BY GRACE ALONE (PART 4)
Grace and works never work hand in hand, but are always juxtaposed in the Scriptures. The works of a man can never save him. “(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). The only way to be in Christ is not by one’s good works, for the saved are the workmanship of God. Only the Righteousness of Christ qualifies a man for Heaven. The saved man is created in Christ Jesus unto good works, not because of good works (see (Eph. 2:10). The saved of God are elected unto obedience, not because of their obedience: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, UNTO obedience…” (1 Pet. 1:2). “…The Lord knoweth them that are His…” (2 Tim. 2:19), because He chose them according to His grace. “…faith is sealed and ensured to God's elect, by His foreknowledge and predestination of them; so that they certainly have it, and shall never lose it: and their election is according to God's foreknowledge of them; which designs not a foresight of their faith, holiness, and good works, as the motives of His choosing them; nor a bare prescience of their persons; but such a foreknowledge as includes special love to them, which is distinguishing, unchangeable, and everlasting; and this being a seal affixed to all the elect, shows the distinguishing grace of God in their election…” God the only Saviour saves only by grace. The Saviour is the only one that can save, and HE saves by, AND ONLY BY, WHAT HE HAS DONE, not by what He has allegedly empowered a man to do. What God has done for His elect is not something which they have merited, therefore, it is given to the elect solely by grace. A man’s ‘choosing’ to love God is not what saves him, for a saved man loves God only because God loved the man first (see 1 Jn. 4:19 cf. 1 Jn. 4:10). Salvation is because of God’s choice to love His people, not by their ‘choice’ to love Him. Salvation acts on God’s gracious love, not the reciprocal love of man. Man’s overriding dilemma is not about what he does and does not do, not what he can or cannot do, not in the fact he sins, but that he is a hopeless sinner dead in trespasses and sins who can do nothing to come to the true God.
Salvation is only by God because salvation is only of God. “…Salvation is of the Lord…Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…from Him cometh my salvation” (Jon. 2:9 & Psa. 3:8; 62:1). The fact that God saves those whom He wills to save, that those who will come to Jesus are only those whom the Father gives to Him (see Jn. 6:37), shows that salvation is not an offer to all, but a gift given to His elect. “…Thy blessing is upon Thy people” (Psa. 3:8). Salvation is God’s to give, not man’s to take. Salvation is by grace alone, therefore, it cannot be merited, which means no man can do anything to get it, to be rewarded with it, which means it cannot be something which is offered. Salvation is a gift which comes only by grace, only according to the will and purpose of God. Grace is at the beck and call of God. The Lord Jesus states: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). God also says, “…I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Ex. 33:19 cf. Rom. 9:15,16,18; Mk. 3:13,14). That is how a man gets saved, by the grace and mercy of God giving salvation to whomsoever HE chooses. There is no other way! Salvation is not by man’s works, but by God’s grace. Salvation is not by man’s ‘free will’, but by God’s Sovereign will. Salvation is not an offer made, but a gift given. Salvation is not by the efforts of man, but by the mercy of God. Salvation comes from God, and so, salvation is God’s to give. That which comes by grace is chosen for the person not by the person. It is God Who dispenses grace and mercy for His people to be saved by. IF SALVATION IS BY GRACE, IT CAN, THEREFORE, BE BY NOTHING ELSE. If salvation is by grace, then it is by God doing, not by a man doing. Salvation is by grace because it cannot be by works. Salvation is not by any works because it can only be by grace alone. Salvation by grace is a gift, it cannot be earned, therefore it is not by what a man does, but only by what God does. Salvation is by grace so it cannot be by works at all. God gives grace and mercy to whomsoever He wills because no one can by their will choose Him, or by their works, please Him, for all are dead in sins and do not know Him.
All are spiritually dead to the true God which is why the best a man can choose is his works in service to no one but false god after false god. “…there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). The word seeketh, as used in Romans 3, means ‘to search out’, ‘investigate’, ‘crave’, ‘require’, ‘demand’, ‘worship’. No man, by nature, does any of these things when it comes to the True God. It is in man’s very nature to not want the only true God because in his natural state man is an enemy in his mind toward the only true God. No man by nature craves, requires, demands, worships or has any love for the True God, FOR HE IS AT ENMITY WITH GOD (see Rom. 8:7), and, therefore, no man by nature seeks God. In light of this, how can anyone seriously contend that there is any spiritual life remaining in man since his Fall, when no man, by nature, craves, requires, demands, worships, knows or loves the True God? This is all a consequence of the Fall. God said man would surely die, and surely die he did. Every image of God which spiritually dead man has is patently not the True God, for God says there are none who seek after Him. Those who have not heard, or believed, the Gospel of truth do not know the grace of God in truth. “For the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven, whereof ye heard before in the Word of the Truth of the Gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:5,6 cf. Eph. 1:12,13). The fruit of the Gospel is brought forth SINCE the day—not before the day—a man, by grace, heard and believed it and knew the grace of God IN TRUTH. A man who believes he cannot be saved without at least one act of his own personal obedience, is a man who does not know the grace of God in truth.
