BY GRACE ALONE (PART 22)
Good works have never made a man righteous in God’s eyes “…There is none righteous, no, not one…in Thy sight shall no man living be justified…For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Rom. 3:10; Psa. 143:2; Eccl. 7:20). “‘in Thy sight shall no man living be justified’; in a legal sense, so as to be acquitted in open court, and not condemned; that is, by the deeds of the law, as the apostle explains it in Romans 3:20; by obedience to it, by a man's own works of righteousness; because these are imperfect, are opposed to the grace of God, and would disannul the death of Christ, and encourage boasting; and much less in the sight of God; for, however men may be justified hereby in their own sight, and before men, in their esteem and account, yet not before God, the omniscient God; Who sees not as man sees, and judges not according to the outward appearance, and is perfectly holy and strictly just; and none but the Righteousness of Christ can make men righteous, or justify them before Him; and this can and does, and presents men unblameable and irreprovable in His sight.” There will never be any righteousness except the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ which can present a man unblameable in God’s sight. Personal righteousness always fails. It is only the imputed Righteousness of Christ Jesus the Lord which makes a man Righteous before Him. Those who look to what they do, or have done, only exalt themselves, for “…the ground of their trust and confidence were themselves, their hearts, and the supposed goodness of them, their outward holiness, their moral behaviour, their duties, and good works, their almsdeeds, and religious exercises, their ceremonial observances, and fleshly privileges; on account of which they thought themselves very righteous persons, such as could not fail of being accepted with God, and justified in His sight; whereas there are none Righteous in, and of themselves, no, not one (see Rom. 3:10; Psa. 14:3). All the descendants of Adam, as such, are sinners, destitute of a righteousness, and filled with all unrighteousness, and are enemies to true righteousness: no man is naturally righteous, nor is he capable of making himself so, by any thing he can do: none are righteous by their obedience to the law of works, for that is imperfect, and cannot justify before God, in whose sight no flesh living can be justified on this account (see Psa. 143:2), however righteous they may appear before men, or may be in their own eyes: for this is contrary to God's way of making men righteous, and would disannul the death of Christ, and encourage boasting in men. Such trust and confidence must be very vain, and arise from ignorance; from ignorance of God, of the perfection of His justice, and of the nature of His righteous law; and of themselves, of the impurity of their hearts, and the imperfection of their obedience. These were of the ‘pharisaical’ sort, and of which complexion were the generality of the Jews; and many of these were now standing by Christ, and within the hearing of this parable, in Luke 18, and for whose sake it was delivered; Pride, and arrogance, boasting of, and trusting in one’s own righteousness, are abhorred by God.” The true Christian, by grace, judges himself a sinner and completely unrighteous in himself. The only righteousness he will own is the Righteousness imputed to him by the grace of Christ.
The man who truly exalts God exalts God ONLY, and the man who trusts in God trusts ONLY in God. The man who is made Righteous by grace trusts only in the God of grace. ‘Thank you Lord for what YOU have done for my soul’, is the cry of the believer. ‘Thank you for Your Righteousness’. “…By the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Cor. 15:10), is the Christian’s proclamation. This, and this only, qualifies as praising God and giving Him all the glory. All else is exalting oneself. All this ties in perfectly with the fact that the whole of salvation is by grace, and that no part of it, any degree, or microscopic part of it, is by works at all. There is no leaven in grace. The grace of God is pure, it is not leavened with the works of men. Thanking God for what HE has done, is thanking God for His grace. Thanking God for what you have done is thanking God for your works. This is not an exercise in semantics, but the defining line that separates those that are saved by grace alone, from those who think they are saved by works. Thanking God for causing you to choose Him is not Biblical. Thanking God for His choosing you by grace alone is what the Scriptures teach. Grace does everything, and is solely responsible for the choice and salvation of all God’s elect. Works do not make a man Righteous, only by the grace of God is a man charged with the perfect Righteousness of Jesus the Lord. It takes God’s Righteousness imputed by grace to save a man. The Psalmist exclaims: “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare WHAT HE HATH DONE for my soul” (Psa. 66:16). “Not what he had done for God, or offered unto Him, or suffered for His sake; nor what God had done for his body in the make and preservation of it; but what He had done for his soul, and the salvation of that: what God the Father had done in setting him apart for Himself; in making a sure, well ordered, and everlasting covenant with him in Christ; in blessing him with all spiritual blessings in Him; in providing for the redemption of his soul by Him; in pardoning his sins, justifying his person, adopting him into his family, and regenerating, quickening, and sanctifying him: also what God the Son had done for him; in engaging to assume a true body and a reasonable soul on his account; and to make that soul an offering for his sin, and thereby obtain for him eternal redemption, even the salvation of his immortal soul: likewise what God the Spirit had done for him; in quickening and enlightening his soul; in implanting principles of grace and holiness in it; in showing Christ unto him, and bringing near His Righteousness, and leading him to Him for salvation and eternal life; in applying exceeding great and precious promises to him, and remembering to him such on which he had caused him to hope; in delivering him out of temptation and troubles, and in carrying on the work of His grace in him…” Praising God for what He has done is praising Him for His grace. It is the very antithesis of thanking Him for anything you have done. The principle of grace in the Christian’s life always leads him to pray, ‘Thank you God that You’, and never, ‘thank you God that I’.
