BY GRACE ALONE (PART 24)
Works—whether it is realised, or not, that doing to get saved is seeking to establish a righteousness of one’s own, which is a rejection of the Righteousness of Christ—is the only method of salvation which comes straight from a man’s sinful nature and leads directly to Hell. The works of man disregard the grace of God, and, therefore, displace God from His rightful place in the salvation of a sinner. What need is there for a Saviour if a man can earn his salvation? What need is there for grace if a man can procure salvation by works? If a man can do what needs to be done, then he has saved himself. He has qualified himself for Heaven, and, therefore, needs not grace nor God. What need is there for a man to be placed on top of a building, when that man has climbed a ladder and reached it by his own efforts? Works are anti-grace, in that they are not only opposed to grace, but seek to do what only grace can do. Grace is the Way to Heaven, and Jesus Christ is the Personification of that grace. Works, earning one’s way to Heaven, is a lost man’s delusion. Whichever way one looks at it, sinful, wilful ignorance is what lies behind a man working his way to Heaven. Grace cannot but be denied and rejected by the man who trusts in his own works for salvation. The Life, Work, Death and Person of Jesus Christ is totally denied and rejected by the man who is convinced salvation cannot do without his works. Man’s works abolish God’s grace. Man’s inherent and insatiable need for reward abhors the very concept of grace, for man’s carnal insistence on reward for obedience seeks to displace grace and usurp it with works as no less than the very means to salvation. Can you see how the works of a man are an utter enemy to, the very archnemesis of, the grace of God? Salvation has never been a reward for effort proposition, but always and only an undeserved gift given by undeserved grace. Salvation is God’s property, you cannot take it, you cannot do anything to get it, you cannot do anything to accept it, you cannot take any steps toward it. you cannot do anything to earn it, or deserve it, or merit it, for it can only be given by God.
Salvation comes from God, it cannot be procured, for it can only be given. Salvation cannot be gotten, only given. Salvation cannot be worked for, but only given. To give is to ‘Freely transfer the possession of something to someone’. You cannot pay for something given to you that is free, nor is there any delivery charge. There is nothing that needs to be done to get something that is completely and freely given. You cannot pay for salvation, for it is something which only comes free of charge. Salvation has no fee, it has to be free, for nothing can be done to earn it. It is Christ Who has purchased salvation with His blood, and so, man cannot purchase, and could never have purchased it, with his works. No matter all the spin about works working hand in hand with grace, attributing what one does to grace, works always replace grace when it comes to the matter of how a man is saved, and how he remains saved (see Rom. 11:6). Polar opposites do not attract, they cannot work together, but only ever repel each other. One can never join positive with negative, black with white or truth with error and be left with something pure and functional. To attempt to join works with grace would be to change the fabric, the very D.N.A. of grace, and, therefore, be left only with that which is not grace. Salvation is either by grace, or by works. These terms are often juxtaposed in Scripture (see Rom. 3:20-24; 4:4; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8,9; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:4-7). Grace and works are not equivalent, for one will save whilst the other cannot. Grace always saves, works always fall short. Grace and works do not affect the same outcome: grace saves, works do not. God saves only by grace. Only a direct act of God will save, anything added to grace takes grace away completely. Anything added to grace removes the power of God to save. Salvation is by God, not by a man’s efforts, for the one cancels out the need for the other. Everything in life is either free or something which must be worked for. When one reaches a fork in the road, one cannot take both paths. It’s either one road or the other. The two options will not take you to the same destination. There is no middle road one can take between grace and works. Neither grace or works can tolerate the presence of the other. Grace brings salvation while works are evidence of lostness. When it comes to grace and works, one will take you to Salvation, and the other to Hell. Grace takes the saved to Heaven, while works takes the lost to Hell.
If salvation is by grace, then it cannot be by any works—by any act of man—whatsoever, otherwise, grace would no longer be grace (see Rom 11:6), and salvation would no longer be a free gift from God. Nothing a lost man does can save him. Nothing a lost man does can earn him anything with God. A lost man is a hopeless man, a man without any hope. He is destitute of anything and everything that could possibly save him, that could possibly be of any profit to him. A lost man is without God and without the Son of God. A lost man is without the truth, therefore, without the only true God. This is what it is to be spiritually dead. Grace is the only answer. The will of God is the only hope. “There is no gray area between works-based salvation and grace-based salvation. None. Any dependence on works—adherence to the law, undergoing rituals, performing sacraments, or good deeds—is a rejection of grace. This is an often-resisted truth, but it is the clear teaching of Scripture. If works, in any sense, contribute to salvation, then that salvation is no longer ‘by grace’. Paul's point in Romans 11:6 is that because salvation is, in fact, by grace, works have absolutely zero part to play in securing it.” If you must turn right in order to reach a certain destination, then turning left will do you absolutely no good. If salvation is by what God has done, then it cannot be reliant on anything a man does. If salvation is by grace then it is by God, and not the works of men. If works could get a man saved then there would be no reason for grace. If man could earn his salvation there would be no need for salvation to be given him as a gift. Alternatively, if salvation can only be given as a gift, then nothing a man does can ever possibly earn it. Man can never obligate God to reward him with salvation, for salvation is by the will of God, and comes only as a gift. There would be no reason for the undeserved grace of God if a man could do something to deserve salvation. I mean, there it is in a nutshell. Man doing is a man deserving, God giving is undeserved. If man could ever do something in order to deserve being saved, there would be no need at all for him to be given that which is undeserved to secure his salvation. As Paul the apostle said, if election/salvation is by works then it is no longer by grace. If it is by something you do, then it is no longer by anything God does. If it is by works it cannot also be by grace. If it is by works, grace would no longer be necessary. GRACE IS ONLY NECESSARY BECAUSE MAN CAN DO NOTHING TO DESERVE BEING SAVED.
