BY GRACE ALONE (PART 9)
The quintessential answer to the question ‘Why has God not chosen to be merciful to all?’, is: WHY SHOULD GOD HAVE CHOSEN TO BE MERCIFUL TO ANY!! Discovering the truth that God was not obligated to be merciful to any shuts down any protest that He is not merciful to all. No man has any right to the mercy of God, therefore, no man has any right to complain that God is merciful to some and not others. It is man’s warped sense of what is right that leads him to concentrate on what was not given to those who deserved nothing, rather than wonder, like the apostle Paul, at the glory and goodness of God in what was given to others who were equally deserving of nothing. People say ‘Well, what about those who were not appointed to salvation?’ My answer is, ‘Well, what about them?’ Such people conveniently forget the fact that those people deserve nothing but eternal punishment, they are appointed unto Wrath. You cannot play devil’s advocate when the people you are trying to defend are all as guilty as Hell! That battle is lost before it is even begun. There is no basis for God to have mercy on those He has not chosen unto salvation, for those whom Christ did not make Sacrifice for. Those that are appointed by God to His Wrath are NOT given unto His Son, they will not come to Him that they might have life. ‘What about those people’, suggests some injustice has been perpetrated upon them, that they somehow have just as much right to be chosen by God as those who were chosen had. But that’s just it, NO ONE had any rights with God after sin and death entered this world. There is no injustice in election, for no one deserved to be chosen by God in the first place. Therefore any opposition to what God has done and how God has done it, is utterly groundless. To attempt to equate God’s choosing to be gracious and merciful to some and not all, with a man’s choosing to rescue only some from the bottom of a mineshaft, and not all, is ludicrous. God has not chosen from among the living, but from the dead!
“THE soul of man, by reason of the corruption of nature, is not only darkened (see Eph. 4:18; Jn. 1:5; 1 Cor. 2:14) with a mist of ignorance, whereby he is disenabled for the comprehending of Divine truth, but is also armed with prejudice and opposition against some parts thereof, which are either most above or most contrary to some false principles which he hath framed unto himself. As a desire of self-sufficiency was the first cause of this infirmity, so a conceit thereof is that wherewith he still languisheth; nothing doth he more contend for than an independency of any supreme power, which might either help, hinder, or control him in his actions. This is that bitter root from whence have sprung all those heresies and wretched contentions which have troubled christendom, concerning the power of man in working his own happiness, and his exemption from the over-ruling providence of Almighty God. All which wrangling disputes of carnal reason against the Word of God come at last to this head, Whether the first, and chiefest part, in disposing of things in this world, ought to be ascribed to God or man? Men for the most part have vindicated this pre-eminence unto themselves, by exclamations that so it must be, or else that God is unjust, and His ways unequal. Never did any men, more eagerly endeavor the erecting of this Babel than the Arminians, the modern blinded patrons of human self-sufficiency; To attempt to exempt themselves from God’s jurisdiction, — to free themselves from the supreme dominion of His all-ruling providence; not to live and move in Him, but to have an absolute independent power in all their actions, so that the event of all things wherein they have any interest might have a considerable relation to nothing but chance, contingency, and their own wills; — a most nefarious, sacrilegious attempt! Corrupted nature is still ready, either nefariously, with Adam, to attempt to be like God, or to think foolishly that He is altogether like unto us, (see Psalm 50); one of which inconveniences all men run into, who have not learned to submit their frail wills to the Almighty will of God, and captivate their understandings to the obedience of faith.” Man’s perverted sense of what he calls justice is merely a humanistic concept, some puerile philosophy that is based on what a man thinks according to his ignorance rather than on the wisdom of an Almighty, infallible God. The Word of God is overlooked in man’s quest for truth, a ‘truth’ that comes from feelings, emotions and experiences rather than the Word of God. “God is not who man thinks He is, but who God says He is.”
