because the person says they are a Christian, goes to church, gives to charity and helps people. They see any conflicting doctrines as inconvenient, quickly putting them to one side, so that ‘fellowship’ can be established. Many see doctrine as the problem, even the enemy, of unity, and so, doctrine is not spoken of so that love and ‘unity’ may have their way. This may all seem nice, even logical and laudable, to some, but what would you think of a group of adults with their arms around each other who all have different answers to an equation, and yet rejoicing together that they are all correct!! How can two or more people agree that they both have the correct answer, the truth, if they believe differently. How can a person who believes 2 + 2 = 4, and one which believes 2 + 2 = 5 possibly ever rightfully belong to the same group. How can they ever rightfully join hands based on the fact that both parties have an answer. How can a person who believes in God’s Gospel ever be rightfully grouped with one who believes another gospel? Those who believe the Gospel of God belong to one group, and those who believe in any other gospel all belong in a separate group. The two have absolutely nothing in common that could ever see them rightly placed in the same group. One group is correct, the other is wrong; one group is saved, the other is lost. The reality is that those who believe the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God are saved, and those who do not believe them are lost, despite the fact they also claim to be Christians. One group is being led by the Spirit of truth, and the other by the spirit of error. “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4:6). The Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14 cf. Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13).
The saved are convinced because they have, by grace, been given eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that understands. The lost are convinced because they cannot see, they cannot hear and they do not have a heart that understands the truth of God. They are not converted. Lost people cannot see God’s truth, and so continue to seek salvation by what they do. The seeing, hearing and understanding are not works that originate from within the saved, but are gifts given to them by the grace of God. The Gospel of salvation by grace alone is not hid from the saved, but it is hidden from the lost. If you cannot see it, if you do not acknowledge that salvation is by God alone through grace alone, you are lost, not saved and a bit ignorant, but lost. A man is not sanctified by the spirit of error through ignorance of the truth, but “…through sanctification of the Spirit (of God) and belief of the truth: Whereunto He called you by our Gospel…” (2 Thess. 2:13,14). Ignorance of the Gospel is indicative of lostness, not salvation. “Man cannot fix his problem when he cannot even acknowledge its existence.” The blind, the dead, cannot and will never see that they cannot do anything to gain salvation. The gospel of the lost is doing. The Gospel of the saved is grace. The ignorant do not know they are ignorant. The lost do not know they are lost. Part of being spiritually dead is ignorance of the fact one is spiritually dead, therefore, of the existence of spiritual death. The result is a dead man trying to do that which will make him alive. I mean, such a person in such a condition can’t even get off home plate, let alone make a home run. A surgeon does not wait for a clinically dead person to show signs of life so that he can then proceed to resuscitate them. It’s what the surgeon does that resuscitates the dead body! And in the spiritual realm, the power to resuscitate is in the Surgeon’s hands, not the patient’s! The body is dead just like the spirit of man is dead prior to the resuscitative power of the grace of God being applied by the will of God. Once a person has been made spiritually alive by God, any subsequent act performed by the person does not contribute to his being made alive, but is in lieu of their already being made alive. Dead works do not make dead men alive, nor do good works. The genuine good works, those ordained by God for His people to walk in after He has saved them, do not make them alive but are evidence they have been made alive by grace alone (see Eph. 2:8-10). Grace is the impetus of spiritual life. As soon as a spiritually regenerated person does anything, one sees evidence of spiritual life not the catalyst for spiritual life. That which is done does not produce life, or even help in producing life, but is the direct result of life being given. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63). It is the Spirit of God by the grace of God that makes alive proving that nothing else can. Everything that follows is a direct result of that grace. No God-approved works can precede grace, or salvation, for they can only come from, and after, grace has saved a man. Nor is it any such work that saves a man, but only that which produces the fruit of good works—the grace of God. The saved man does that which grace has appointed for him to do. He does not do them to get saved, he does them because he is saved.
It has been wisely written: “Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return.” Grace is love that seeks out the elect of God when they were nothing but enemies of God. “Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable….The cliché definition of grace is ‘unconditional love’.” It is unconditional love because God’s love cannot be earned. Those who truly love the only true God do so only because God loved them first (see 1 Jn. 4:19). “'Unconditional love’ is a true cliché, for it is a good description of what grace is. Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved.” It is precisely this love which dominates the Diatheke covenant of God which we spoke of earlier. “Unconditional love has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with a person’s intrinsic qualities or so-called ‘gifts’ (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may allegedly hold…” It is said that grace is only one-way love, but this is not so. Grace loves the chosen sinner, and is the only way a chosen sinner can love God. God loves His people by grace, and they love Him because of that grace. A saved man loves God only because God loved him first, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). God’s love comes by grace to His elect, and their love for Him also comes by way of His grace. Our love for Him is a gift from Him encapsulated within His love for us, His people. Loving the only true God comes from His gracious love for His people. A saved man’s love for the true God is because of nothing more, or less, than the love of God which is always antecedent to a man’s love for God. One of the principle pillars of salvation by grace alone, is the fact that God’s people love Him only because He loved them first. This simultaneously teaches that the only way a man can love God is if God loved Him first. This also shows how unbiblical is the teaching which espouses the lie that salvation comes only by what a man does, or that it cannot come without the assistance of man. God’s love is a love that comes without anything being done by the one He has chosen to love, and that, my friends, is love by grace, love by grace and nothing else. God’s chosen love Him because of His love for them, because of His grace toward them. Grace is not about what you do, but about what God has done to you and in you. Man’s corrupt religious mindset has it all in reverse, for it has man doing something to attract God. It has man doing something before God can do something, rather than God doing everything because man can do nothing.
There is nothing in God that is even remotely attracted to anything which lies within man. Nothing precedes God’s will, or His love, or His grace, nor can anything attract God’s favour. Grace is not given because of anything good in man, but because of the goodness of God. God’s favour, whether it be grace or mercy, is prompted solely by His will and purpose, and nothing else. A man is saved by God’s Sovereign determination to save His people from their sins, and not by anything they do, because they can do nothing. Everything about salvation is about God. No doctrine founded on grace draws any attention to man having done anything whether it is by grace or not. Forgiveness is by grace, salvation is by grace. Redemption is by grace. Election is by grace, etc. Man is nothing but a recipient, made so by the grace of God. Being a recipient of God’s grace is only possible by grace and nothing else. Being a recipient of grace is not by a man’s will, but solely by God’s will. The recipient has been predestinated to receive. Nothing in salvation is due to a man’s independent resolve, but only to God’s grace which makes him what God wills him to be. God’s grace precedes life, so how can a man’s receiving grace be something which is of him. A man’s reception of God reveals that man as one who has been made alive by grace. Nothing a man does sets anything else into motion. It is all God—it is all grace. That which is existent can never come before that which is pre-existent. A man is made willing by the grace of God. Man does not attract God’s grace, or draw God’s grace by anything he does. How can one attract that which is undeserved? God’s people are made recipient’s by the grace of God, and so by nothing which is intrinsic in them. Grace is God’s love saving you, and has nothing at all to do with your love for God because any man’s love for God is the evidence that God has loved him FIRST, and saved him. Grace does before anything else can do. Grace does because nothing else can do. Grace saves because nothing else can save. Grace is the power God uses to save His people from their sins. Grace restores life, and there is nothing that can be done by that which has no life. What can a dead man do? Before grace man is an enemy. Before grace man is at enmity with God. Before grace man is without Christ, without God and without hope in the world. Before grace man is spiritually dead to God.