Man by nature is against the true God, and lives a life of rebellious opposition to Him in a myriad of ways. This is due to man’s natural bias for sin, his deadness of spirit and his subsequent worship of false gods that cannot save. Man, by nature, only seeks after gods who say man is not dead in sins, and who demand obedience before ‘grace’. A fake salvation by phony means—works—is all these counterfeit gods have to offer, which only goes to prove the fact none of them can save. Salvation is by grace not works. Salvation is by grace because of God, and, therefore, only because of God. Salvation is not by works because of men. Does this not stand to Biblical reason when we learn that man by nature is without God, without the Saviour, and, therefore, without any hope in the world. I mean, if man is dead, hopeless and without God, then how can anyone ever choose the true God. How does a dead man do? How can a dead man choose that which he does not know and cannot believe? Can a man believe in the only true God before God gives him the gift of faith by grace? Of course not. Does not hopelessness imply that man cannot do a single thing which can get him to the true God? Does not the fact that, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63), say anything to you? Would not the fact that man is, by nature, without God and without hope suggest to you that nothing man can do can ever change that reality? According to the Word of God, no matter what a man does, he remains without God and without hope. It is only what God does by grace that makes the difference between hope and hopelessness, between believing God and not knowing Him, between salvation and condemnation. If it is not grace alone, what possible grounds can a man appeal to which would give him cause to hope? No matter what a man does, if he is without God he is without hope. Do anything you can, think anything you can, and the Scriptures will still say that a man without God is a man without hope. On what possible basis can any man, by nature, say he is not without God, and, therefore, a hopeless child of Wrath? If salvation is only by God then it must mean that salvation is by no other, AND by no other means than grace. If salvation is by God then it is solely by grace. If it is by grace then there is no other means to salvation, but God. If salvation is not by God, then all that remains is the ridiculous, anti-grace notion that salvation is by works, and, therefore, by man.
If salvation is only by God it means that only what God does saves a man. If salvation is by God then it means that salvation is exclusively by what God has done; salvation is by what God does, and not at all by what a man believes he himself can and must do. Creation comes only from God the Creator, so too, salvation comes exclusively from God the Saviour. The new creature, the saved creature, is made by God in Christ through grace alone. Salvation is “not of works…for we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:9,10). The new man is created by God in Christ. A Christian is not made by his works, but by the workmanship of God. A Christian is not self-made, but God-made. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Gal. 6:15). A Christian is a new creature created by God, “…not a new creation of a man, as a man, of the members of his body, or of the faculties of his soul; nor of an external reformation, or a walking in newness of life, which is the fruit and effect of this new creation work; but an internal principle of grace, a good work of God begun in the soul, called the hidden man of the heart, the new man, Christ formed in us, of which faith that works by love is a part: this is called a ‘creature’, and so not of man, but God; for none can create but Himself; and in which work man is purely passive, as the heavens and the earth were in their creation”. Man, by nature, is without hope because hope is not within him, but wholly within God Whom man, by nature, is also without. Hope rests within God, therefore, a man without God is a man without any hope. Hope rests only within God, and He promises the sure hope of salvation to all His chosen ones. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39), not to as many as shall choose him. How can the hopeless do anything? How can there be any hope in a hopeless man? How can a hopeless man do anything which will change his situation from hopelessness to hope? A man dead in sins has no hope, no choice to make. Man has a will, of course, but this will exists only within the confines of his spiritual deadness. No one has a free will to choose the only true God, for all are, by nature, dead in sins, and need God to make them alive. God does this by grace alone for the people He chose before the world began. Being without hope means being without God. Being without God means there is nothing one can do. The promise of salvation is not made to those who choose Him, but only to those whom He has chosen.
God is the Saviour. A man without God is a man without the Saviour, without life, without hope, without grace, and, therefore, with no effective means at his disposal to acquire salvation. God saves by what He does, and not by what we do. Grace saves by what it does, and not by what it allegedly empowers us to do. What can a dead man do? How can grace ‘help’ a man if it is not by making him alive? Once alive, there is nothing that remains which must be done either by God, or man, for the man to be born again. Once a man is made alive by grace he is a new creature in Christ. Saving grace does not help a man to do, it makes him alive. What else can a dead man do but lie motionless in death. There is no hope in death. There are no consequences present in one who is dead apart from the fact they can do nothing, and the incessant, unrelenting and unstoppable corruption of their body and spirit. From all this we see that prior to life, a man can only be without life, dead in sins, without God and without any hope in the world. What can a dead man do? Nothing! Man cannot even begin to recover from sin by anything he can allegedly do, for that sin has killed him. There is no way back for a man who has no hope, for he is spiritually dead. The only way back from sin-caused death is life-giving grace. Only grace frees a man from death. Only grace makes a man alive. Unless a man has been made alive, born again, by the Holy Spirit of God, he remains a child of God’s Wrath, so no matter what a man does before spiritual life, he will always remain a child of God’s Wrath. Obviously, if a dead man could do anything, he would not be dead. If a dead man could do something he would not be without hope, in fact, he would not even be dead. If a dead man could be assisted to perform a work, he would not be dead. Dead men do not require assistance, they need life. The grace of God is the only life-source for a spiritually dead man.