Grace is a display of the goodness and kindness of the compassionate God Who saves His people from their sins. God saves the hopelessly helpless. This clearly shows that if a man can get saved by what he does, what he does, does not need or involve grace whatsoever. Moreover, if a man is elected/saved by grace then there is absolutely no need for works. If it is by grace it is not of works. If it is by God it is not by you. God has made it abundantly clear in and by His Word that He does not save a man according to that man’s works, by revealing His choice of those that were to be saved before the world even began, BEFORE they had done any good or evil. This includes actual works, and foreseen works. God did not elect anyone after they did anything, or after He saw they would do something. God saves by that which no man could ever do anything to earn. The whole point of Romans 9 is to show that God chooses His people according to His will and purpose, grace and mercy, and not at all by anything done by a man: “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:11-16). If salvation was to be conditioned—if what made the difference between saved and lost was dependent in any way—on what a man did, why did God choose who would be saved before anyone did any good or evil, before He even made the world? Those who believe in salvation based on foreseen future works fail to understand the glaringly obvious: Election is “…not of works, but of Him that calleth…” (Rom. 9:11). Election is not according to ANY works foreseen, or otherwise. God’s election is the “…election of grace” (Rom. 11:5), NOT the election of works.
You cannot join grace with works, and you cannot join works with grace. There is no room in salvation by grace alone for any works. There is no room in salvation by God for any works of man. There is no room for boasting in salvation by grace. “…OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30,31 cf. Rom. 11:36). A saved man is one who glories in the Lord alone, for it is God alone who has saved him. God has done all the work, therefore, He alone is deserving of all the glory. As important as the works are which God has prepared for His people to do once He has saved them, they are in no way what produces salvation, but are the very product of salvation itself. These works come after a man is saved and not before, therefore, salvation is by grace alone, for the works which come because of grace always come after a man is saved. Not only is there no room for works in salvation by grace, but works are not required when grace does the saving. Likewise, what need is there for grace if what a man does can save him. The cunningly devised fable/false teaching that God supplies the grace so man can perform the works in order that salvation can then take place, is a monstrous hybrid teaching, a doctrine of devils come straight from Hell. The false teachings of lost men are the stench which emanates from spiritual death. GRACE DOES NOT NEED WORKS TO SAVE THE ELECT OF GOD, AND WORKS DO NOT NEED GRACE! You cannot join the two in any way. Salvation, then, is either by God, or by man, it is either by grace or by works. Salvation is either by grace, for man is dead in sins and can do nothing, or it is by works because man is not spiritually dead and can do something to come to God. It all comes back to what happened in the Garden of Eden. Did man die, or did he not die spiritually? Works testify man did not die — Grace testifies man did die.
The entire premise that a man must do to get saved is wholly predicated on Satan’s lie to Eve that she would not surely die. Those who believe in salvation by grace alone believe God when He said, “…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Those who believe in works as the means to salvation, or that it is by ‘grace’ and works, believe Satan when he said, “…ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). The works that are done by a saved man all come from, and are because of, grace. They are the fruit of grace, and not in any way that which, coupled with grace, produces salvation. They are what God has willed the saved man to do. Grace needs no help as God needs no assistance from man in the work of salvation. Works are a lost man’s inadequate, blasphemous attempt to get saved. Grace and works are not co-contributors to a man’s salvation. Grace = life. Works = death. Grace + works = death. “By grace ye are saved” is a dead giveaway that works are simply not required. Works are not part of God’s salvation Plan. In fact, works are not only not required, they are completely inapplicable. What has earning got to do with that which only comes free of charge. Works as a means of earning salvation is an irrelevant concept eternally unconnected to the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. That such a simple statement as “By grace are ye saved” can be so misconstrued as to include works as the ultimate means to salvation is solely due to the spirit of error at work in the minds and souls of lost men. The works of a saved man come after salvation and not before, for those works are what a saved man has been appointed by God through grace to perform. They do not gain a man salvation, but are an evidence he is saved. They are works done by men who have been made spiritually alive. These works come after a man is made alive and are in no way that which contributes to a man’s being made alive. They come after salvation, not before, so how could these works contribute to a man’s regeneration. It is what regenerates that saves, not what comes after a man is made alive. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (Jn. 6:63). A saved man does not perform any truly righteous act prior to salvation. Dead men can only perform dead works (see Heb. 6:1). Truly righteous acts come by grace after a man is saved, they are not in any way responses to conditions that must be met before God can save. Why the need for God to make a man alive who has allegedly done something so fantastic as to perform an act via his dead-to-God will, that literally causes God Himself to obediently spring into action and save a man? Why the need to even be made alive if whilst spiritually dead, a man can do something so incredibly good as to warrant God’s saving him.
