BY GRACE ALONE (PART 26)
The following Scripture specifies in detail what exactly God has done in saving a man, simultaneously revealing man to be a mere recipient of that which is the result of the love of God found only in Christ Jesus His Son: “For whom HE did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom HE did predestinate, them HE also called: and whom HE called, them HE also justified: and whom HE justified, them HE also glorified” (Rom. 8:29,30). No man can make himself foreknown by God, no man can predestinate himself to be conformed to the image of Jesus, no man can call himself, no man can justify himself, or glorify himself by anything he does. No man can recommend himself to God by works, for God saves His people only by grace alone. The true God is not the one who is sought after, but the one who seeks His people until He finds them. Jesus said: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing” (Lk. 15:4,5). Compare this with the following verse: “For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day” (Ezek. 34:11,12). It is not man’s love for God, but God’s everlasting love for His people that draws them to Him. God does the choosing, God does the seeking and God does the finding. God’s will, God’s love and God’s grace are His driving force. Jeremiah says: “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3 cf. Jn. 6:44; 1 Jn. 4:19). God draws His people by His love, they do not draw God to them by their love. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). Everything in salvation is because of God. There is no room for man here; no requirement, or condition he must meet; nothing he can do in his being foreknown, in his predestination, in his being called, in his justification, nor in his glorification. Salvation is all by God’s love drawing the one He has chosen to be gracious, merciful and compassionate toward. All is done by God, all is done by grace. God is the Hope of His people. Their trust is in no one else, and nothing else. “Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Pet. 1:21). Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of His people’s faith (see Heb. 12:2). The faith of the elect comes from Him. Jesus is the Inaugurator, the Originator of the faith of His people. This works hand in hand with the fact that faith is a gift from God, not that which is a work of man’s (see Eph. 2:8,9). There is nothing for man to do to get himself saved or keep himself saved, and, therefore, no reason for any glory to be attributed to man in his own salvation.
God gets all the glory for salvation because He has done all the work, by grace. God elected, God predestined, God prepared the substitutionary sacrifice, and His Son became that sacrifice which would wash away every sin of those people God entrusted to Him, and which would satisfy the justice of God thus forever putting an end to the Wrath of God toward those particular people and their specific sins and sinfulness. It is by GOD’S SOVEREIGN WILL that any are saved: "...them that believe on His name…were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD" (Jn. 1:12,13); "So then it (election/salvation) is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy" (Rom. 9:16). IT IS GOD WHO MAKES THOSE HE SAVES WILLING! Salvation is not of the saved, they are not saved because of what they have done, or because of what they have willed, but entirely by Who God is and what HE has willed and done for them. God saves His people not by what they have done, but by what HE HAS DONE for them! It is not by their love for God, but because of God’s love for them that they are saved. They do not go out and get salvation, for “…it is the grace of God that bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11), to God’s chosen people. Salvation is something that is totally and completely conditioned on God, His grace and His mercy, His will and His purpose, His love, His goodness and His Righteousness. Salvation is something for God to bestow, not for a man to attain. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7). Try and fit a man’s works into those Scriptures if you can! Eternal life is a gift, as is God’s mercy and grace. Mercy comes from HIM according to HIM. Salvation does not consist of the will, or work, of man, but only the grace and mercy of God! YOU CANNOT DRAW GOD TO YOU, NOR COME TO HIM ACCORDING TO YOUR WILL! IT IS ALL BY HIS GRACE AND HIS MERCY! "Of HIS OWN WILL begat He us with the Word of truth..." (Jas. 1:18). Salvation is by God’s will not man’s; it is by God’s grace and not by a man’s works. The saved are “…born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:13). Born not of their own individual will and works, but SOLELY by God’s Sovereign will and grace. Man’s ‘will’ is always secondary to God’s will: “We love Him, because HE FIRST loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me” (Jn. 6:37 cf. Jn. 17:2,6,9). Jesus does not say ‘Behold I and the children which have chosen God’, but “…Behold I and the children WHICH GOD HATH GIVEN ME” (Heb. 2:13). There is no such thing as a man coming to God to be saved, for prior to salvation there is only a dead man who can only perform dead works, and who does not seek God. It cannot be that God loved His people first, and yet it was they who chose God first. A man is not saved because he believes, but he believes because he is saved. A man does not believe because he chose, but he believes because he is chosen. "...because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:13). A man does not believe and is then ordained to eternal life, but “…as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48 cf. Acts 2:47). The ones who believe are the ones God, by grace, has ordained to eternal life, the ones whom HE has predestined to believe.