The Word of God clearly states that man by nature is dead in sins, without Christ, without God and without hope (see Eph. 2:1-5,12). Those who say man is not dead in sins—which has rendered all mankind unable to come to, nor even seek the true God—are perpetuators of Satan’s lie to Eve that she would not surely die, for their assertation of life maintains that man is not surely dead. Such people call God a liar, for God declared certain, instant, death would result if the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was eaten. God said that if Adam was to eat of the forbidden fruit he would surely die (see Gen. 2:17). Adam did eat, and so, he surely did die. Any who would argue this point are just as surely dead as if they had eaten the fruit themselves. Those who claim man must do, obviously side with Satan who said man would not die, for in advocating the lie that man must do, they are promoting the satanic propaganda that man is not dead. So many people are doing so many things to get right with God, etc., and yet they remain profitless, for it is only the Spirit of God Who makes alive, not the works and efforts of the children of Wrath (see Jn. 6:63). If one does not believe that man is dead in sins, then they cannot rightly claim to believe that being born again means God has made a spiritually dead man alive again. If you do not believe mankind is dead in Adam, then you have no right to even think you believe those in Christ are made alive (see 1 Cor. 15:22). A man is dead in sins until he is made alive by grace in Christ. How can a man be made alive if he was not first dead? How can anyone claim to have been made alive, if they insist there is no spiritual death! How can you be made alive if you were not first dead! Only a man dead in sins needs to be saved by grace and made alive. The dead in sins are all guilty, and so require mercy by grace to save them. If a man is not spiritually dead, then how pray tell can he be made alive! If a man was not spiritually dead, then what can he be made alive from? What kind of death can he be returned from? The Bible’s language concerning salvation is life and death: death before salvation, and life upon being saved. Man in his natural sinful state does not even know or believe he is spiritually dead, so how can he ever discover the way to be spiritually alive? Man, by nature, is not looking for a way to be made alive, but seeks solace in his acts of obedience which he believes will qualify him for Heaven. What need is there of being made spiritually alive to God by God, to one who believes that man never died spiritually in the first place. This is the origin of the colossal lie that all man needs to do is choose God, implying that he can choose God at any time. God said man would die, so we can be assured that man did die, and now abides in, and is a servant of, sin and nothing else. Predominantly, man’s problem is not only that he sins, but the fact he is a sinner. That he is a captive of, and to, sin, and, therefore, cannot but abide in sin, that sin resides eternally within him, and that everything he does is stained with sin. “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (Jn. 8:34). Nothing such a man does can save him, for salvation is a gift, and a gift is something which is always undeserved. Grace is undeserved. What grace does is undeserved. No one deserves to be saved, hence the fact that man can only be saved by the grace and mercy of God. Consequently, what a man does can play no part in salvation.
While viewing a television program one evening I witnessed a scene in which a man was to be punished for his treasonous activity. His instinctive recourse was to remind his captors of how loyally he had served their cause in the past, drawing their attention to his faithful obedience, devotion, etc. This meant nothing to his former friends in light of his newly discovered treasonous action. Failing to win their forgiveness based on his past deeds, good works and obedience, etc., the man saw that he had only one alternative and that was to plead for mercy. Mercy is the only recourse for a guilty man. When mercy enters into the equation it is because there is no other viable alternative to the problem. Mercy is for those who have no hope. Salvation does not come after anything a man does, but only in accord with the mercy of God: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:5). Mercy is for those who have nothing to offer. God said unto Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom. 9:15 cf. Ex. 33:19; Jn. 5:21). If a man is saved by God’s mercy then he is saved by God—'HE SAVED US according to His mercy' not by any work of righteousness which we have done. Salvation is because of God, it is not a debt paid, but a gift given by Him according to Him. Nothing a guilty man can do can help him avoid due punishment, but only that which someone else can do. To throw himself upon mercy, to look to someone other than himself, is all that remains for the guilty man who can do nothing to redeem himself, or change what he has done. Nothing can be done by a guilty man that will undo what he has done. Nothing can be done by man to reverse the consequences of his sin. The presence of mercy means the one to whom mercy is given has no recourse within him that can extricate him from his hopeless situation. If there is a need for mercy, there can be nothing done to merit what only mercy can achieve. Mercy is only at the end of the line to those who stubbornly thought it was within them to provide a solution to their problem. If you are guilty the only solution is mercy. It takes the mercy of God to believe in God. Those who are in unbelief need the mercy of God. There is no other way to believe apart from God’s mercy on you. “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy…” (Rom. 11:30 cf. Jd. 1:21).