One cannot justifiably claim to be saved by grace, if one relies on any act of one’s own as in any way necessary in gaining, or securing, salvation. As the apostle said, true Christians “…worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have NO confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3 cf. Jn. 6:63; Phil. 3:9). “In any outward advantage or prerogative, or in any performance of their own, past, present, or to come, for acceptance with God, or justification before Him.” Christians “…do not rest, or trust, or place their hope in any carnal or external privilege or performance, or any other besides Jesus Christ, to commend them to God, (see Gal. 3:2,11-13).” The true Christian simply has no confidence in himself (see Eph. 2:8), but only in God. “…he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31 cf. Gal. 6:14,15). If as Christians there is no rhyme or reason in having any confidence in what we do that can maintain our saved state, what right has anyone to believe that whilst in a spiritually dead state any man can do anything to come alive, or hasten his salvation by anything he does. Confidence in the flesh is exercised by the lost, not the saved. Having confidence only in God and His grace alone is the realm of the saved. The moment you add anything you have done to grace—anything which God has done to save a person from their sins, even if you claim to have been directly enabled by grace to do it—you show that you do not have grace, nor the God Who saves only by grace. When the apostle Paul taught that election/salvation is by grace, and, therefore, by no works at all, he was stating that grace needs nothing added to it, and that it would also be a sin to do so. Grace needs no augmentation from man in order to make it successful in what it is sent to do. Paul was also teaching that adding to grace is as blasphemous as adding or taking away from God’s Word. Those who believe in another gospel invariably believe in salvation being an impossibility without the works of man. Paul’s judgement on all this is seen in Galatians 1: “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). The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of grace (see Gal. 1:6). The Gospel that saves is “the Gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). God’s Gospel teaches a man is saved only by grace. Man’s many false gospels all include works as the way to salvation. For the lost, salvation is by lifestyle, character and conduct. In other words, by the best a man can be and the best a man can do, but as we have seen throughout this book, “…every man at his best state is altogether vanity…surely every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:5,11). Salvation comes because of what God has done, not because of what a man has done. “…by grace are ye saved..not of works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). Salvation is God’s domain, it is His work, and all the glory for it belongs only to Him. God is responsible for all of salvation. Salvation is not man’s to work for, but God’s to give, and He gives it to whomsoever He wills to receive it.
No man has any business trying to save himself, or trying to assist God in saving him. Notice Paul never once joined grace and works, thus clearly declaring that election/salvation was either by grace, or by works—not a combination of the two. Salvation is either by God, or your own efforts. If by grace then not by works, and, if by works then not by grace. You cannot believe in both and be a saved person. If salvation is of the Lord, which it most assuredly is, then salvation is by grace alone. Obviously Paul was saying in Romans 11:6 that if election/salvation are by grace then it cannot be by any works at all. If salvation is by grace it is by what God alone does, and not at all by anything a man does. If salvation came after a man did something—if salvation is a response of God’s after a work of man’s—it would be salvation by works. Anything which a man declares salvation is dependent on, is what the man is saying he is saved by. Anything a man believes he must do is what he has conditioned salvation upon. Such a person is disqualified from claiming grace as the only means to salvation. If all depends on a man doing this or doing that, then salvation is by works no matter how much the person says they believe in grace. You cannot be referring to the grace of the only true God, if you claim that your ‘salvation’ arrived after you performed some act of obedience. True grace cancels out any need for any work. Salvation is exclusively by grace, as the Greek says: “not out of you…not out of acts” (Eph. 2:8,9). Why would a man need to do something, anything, when salvation by grace is salvation by what God does. Salvation follows grace, not works. If salvation is all about God’s will in choosing those whom He wants saved, then one has a salvation that is purely by grace. What lies behind salvation by grace is the will of God. What lies behind a gift is solely the will of the gift giver. Salvation is either by the will of God, or by the will of man. If it is by the will of God it is grace. If it is by the will of man it is works. What you believe about salvation shows what you believe about God: Who He is and what He has done. If salvation comes after God does something then it is entirely by grace. If salvation needs to be given by grace then clearly it cannot be gotten by works.