God’s Son took the sins of His Father’s chosen upon Himself, and charged those people with His perfect Righteousness: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21 cf. Jer. 23:6). Jesus, Who knew no sin, laid down His life for them who knew no Righteousness. “Now to be made the Righteousness of God, is to be made Righteous in the sight of God, by the imputation of the Righteousness of Christ. Just as Christ is made sin, by the imputation of the sins of others to Him; so they are made Righteousness, or Righteous persons, through the imputation of His Righteousness to them; and in no other way can the one be made sin, or the other Righteousness. And this is said to be ‘in him’, in Christ; which shows, that though Christ's Righteousness is unto all, and upon all them that believe, it is imputed to them, and put upon them; it is not anything wrought in them; it is not inherent in them. ‘Surely…in the LORD have I Righteousness and strength’, says the church, (Isa. 45:24) and also, that the way in which we come by this Righteousness is by being in Christ; none have it reckoned to them, but who are in Him by grace, we are first ‘of’ God ‘in’ Christ, and then He is made unto us Righteousness. Secret being in Christ, or union to Him from everlasting, is the ground and foundation of our justification, by His Righteousness, as open being in Christ at conversion is the evidence of it.” The only way Jesus Christ was charged with the sins of His people, was by imputation. Based on this rule of imputation, His Righteousness is now the Righteousness of all His people. Their sins were charged to Him, and His Righteousness is now theirs, forever. The One Who never sinned was charged with the sins of His people, and they who were never Righteous were charged with the Righteousness of God. Christ did nothing to merit those sins, for He was sinless, and His people did nothing to merit His Righteousness, for they were nothing but sinners. Though the Lord Jesus Christ never sinned, He was charged with the sins of His people; though His people were never Righteous, they were charged with His Righteousness (see 2 Cor. 5:21). By His love God drew those people to Him. All who are saved love God, but only because He loved them first, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). That is grace.
The Christian is not saved because he loves God, but because God loved him first. Grace does not save because you, grace saves because HE! Grace is God doing, and God doing first. Salvation by grace always comes before a man’s love for God, before any work of man’s, for grace saves by itself, and not by any work of man’s. Salvation never follows what a man does, but only what God has ordained. Salvation is “…not…of the will of man, but of God…that sheweth mercy” (Jn. 1:13; Rom. 9:16). Salvation is not an achievement of man’s, but a gift from God. A man has not possession of a gift based on anything which he has done, but because of what has been done to him and for him. Salvation is not according to the will of man choosing God, but by the mercy of God toward His chosen who previously had no desire of seeking, let alone, choosing God. God is unchoosable! No man by nature know Him, no man by nature seeks Him, no man by nature wants Him, so how can any man by nature choose Him? The man who is saved has been chosen by Him. Grace being that which no man deserves, and mercy being given in place of what a man does deserve, reveals in an instant that no man has done anything to come to God. You are saved by grace, that is, you are saved by that which you did not deserve, obviously, because there was nothing you could do to deserve it. Grace is salvation by that which you did not earn. First the Saviour then salvation. Right until the moment a man is saved by grace, he is a child of Wrath. Yes God’s elect received Him, but only after He has come to them, making them alive unto Him, and granting them the gift of faith, the gift to believe that can only come from above, without which no man can savingly believe His Gospel, and reject all others. God’s giving His chosen to His Son assures they will all come to Him.
Man’s receiving is a gift from God. Man cannot receive God unless God has chosen the man to receive Him. Salvation does not come after a man gives his consent to be saved, for salvation is not something offered, but given. Salvation is not a man’s choice, salvation is God’s choosing His chosen by grace. Salvation is a Sovereign act of God, and not something which any man can choose, or work for. Man receives only because God has given. That is grace. Man receiving is man being given something by God. Receiving is not the result of a man’s choice to accept, but of God having given. To receive is to have inherited something because of someone else. To receive is to have been appointed by another to receive. A gift is predetermined by the gift giver, not the one receiving the gift. A gift is predetermined according to the gift giver’s will, not in agreement with the gift receiver’s will. Salvation is all based on God’s will, on what God wants. It is God’s will that drives salvation home to a man, and not a man’s consenting to receive it. Salvation is not by agreement between man and God, but solely by the predetermining will and purpose of God. Prior to salvation man has no will to accept God, etc., for man is dead in sins, is at enmity against God and can do nothing to come to God. Salvation is appointed by God, and it is His will that makes salvation happen. Man’s will to be saved plays no part in getting him saved because salvation is of the will of God that shows mercy (see Rom. 9:16). Salvation is by mercy not merit. One who has merited does not require mercy. God loved the ungodly, those who were His enemies, those who did not know Him, or seek Him, or want Him (see Rom. 5:6,8). These are the people whom God saves: The ones who had no inclination toward Him, but by nature shunned him at every opportunity, for they were all dead in sins and the very nemeses of God. Grace simply loves the chosen of God among the ungodly, the unrighteous, not the godly, not the righteous. Grace is not apportioned to those who love God, but to those whom God loves first. A saved man’s love for the only true God comes only after the man is saved, and not before. Grace comes before Righteousness, therefore, all the glory for salvation belongs to God. Grace gives Righteousness. Grace does not come because of Righteousness, but Righteousness comes because of grace. It is the grace of God that makes a man Righteous before Him.