There are two things which have emerged from the Fall of man: (1) the mercy and grace of God in electing some to salvation, and (2) the right and just punishment of those God has chosen not to be merciful toward, but rather has justly appointed to His Wrath. Again, what insolent man’s real argument with God is, is ‘Why has He not chosen to be merciful to all?’, if He saves some, why not everyone, it’s just not fair?’ There is no arguing with the dead, and there is no need for argument among the living. Like a child with no understanding, lost man’s whole argument against election is: ‘If God has chosen to save some, He should have chosen to save all’. Or perhaps had God chosen one more person than He has, people would have been more comfortable with the doctrine of election. What if God had chosen a million more people, or two million? Perhaps 3 million more elect people would have satisfied those who oppose the reality of who God is and what He has done. No, such people insist that God should have chosen all. They choose to see an injustice in anything short of salvation for all. Their summation is based on nothing, and comes from a heart that is so corrupted with sin that its evil is beyond compare. Many say, ‘Our argument is not with God but with the doctrine of election’. But in saying this, the lost are arguing against God, for He is the God of election. Arguing against a truth is railing at its Author. If God had chosen to save all, this same line of thinking, spawned by man’s sinful nature, would no doubt have risen up in protest that God has not allowed those who do not wish to be saved, the freedom to go to Hell if they want to! Again, the answer to the question ‘Why has God not chosen to be merciful to all?’, is: WHY SHOULD GOD HAVE CHOSEN TO BE MERCIFUL TO ANY!! Why has God chosen only some and not all? Because the ones He chose are all the ones He wanted. They are the only ones He wanted to give to His Son to die for and redeem. Is God not permitted to do as He pleases seeing He is a Righteous God Who can never ever perform an unrighteous act. Is man the only being who has a right to do as he pleases, but Almighty God has no rightful claim to such freedom?
Contrary to humanistic thinking, man is the lowest of the low! Man is not even worthy enough for God to cast a momentary glance toward. “… the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:15,16 cf. Psa. 8:4; 144:3; Isa. 40:17; Jer. 17:9; Eccl. 9:3). “…What is man that Thou art mindful of him?...” (Heb. 2:6 cf. Job 7:17; Psa. 8:4). “Who is like unto the Lord our God, Who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in Heaven, and in the earth!” (Psa. 113:5,6). Man is a worm, who, even at his best state, is nothing but vanity (see Job 25:6; Psa. 39:5,11). When a man rightly understands the true condition mankind is in, the true nature of sinful man, only then will His attention be drawn to the Great Goodness, Grace and Mercy of a God so Loving that He would even choose to save some who were only worthy of His Wrath. FROM WHERE DOES MAN SUMMON THE UTTER GALL TO CLAIM, EVEN TO THINK HE COULD EVER RIGHTLY FIND FAULT EVEN WITHIN THE PRECIOUS GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD! From man’s deceitful and desperately wicked heart, that’s where: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Is there no end to the horrors of man’s sinfulness? No, none whatsoever. First, man sins against God, and then claims unfairness when God does not choose to save him! The argument that God should have saved all comes from the miserable and desperately wicked heart of sinful, fallen man. To even entertain the thought that God is guilty of any injustice in salvation via election by grace, is evidence enough of man’s accursed sinfulness, and that the only injustice is that of man’s in accusing the Holy God of any wrongdoing in such Righteous acts as grace and mercy. “Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?” (Job 4:17 cf. Job 40:8). Hardly. It is incumbent upon every man to look at the Scriptures, and face the truth that all mankind has rebelled against God, and is now a spiritually dead race. That man is a Fallen race rightly deserving of nothing more, or less, than the Wrath of God for all eternity, and that the only way anyone can escape this most dreadful of all destinies is through the will, grace and mercy of the One Who has been sinned against: God. Just as no one can forgive but He who has been sinned against, so to, the only one who can save those who have sinned, is GOD. The sinned against forgives with his own forgiveness, and God saves by His grace. “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not….the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live…” (Eccl. 7:20; 9:3).