Salvation is not offered, nor can it be earned, therefore, it can only be given to those whom the Lord has chosen to be gracious, merciful and compassionate toward. If God is not completely Sovereign in salvation, then He is not God at all. Salvation cannot be acquired or maintained by the works of a man, therefore, it can only be by the grace of God: Not by what a man does, but only by what God does. Not by the will of men, or the acts of men, but solely by the will and grace of God. How can any doctrine which claims that any part of salvation is conditioned upon what a man does, possibly be giving all the glory for salvation to Almighty God? The glory for salvation belongs solely to the One Who fulfils all the conditions for salvation by what He does. As salvation is clearly by grace according to the Scriptures, then all the glory for it belongs to God. NO glory for salvation belongs to man, for NO MAN CAN DO ANYTHING to gain salvation. Salvation does not respond to man, but only to God, for salvation is only of the Lord by grace. Grace is the means by which God brings salvation. It is “…the grace of God that bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11). God has saved and called His people “…not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9). Salvation has nothing to do with the works of man. Even if man had the wherewithal to choose God, no choosing needs to be done by man, for it is grace which always acts first, and so it is the Lord Who has already done the choosing, and that before the foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:4). What choice is there to make after God has predetermined to save a man, by predestinating him through election which is by grace alone unto eternal life? An elect man’s positive response to what God has done comes straight from God, and is infused into man.
The saved are made willing by the will of God, for the saved have no will for God prior to their salvation. How can they when the mind of an unregenerate man is at enmity against God, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). “…it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). An elect man’s positive response to the will of God is grace at work. The positive response comes only from a man made alive by grace. A man’s being made alive is not man’s response to God anyway, it is grace in action. It is the will of God in action that saves a man. The saved man is a product, a creation, of the will and grace of God. The saved man is not the old creature made better, but an entirely new creation created in Christ Jesus unto good works, and never because of good works. The new creation exists not after it has made a choice, but only after God has created it a new creature in Christ. Remember, man by nature is spiritually dead in sins and dead to God, so what can a saved man do that grace has not done in him. Why would God enable a man by His grace to do something which then permits God to save him, when it is God Who saves according to His will and by His grace? God saves by what He does. It is His act that saves. It is by His will that a man is saved. That is why God deserves all the glory, for it is God Who has done all the work, from the willing to the saving and beyond! Man’s intrinsic notion and compulsive urge that he must do something to either get saved or stay saved, is a manifestation of his wickedly stubborn sinful nature which is dead to God and dead to the concept of salvation by grace alone. Salvation does not come from grace enabling, but by grace saving. The essential requirement for grace is an obvious statement by God that only the grace of God can do what a man’s works cannot. That is why the Scriptures say “by grace ye are saved”, and, “by grace are ye saved”. Salvation is not by you, but by God. Salvation is not by you, but is what is given to you by grace alone. God does not save by enabling you to save yourself. God does not save by enabling you to do, but by making you alive according to His will and by His grace.
Man is lost in a wilderness of his own making, a darkness, in which God does not reside. Natural, lost, man has no ability, NO FREE WILL whatsoever to even seek the true God, so how pray tell can a man who is yet to be made alive by God possibly make a free will decision for God! Man is NOT a neutral creature. Contrary to the world’s view, an eternally lost man is not some innocent victim of God’s not having chosen him to salvation (see Rom. 9:19), but is his own worst enemy having sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, and forever incurring the Wrath of God. No man deserves to be chosen unto salvation, but to remain in his Hell-bound state. Again, man is not a neutral creature, but to the contrary is one who is dead to God, and is by nature enmity against Him. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:6,7). Man’s spiritual deadness reveals his eternal enmity against God. There can be no enmity against God without a man’s being dead in sins. “Paul doth not say it is an enemy, but in the abstract, it is enmity, which heightens and intends the sense: an enemy may be reconciled, as Esau was to Jacob; but enmity cannot be reconciled; as black may be made white, but blackness cannot. The expression here is as forcible as possible. As truly as ‘God is Love’, so truly, essentially, and unalterably is the ‘mind of the flesh’, the liking and disliking of unregenerate man, ‘enmity’, ‘hatred’, ‘personal hostility’, towards the true God and His real claims. Enmity is the opposite of Agape, love. Without regenerating grace, without the power and Spirit of God, unless it is written upon the heart by the finger of God; for carnal men are dead in sin, and so without strength to obey the law; and besides, the carnal mind, and the law of God, are directly contrary one to another. Where is man's power and free will? no wonder the carnal mind does not bow to the Gospel of Christ, when it is not, and cannot be subject to the law of God. Hence we see the necessity of Almighty power, and efficacious grace in conversion.” The original Greek speaks of, ‘The disposition of the flesh’ being at enmity against God. Man is naturally disposed “to exercise sinful affections”. “…the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11). “…the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart…” (Eccl. 9:3). "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23 cf. Jer. 17:9). The spiritually infertile, eternally hostile, carnal, mind of man, which is at enmity against God, is a place “Where Biblical logic is the enemy, and God’s truth is a menace”. “Romans 8:6,7 teaches that the will follows, or obeys the dominant interest of the mind. If it is the flesh, then death follows; if it is the Spirit, then life and peace follow.” Man is naturally at enmity against, he hates, the true God, and has nothing but hostility toward Him, so how can any man ever seek and desire the true God whilst in such a state. Lost man, by nature, is exclusively drawn to false gods. How can a man choose God when all men, by nature, have carnal minds which are enmity against God, and, therefore, children of Wrath? Is it any wonder, in light of such Scriptural facts, the Lord Jesus declared: “No man can come unto Me…” (Jn. 6:44).