God did it all. Salvation is all of God. Grace is all of God and because of God. Salvation is all of grace. Salvation is a gift that none can merit, and so none can ever deserve it, and, therefore, that which can only be conditioned on God. Consequently, the glory, all the glory, for salvation is due only to God. If salvation is something earned it would not be a gift, and, therefore, it would not be by grace. Moreover, if salvation were not by grace, then it would only be by works, and the glory for it would belong solely to man, and not to God at all. "...if it be of works, then is it no more grace..." (Rom. 11:6). If it is by grace it is all by grace, if it is by works it is all by works. If it is by works it is by your righteousness, if it is by grace it is by Christ’s Righteousness. Of paramount importance is the fact that if you believe salvation cannot be without your works, then you must realise that when you stand before God on Judgement Day you must stand before Him with ALL your works, not just the ones you have deemed as good. You cannot claim Christ as your Saviour, you cannot claim His Righteousness, for you have chosen your own. You cannot claim His grace, for you have chosen your works. If you believe in salvation by works, or by a combination of works and grace, you must understand that you cannot claim Christ as your Saviour. The reason for this is that imputation is a two-way street. Christ takes your sins and gives you His Righteousness. If you believe that salvation cannot do without your works, then you have no right to the Righteousness of Christ, and, therefore, no right to expect your sins to have been imputed to Him. If you believe that salvation cannot do without your works, then you cannot claim the Righteousness of Christ, for the Righteousness of Christ is only imputed to His people without their works. Righteousness comes by grace “without the merit of works” (see Rom. 4:1-6). Salvation is conditioned on the Righteousness of Christ imputed by grace, not a man’s own personal righteousness which he has worked for (see Rom. 9:31-10:4).
If salvation is according to works, then all the glory for it belongs solely to man. If salvation is according to grace then all the glory for it belongs solely to God. The Scriptures tell us that salvation is "...of faith, that it might be by grace..." (Rom. 4:16), and not a work of man’s, not by anything he has done, or can do. A man is saved by grace through the GIFT of faith, not a work of faith. The faith is given by God, it is not that which lies within man. The gift of salvation is by the gift of grace through the gift of faith. No works are necessary. Nothing within man can save him, for salvation is a gift. Salvation is not a reward for anything done by man. Salvation is purely an undeserved gift, and the means to it—grace—is equally undeserved, and the faith that believes all this is just as undeserved. Nothing to do with salvation originates within man, but is a gift given by God. A man is saved by grace through faith, not works. The marriage is between grace and faith not grace and works. It is grace through the gift of faith, not works, that produces salvation. Justification by faith rules out any possibility of any part of salvation being conditioned on man, seeing that faith is a gift given by the grace of God (see Gal. 3:24 & Eph. 2:8,9). This gift of faith is given by God to all His people to ensure they would believe and trust exclusively in the works of the Saviour, and not their own. By grace are ye saved through faith in the works of Jesus Christ, not your own. The faith that saves comes from God, and is granted at His discretion. Salvation is not by works, therefore, no part of it could ever be conditioned on man.
Salvation is BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, it is not of man, in other words, no part of it is conditioned on man. It is not of his works, it is not of himself (see Eph. 2:8,9). Salvation is a gift from God, and no part of it is as a result of the efforts of man. Why? SO THAT NO MAN CAN BOAST!! Salvation by grace through the gift of faith in the Righteousness of Christ imputed leaves no room for boasting. So that no man could ever rightly claim any glory for any part of salvation. So that no man would ever think that salvation was in any way reliant upon him and what he does. “…working does not exclude boasting, it supports boasting (see Rom. 4:2). On the other hand, faith does not call attention to itself, but to the grace of the One trusted. Faith corresponds to grace. Work corresponds to debt. Therefore faith excludes boasting, and work supports boasting. If you are the beneficiary of grace in all that you are and have, you cannot boast in yourself. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:7, ‘For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?’” Only when all is a gift is all boasting excluded. “…BY GRACE are ye saved through faith…NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9 cf. Rom. 3:27,28). The only way a man cannot see and comprehend that salvation is in no way due to anything that a man has done, including his believing, is due to unadulterated spiritual blindness. Lost people are without God, without Christ, without hope. They cannot see the Gospel, therefore, they cannot know the only true God Who wrote it. None of them seek the only true God, none of them know the only true God. No man can come to Jesus unless it is given to him. And lost man still insists that he must do something before God can save Him!!! Only a lost man could ever fail to see and understand that salvation is only by grace alone, and not by any other means.