The problem when it comes to a natural man lost in sins, is the fact that in that lost, dead-in-sins condition he cannot ask for mercy, for he stubbornly believes he can do that which is required for a man to be saved. All men, by nature, have no hope. So there is nothing within man that can motivate him to ask for mercy, except from a false god. The key to grace and mercy is that these are both things that can only be enacted by another. Salvation is not by an act of the one saved, but only through that which comes by the will and act of Another. Salvation by grace and mercy is salvation by Someone other than yourself doing that which you cannot do. IT IS ONLY THE INJURED PARTY THAT CAN FORGIVE. It is only the injured party—GOD—Who can be merciful and gracious enough to save. The grace and mercy of God comes from His love for His people, not their love for Him. Man has sinned, God is the one Who has been sinned against. Man is the sinner, God is the Saviour. Man is dead in sins, only God can make him alive again. So, to talk about doing something in order to acquire salvation shows an utter deadness to the reality that salvation can only come by and because of the one Who saves, and not at all by the one being saved. That salvation can only come by grace, and not by works. No dead man can ask for mercy, for he is dead. Salvation is completely by the Lord God Who makes alive those who can do nothing to gain His favour. It is said that “Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent”, however, in man’s case there are none who are innocent before God! All are guilty, all have fallen short of the glory of God, all are children of His Wrath, therefore, all are in desperate need of the grace and mercy of God. Salvation is only by grace and mercy, and, therefore, cannot be something which is merited in any way. Mercy rules out merit and grace is always undeserved.
Mercy can only be present when nothing else will suffice. Nothing done in an attempt to merit mercy can ever comply with the need for mercy. If there is something which man can do, then not only would he not be spiritually dead, he would not require mercy at all. Any room for reward, any reason for a man to boast in his salvation, any ability to make recompense for one’s sins, does away with the very need for mercy. Mercy is only for those who can do nothing. Mercy is only for those who know they are guilty and who know they can do nothing to remove that guiltiness. If one can climb the fence on one’s own what need has he for help? Moreover, if man is not spiritually dead, then it was Satan who told the truth to Eve making God’s promise/warning to Adam a lie. What a man does forms no part of the ground of his salvation. God did not make the elect a certain way so that He would be justified in electing them based on something he foresaw they would do, for all are children of Wrath by nature with absolutely no redeeming feature. “…they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). There is nothing a man can do prior to salvation that can possibly please God and score points with Him. Grace and mercy is how God saves, so why would He make the elect a certain way, different to every other person He has created, when salvation comes only by that which is undeserved and unmerited. Salvation is not about God making those He wants to save in a way that can earn them salvation, or justify God in rewarding them with salvation. No saved person ever deserved their salvation, otherwise it could not be by grace or mercy. Salvation is not about man doing, but God giving. Why would God make those He would save in such a way that they could do something to merit salvation, when all of salvation is undeserved. God saves His people unto obedience, not because they deserved salvation by something they did. Both the elect, before salvation, and the non-elect are equally the children of Wrath, they are equally dead in trespasses and sins (see Eph. 2:1-5). Man at his best is nothing but vanity: “…verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity…surely every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:5,11 cf. Job 15:31). What can a profitless man do in order to gain anything? Nothing man can do can get himself saved, or keep himself from receiving eternal punishment for what he has done and for what he is. This shows the need for the grace and mercy of God if any man is to be saved.