Salvation is not of man and his works, but of God and HIS Gift! The recipe for salvation, if you will, does not include man, nor anything a man believes he can do, in any of its ingredients. Salvation needs only one ingredient, grace. If anything is added to grace, it immediately cancels out any possibility that one will be saved by believing in a gospel of grace and… If one adds anything to grace it will not result in the meal which grace alone serves. It won’t taste the same, it won’t look the same because it is not the same. Anything added to grace forms another gospel which cannot save. Salvation is fully the domain of God. “…Salvation is of the Lord…Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…” (Jon. 2:9 & Psa. 3:8). A blind man can do nothing to see, nor can a dead man do anything to come alive. Spiritual sight is hidden, spiritual life is hidden in God, and it is He according to His will and purpose by His grace alone Who administers these things to whomsoever He wills. A man does not, nor can he cause, or will, his blinded eyes to see, or make himself spiritually alive to God. The fact that God has already chosen all His people before He even created them, rules out any choice for them to make, and so, it absolutely rules out any part of salvation being dependent upon what a man does. They say, ‘The Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world, and what makes the difference between saved and lost is a man’s decision for God’ that, ‘man must react positively to God in order for God to save him’. But how can any man achieve this, how can this even be considered, when Scripture declares every man dead in sins and dead to God. If a man must be made alive so that he can then ‘react positively’, it must be asked how can this be a free will reaction. What so many people have wrongly interpreted as a man’s positive response to God, is simply grace having made a man alive. Some say man chooses God independently of God, while others insist a man can only choose God by the grace of God enabling him to do so. The reality of the situation is that all such teaching is highly blasphemous, for it denies the fact that man is dead in sins and dead to God, before the grace of God makes him alive. “…Except a man be born again (afresh, anew), he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3 cf. Jn. 3:31; 19:11,23). Man, according to his dead-in-sins nature cannot perceive the Kingdom of God. Spiritually dead man has no frame of reference to make any biblically correct judgements concerning salvation. All he has is his carnal mind which is hostile to God, and which is dictated to by his dead-in-sins nature. Only after a man is born again by the grace of God will he see and believe God’s glorious Gospel of salvation by Sovereign grace alone. Without being born again by the grace of God alone, a man remains without God. “The condition of the spiritual vision which can see this Kingdom is spiritual life, and this life is dependent on being born anew by the grace of God.” Prior to being born again, man cannot see the Kingdom of God, so how can he choose it. Prior to being made alive, made anew, man by nature is hostility itself to the true God and His Kingdom. Only after a man is born again by the grace of God can he see the Kingdom of God, for he has been brought into it.
“Jesus, knowing the prejudices Nicodemus laboured under, both as a Jew and a Pharisee, judged it necessary immediately to acquaint him with the absolute necessity of experiencing a thorough change, both of his heart and life, to be wrought by Divine grace; a change so great as might appear like coming into a new world by a second birth, and would bring the greatest and most learned men to the simplicity, teachableness, and humility of little children (see Matt. 18:3). He therefore said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee — I declare it with the utmost solemnity, as a truth of the highest importance, that whatever great privileges any man may inherit by his natural birth or education, or church-fellowship, or by the place he occupies, or the rank he holds in civil or religious society, or how exact and strict soever he may be in ceremonial observances; unless a man be born again, he cannot see — Cannot even have just views of, much less can he enjoy; the Kingdom of God — On earth or in Heaven; can neither be a true member of the church militant, nor enter into the church triumphant: nor will thy knowing and acknowledging that I am a teacher come from God, avail thee, unless thou experience this second birth. The original expression may also be rendered, unless a man be born from above: the sense, however, which our translation gives it, is evidently that in which Nicodemus took it: for he so expresses himself as to show, that he thought a man could not be born in the manner Christ spoke of, without entering a second time into his mother’s womb. What is added, at John 3:5, explains what was before undetermined, as to the original of this birth. The reader must observe, that in the following discourse our Lord touches on those grand points, in which it was of the utmost importance that Nicodemus, his brethren, and mankind in general, should be well informed, namely, that no external profession, no ceremonial observances, or privileges of birth, could entitle any to the blessings of the Messiah’s Kingdom; but that an entire change of heart, as well as of life, was necessary for that purpose: that this could only be wrought in man by the Spirit of God: that every man born into the world was by nature (see Jn. 3:6) in a state of depravity and sin, of condemnation and misery; (see Jn. 3:17-19); that the free mercy of God had given His Son to deliver them from it, (Jn. 3:14-16), and to raise them to a blessed immortality; that all God’s elect, Gentiles as well as Jews, might share in these benefits procured by His being lifted up on the cross for them, and to be received by God-given faith in Him.”