It is the fact that a man is wholly undeserving that is the key to properly understanding the awesomeness of grace and mercy in election, and grace and mercy in salvation. No man was elected or saved based on anything he did, or would do, for election took place before the world began. If either election or salvation were based on what a man did, or would do, neither election or salvation could have ever been according to grace and mercy. If man did something, actual or foreseen, then salvation would be by works, and not by grace or mercy at all. The fact that a man is saved only by that which he does not deserve reveals much about his natural spiritual state. It shows that there is nothing a man can do to merit salvation, for it can only come via the means of that which is undeservedly given. The argument that a man must do is completely surrounded by the Biblical facts that man is dead in trespasses and sins, and can do nothing to come to the true God (see Eph. 2:1,5; Jn. 6:44). Man, obviously could do nothing before his existence, and once a man is born nothing he does will be or can be of any profit to him, for the Scriptures declare that “…every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5). There is nothing a man can do by which he can profit. Someone once said to me, ‘Whoever believes in Him, that is not something God does, but what we have to do’. Obviously ignorant of such verses as, “…This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (Jn. 6:29), and “Who by Him do believe in God…” (1 Pet. 1:21), this person, like so many billions of others, believes one must act before God can save. That God is literally powerless to save unless a man acts first. This is the clearest description of how carnal man thinks God saves. Another gentleman wrote to me saying, “I guess if you believe in Jesus that’s a work, and I guess you can’t get to Heaven without works”. The Scriptures teach that believing in Jesus Christ is a gift given by God to His elect, it is a work of God in them that believe. The Word of God clearly states, “…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). Seeing that there is nothing a man can boast of except that which he has done, the saving faith Paul is talking about, is not of man, but is a gift from God. It stands to Biblical reason that salvation is by the gift of grace through which is given the gift of faith by which a man believes. Believing is a gift not a work, it is not something which a man can boast in, for it is clearly not of himself. The saved man has been given the gift of faith to believe. It is not a work of his own, it is not anything of which he can boast.
No part of salvation is due to, or waits upon, anything a man must do, for the Scriptures clearly state “…by grace are ye saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8). “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed” (Rom. 4:16 cf. Gal. 4:28). If salvation is of faith then it cannot be of works, and so, must be by grace alone. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5,7). “Salvation must be by grace, since faith itself is a gift of God’s grace.” This faith is not a work of man’s, it is not man’s natural faith through which he is saved, for this saving faith is a supernatural gift from God, it is not of man, but of God, and is called “…the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1). God’s people believe by HIM, and the faith which they believe with is not something which is by, or of, themselves. There can be no salvation before grace alone, no salvation without belief in grace alone by God alone. This means that all of God’s people believe in the Gospel of grace alone, and not in any form, or combination of grace and works. All the glory for salvation is God’s alone, therefore, it is by grace alone that one is saved. Looking to anything more than this for salvation is disobedience toward grace. God does not require anyone’s help in salvation, for salvation is of the Lord, all by grace, and no part of it is based on works, for it is all based on the ground of the Righteousness of Christ. “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:4).
God is the reason behind a saved man’s believing, and so it is the grace of God which causes belief, and not the believer who induces grace from God so that he will believe, or because he believes. Man’s believing is not a work of his, it is not his contribution to salvation, it is not ‘his gift to God’ as some consider it, but is a gift provided by grace which is solely dependent on the will and purpose of God. If this were not the case, then a man would be saved because he believed, and not because God ordained him to eternal life. “…as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). The word ordain means appointed. The original Greek has it “and believe as many as were having been set into life”. That is the order, ordained to eternal life, THEN belief. This is the only way salvation can be by grace alone, for if belief came first, then it would not be a gift, but a work, seeing a man would only be ordained to eternal life after he believed. It is the ordination, the appointment, the ‘setting into life’ which always precedes the believing. Obviously then, the believing is a product, or end result, of the ordaining, the appointment, or being set by another, by grace, into life. Immediately after saying “…by grace are ye saved through faith…”, the apostle Paul makes it perfectly clear that none of this is due to, or because of man, for if it was then man could boast of having been an active participant in his own salvation, and not merely a passive recipient, a vessel of mercy made unto honor: “…and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9; see also Rom. 4:2-6; Rom. 9). Notice the plainly obvious contradistinction here between gift and works. This Scripture is designed to show that salvation is by the gifts of grace and faith, and not at all by anything a man does, as we also see in Romans 6:23: “…the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Truly taught, salvation by grace is salvation by God, leaving absolutely no room whatsoever for anything a man does. Therefore, any gospel which stipulates that a man must do anything before he is saved, so that he can only then be saved, is a false gospel, a demonic lie from the pit of Hell.