There is no hope in man whose only hope is God. The fact that God is no respecter of persons shows that election was never based on anything to do with man, but everything to do with the will, purpose, love, grace and mercy of God. Everyone who is saved were, prior to their salvation, dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1,5). There was nothing within them, and nothing done by them that made them to differ from those who die in their sins. The grace of God is the only difference between the saved and the lost. “…by grace are ye saved…not works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). By God you are saved, not you. Grace and mercy, by definition, are things given in light of there being no redeeming feature in, or act that could be performed by, any man which would justify him. Grace is unmerited and mercy undeserved, therefore, they can only be given, and given, according to Another’s will. Anything a saved man does is evidence of his salvation, not the cause, and so what a man does cannot be what his salvation is conditioned upon. Salvation by grace means it could never have been by works. Salvation by God means it could never have been of ourselves. Salvation by grace is the greatest evidence of them all that it can never be by any works. The elect are created in Christ Jesus “unto good works”, not because of good works (see Eph. 2:10). The chosen of God are elect “unto obedience”, not because of obedience (see 1 Pet. 1:2). The people of God are chosen “to salvation”, not because they chose to be saved (see 2 Thess. 2:13). Mercy and grace do not come in response to a good and deserving work, because of any redeeming feature in man, but DESPITE the complete absence of any meritorious act, or desire that meets with God’s demands. There would simply be no need for grace or mercy if an act of obedience could be performed by a man that would oblige God to save him. Grace is not a reward, therefore, grace is not God’s reaction to anything a person has done, otherwise it would not be grace. Grace is undeserved. If salvation is deserved then it is not by grace, but if it is by grace then it is something which cannot be deserved. This is the principle behind Paul’s words “… if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Rom. 11:6). Grace initiates, it is not rewarded to a man after he has taken the initiative. Grace is the be all and end all of salvation. Mercy and grace can only come when there is no prior meritorious act, or deserving work. Mercy and grace are only necessary when there is nothing a man can do. Mercy and grace come by the goodness of God, not because of the goodness of man. Neither mercy or grace are required where any condition has been met. Grace and mercy are emergency measures, if you will, designed for the hopeless, and helpless. The mercy and grace of God provide undeniable confirmatory evidence that nothing has been done by those they are given to, no condition has been met by the recipients of mercy and grace which has played any part in their salvation. Mercy and grace are not invited into a man’s life by anything a man has done, they do not join hands with a man’s works, but are given in place of the absence of anything done by a man which could possibly assist in his redemption.
Mankind is a sinful race, a single race of beings that, by nature, do not know the true God, do not seek the true God and cannot communicate with the true God, for by sin man has irredeemably and eternally destroyed his relationship with the true and only God. This is the sinful state every man is in by nature: “dead in sins”, “without Christ”, “without God” and “having no hope” (see Eph. 2:1,5,12). Every individual is as much a sinner as they are human. “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses;…Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)…ye were without Christ…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13; Eph. 2:5,12). What is there that remains for a man who is “dead in sins”, “without Christ”, “without God” and “having no hope”? What is there that remains for a man who cannot draw one step closer to God by what he does in his failed and corrupt attempts at obedience toward God? What is there left for a man whose best is nothing but vanity? What is there left for the man who always falls short of the glory of God. What is there left for a man who knows he is guilty? What is there left for man who does not have any righteousness of his own that can meet the demands of God’s Holy Law and Justice, and who cannot seek the true God, when he does not and cannot recognize the true God, when he cannot and does not want the true God, when he is an enemy of God in his mind, for his entire being is hostility itself toward God. What can save a man in such a deplorable condition? These are truths which every man by nature cannot fathom and will not accept. In whatever situation he is in, man in his religious, prideful ignorance believes he has hope, that there is a way out, that there is a way of escape, that there is a way to redeem himself, even from being under the eternal curse of sin.
“…in Thy sight shall no man living be justified” (Psa. 143:2). “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one…How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job. 14:4; 25:4). “Either produce a clean person from an unclean one: it is not to be expected that one, perfectly free from sin, should be generated by, or brought out of, one that is defiled with it; which is the case of all men; the first man, though made upright, sinned, and by sinning defiled himself, and all human nature in him: and so those that immediately descended from him were polluted likewise, and so on in all generations, every man being conceived and shaped in iniquity; so that it is not possible that man that is born of a woman, sinful and unclean, should be clean himself, or be free from sin; by which it is manifest, that the sinfulness of human nature is unavoidable; it is natural and necessary, and cannot be otherwise, such being the case and circumstances of immediate parents, from whom men descend; and that this is the case of all men that come into the world by ordinary and natural generation; there is none righteous or pure from sin: no, not one…however righteous a man may be in his own sight, or in the sight of others, he cannot of himself be justified in the sight of God; nor can any be justified with Him by his own righteousness, because the best righteousness of man is imperfect…Job knew full well that he could not be justified with God by his own personal righteousness, for he knew himself to be a sinner, and owns it; nor did he think himself perfect, and his righteousness a complete one; and therefore he expected not to be justified by it; he knew his living Redeemer, and believed in Him for Righteousness, and expected the justification of his person, and his acceptance with God, only by Him...'how can he be clean that is born of a woman?’ which suggests a doctrine that Job firmly believed, that all men are unclean by natural generation, or as they are born into the world; their ancestors being such, the more immediate, and the more remote, which may be traced back to the first man and woman, (see Job 14:4); so that as no man is clean and pure as God is, or in comparison of Him, or in His sight; they can neither be naturally clean, nor so of themselves, by any means or methods they can make use of.”