God is the chooser, and all His people are a chosen generation. The dead choose nothing. Before salvation by grace there is only death—only after grace is there life eternal. What man did brought death, only what God does brings life. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Death through man — life through God. Eternal life is both the promise of God in Christ Jesus, and a gift which only comes from God and because of God. The apostle John writing to believers declared: "And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 Jn. 2:25 cf. Psa. 3:8); “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 Jn. 5:11,12). Eternal life is both a promise and a gift, it is not an offer, nor something which you can earn by anything you do. Man’s ‘positive response’ toward God is the result of God’s gift of life, and that life comes only by grace. Only God separates His sheep from the goats (see Matt. 25:31-46). THE GRACE OF GOD IS ALL THE ‘REACTION’ A MAN NEEDS, FOR GRACE GIVES LIFE! Grace makes alive. What reaction must there be from a man who has been shown the light? The reason a saved man can see is because he has been shown the Light. God makes the difference. A man in a dark room does not choose to see the light when it is turned on, for it is the one who has switched on the light that has made the choice for the man to see! GRACE IS THE CHOICE! GRACE IS GOD’S CHOICE FOR ALL HIS ELECT. GRACE CHOOSES YOU! SALVATION IS GOD CHOOSING YOU TO SEE THE LIGHT BY HIS GRACE. The elect man is a chosen man, not a man who chooses. What kind of god is it who foolishly, ridiculously waits for a positive response from those who sit in darkness dead in sins? This is not the God of the Bible. The vast majority of people who believe themselves to be Christian, believe in a god who wants everyone saved. That he has done all he can and now sits wondering, hoping that at least some will choose him. This is NOT God!! This is a lie from Hell that only lost men embrace and hold onto till they plummet into the gaping mouth of Hell. The true and only God does whatsoever He wills in Heaven and on earth. No one can stop what God has willed. No one can resist the will of God for them. God is Sovereign. He is King of all kings and He is Lord of all lords, “…and He doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Dan. 4:35).
Is there any part of salvation for which the glory belongs to a man? NO. Therefore, there is nothing a man can do to get saved, ergo, there is nothing for man to do to get saved. Salvation with man is impossible, therefore, salvation can only be by grace. Not by what is deserved, but only by that which is undeserved. Not by works of man, but only by the grace of God. There is no condition man must meet, for it is only by grace that he is saved. Most if not all those who profess to be Christians say that all the glory for salvation belongs solely to God. No other can claim any part of that glory, therefore, no act can possibly be done by man in collaboration with God that can produce salvation. Salvation is the result of grace, it is a work of God which is why HE is rightly called the Saviour, and the believers are merely the saved. You cannot arrive at salvation by works, neither by grace and works, but only by grace alone. Believers are those who have been made alive by the choice of Another, by the power of Another by the Work of Another. Therefore, all the glory for salvation rightfully belongs to God, and so, no part of salvation can possibly be dependent, therefore, conditioned, upon man. IF THERE IS NO GLORY FOR MAN IN SALVATION, THEN MAN DID NOTHING BEFORE HE WAS SAVED IN ORDER TO GET SAVED. God only is deserving of all the glory for salvation because, just as with any miraculous act, HE DOETH THE WORK! God receives all the glory for what He has done, and not for what He has allegedly enabled others to do. Grace does not delegate the power to get saved to a man, for grace IS the power THAT saves! Everything has been done by God.