The Christian does not praise God for what he, himself, has done, nor for what God has ‘enabled’ him to do, but only praises God for what God has done in him, to him, with him, for him and through him. That is the true worship of God and the giving of all glory to Him. To truly worship God is to only exalt HIM. It is to praise HIM for what HE has done, not for what we have done. Praising God for His grace covers everything God has done, and is doing, for the saved sinner. Thanking God for what you have done is nothing but boasting in oneself. Those who look to their ‘good works’ exalt themselves, and ONLY themselves. The Christian does not pray, ‘Thank you God for what I have done’, but ‘Thank you God for causing me to do what I have done’. It is never ‘Thank you God that I’, but ALWAYS, ‘Thank you God THAT YOU’. In Luke 18:9, we are told that the parable spoken by the Lord was directed to them who “…trusted in themselves that they were righteous…” They trusted in themselves because of what they did; they trusted in themselves that they were righteous by what they did. The reality of the situation is that it was not God in Whom they trusted, it was not God and themselves in whom they trusted, but they trusted only in themselves. Their words did not stem from grace, but from prideful hearts that were self-satisfied. They did not trust God, not themselves and God, but only themselves even though they clearly ‘praised God’ for what they had done. THIS is totally opposed to salvation by grace, for, we are told by the apostle Paul, that this is anti-grace thinking. Salvation by grace is not about you doing anything, but about God doing EVERYTHING to save His people from their sins, and keep them saved. Grace doeth the work! Salvation produces good works, but is never the result of good works.
Paul said the elect are saved by grace, through faith and not of themselves, not by what they have done, but solely by what God has done, for grace and faith are gifts. There is no room for boasting when praising God for what He has done, but there most assuredly is room for boasting when a man thanks God for what he, the man has done, as seen in the attitude of the Pharisee. This is precisely what Paul was saying in Romans 11, “…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). Grace is God not you. Salvation is by God not you. Salvation is conditioned on what God does, not on what you do. If salvation is by God then it is not by you. If it is by you then it is not by God. You cannot have it both ways. Salvation is either by God’s grace, or by your works. Salvation is either, ‘thank you God that You’, or ‘thank you God that I’. “Grace is no more grace the Bible says when you ADD your works to it, which is exactly what many are doing today. The false teaching that a person cannot be saved unless they forsake the world, stop sinning, make full surrender to Christ, intend to reform, count the cost, start a relationship with Jesus, pay the price and commit their life to serve God are espousing a doctrine of devils, a false plan of salvation.” The Christian is just as assured of eternal life at the moment he is made alive by the grace of God, as he is after years of faithfulness toward God. Works do not make a man more saved than what he was at the moment he was made a new creature in Christ. The saved are saved BEFORE ANY WORKS WERE DONE! The saved are saved WITHOUT ANY WORKS BEING DONE! The condition for salvation is the grace of God, not the works of men.
If salvation is by God then it is not by what we do, or have done. Likewise, if salvation is by what we have done, then it is no longer by what God has done. It is either grace OR works, never grace and works. Christians thank God for gifts they have been given, not for things they have done. The moment a person thanks God for what they have done, they are guilty of doing nothing but boasting in themselves, which in turn reveals the fact they have not God. SALVATION IS NOT THE RESULT OF WHAT A MAN HAS DONE, BUT SOLELY WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN. "When anyone comes promising salvation to those ‘who make full surrender' of all that they have to God, and who 'pay the price of full salvation' he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and THE WORK THAT SAVES IS FINISHED. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender when He yielded His life on Calvary that saves His people, not their surrender in any way to Him. Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all." To claim that salvation is by something more than grace alone, or the result of what grace has enabled a man to do, is nothing less than boasting and trusting in oneself. It is a ME gospel, and not GOD’S Gospel. The moment a person turns to what they have done, they have turned away from grace. One has turned away from God. THERE IS NO ‘I’ IN GRACE. Salvation by grace is salvation purely by what God has done. Adding anything to this is taking away from what God has done, it is a refutation of grace, a denial of salvation purely by the favour of God. One is taking away glory from God, and boasting in oneself, when works are seen as essential to getting saved, or remaining saved. Christians are saved by grace from start to finish. Salvation is by God’s Work, not a man’s works.