If no man can ever rightly lay claim to any of the glory for salvation, the very idea of subscribing to the abominable lie that any part of salvation is conditioned, reliant, on man, is nothing short of spiritual insanity. Why is the doctrine of salvation by grace alone so vitally important? One of the reasons is that the concept of salvation by works is natural to sinful man. It is a sinful concept which permeates every man-made religion. It is a concept which does not base salvation solely on the Saviour, but on man. Despite protests, those who believe they are saved by a combination of grace and their own personal attempts at obedience, have based their salvation solely on themselves, for everything about their salvation hinges upon their obedience. Religion teaches God cannot save anyone by what He alone has done, unless the people have done something, too. Salvation is solely by grace through the gift of faith. Neither of these two things are of man, nor do they come because of anything done by man. Grace, mercy and the gift of faith come solely at the Sovereign discretion of God, for all are naturally dead in sin, natural enemies of God. Faith goes hand in hand with grace and both are the antithesis of works. Salvation cannot be by grace and works, for, as we have seen, the one nullifies the other. All the glory for salvation belongs to God, so there is no Biblical basis upon which to justify the lie that a man’s works are essential to his being saved. Salvation cannot be by grace and works, because it is only by the gift of grace through the gift of faith. There is no room for works in a salvation that is wholly by grace through faith. Salvation is not by grace and works, but a matter of either grace or works. Salvation is either all of grace, or all of works (see Rom. 11:6; Gal. 3:10; 5:3). Salvation is not by God and you, but either all of God, or all of you. If it is by works then not of grace. If salvation is conditioned on you, then God simply does not have a say in who is saved and who is not. If salvation is by God, then it is not by works. If salvation is by God then it is by His will, not your will. If salvation is by grace then it is conditioned solely on God, and not on you. Salvation is all of God, by all that God does, and nothing of what you do.
Paul the apostle states, "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21). If Righteousness comes by what a man does then he cannot claim to be saved by Christ through grace. Any claim that your works are responsible for salvation is to disavow the Righteousness of Christ—all that He is, and all that He has done. It is to say everything He did for His people—including His death—was profitless. The man who insists that his works play any part in salvation cannot appeal to Christ’s Righteousness. If you believe salvation is in any way dependent upon yourself, you do not have the Saviour. Those who believe that saving Righteousness comes by their obedience to God’s law, actually frustrate the grace of God, they nullify it. They are not recipients of grace, but by their beliefs and consequent actions they reject grace. They reject God’s plan of salvation for their own carnal understanding of what it is that saves a man. One of the reasons why Jesus came to the earth was because Righteousness does not come by the law. It does not come by a man’s obedience, but only by the Obedience of One—Jesus Christ—through the grace of God. Righteousness comes by the grace of God, not by obedience to the law. IT COMES THROUGH WHAT Christ did, not by what a man does. If Righteousness came by a man’s obedience to the law, then Christ simply wasted His time in dying for the sins of men. However, seeing that Righteousness does not come by the law, but by the grace of God, IT IS MEN TRYING TO OBEY THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT ARE WASTING THEIR TIME! Salvation by grace through faith in Christ’s Righteousness points to the grace of God, not the works of men. This is what gives God all the glory for salvation. Salvation by grace through faith points to what God has done, and not to what a man has to do. Grace points only to God, which in turn shows that He alone is deserving of all the glory for salvation, for He, ALONE, has done all the work necessary in saving His people from their sins. "...a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ..." (Gal. 2:16). SALVATION IS BY THE GIFT OF FAITH THAT BELIEVES ONLY IN WHAT HE HAS DONE, NOT IN WHAT YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE DONE, OR WERE ENABLED TO DO. Salvation is not by the acts of man, but by the gifts of God. Saving grace and faith are not acts of men, but gifts given by God for the purpose of salvation. “…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8), can just as easily be read: ‘It is the gift of God, and not of yourselves, that you are saved by grace through the gift of faith’. The righteousness that saves is not the individual, personal righteousness of men, but the personal Righteousness of Jesus Christ the Saviour. A man is not justified by what he has done, but by the gift of faith given by the grace of God to believe in what the Messiah has done. “Not by that faith, which Christ, as man, had in God, who promised Him help, succour, and assistance, and for which He, as man, trusted in Him, and exercised faith upon Him; but that faith of which He is the object, author, and finisher; and not by that as a cause, for faith has no causal influence on the justification of a sinner; it is not the efficient cause, for it is God that justifies; nor the moving cause, or which induces God to justify any, for that is His own free grace and good will; nor the meritorious or procuring cause, for that is the obedience and bloodshed of Christ; nor is faith the matter of justification; it is not a justifying righteousness; it is a part of sanctification.”