One man has written that grace is “absolutely free, the true gift of God in Christ…”, but, incredibly, he adds, “…our only responsibility is to receive the gift by faith”. OUR RESPONSIBILITY? What responsibility can a dead man have!! Grace is a free gift, but we have a responsibility? Though the grace of God is free, it is not free for the taking, only free in the giving. What this man, and billions like him, fails to comprehend is the fact that if man had a responsibility in salvation, then salvation would ultimately be conditioned on man accepting what has allegedly been done for him, and not solely upon God. The success of the entire work of salvation by grace would count for nothing if a man did not accept the gift. Thus, salvation would by grace and works, by God and man, and so, grace could not be free at all. The gentleman in question who claims it is man’s responsibility to receive the ‘absolutely free’ gift of God by faith, then has the temerity to quote Ephesians 2:8! His theology fails miserably because he misses the glaringly obvious fact that this very Scripture says FAITH IS A FREE GIFT, TOO!! How can man have a responsibility to believe, when his believing is just as much a gift from God as salvation by grace is! How many people are there out there who consider themselves Christians, and yet believe salvation is by grace through the work of faith! ‘God will save you without you doing anything, as soon as you believe.’ ‘Salvation comes as a free gift after YOU believe’! Salvation just cannot come after something you have done, otherwise, it could not be undeserved. Salvation is undeserved, so it stands to reason that it can only be given by that which is undeserved also. How can you do something to get what is undeserved? A like-minded gentleman whose writings waxed lyrical about the grace of God in salvation, at first seemed to have an understanding of grace according to the Word of God. All seemed quite Scriptural in this man’s writings, until he said this: “Faith is man’s work”. Arminianism’s boast is, “Faith is the sinner's gift to God; it is man's contribution to salvation”. The reason why this is such an enormously blasphemous statement is because it is claiming faith is not a gift from God, but something which is natural to man. That it is a work of man’s that ultimately gives the go-ahead to salvation by grace. That it is something of which a man can boast. That ultimately those saved are not saved according to the will of God, but according to the will of man. That a spiritually dead man can choose to be made alive, or resist the very God of the universe. If faith were a man’s response to God’s grace, it would be a man’s work, and not a gift from God that would be responsible for salvation. It would be a man’s natural, inherent, faith, and not the faith of the elect given by God through which they would be saved. But how, pray tell, can any man respond to God when all men, by nature, are dead in sins? And when exactly would a man make his alleged ‘response’? before he is made alive by God, or after? How can a man respond to God before he is made alive? Moreover, what need would there be for, what would it benefit, a man to respond to God after the Lord has made the man fully alive to Him? Apparently, no sense makes sense to those who claim faith is a work of man’s, a gift given by man to God.
The Word of God teaches: “…ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…But with the precious blood of Christ…Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who BY HIM do believe in God…” (1 Pet. 1:18-21 cf. Jer. 1:5; 1 Cor. 8:6; Phil. 1:29). “…by Him all that believe are justified from all things…” (Acts 13:39). Believing is not an act of obedience, it is not our gift to God, but a gift given by God to His chosen people. The saving faith of God’s elect does not originate within themselves, for “…it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). It is not something which spiritually dead creatures generate from within, for saving faith is God’s property, and He gives it to whomsoever He has regenerated. Paul spoke of himself as “…one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful” (1 Cor. 7:25). Without the mercy of the Lord no one can believe. The Christian loves God because God loved him first, and the Christian believes only by, and because of, God giving him the gift of faith by grace first. No one can believe prior to the gift of grace supplying the gift of faith. The Christian is saved by grace, and believes with the gift of faith. Believing is not an act which is required, but a gift that is given. Yes, a man must believe, but the only way he can believe is by God granting him the gift of faith to believe. God is responsible for salvation, and so, it is God’s responsibility to save those whom He has elected before the world began. God is not obligated by anyone, or anything outside of Himself to save any, but has willed that certain ones be saved, and has done—thereby, ensuring they will be saved—all that was necessary to secure their salvation. God has taken it upon Himself to save His people from their sins, knowing full well that they could do nothing in their spiritually dead state to gain salvation. They could not believe, and they could not come to Him. All that a man needs to be saved is given to him by the grace and mercy of God. God could not have expected man to do anything, for all are, by nature, dead in sins. Ergo, salvation is by grace alone. God accepted the responsibility of saving His chosen according to His will. Without being asked to, without being prompted by anyone, God took it upon Himself to make the salvation of His people a reality. In His Sovereignty, and being the Author of salvation, the Originator, or Cause of it, God took charge of the dilemma His people faced, and assumed responsibility for their salvation, thus providing grace and mercy as well as a Saviour Who would take away their sins, and impute unto them His perfect Righteousness. What responsibility can a man have in terms of being saved when prior to his being made alive by God, he is exceedingly dead in sins, dead to God, cannot even seek God, has absolutely no desire for the true God, for he does not know Him, and is, therefore, without hope in the world? The fact that salvation is by the grace of God shows conclusively that salvation could not possibly be by anyone else, and, therefore, by anything which anyone else has done, or by any part of salvation being conditioned on anything they are allegedly required to do.