Many labour under the misapprehension, the delusion, that grace only enables a man to do what is necessary for him to be saved, but that if he does not choose to do it he will remain lost. That is not Biblical grace. It is only a lost man’s perception of what the grace of God is and of how God saves. “Grace is unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it.” Therefore, salvation cannot be that which is deserved, that which a man can do anything to attain. But why do the lost insist upon the stipulation that a man must do, when all that a saved man has is directly due to grace. All a saved man has is by grace, it is a gift, and not the result of a work done by him with or without grace. Why have this stipulation that a man must do when the saved man has been “…blessed…with all spiritual blessings…” (Eph. 1:3), chosen by God “…before the foundation of the world…” (Eph. 1:4), “…predestinated…unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His GRACE, where He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:5,6). Salvation is to the glory of God’s grace, not man’s works. No one is in Christ Jesus because of anything they did, but wholly because of what God has done by grace. God makes His people accepted by what He does by grace. Only grace qualifies a man for Heaven. Where is a man’s works in all of this? They are nowhere to be found. God makes His people accepted by His grace, and not by anything which they have done. God has made His people accepted by what HE has done, and what HE has done by grace has saved His people from their sins. God has made them new creatures, creatures in, of, by and because of GRACE! The Gospel of salvation is all about God! WORKS DRAW ATTENTION TO MAN, GRACE ALONE ONLY DRAWS ATTENTION TO GOD.
God saves by grace. A man is made alive by grace, for there is NOTHING ELSE that can make a man alive. The flesh profits nothing, so what can a man do to make himself alive? Obviously nothing. What can the flesh do? Absolutely nothing! The fact he needs to be made alive transparently reveals that man is dead in sins. The fact man needs to be made alive shows that he needs someone else to make him alive, to save him. A dead man has no power to do anything, let alone transform himself from death to life. Nothing a spiritually dead man does, or does not do, could ever engender life. A reformed lifestyle can only make a man outwardly better. It takes the grace of Almighty God to make a man alive. As was stated earlier, grace does not enable, or empower anyone to get saved, for the grace of Almighty God is that power which alone saves. No one can save themselves, therefore, no man can do anything to get saved, otherwise, he would be a co-Saviour with God. It is God’s power that saves, and that power is His grace. GOD DOES NOT SAVE ANYONE BY THEIR WORKS. Veritable multitudes are under the delusion that God saves a person by grace after they have performed a certain work. They all suffer from a severe case of spiritual death. A man who is dead in trespasses and sins will never believe in salvation by grace alone, until he is saved by grace alone. Saving grace does nothing but save. It is God’s power by which He saves, and keeps His people saved, and nothing else. Saving grace does not enable, it enlivens. Saving grace does not empower, it makes alive. Saving grace is not reactive, it is not a response, from God, but the Sovereignly proactive act of God that eternally saves His people from their sins. The work of man—sin—made him dead to God. The work of God—grace—makes a man alive to God. Grace alone saves. Grace causes a man to be born again. Christians are born of God, made spiritually alive by God, born of what God has done, born of the miraculous power of the grace of God not by what they themselves have done. A true Christian will never tell you he was ‘saved by grace and…’, but ‘saved by grace only’. The debt that had to be paid to pave the way for a man’s salvation, was paid in full by Jesus Christ on the cross for all His people. Christ paid it in full because He was the only one that could have paid it at all! Elect man’s eternal debt which he could never have paid even part thereof, was paid in full by the gracious Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is universally acknowledged that no one can consciously do anything if they are not physically alive. Likewise, no one who is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins can do anything, therefore, it is only the grace of God which makes a man alive, not to do that which is necessary to come alive, for how can a dead man do anything. How can a dead man be assisted to do anything! How can a man do that which is needed to be made alive, when he is dead? How can a man do before he is made alive, and what is there for a man to do who has been made alive to come alive! What exactly is the task that has been allegedly set for a spiritually dead man to do? The whole point of salvation is to make a man spiritually alive. So when grace has done its work what is there for a man to do except enjoy his new life. Salvation, grace, mercy, goodness, redemption are all God’s to give, according to His own purpose and grace, they are not left to a dead man’s decision to receive. No one can obstruct the will of God in any way. The only true God does whatsoever He wills in Heaven and on earth, therefore, God’s will is not subject to a man’s will. It is man’s will that is subject to God’s will, for God is Almighty, He is Sovereign King over one and all. God’s people shall be willing ONLY in the day of HIS POWER! (see Psa. 110:3). It takes the very power of God to turn a man to Him. This willingness comes straight from the saving grace of Almighty God. The man who believes he has chosen God and come to Him by his own free will is NOT a blessed man, but an accursed man still dead in sins! The Word of God teaches: “Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee…” (Psa. 65:4). If God has not chosen a man, if God does not cause a man to approach unto Him, none would ever come to Him. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Dan. 4:35). The obstinate and Scripturally illogical insistence of the lost that they must do, is evidence not of their goodness, or good intentions, but of their lostness while in bondage to sin and their zealous rebellion against the truth of God, and nothing else. If grace alone is not seen as that which makes alive, then there is virtually nothing left for a lost man to believe that what saves him is God visiting him with grace so that the man can then do—while he is dead, mind you—what is necessary to come alive. Such a person does not rely upon God at all to be made alive, but in his spiritual deadness supposedly contributes to his coming alive. It is safe to say that any man who has died physically was brought back to life by a doctor, or doctors, there present with him. Dead bodies do not contribute to their being made alive again. So too, spiritually dead creatures cannot contribute the minutest particle to their being made alive, hence the need for grace. If man cannot do, then it is only God that can. Grace saves, because grace makes alive, man’s works are as dead as he is.