Justification is realised by believing in Jesus Christ and trusting in His obedience. No one is justified by their obedience, by trusting in what they have done (see Matt. 7:21-23; Lk. 18:9-14), nor is a person justified by their believing in the Gospel, for the believing is evidence that they have been justified by God according to His own will, purpose and grace. Justification comes not by believing, but it is believing that comes from being justified. Everything to do with salvation is a gift given by grace. Grace does not save you after you have believed, you believe after grace has saved you. The salvation is instant; the believing is instant. There is no such thing as justification without faith, and no such thing as faith without justification. All that a saved man does is because he is saved by grace alone. The faith spoken of in Galatians 2 is the faith of Christ that justifies a man. That is, a man is justified by true faith, which was authored by Christ, in Christ which comes only from Christ. So then, if salvation is by grace, then it is ALL by grace, it is a work of God, and so it stands to reason salvation is ALL of God, for the faith which the elect have been given looks only to God and what He has done, therefore, ALL the glory for salvation belongs to Him. No supplementary act performed by man is required to either save him, or keep him saved, for it is ONLY "...by the OBEDIENCE OF ONE..." (Rom. 5:19), that a person is made Righteous and remains in a state of Righteousness before God forever. Salvation does not need a man’s imperfect righteousness, for it falls short of the glory of God, and is, therefore, vanity. Trusting in Christ’s Righteousness alone is trusting in God’s grace to save you, and is always accompanied by a total and complete rejection of one’s own righteousness. Trusting in God’s grace is not trusting in one’s works. A saved man is not a man who is without obedience, he is simply a man who knows his obedience did not get him saved nor that which keeps him saved, for it was given to him BECAUSE he was chosen to be saved. Paul the apostle exclaimed: “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:7-9), the faith God gives to all His people, of which Christ Jesus is the Author and Finisher (see Heb. 12:2).
Of all the people who have ever lived, none ever had more reason to believe that they were saved by who they were and what they had done than Paul the apostle, who wrote, “…If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. BUT WHAT THINGS WERE GAIN TO ME, THOSE I COUNTED LOSS FOR CHRIST” (Phil. 3:4-7). A man’s works “stand in competition with Christ”, as a man’s righteousness stands in competition with Christ’s Righteousness. Salvation is by grace not works. Anything done by man, not merely the bad, but also the seemingly good, is detrimental to his salvation. It is damaging not helpful. Only the Righteousness of Christ imputed, and not any righteousness of man established, saves a man from his sins. After he was made a new creature in Christ, the apostle stated: “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH” (Phil. 3:3). Prior to salvation all Paul had was confidence in what he did and in who he was. However, after God saved him Paul no longer had any confidence in who he had been and what he had done, but only in Almighty God Who saved him by grace alone. “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). Prior to salvation there is only confidence in the flesh, after salvation there is NO confidence in the flesh, for all God’s people’s confidence is heavily invested in Christ Jesus the Saviour. Christians, all TRUE Christians, have absolutely NO confidence in what they do, or have done, for all their confidence is in Christ. “…the flesh profiteth nothing” (Jn. 6:63). After being made alive to God by God, Paul never once thought of himself as a saved person prior to his being made a new creature in Christ. Paul rejected his own righteousness wanting only to be clothed in Christ’s Righteousness in God’s Presence. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for HE hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, HE hath covered me with the robe of Righteousness…” (Isa. 61:10); “…This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their Righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord” (Isa. 54:17 cf. Jer. 23:6; Zech. 3:4). A Christian’s Righteousness is not what he worked for, but what he was given, what he has inherited by grace. A saved man’s Righteousness is not his own, but is of the Lord, from the Lord, by the Lord and given by the Lord to him by grace.