“When you walk into a dark room, what comes first, the appearance of light or turning on the light switch? As we perceive things, they seem to happen simultaneously. However, does one cause and logically precede the other? Absolutely. We all know that turning on the light switch brings about brightness in the room, not vice versa. The same is true in initial salvation. In Scripture, faith does not cause or bring about the new birth, but God’s effectual call and the Spirit’s work of regeneration produces faith and repentance…we must remember that the unbeliever is pervasively depraved and therefore totally passive. Paul’s description is sobering: ‘And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins’ (Eph. 2:1). Therefore, spiritual resurrection is needed. We are like Lazarus, four days dead, lifeless, and rotting away in the tomb (see Jn. 11:17). Only the life-creating words of Christ can awaken our dead soul. Or to switch analogies, we need to be born again, or born from above, as Jesus told Nicodemus (see Jn. 3:3-8). Notice, birth is not a cooperative effort; the child is passive. He can take no credit in being born. Likewise, spiritual birth is completely and entirely the work of God…when God calls His elect, He does so effectually (e.g., Jn. 6:37,44,65; Rom. 8:28-30; 1 Cor.1:18-31; Eph. 4:1-6; 1 Pet. 2:9,10). And when the Spirit awakens new life in the spiritually dead sinner, He does so unfailingly and irresistibly, apart from the sinner’s cooperation (e.g., Deut. 30:6; Jer. 31:33; 32:39,40; Ezek. 11:19-21; 36:26-37; Jn. 3:3-8; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; Eph. 2:1-7; Col. 2:11-14; Titus 3:3-7; 2 Cor. 4:3-6; 1 Jn. 5:1). In short, God’s Sovereign work of effectual calling and regeneration bring about the sinner’s trust in Christ, not vice versa. What does this mean for our faith? Its inception does not originate within us.
Faith is a Sovereign Gift from God. At this point, it might be tempting to think that effectual calling and regeneration are God's Work, while faith is our work. Nothing could be furher from the truth. Faith itself is a Sovereign gift from God, and not merely one that He offers to us, hoping we will accept, but something He actually works within us. 'The Scripture says not that God ives us ability or power to believe only-namely, such a power as we may make use of if we will, or do otherwise; but faith, repentance, and conversion themselves are said to be the work and effect of God'. In other words, God produces not only the will to believe, but the act of believing itself. For example, in Acts 13 Paul preaches the Gospel in Antioch. However, many Jews, filled with jealousy, revile Paul. In response Paul makes an astonishing proclamation: '...it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles' (Acts 13:46). Suddenly, the Gentiles break out in rejoicing and gladness: 'And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed' (Acts 13:48). Notice, the Scripture does not say 'as many as believed were appointed to eternal life'. Rather, Luke explains that God's election or appointment determined who would and who would not believe. God, not man, determines who will and who will not believe in Christ, and until God regenerates the sinful heart of man, he will not, (indeed cannot), respond in faith and repentance (cf. Acts 2:37; 16:14; 18:10). Yes, we repent and believe, but we do so only because God has previouosly appointed us to eternal life and has, at the appointed time, caused us to repent and trust in His Son (cf. Jn. 8:47; 10:26). And consider Epesians 2:8-10: 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them'. Paul is referring to the gift of salvation in its totality. Therefore, every aspect of salvation is by grace alone. What then should we make of 'faith'? That faith by which we come into experiential possession of what God in grace has provided is as much a gift as any and every other aspect of salvation. One can no more deny that faith is wrapped up in God's gift to us than he can deny it of God's grace'.