If a man does not believe the Gospel of God wherein is revealed the Righteousness of Christ, he unwittingly shows by his ignorance that he seeks to establish a righteousness of his own (see Rom. 10). There are only three kinds of people in this world: the ones who believe that salvation comes by what they do; those who believe that salvation comes as a result of what they have done in collaboration with God, and the ones who believe that salvation is all of God, only by what God has done. Thanking God for what you have done reveals one is seeking to establish a righteousness of one’s own, for you are trusting in yourself. Thanking God for what He has done is praising God for His grace in saving you. There are only two types of righteousness. The imperfect and unacceptable personal righteousness of man, which Paul the apostle rejected as that which he could bring to God and expect to be saved by (see Phil. 3:9), and the perfect and only acceptable Righteousness by which a man is saved: the Righteousness of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The man who believes that anything he has done is that which makes the difference between saved and lost, even though he praises God for it, exalts himself and not God, and remains in an unjustified state. By adding his own righteousnesses, which the Word of God likens to filthy rags, he is saying that God’s Righteousness in saving a man is not enough. A refusal to believe in salvation by grace alone, is a refusal to accept the incontrovertible Biblical fact that the Righteousness of Jesus Christ is the only Righteousness necessary to salvation. God never overlooks the error that leavens the whole lump (see Gal. 5:9). That is, God never overlooks the error that changes the Gospel of grace to a gospel of works, or a gospel of grace and works. If works are in your gospel, then works are in your heart. You are not saved. The grace of God fills a man’s heart and mind, evicting any notion that one’s works are part of God’s salvation Plan to save you and keep you saved.
Man’s righteousness has no place in the Gospel of the Righteousness of Jesus Christ. If a work of man’s must be added to the Work of God in salvation, then one has changed the Gospel from one of grace, to one of works. “By grace are ye saved through faith, not works.” The truly saved man does not say, ‘Come and see what God has enabled me to do for my soul’, but "...I will declare what HE HAS DONE for my soul" (Psa. 66:16). A vessel can do nothing but receive that which is poured into it. Nor does the vessel make itself. It cannot boast in what it is, nor of what has been poured into it. Be not deceived. All the glory for what the vessel is and what it contains is due only and exclusively to the one who made it, and poured in its contents. Those who adhere to the doctrine of free will—that a man can and must make a free-will decision for Christ before he can be saved—condition salvation, not on God’s election of grace and Christ’s atonement for sin, but on a work, or act, of man’s. If you look to what you have done, if you consider salvation an impossibility unless you have done something, then you are trusting in yourself and not God. The decision for you to believe is God’s. That is grace. No one who is not chosen of God believes in grace alone. Only HIS people are led by HIS Spirit of truth. Everything lost men say concerning salvation always comes back to their decision to accept it. Tell me, what kind of decision is to be made by the vessel which has had the liquid poured into it? It had nothing to do with the fact it was made a bottle, nor in what, if anything, is poured into it. Does the person intending to pour water into a bottle wait for the bottle’s decision to accept the contents it has been offered? No. The vessel is nothing but a dead empty shell without the water which only the one in possession of the water can decide to pour into it. Many would say, ‘But the bottle is a mere inanimate object, it cannot do anything, so to say it must do something is to expect the impossible’. THIS IS PRECISELY THE STATE A LOST MAN IS IN, FOR HE IS DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS! Lost men are nothing but dead empty shells. Nothing can be expected to be done by one who is spiritually dead. To expect a man dead in sins to do something is to expect the utterly impossible. Religion, including christianism, is predicated on the lie of Satan who told Eve she would not surely die, for all of religion states man is not surely dead.