Salvation is by grace through faith in the Righteousness of Christ, not by a man’s will through works in establishing a righteousness of his own. Paul prayed for the salvation of those in Israel who attempted to establish their own righteousness being ignorant of the only Righteousness that does save—God’s Righteousness. It is impossible to attain to the Righteousness that saves, by what you do. Only Christ’s Righteousness saves. It took the Saviour to establish the Righteousness which saves, because His people could never have done so. “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone” (Rom. 9:30-32). Those who seek Righteousness by their works will never find it, for the Righteousness by which a man is saved is not by works, but by the gift of faith. Those who seek salvation based on their works are lost. Only those who trust in the Righteousness of Christ alone, by the gift of faith given them by God through grace alone, are the saved children of God. “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's Righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for Righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:1-4; 11:7). In other words, Christ is the end of the law for Righteousness to every person that is saved. The apostle prayed for the salvation of those who sought Righteousness—acceptance with God—by what they did. Anyone who is trying to reach Heaven by their works has yet to be saved. Salvation is by God, not you. Salvation is of the Lord, not you. The saved man’s Righteousness is of God. Only the faith which God gives, by grace, believes that Christ Almighty is the end of the law for Righteousness, and only the Gospel of God reveals it: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the Righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16,17).
There is no point in talking about, or praising God for, the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, if your knowledge is not in accordance with the Scriptures. Correct Scriptural knowledge and understanding comes by revelation from God through grace. Ignorance of the truth negates any claim to believing it. Being ignorant of God’s Righteousness is unbelief toward His Gospel that reveals it. You cannot attain to Righteousness by your works, for the Righteousness that saves is “WITHOUT WORKS” (see Rom. 4:6). The Righteousness that saves is WITHOUT YOUR WORKS! Those who believe in the indispensability of works are without CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Righteousness that saves is Christ’s Righteousness not yours! God saves His people because of what Christ has done, not because of anything you believe you have done. The Righteousness that saves cannot be produced by a dead-in-sins man, but comes only as a gift from the Life-Giving God. The Righteousness which saves can never be achieved by the works of the law. Trying to get saved by works is a rejection of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the Work of Christ Jesus the Saviour. GOD SAVES ONLY BY WHAT HE DOES, NOT BY WHAT A MAN DOES. God saves only by grace through faith not grace through works. It is the Righteousness of God that saves, not the righteousness of man. It is the Righteousness of God which a saved man is clothed with, and not his own. Those who seek salvation by what they do, know not the true God nor do they have His Righteousness, for they do not abide in the doctrines of His Gospel. If no glory for salvation belongs to man because of his own works—his own obedience in an effort to establish his own righteousness—then it is only logical and right to believe that man plays no part in his own salvation. Glory as a reward for salvation belongs solely to God, for God is the Saviour and He saves only by what He does: grace. If God is the Saviour then salvation can only be by grace. Salvation is a gift from God, and a gift is bestowed never earned. Now, this does not mean that a saved man is not an obedient man, etc., however, it does mean that his salvation does not depend upon his obedience, but only upon that obedience of Jesus Christ, “…By the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). The robe Christians are covered with is the Robe of God’s Righteousness, not their own. Such a man could hardly be expected to live a wilfully sinful life in return. “…their Righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord” (Isa. 54:17). Remember, salvation is by grace, not by works. Christ saves the sinner, and it is Christ Who keeps him saved.
There are many lost people who believe they are Christians, but who teach many truths. They talk about grace, that salvation is not of you, that saving Righteousness is not yours, but Christ’s, etc. But all the fake ministers out there, all the charlatans, and hirelings all make one fatal error: they ultimately teach a works salvation covered with a thin veneer of grace. Listen to the following by just such a man: “Do you see it? Do you now understand the only way to be clothed in Christ, and worthy of entering heaven? It has nothing to do with your personal worthiness. It has everything to do with the perfection which covers your soul the moment you trust Jesus as your Savior.” Sounds pretty good doesn’t it. In fact it sounds just as good as the meal that has been laced with cyanide tastes just before it kills you! This gentleman teaches correctly that "the only way to be clothed in Christ, the only way one can be worthy of entering Heaven has nothing to do with a man’s personal worthiness, but has everything to do with the perfection that covers your soul". And then comes the kicker, the words that change his message from grace to works. “…the moment YOU trust Jesus…” There is it is in black and white. First he teaches that you are not worthy, you have no personal worthiness, and then immediately conditions your salvation on YOUR TRUSTING in Christ!! “It has nothing to do with your personal worthiness. It has everything to do with the perfection which covers your soul the moment YOU trust Jesus as your Savior”. God covers you with His Righteousness after YOU trust Jesus. That is works. God saves His people the moment He makes them alive by grace covering them with His Righteousness. Only AFTER this has occurred do they believe. That is grace. Works gospels are all the same, and they never change. Their message is always ‘God has done all He can do, and now everything hinges on what YOU do’. THIS IS NOT GRACE, IT IS NOTHING BUT WORKS. It is a promotion of a sham salvation which only comes after YOU have done something. This is absolutely satanic, for the Word of God teaches salvation is by grace, and if by grace, then it comes only by grace, only after grace! ‘If YOU don’t trust then God will not cover you with perfection’ lies at the very heart of the works gospel. First, the gentleman says it has nothing to do with a man’s worthiness, and then he immediately adds the stipulation that if you do not do, then God cannot save you. So our doing makes us worthy enough for God to clothe us with His Righteousness. If this is the type of gospel you believe, repent and believe God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone. The saving grace of God is free and undeserved, now please tell me what in the world can anyone do in order to deserve what is undeserved, and what must a person pay in order to purchase that which if free.