The humanistic boastfulness of sinful man involves the laughable claim that he can work his way to Heaven, that he can somehow make up for his evil by doing good. That he can undo the consequences of his evil by devoting himself to doing good. This is nothing but religious fantasy. The reality of the situation is that no man can redeem himself. No amount of obedience by a man can change his sinful nature. “None of hem can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him” (Psa. 49:7 cf. Psa. 49:9,10,14,19). No amount of repentance, no amount of moral reformation in one’s life can ever be enough to dissolve even one sin let alone the fact man is a sinner and that even his fleshly, worldly repentance needs to be repented of. No matter what a serial killer does, he can never change the fact he is a murderer. No matter how he sees himself, he is a killer. Even if he stopped killing altogether, he remains a murderer fit only for punishment. To accept a situation as hopeless does not come naturally to man, because his lust for control, even the belief, however mistaken, that he can supposedly control a situation, remains an ever present comfort to him. For a man who thinks he can, all that remains is to do. But there is nothing a dead man can do! There is nothing that can help a dead man. A man who is without life has no hope and can do nothing. Man dead in trespasses and sins is a man having no hope, and one who cannot come to the Saviour Jesus Christ (see Eph. 2:12; Jn. 6:44). Without life nothing can be done. Before life nothing can be done. The Lord Jesus said: “…without Me ye can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). “…nothing that is spiritually good; no, not anything at all, be it little or great, easy or difficult to be performed; cannot think a good thought, speak a good word, or do a good action; can neither begin one, nor, when it is begun, perfect it. Nothing is to be done ‘without Christ’; without His Spirit, grace, strength, and presence; or as ‘separate from’ Him. Were it possible for the branches that are truly in Him, to be removed from Him, they could bring forth no fruits of good works, any more than a branch separated from the vine can bring forth grapes; so that all the fruitfulness of a believer is to be ascribed to Christ, and His grace, and not to the free will and power of man.”
To talk of ability, or capability, of what needs to be done, what can be done, or what should be done is nonsense in light of the fact man by nature has no spiritual life. A man who is without God can do nothing. Natural man simply cannot abide the Scriptural teaching that he is without any hope. He cannot process the fact that there is nothing within him that can bring him out of a spiritually dead and sinful state, and so he has created for himself a delusional hope—a hope you have when you have no hope—by constructing various wide-ranging religions and teachings in order to comfort and reassure himself that he can do something, that he can act a certain way, dress a certain way, speak a certain way, that he can comply with a certain standard set by himself or others, that can attract ‘God’s’ favour. Man confuses his being physically alive as reason to believe he is not spiritually dead. He confuses his desire for a Supreme Being with being spiritually alive. How comforted lost man becomes when he joins with large groups of similarly-minded people whose intention is only to ‘do good’ and ‘please God’. ‘How can all these people be wrong’, such is the mindset of the religious. The concept of safety in numbers has a lot to answer for. There is nothing within man that can make him alive. The only solution to man’s sin problem is he needs to be MADE alive. Man needs someone else. He needs God, the only One Who can make him alive. Moral reformation is not the solution to man’s awkward and debilitating dilemma. A morally reformed life is not the answer. It is too late for reformation when you are dead in sins! Trying to feel more spiritual is not the answer, for a truly spiritual man obeys the Gospel of God. Those who do not believe will be damned (see Mk. 16:16). A reformed life does not even come close to the answer, but serves only to keep a man blind to his real need. Attempting to morally reform one's life in an effort to become acceptable to God, is just a man trying to be something he can never be, by something he can never do. A leopard can never change its spots as man can never change what he is by what he does. Man trying to become something different to what he is, only increases his sinfulness by the very things he does. Man trying to rectify his situation by what he does is diametrically opposed to God’s only method: grace. Dead men can only perform dead works. If man would only see this truth and accept it. But he cannot see, hear and understand until he is born again by the Holy Spirit of God. What has compounded man’s irreversible state of spiritual death is the fact he will not, because he cannot, acknowledge the Biblical fact he is dead in sins and can do nothing to come to the only true God. Man continually goes about like a chicken with its head cut off frantically trying to find what he can do that can get him right with God. This is like a vine branch separated from the vine trying with all its might to produce grapes. It simply cannot be done. Man seeking to establish his own righteousness is perhaps a greater insult to God than the fact man has sinned and is a recalcitrant sinner. In all his attempts at becoming right with God, man simply compounds his situation. Man’s dilemma is that any attempt to improve his situation, by what he says, does or thinks, only deepens the abyss he is in.
The archnemesis of death is life. The only solution, the only thing that will vanquish all death, is LIFE! And this death-conquering life is only in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me… And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (Jn. 14:6 & 1 Jn. 5:11 cf. Jn. 1:4; 6:48; 11:25; 17:2; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Tim. 1:1; 1 Jn. 5:12,20). “Death is sin made visible. Death is horrible, death is grizzly, death is sad, death is separation because sin is all those things. We die because sin robs us of life, both physical and spiritual. We were not created to die. Sin and death are intrusions into life. And so if death is to be defeated, then sin must be defeated. That’s why science will never be able to defeat death. It can seemingly prolong and extend life, but only the One who defeats sin can defeat death. And that is what Jesus came to do for His people. No longer would death end life, but life end death. And when Jesus rose from death, that’s exactly what we see – a life that ends death for all His chosen people.” ‘The Death of Death is in the Death of Christ’. The Lord Jesus Christ has abolished death for all whom the Father has given Him, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10 cf. 2 Cor. 4:3,4). Life must be and can only be given to one who is dead, for it is obvious that a dead man—whether dead physically or spiritually—is incapable of doing anything without life. Having turned from God, in Adam, man turned from life to death. One who is already spiritually alive does not need to be made alive. The Righteous, in their own mind, need not to be made Righteous, so too, those who are not dead do not need to be given life. To be made alive is to be made alive from the dead by another. Repeatedly, the Scriptures remind one and all that man can do nothing when it comes to salvation.