The lie that deceives the whole world is that man must make his decision for Christ before salvation can be given to him. That salvation all hinges on what a man does. The truth is that man’s receiving Christ is something that is the direct result, or fruit, of salvation by grace being granted a man by God’s love-motivated election of him. The free willer who insists he does not take any of the glory for salvation away from Christ because he attributes his positive decision for Christ to God’s enabling power, has been taught a lie and is not only fooling himself, but worse still, according to the Scriptures, he is exalting himself, and not God. Salvation is not about all the credit for what we have been ‘enabled by grace’ to do going to God, but the Righteousness of Christ being credited by grace going to all His people. Notice in our passage from Luke 18 just how many times the Pharisee used the word ‘I’. He said it 5 times whereas the publican made no mention of himself, other than for God to be merciful to him. Notice also how there is no cause to believe the publican was in any way boasting by his request for God to be merciful, but plenty of reason to believe that the Pharisee was boasting in himself when thanking God for what he, the Pharisee, had done. The free willer is in the same boat as the Pharisee. He exalts not God but himself, for he is constantly drawing attention to what he has done rather than only seeking to draw the listener’s attention to God and what He does. ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’, is all they say: ‘I chose Him, I love Him, I accepted Him, I chose to believe Him, I repented, I sought Him, I found Him, I came to Him, I, I, I...’ The true believer says ‘God has elected me by grace alone, He chose me, He predestinated me, He loved me, He made me acceptable, He gave me the gift of faith by grace alone, He gave me the gift of repentance, He found me, He came to me, He saved me by grace alone, He has visited me with His glorious grace, His Son died for me and His Righteousness was imputed to me, He took away my sins, He was merciful to me, He has forgiven me, He has redeemed me, He has justified me, He caused me to repent and approach Him, He is the whole reason as to why and how I am saved, He, He, He...’ I am sure the reader can see the difference between the two. One exalts himself while the other humbles himself by only exalting God, which reveals he has been justified by God. Job says: “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse” (Job. 9:20 cf. Psa. 143:2).
The apostle Paul does not say ‘I am what I am by grace’, but glorifying God, he exclaimed, “…by the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Cor. 15:10). God saved me means salvation is 100% conditioned on God: God’s will, God’s purpose, God’s love, God’s grace and God’s mercy. Salvation is all of God and by God. “Salvation is of the Lord…Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…” (Jon. 2:9 & Psa. 3:8). Everything necessary to salvation comes from God and is done by God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God gets all the glory for salvation not because of what He has enabled the sinner to do, but solely for what He, God Himself, has done for the sinner by grace alone. Salvation is of the Lord. God saves. God’s receiving all the glory for salvation shows He is solely responsible for salvation, for everything that is necessary to save is done by Him. He is the Saviour, therefore, salvation is all of Him. Salvation is from God, and by God. God does not enable anyone to do that which is necessary for them to be saved, for only God can do that which saves. Salvation by grace is salvation by God. When the jailer asked “What must I do to be saved?”, he received the reply “BELIEVE”. That is what a man must do: Believe. But before anyone takes this to mean that there is something a man must do before he can be saved, before they infer that man by nature has the capacity and capability to believe, they need to realise that this believing is not something which a man can do of his own will and effort. Believing is not a work of man’s, but a gift given by God to those He has chosen to save. Believing is a work done by grace in the believer. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent” (Jn. 6:29 cf. Acts 18:27; 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Pet. 1:21). “The main and principal one, and which is well pleasing in His sight; and without which it is impossible to please Him; and without which no work whatever is a good work; and this is of the operation of God, which He Himself works in men; it is not of themselves, it is the pure gift of God: ‘that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent’; there are other works which are well pleasing to God, when rightly performed, but faith is the chief work, and others are only acceptable when done in the faith of Christ. This, as a principle, is purely God's work; as it is an act, or as it is exercised under the influence of Divine grace, it is man's act: ‘that ye believe’; the object of it is Christ, as sent by the Father, as the Mediator between God and men, as appointed by Him to be the Saviour and Redeemer; and believing in Christ, is believing in God that sent Him. The Jews reduce all the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the law, for so many they say there are, to this one, ‘…the just shall live by his faith’ (Hab. 2:4).” God does not grant the gift of faith so that people may have a mere potential to believe, but the granting of this precious gift by grace is to ensure they WILL believe, and ONLY believe, His unique Gospel which declares salvation to be by God and grace alone. This is the only way a man can savingly believe: when it is a gift given by God, and not a work performed by man. When believing is the gift of God, a man will only believe in grace alone. When believing is a work of man’s, he will believe that salvation is impossible without his works. Grace is the 100% cause of a Christian’s believing, not a reward for his believing. Christians are the children of God, produced by God, made by God, made alive to God by God.