Q. So what is man; what is a saved man’s role in salvation?
The answer is quite simple: a saved man is a passive recipient! He is an object, or vessel, of mercy (see Rom. 9:21). He is a purchased possession (see Eph. 1:14; 1 Pet. 2:9). Speaking of Paul, God told Ananias “…he is a chosen vessel unto Me…” (Acts 9:15). The chosen people of God are passive beneficiaries, to whom God has willed eternal life (Jn. 17:2; Eph. 1:3-12). A saved man is a vessel of God’s mercy because of God’s will and grace. Salvation is entirely the work of God, and He gives it to whomsoever He wills (see Ex. 33:19; Rom. 9:15,16). Man plays no active part in his salvation, for no part of salvation is conditioned on man. Man is dead in sins, and needs to be made alive by grace. Man is dead in sins so how can his works help him? Man is dead in sins so how can anything but his being made alive by God save him. Salvation is by grace, therefore, it cannot be by works. A man must believe, but a man believing is a man who has been saved by grace and given the faith to believe exclusively in the Gospel of Christ according to the Scriptures (see 1 Cor. 15:3,4). Christians are a chosen generation which “…in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:10 cf. 1 Cor. 7:25). Christians are Christians because of God’s mercy not because of their works. They are Christians because they are chosen, not because they are choosers. They are Christians because of the gift of faith given to them by grace, not because of the faith that is natural to all men. Without the mercy of God there would not be a people of God. In salvation, all has been done for man by the grace of God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:…Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from Wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement…But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Rom. 5:1,9-11,15).
The Christian has peace with God because of what he has been given, not by what he himself has done. It is all the Lord’s work by grace. Humanly speaking a man must believe, but this believing is an evidence of grace. Believing is the evidence of salvation rather than the cause of it, for faith is a gift from God by grace to believe exclusively in the work of God, not in the works of men. The faith God gives His people trusts in God alone, not in themselves nor in their works. “…the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1) believes in the same Gospel. “…the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1) which He gives to each and every one of them, believes and trusts solely in God, and not in their own works. If you trust in your works, then you do not have the faith of the elect, you are still dead in your sins. Believing God’s Gospel of grace alone is the evidence of God having come to the man, and not man having earned his way to God. Believing the truth evidences the fact that God has come to a man and revealed His Mighty Gospel of grace to him, providing the necessary faith to believe it. “Who BY HIM do believe in God…” (1 Pet. 1:21 cf. Jn. 6:29; Acts 18:27). Belief in the only true God comes from Him, not from within. Nothing a man does can get himself saved, keep himself saved, or effect the loss of his salvation. All are dead in sins before God comes to a man, and what can a dead man do? NOTHING! And, what can a man who has been given eternal life possibly do to end the never-ending life he has been given? NOTHING! How can a man stop what God has started? No man can interfere in, or interrupt matters eternal. According to natural man’s thinking, which is the sandy foundation, the basis, of all false religion, there can be no salvation without man’s compliance, without his ‘decision’ to accept what is ‘put on offer’ to him. How, though, can a man comply, how can a man accept what is supposedly ‘on offer’ if every man in his natural fallen state is dead to God, does not seek Him, and, therefore, could never want Him? (see Rom. 3:10-12). God must and does initiate the salvation process and completes it all by what He alone has done. That is grace. God is the Author and Finisher (or completer) of the faith He gives to all His children. So if God must be the one to make the first move before a man can approach Him, if a man can only love God BECAUSE God loved the man first (see 1 Jn. 4:19), if God is the cause, the initiator, the Author and Finisher of it all, if a man is only complete in Christ (see Col. 2:10), needing nothing more, and no one more, than the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, then to God alone belongs all the glory, for without the God of grace man would be forever dead, forever lost, forever at enmity against the only true and Holy God.