Man can do nothing, which is why salvation can only be by grace through faith in the One Who did everything for His people to make them alive forever. The answer to man’s unsolvable sin problem, whose body acts as a tomb for his dead spirit, is Almighty God. The Lord Jesus sums this up as succinctly as it can be: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63). It is the Spirit of God that makes a man alive, and not by anything that the man does, or imagines he can do, or has done. This verse alone completely tears down all of man-made religion’s plethora of laws and regulations, for all religion conditions salvation in some way to certain degrees on what a man does. People join religions because they believe that religion can help them. They believe they will never reach Heaven without the help of religion, which is nothing but the organized and collective thoughts of lost men who are as spiritually dead as they are. This principle, which all of man’s religiosity cannot exist without, is exposed as an evil and repulsive lie when held up to the Light of God’s Word. God said "Thou shalt surely die", Satan said "Ye shall not surely die". Man says I am not dead, God says you are dead. Man says I can do, God says you can do nothing. What do you believe? Whom do you believe? If you believe man can, and, therefore, must do something to gain or maintain salvation, then you agree with Satan that man is surely not dead. If you believe man can do nothing, then you agree with God that man is surely spiritually dead. Man by nature is totally dead. The phrase totally depraved is nowhere near strong enough to describe the spiritual state of mankind, for it allows room for life, albeit a depraved one. The language of Scripture is “DEAD in trespasses and sins”, and this is the language of every true born again Christian. Total depravity is only a symptom of something far worse: spiritual death. Man lives a spiritually depraved life because he is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. Prior to salvation man only has a depraved life, because he is deprived of all spiritual life by sin. Man is far more than totally depraved in life, he is totally deprived of life!
Religion says you cannot be saved without doing, the Word of God says you cannot be saved by anything you do. Religion says you can do, the Word of God says you cannot do, for you are dead. These are very distinct and diametrically opposing statements. Believe one and you reject the other, you oppose the other. You cannot have both. The Lord God says there is nothing you can do that will save you, for all that a man can do will profit him nothing. Again, man’s need is not to do, but to be made alive. Becoming better can never make a man born again. Man’s need is not to do, but to have something done to him, within him. Man can do nothing to become alive, for doing is a sign of life not death. Once a man is made alive what is there left for him to do to become alive? Nothing. The difference between the two—man’s doing, and the Holy Spirit making alive—is astronomical, for salvation does not require what a man can do, because salvation can only come as a result of what only God can do. It is grace not works which makes alive. It is the Spirit of God that makes alive, not a fleshly act of man’s. No man can perform any physical act—including that which comes from his physical senses—that can make him spiritually alive. That is why no man can come to Jesus, for this is a spiritual act performed in the man by the Lord God. A man needs to be, and can only be, spiritually reborn by an act of God. Salvation requires a supernatural act, a merciful act, a gracious act, therefore, salvation cannot be that which a man can attain by what he does, for “The flesh profiteth nothing” . If God is the Saviour, then salvation is only by what God does, and not by what a man believes he must, or can do. If God is the Saviour then grace is the only way a man can be saved. If God said, ‘I saved him’, a person would ask, ‘How did you save him?’ God would reply, ‘I made him alive’. God’s choosing to make His people alive is all the choosing necessary to salvation. How can a dead man choose? Moreover, a man who has been made alive is clearly one who has been chosen. A dead man cannot choose. A person who has been made alive can do nothing but live. They do not choose to agree to be made alive, for the spiritual resuscitation of the man has already been done. God’s people are alive because God chose to make them alive. Salvation is according to God’s will, not man’s. This does not mean that a saved man was not willing to be saved. Just like a man loves God only because God loved the man first, so too, a man is made willing by the power of God Who saves the man according to His will. This given life covers everything of what it means to be saved. Life shows that a man has been redeemed, justified, forgiven, called, chosen and given eternal life, etc. The presence of saving grace is the evidence that Christ has lived, died and resurrected for that person. Notice that all these are works of God, not man. Salvation by grace is nothing else but salvation by all that God has done.