What the answer the jailer received simply shows is, the saved believe. He was not told to ‘Believe, and then you will be saved’. He was not told that his act of believing is what his salvation is reliant upon. He was merely told that the saved believe, and the rest of Scripture shows that this believing is a gift from God, and not something which can be self-induced by man. Salvation does not wait upon your believing, but on the grace of God. All a man can be told is believe and you will be saved. However, far from implying that salvation is conditioned on a man’s believing, all these words are saying is that only the man who believes will be saved. The man who has eternal life is the man who believes. The gift of eternal life is present only in the man who believes. The gift comes first, then the believing. Salvation is not by works, it is not by your belief, it is by the grace of God through the gift of faith. Grace gives faith to the man who has been chosen by God to believe. Believing is not a ‘Do this and you will then be saved’ proposition, for believing is a gift from God to the one He has chosen to save. Faith is given before belief, so that one will believe. One cannot savingly believe before grace gives the gift of faith. One cannot believe without the gift of faith being given first, just as one cannot be saved without grace. Believing comes in the package marked: SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE! Salvation does not come because of a decision made by a man, but solely as a gift given to the one God has chosen to save. Gifts do not come because of a decision made by the one to whom the gift is given, but wholly by the one who is giving the gift. Acts 16:31 is actually a prophecy. It says: “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”. The man and his family were then taught the Gospel of salvation, “And they spake unto him the Word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (Acts 16:32). Acts 16:34 shows this prophecy fulfilled: “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house”. Believing does not give God the green light to go ahead and save a man, for believing is the first fruit of salvation. Believing is by grace, for “…by Him do (ye) believe in God” (see 1 Pet. 1:21). “…By grace are ye saved through faith, and that NOT of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Believing is not a work done by man in order to receive the reward of salvation, but a gift given by God. Believing comes the instant one is saved, and is not a prerequisite to salvation. If it was, then salvation would be by works and not grace. Believing is not a condition for salvation, but the fruit of saving grace.
God does not require belief before He can save a person, for this would condition salvation upon a work of man’s rather than on the grace of God. Belief occurs the instant one is saved. If our believing prompted God to save us, then salvation would be dependent on our believing instead of on the grace of God saving us to believe. It would be conditioned on a work, and not a gift. GRACE COMES BEFORE FAITH; FAITH COMES BECAUSE OF GRACE. Believing is not something of which a man can boast, for it is purely a gift, the immediate consequence of salvation which is, of course, also a gift. “For unto you IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29 cf. Matt. 16:17; 1 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 1:8). The saved man is not enabled to believe, for he is given the gift of faith to believe: it comes from without, not from within. “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent” (Jn. 6:29). Believing is a gift from God, therefore, it is a work of God not man. A man cannot/does not believe prior to the work of saving grace done in him which produces the faith by which a man believes. These are gifts from God, and not something which a man can decide to do of his own ‘free will’. Now, it certainly feels like free will, but the ability to believe comes from God. A saved man freely believes because he has been freely given the gift of faith with which he believes. The faith to believe comes from the freedom to believe, given by grace to all God’s children. All is by grace. A saved man freely believes because his faith is a gift given to him by the grace of God. Grace frees a lost man from lies, and gives him the faith to believe the truth. The Christian believes because of the grace that has saved him, not by any enabling grace. Enabling grace only leaves the decision to believe to a man still dead in sins. Saving grace makes the man alive so that he will believe. Only people whom God has made alive will believe. Men who are dead in sins, who have not been made alive by God, cannot believe. They cannot come to the God they do not believe in. Belief requires the gift of faith, not the faith which resides in all men, by nature. Enabling grace would only make believing a potentiality. Only saving grace makes believing a reality. Believing comes with the grace that saves, not the ‘grace’ that enables (see Acts 18:27). The Work of God is the grace of God having its way in a chosen vessel of God.
The free willer’s gospel teaches a sham salvation by works, for it allows room for a man to boast in his salvation even though, to his mind, he denies this by attributing his obedience, in the form of his free will decision for Christ, to God. Such people are LOST. In this we see that boasting is not excluded by such a perverted gospel which teaches that salvation is conditioned on a man’s works, or hinges on a man’s free will decision. All boasting is only ever excluded by THE Gospel Message which teaches that salvation is entirely by grace alone through faith alone in the Person and Works of Christ Jesus the Lord ALONE, attributing all of salvation as a gift given by God, and conditions no part of it upon man. If it’s about what you do, if salvation awaits what you do, then it is not the Gospel of grace which you have been taught. Salvation is all about trusting in what God has done, not in what a person believes they have been enabled to do. That upon which salvation is conditioned does not include any of your works. The one who makes the difference is God; the thing that makes the difference is grace, and the fruit that evidences all this is God-given faith. The grace of God is what saves, and not the fraudulent grace that is said to enable a man to save himself by doing this or that. What people must realise is the reality that man is spiritually dead. Why else would everything that has to do with salvation need to be a gift from God? Why else is man so unable to do anything to get saved other than the fact he is a spiritually dead sinner. Not only can man do nothing, he does not even know the only true God, nor does he seek Him. LOST MEN DO NOT SEEK THE TRUE GOD! (see Rom. 3:11; Psa. 14:2). The Gospel is hidden from the lost, as is the only true God (see 2 Cor. 4:3,4; Isa. 45:15). Salvation is a gift, believing is a gift, grace is a gift, mercy is a gift, faith is a gift, repentance is a gift, the Righteousness that saves is a gift, etc. None of these things can be drawn to a man by what the man does. NONE OF THEM ARE REWARDS FOR WORKS, FOR ALL OF THEM ARE GIFTS BY GRACE, AND CAN COME ONLY BY GRACE. One cannot inspire another to give one a gift, for then the so-called gift would be a reward: motivated not only by the gift giver’s will, but by what another person has willed, and/or obligated him to do. It would not be a gift but a reciprocal response. A response is made because of another’s love, a gift is given because of one’s own love. Just as God has elected certain ones to be His children according to the good pleasure of His will, so too, all that they have is given them according to God’s will, and not their own. Why would salvation have to be by grace if there was any condition of salvation which a man could fulfil? Grace does not enable a man to believe, but provides, as a gift, the only faith which can and does believe the Gospel of the grace of God. Only THIS Gospel leaves no room for a man to boast; and, therefore, only THIS Gospel saves.