Nothing man does, even his believing and trusting, can be attributed to him as worthy of praise, and be counted as something he has done to complete God’s plan of salvation for him. When the angels rejoice at the repentance of one sinner (see Lk.15:10), it is God’s goodness that they are glorifying, and not anything done by the man, for all that the saved man has, has been given to him by God. The angels of God do not complain that God has made such unworthy people His children eternally, and bestowed upon them all riches in heavenly places, they rejoice! They think it’s a wonderful thing, a glorious thing because they know God alone is responsible for it. The angels of God themselves are elect (see 1 Tim. 5:21). They rejoice at God’s Sovereign grace. They do not complain about it. They do not think it unfair, but rejoice in the Goodness of God. Man is saved not because of anything he has done. Salvation is not because of man, it is because of God. God makes the difference. God is the difference between being saved and being lost. Salvation is not by man’s effort, but by God’s grace; it is not by man’s will, but solely by the will of God. The elect of God are not born again, “…of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:13 cf. Rom. 9:16). Salvation is only conditioned upon God’s grace, mercy and purpose. You will also find God behind every good work a saved person does: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them…that you should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous Light" (Eph. 2:10 cf. Phil. 2:13 & 1 Pet. 2:9). A person is saved as a result of "...the purpose of God according to election, not of works, but of Him that calleth" (Rom. 9:11). "(God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9). God’s people are saved and called according to what they have been given, not what they have done. How much clearer could the Scriptures have said it. “Salvation is a free gift, not at all depending upon any conditions in the creature, and entirely proceeding from the Sovereign will of God; and it was a gift from eternity; there was not only a purpose of grace in God's heart, and a promise of it so early, but there was a real donation of it in eternity: and though those to whom it was given did not then personally exist, yet Christ did, and He existed as a Covenant Head and Representative of His people; and they were in Him, as members of Him, as represented by Him, being united to Him; and this grace was given to Him for them, and to them in Him; in Whom they were chosen, and in Whom they were blessed with all spiritual blessings.” Salvation was sorted and settled even before the world began (see Eph. 1:3-9), so how could any boast in what they have done, with or without the grace of God, to ‘get themselves’ saved, or in a position to become ‘saveable’. The whole premise of man doing to get God to save him is ludicrous at best, and blasphemous at worst. One would have to either completely ignore the Scriptures, or disunite them entirely from their Author’s intended meaning in order to believe such a vacuous lie as man must do to be saved.
How can any part of salvation be conditioned on what a man does, when God predestined all His elect before the world was. How can any part of salvation be conditioned on what a man does, when all that a saved man has, has been given him by God through grace. Salvation is the everlasting will of God for His people by His grace. God is the Saviour Who makes spiritually dead people whom He has chosen, alive! Salvation comes by the will of God according to the purpose of God Who saves His people by His love for them, and His grace and mercy toward them. Salvation is God giving eternal life to those He has chosen to be His children, who were children of His Wrath, and are now products of His grace. God’s children were, as with others, children of His Wrath right up to the time He saved them by His grace. This is further evidence that God’s people are saved by grace, and according to nothing which they have done. Man’s believing, just as with his repentance, is a gift from God. It is not something that comes from within, but is a gift given from without. Without God no man would ever believe, so it is easy to see, based on this Biblical principle of grace, that to God belongs all the glory for all of salvation. The Christian is not found in Christ because of any condition the Christian has fulfilled, for the Scripture says: "...OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus...He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Cor. 1:30,31). The Christian is not a self made man, but a God-made man. Salvation is OF HIM, it is of God, it is because of what HE AND NO ONE ELSE HAS DONE. That is grace! It is by the will and work of God that one believes; it is by the will and work of God that one is in Christ Jesus and it is by the will and work of God that one is saved. Salvation is by grace through the gift of faith because it is a work of God’s, and not man’s. Salvation is “…by grace…through faith; and that not of yourselves…not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). No man can boast in his salvation, for his salvation is not of him, it is not by a work of man, but comes by the grace of God, therefore, ALL the glory for salvation belongs entirely to God. The saved man only boasts in what God has done for him, and never in what he has done for himself, for he has done nothing: “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what HE HATH DONE for my soul” (Psa. 66:16).