Every teaching and thought that does not concur with the Word of God is a God-denying lie. Every such lie follows the exact pattern which Satan set man when he lied to Eve in saying that she and her husband would not die, and that only by them doing (eating the fruit) would they truly enjoy fullness of life by becoming as gods. Satan taught that man had to do before he could attain the greatest happiness, etc., when Adam and Eve were already enjoying the greatest happiness there is: understanding and knowing God. God says: “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jer. 9:24). Satan’s lie to Eve of ‘do and live, do not and you will miss out’, is still the same prevarication by which he deceives the whole world today. ‘Do and you will live’ is a lie within a lie, for it implies that ‘if you do not do you will die’, ignoring the fact that man is already dead. Satan has twisted reality and forged a fantasy world in which he has deceived man, by sin, into thinking that he is at the helm. That man, by what he does and does not do, controls his present state, and his future. Satan said to Eve that she would gain eternal life if only she would do, if she ate of the forbidden tree, rather than the Tree of Life, she and her husband would be as gods. Today, Satan says that man must, again, do, or he will miss out on eternal life. It’s the same lie that tells man the only way he will gain is if he does. God told Adam he would die ‘if he did’, if he ate of the forbidden fruit. Anyone doing today is seeking to establish their own righteousness in order to qualify themselves for Heaven. The Word of God says that it is God who qualifies a man for Heaven: “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12 cf. Eph. 1:4,6). The word meet here means qualifies. It is God alone Who makes His people accepted in Christ. “…He hath chosen us…He hath made us accepted…” (Eph. 1:4,6). That is grace. God has by His grace made His chosen ones, His loved ones, acceptable to Him. Those who are “…partakers of the heavenly calling…are made partakers of Christ…” (Heb. 3:1,14). God is the one Who has qualified His people, and not they themselves (see Eph. 1:6; Col. 1:12). God has “…predestinated us 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…” (Eph. 1:5,6). This was nothing to do with man’s doing. They are not partakers of the heavenly calling by anything they have done, but are partakers because of Him, made partakers of Christ. “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). How could anything a man believes he has done find any room amongst all that God has done in saving all His people from their sins?
The lie that one must do comes from another lie which wrongly assumes man can do because he did not die in the Garden at all, but is very much alive. Satan’s lie still exists today. Eve believed she and her husband would not die, and all their children ever since have believed they are not dead. Satan’s lie that man would not die is maintained and preached by false minsters of God, and believed in by every religionist even in our own day. God warned man would die if he did to gain life. Man’s doing was a betrayal of trust in God. Man’s doing was a rejection of God and His Word, as well as a rejection of true life. Nothing has changed. Today, man doing is man still rejecting and denying God’s promise that he would die, for by believing he can do, man is saying he is not dead. Man did not believe God in the Garden, and he still does not believe God in the 21st century. Adam died spiritually, and eventually would die physically, when he sinned against God, and all mankind is consequently dead in sins. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). Whichever way you look at it, man simply cannot do anything to gain life, for man is dead in sins. Man has already done, and died. Now, man has concocted the preposterous argument that in your death you can do something to become alive! Perfect nonsense. Any attempt by man to do in order to be what only God can make him, serves only to condemn him. God says that eternal life does not come by doing, but by a supernatural act of God’s by grace which gives a man the faith to believe and trust in God for all of salvation. Man is not saved after he has done anything, but is saved by grace which produces life in him.
It is grace, and not the fruit it produces, that saves a man from his sins. By doing man died, and now man’s attempting to do evidences his state of spiritual death. After thousands of years, man is still trying to do in order to gain eternal life. Doing was a sin then, and it is a sin now. Doing does not impress God, for it is an overt rejection of His grace. Any belief that man can do to gain or maintain eternal life, and any actual attempt to manifest that belief, is a sign of death not life. Zeal to find life by one’s own righteousness is not a sign of life, but confirmation of death (see Rom. 9:31-10:1-4). Satan taught that real life can be gained by what a man does, and man’s sinful nature is ingrained with this satanically inspired principle. Man, by nature, cannot but think that he can gain, that he can make inroads toward salvation if only he would do. If salvation comes after what a man has done then salvation is by man. Salvation would await and hinge upon what you did rather than on what God alone has done. This is THE lie that has engulfed mankind, the lie so immense that it has deceived every man by nature, and its biggest enemy, its archenemy, is the Godly doctrines of the spiritual death of mankind, and salvation by grace alone. The doctrine which states that mankind is an accursed race, completely and utterly immersed in sin, helpless and hopeless and without God the Saviour, is totally rejected by lost men. Man believes he has contained God within idols, or temples and ‘churches’ when the reality is that no man by nature even knows God, let alone worships Him. Man is become a race which is without God, without the desire for the true God and His truth. The curse of sin has convinced man of the delusion that he can do anything, even that which is required for his own salvation, some without ‘God’s’ help, others only with ‘God’s’ help. Mankind is deluded in its sinful madness, in a world which is filled only with lies and illusions of what the truth really is.