Faith in the Gospel of grace alone humbles the believer, it is the only Gospel which excludes any and all boasting on the part of man, for it conditions all of salvation on Christ. Any faith which does not lead a man to the true God, is not the faith which comes from God. Any faith which does not lead a man to believe in the only true God Who saves only by grace alone, is a faith which is not the faith of God’s elect, but merely the defective faith inherent in every man by nature: the flawed faith that can never savingly believe in the true God, for it will never believe in salvation by grace alone. To be saved is to believe God's Gospel with the gift of Faith which comes from God, not in another gospel authored by a false god that cannot save. Stubbornly holding on to a false gospel, and the vain belief that one has been saved by it, is to evidence a spiritually dead state, for it is a rejection of grace, and, therefore, a rejection of the True God, and the only Gospel by which He saves. To believe in salvation by any other gospel other than God’s unique Gospel, is to believe in salvation by any other means than grace, and, therefore, any other one, but God. If salvation is not by grace alone, then it is not by God, for God saves by no other means than grace. “But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8,9). Only by grace is a man saved through the gift of faith to believe the true Gospel which is given by Almighty God to all His elect. None of God’s children boast in themselves and what they have done, but only in God and what He has done and given according to His grace. This is Bible language. Wherever, and by whomever, the lie is taught that there is a necessary work for a man to do before he can be saved, there is room, cause, for boasting. Only salvation by grace alone through the gift of faith alone excludes any boasting on man’s part for what he has done, and, therefore, any condition a man must meet before he can be saved. Thus, the Gospel of grace through faith is the only Gospel out there that gives God ALL the glory for ALL of salvation, because it reveals ALL of salvation is conditioned on Him.
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare HIS Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time HIS Righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. WHERE IS BOASTING THEN? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith WITHOUT the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:24-28). The saved man is undeservedly saved by that which he cannot obtain by works. The saved man is “…justified freely by His grace… Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith WITHOUT the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:24,28). It is not a man’s righteousness, but Christ’s Righteousness alone by which God justifies a man. There is no boasting because the saved man believes in the Righteousness of Christ, and not his own. There is no boasting in a man who has his back to his works and looks only to, and upon, grace. There is only boasting when a man has his back turned to God’s grace, and looks only to, and upon, his own works. There is no boasting possible in salvation, for there is no work for a man to do, there is no work a man can do, therefore, there is no condition that must be met by a man in order for him to be saved. The Righteousness that saves does not come from a man’s obedience, but ONLY and exclusively through the Obedience of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. All the glory for salvation belongs to God, for He does all to save His people from their sins. Faith in the Righteousness of God excludes any and all boasting in one’s obedience to the law. The law of faith states that a man is justified, saved, by what God has done, not by what a man has done. Notice that it is only the Righteousness of Christ by which God is the Justifier of the man who believes in Him. The righteousness of a man is not what justifies him before a Holy God. There is nothing you can do to get saved. The saved man completely abandons himself to Christ, and trusts in Him and what He has done, trusts in HIS Righteousness for his salvation. It is the Righteousness of Christ ALONE that justifies a man before God. Your striving, your works, your efforts, your righteousness do not amount to a hill of beans before the Holy God. It is Christ’s Righteousness alone which carries weight with God, not your righteousness. There is no boasting in a man who is justified by the Righteousness of Christ. A Christian is a man justified by the gift of faith that trusts, depends and believes solely in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ revealed in the Gospel of Christ. No one is justified by their deeds. Therefore, a man is saved by grace through faith—both gifts—and not through works. Works, the deeds of the law, play no part in a man’s salvation, for salvation is by grace through faith. It is through the gift of God not a work of man’s. A man cannot boast in the gift given him, but only in the One Who has given the gift to him. If boasting in anything one has done is excluded by the law of given faith , then obviously there is nothing for a man to do before he can be saved, and, therefore, nothing he is enabled by the grace of God to do to get himself saved. If boasting is excluded by the law of faith, then no part of salvation is conditioned on what a man must do. Anything a man does do, such as believing, repentance, etc., is all a gift of God by grace. God is the Saviour, and He saves as a direct consequence of what HE Himself has actually done, and not what He has allegedly enabled anyone else to do.