It is the Spirit of God that makes alive. Nothing else, and no one else can make alive, but the Holy Spirit of God by grace. To presume that a man must assist in his being made alive is to reject the eternal truth that God saves by what He does, not by what any man does. To come to the Word of God with a carnal mind, is to walk away with only a lost man’s understanding, and not God’s revelation. Nothing dead can make itself alive. No one who is dead can make themselves alive. A dead person cannot return themselves to life, let alone make themselves a new creature. Man, by nature, is an empty shell, and only God, by grace, can fill him with life. God does this according to His grace and mercy upon those He has chosen to save. Dead people have no power, no ability, and no will. There is nothing in Jesus’ words: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63), which gives license to anyone to conclude that a lost man contributes to the Spirit of God making him alive, or that the Spirit of God works in conjunction with a man to make him alive. Obviously, the consent, or ‘choice’, of a spiritually dead person is not required before God can make them alive. Moreover, the words of Jesus which follow completely shut out any condition to be met by man in his being made alive. This absolutely shatters the whole world of Christianism, a world which believes that salvation can only come after a man has consented to be saved. The world of false Christianity is a farce, it is a sham, it is an illusion, a hallucination, filled with the lies of Satan, and energized by the deluded minds of the lost. Jesus Christ declares: “…NO MAN CAN come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:65). Religion says man must do, the Lord Jesus says “NO MAN CAN” do! Christ says the Spirit makes alive; the flesh profits nothing. Man says works of the flesh are essential to salvation. No man can do that which only the Sprit of God can do. It takes the Spirit of God to make a man alive. It does not take a man to do this, for (1) man is dead in sins, and (2) what a man does do cannot/does not profit him anything at all. The whole religious world’s methods and means to salvation are all predicated on the Satanic lie that man is not dead. “…the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God…the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Cor. 3:19,20). The Wisdom of the world is foolishness, and the righteousness of the world filthy rags. This is the sum total of what the world and its religions can do for you. “In the Psalms it is, ‘the Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vanity’ (Psa. 94:11); which the apostle not only cites, but explains and teaches; as that by men is meant men of wisdom and knowledge, of the greatest capacities, whose thoughts, reasonings, schemes, and devices, the omniscient God not only knows, but makes known, and discovers them to be vain and fruitless, yea, vanity itself; and notwithstanding all their machinations and contrivances, God’s Counsel shall stand, His Gospel shall be maintained, His truths shall prevail, and His ordinances shall be continued, and His work go on.” THIS is why God is needed. THIS is why grace is needed. THIS is why God is the Saviour, for grace belongs to God. THIS is why God dispenses grace to His people, thereby, making them alive.
Prior to his being born again by the grace of God, man is lost in his sins, the Gospel of God is hidden from him, and so he cannot see that the grace of God is the only means to salvation. Those who do not believe in salvation by grace alone do not believe in the Gospel of God, hence, “…if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). The Gospel that every man ever born cannot see, by nature, is the Gospel of salvation by grace alone. This is clearly evidenced in the fact that no man-made religion out there conditions salvation on grace alone, but has salvation dependent on at least one thing you must do. The natural state of all men who are dead in trespasses and sins has locked mankind into a belief system that sees works as the only way to God. Mankind is naturally blind to the fact that the only way to God is by the grace of God alone. All he can see, all a lost man’s carnal mind can do, is fill his every thought with what he must do before he can be saved. The only true GOD is the One Who saves His people from their sins by His grace because THEY CANNOT save themselves by their works! None can come unto Him by what they do, none can qualify themselves by their works, none can warrant their being saved by what they do, therefore, salvation is only by God through grace. THIS is why the will of God to save by grace alone is the only way a man can be saved. It’s not by anything a man does, but only by what God does. Salvation is only of the Lord, by the Lord, because of the Lord, therefore, it can only be by what the Lord does: grace. If this is not the platform of your gospel, you do not have the Gospel of God. You are not saved. Salvation is not of man, but by the Spirit of God. “…the flesh profiteth nothing…”, therefore, salvation cannot be by the works of man, but only by the grace of God, for “It is the Spirit that makes alive…” (Jn. 6:63). The flesh cannot do what only the Holy Spirit can do, and only the Holy Spirit can make alive. The works of the flesh cannot make a man alive, they cannot make a man born again, for this is the Work of the Holy Spirit of God. This is what only the Holy Spirit of God can, and does do, for all God’s people by His grace. No Christian has any confidence in the flesh, therefore, no Christian believes he was saved by anything he has done, but only by the Sovereign grace of Almighty God.