God saves by Himself. He has employed no other means, and no other one to save His people, for no one but God can save. No one but God can direct His grace toward those whom He wills should be saved. No one but God can make a dead man alive again. Salvation is by God alone through grace alone. “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour” (Isa. 43:11). “…there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:21,22). “Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but Me: for there is no Saviour beside Me” (Hos. 13:4). God asks, “…Is there a God beside Me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isa. 44:8). The only God, the only Saviour saves by grace alone according to His will, not a man’s works. No other action can trigger salvation, but grace, for the giving of grace is the giving of life, eternal life, and no other one can make grace come and do its work, but God. The goal of grace is salvation. The giving of grace achieves that goal, for with grace comes life everlasting. “…the grace of God…bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11). The grace of God brings the Good News of salvation, and salvation itself to all God’s chosen. Salvation is being made alive by grace. There is no intermediate act of man that must be done between grace and salvation, for it is grace alone through the gift of faith alone, and not works, that saves. Only God saves, only grace saves, only by God making His people alive by grace are they saved. Salvation is God making His people alive, not to do to be saved, but to be saved. Grace changes a man from being lost to being saved, from being dead, to being made alive. God, by grace, makes His people alive, not so they can then do what is necessary to become Christians, to get saved, but to BE Christians, to BE saved. Salvation comes by what God does, it is by His power that a man is made alive, and not what He allegedly enables the elect to do. God chooses those whom He wants to be His, and saves them by His grace. God does not delegate any part of salvation to man, for man in his natural state is completely and utterly dead to God. God would have to make a man spiritually alive to Him before a man could do anything. BUT BEING MADE ALIVE TO GOD BY GOD IS WHAT SALVATION IS ALL ABOUT! When a man is made alive by God there is simply nothing left to be done by God, let alone man for the man to be saved. Salvation is being made alive to God by God. Salvation is being alive to the only true God. Salvation by grace changes a man from being under a curse to being under an eternal blessing. Those who do not believe in man's spiritually dead state before God, will never understand and appreciate the concept of grace, or the glory of grace. GRACE IS GOD MAKING ALIVE THOSE WHO WERE DEAD! This grace, which is in accord with the will of God and its purpose to save, is not some ridiculously puerile offer of salvation, for what would be the point in offering anything to a dead man? How can anyone choose what they do not, indeed, cannot seek? How can anyone come to the True God prior to being made a new creature in Christ by grace?
A man is saved by what God does. Salvation is not about a man’s response to God, nor is it a response of God’s to anything a man has done, but exclusively concerns God’s giving the grace that He saves all His chosen people by. God’s love is the only love that loves first. God’s love is not contingent on anything other than God’s will and purpose. Proof of this is evidenced by the fact that while God’s elect were still sinners, Christ died for them. Writing “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…” (Rom 1:7), the apostle Paul stated “…God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “That is, He hath manifested it, which was before hid in His heart; He has given clear evidence of it, a full proof and demonstration of it; He has so confirmed it by this instance, that there is no room nor reason to doubt of it; He has illustrated and set it off with the greater lustre by this circumstance of it.” God’s love toward those Christ died for was not a response to their love for Him, for they had none. Likewise, God’s love toward those Christ died for was not a response to any foreseen love of theirs for God, for any love a saved man has for God is only because God loved him first: “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). Christ died for His people while they were yet sinners. Obviously He died for them because He loved them first. 1 John 4:19 is one of the greatest Scriptures in the entire Word of God, for it completely destroys the myth that God chose and loved those He foresaw would love and choose Him. Seeing that no man by nature seeks God, and every carnal mind is enmity against God, man must require a new nature to know and love the only true God, for he cannot do anything to come to God by means of his sinful nature. Man must be born again, he must be made a new creature in Christ and given a new nature before he can, and so that he will, see the Kingdom of God. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17; cf. Eph. 2:10; 2 Pet. 1:4).
Lost man thinks he can circumvent all this by simply reforming his life. That salvation does not require a miracle of God, but merely the will and work of a lost, sinful, and spiritually dead man! Oh the vanity and foolishness of a spiritually dead man’s thinking. For a person to do anything they must first and foremost be alive, but when a man is made alive spiritually there remains nothing left to do except praise God Who has given this life by grace. To be alive is to have been given life. To be spiritually alive is to have been given eternal spiritual life only by grace. Once a man has been made alive, the condition for salvation has been successfully met by grace alone. The saved man believes and repents, all because of grace. Before one is made alive one is obviously dead. A dead man has no life. The very need for a man to be made alive is the single most powerful statement that man is spiritually dead. The fact that he can do nothing to come to God highlights the Biblical truth that man is, by nature, spiritually dead and must be made alive. The fact that God makes a man alive and that what a man does prior to this profits him absolutely nothing, proves conclusively that salvation is by God in its entirety, and, therefore, not by what a man does at all. Salvation is by grace, not works. Salvation is about being made alive in Christ. Man can do nothing before he is made alive, and there is nothing for a man to do after he is made alive other than to serve, obey and love the only true God Who has given him eternal spiritual life. Anything a man does subsequent to his being made alive is evidence that he is saved, and not that by which he is saved. God saves the dead. God makes the dead alive, salvation is being made alive and kept alive by grace alone. What can a dead man do? NOTHING! A dead man requires life, and what can a dead man do to get life? NOTHING, for if he could do something he would not be dead! What possible act can a man perform in between the states of death and life? NOTHING! Why? Because there is NO INTERMEDIATE STATE BETWEEN DEATH AND LIFE! One is either dead, or alive. Salvation’s goal is to make the chosen dead alive. Once he is made alive, a man needs nothing more to be alive, or to stay alive, for the gift of life by grace has replaced death, and he is now eternally alive. To say that there is anything which must, and, therefore, can be done between these states of death and life is to have fallen for the most blatant and ridiculous lie ever perpetrated on man: that a dead man can do to become alive. This is why all of salvation must be of God. Before life there is only death. Before grace there is only death. Nothing a man does can remove the curse of sin and death from him. Only God, and only God by grace can and does remove the curse of sin and death from His people.
Just as God created the world by Himself, so too, God saves His people from their sins BY HIMSELF! God declares: “…there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:21,22). God makes His people new creatures in Christ by Himself. Salvation is of the Lord, salvation belongs to the Lord and, therefore, salvation is solely from the Lord and by the Lord. If grace, mercy and faith are required for salvation, then no part of salvation can be by the actions, or will, of anyone else, but God. Salvation is by the gift of grace alone through the gift of faith alone. Salvation is by the gift of grace alone, so it stands to reason that salvation is through faith alone, and not works at all, for whoever heard of a person being saved undeservedly through what they have done. Grace and mercy do not come in response to the will or faith of any man, for they are all undeserved and unmerited gifts. Therefore, grace, mercy and faith can only come by the will of God in response to His purpose. How must anything be done before that which is undeserved can be given? Man cannot extricate himself from an impossible situation, and there is no more impossible situation from which to escape than death. Only the act of grace and mercy can remove a man from death and give him life. What must a man do that grace does not do in saving him? What must a man do which has not been covered by the mercy of God? NOTHING! What must a man achieve that God has not achieved for him? If salvation is by grace then it cannot be by works. If salvation is by grace, then there is no need for works (see Rom. 11:6). If salvation is by that which is undeserved, grace, then nothing can be done to deserve it. Nothing can be done to gain salvation, for it comes only by the undeserved favour of God. If salvation is through mercy, then it cannot be by anything merited. If salvation is by God making a man alive, then there is nothing a dead man can do to come alive. If one attempts, or even thinks, to add anything to God’s grace and mercy, they have never, and will never, receive the grace and mercy of God. As long as a man does not acknowledge salvation is by grace alone, he will forever believe he can gain salvation by works. The presence of grace in a saved man always reveals a complete non-reliance on any works. All one has who can do nothing is that which is unmerited. The only room for boasting is in God. If there is nothing one can do, then one’s only hope is in someone else doing what he cannot. The Christian’s hope is in the One Who did what he could not do. Grace is God giving a man what he does not deserve—eternal salvation— and mercy is God not giving a man that which he does deserve—eternal Wrath. Man cannot do that which grace was sent to do, otherwise why would God have sent it? No man can avoid that which only the mercy of God can protect him from, otherwise why would God have sent it?