“Likewise, consider Philippians 1:29,30: ‘For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake…’ According to Paul, God, in His Sovereignty, bestows suffering. But not only is suffering a gift, Paul also says belief (faith) in Christ is a gift as well. The wording is essential, for Paul specifically says ‘it [belief] is given’. ‘Given’ (echaristhē) means to give freely and graciously. It is the same word from which grace is derived. It does not mean, as our English language assumes so often, reluctance or mere permission on God’s part. Rather, God grants belief or faith in Christ to those whom He has chosen. Last, we cannot forget 2 Pet. 1:1: ‘Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the Righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’. Is it by man’s will that faith is obtained? At first glance, that might appear to be the case. But in reality, Peter assumes just the opposite. When Peter refers to obtaining faith he is speaking of a gift that we receive from God and by God’s choice. ‘What is of paramount importance here is the word translated ‘have obtained’ or ‘have received’. It is related to a verb that means ‘to obtain by lot’ (see Lk. 1:9; Jn. 19:24; Acts 1:17). Thus, faith is removed from the realm of human free will and placed in its proper perspective as having originated in the Sovereign and altogether gracious will of God’. We do not want to deny that faith is an act of believing on the sinner’s part. However, faith is ultimately a Divine work, not a human work. ‘God indeed grants us the capacity to believe and the power of faith but also the will to believe and faith itself, not mechanically or magically, but inwardly, spiritually, organically, in connection with the word that He brings to people…’. In summary, while many other texts could be explored, these passages demonstrate that saving faith is Sovereignly granted to the sinner and effectually applied within him. Therefore, we dare not call this faith in conversion a ‘work’, lest we attribute to ourselves what should truly be credited to God. As we reflect on our conversion to Christ, we do not boast in ourselves, but give God, and Him alone, all of the glory, praise, and honor.” Everything to do with salvation is of God, and because of God. Everything is a gift, not a work. Salvation is by grace not works. Salvation is through the gift of faith not the work of faith. Everything is of God, not ourselves.
Again, lost man simply cannot uncouple himself from the lie that to get saved a man must do. The notion that a man must act first before God can do anything to save him, not only destroys the fact that election is of grace, but it also totally contradicts the fact that God saves only by grace. That a man must act before God can do is a purely satanic counterstatement opposing the Biblical fact that salvation is BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, NOT BY GRACE THROUGH WORKS, OR BY GRACE BECAUSE OF WORKS. Grace does not work in conjunction with works, but only with faith, because faith is what grace gives. There is no symmetry in a gospel that provides salvation as a gift, and something that you must earn. A man is saved by grace through faith without works. Ephesians 2:10 says it all, “…we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works…”, not after good works, or because of good works, or in collaboration with good works, but "unto good works”. A man is saved so that he will perform the good works which God has ordained he walk in, not because he has already performed them. Salvation is not based on good works, it produces good works. Works are not in any way a part of that which saves a man, for a man is saved purely by grace. Salvation is a gift. Works are a gift from God to the ones He has saved. The works which God has preordained for His people to walk in are not what they do to get saved, but what God’s people do because they are saved. Works, preordained by God for His people to walk in, are the result of being saved by grace alone. Works cannot produce salvation, for this is solely the miraculous work of God that can only be given as a gift. Grace, not works, is the only ingredient God uses to make new creatures in Christ. Anyone who turns salvation by grace which produces works, into salvation by grace which depends upon works, is not saved. Those who give works the pre-eminence know nothing of the grace of God. God makes His people NEW creatures by grace so that they can and will perform good works. These good works are the evidence a man has been saved by grace. Those good works do not save the man, nor do they help the man to get saved or stay saved, but are the direct result of his being saved solely by grace. There is no need for anyone to refer to a list of Scriptures which they believe contradict these Biblical truths, for any unbelief is evidence of lostness. Any attempt to try and disprove salvation by grace through faith without works belies a carnal understanding, an unregenerated mind, that cannot be in accord with the whole counsel of God. Ephesians 2:8,9 says “…by grace are ye saved…not…yourselves…not…works…” Now that should send alarm bells ringing through the minds of those who are ignorant of the Righteousness of Christ, and who insist they can only get saved after they have produced an acceptable righteousness by some act, or acts, of their own obedience. There is, quite literally, no boasting possible in a man who has been saved by grace alone through the gift of faith alone. Everything to do with salvation is the gift of God which points to the Righteousness of Jesus Christ. There is nothing for a man to boast of who has been saved by grace alone. Any man who even thinks that any part of his ‘salvation’ is due in any way to what he does or has done, is boasting in himself. If there is boasting, if there is any reliance upon one’s own works in getting saved or remaining saved, the absence of grace is self-evident. The saved man is not saved by who he is, or by what he has done. God’s Word declares salvation is “…not of yourselves…not of works…For by grace are ye saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8,9).
Scripture says salvation is not of works. “…by grace are ye saved…not of works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). “By grace are ye saved”, means by works you are not saved. You cannot possibly be saved by works, if you are saved by grace. Moreover, you cannot be saved by grace if you believe that anything you have done has contributed to your alleged salvation (see Rom. 11:6). The man who has been saved by grace alone is fully cognisant of the fact he was not saved by works at all. The man who believes he was saved by works, or by grace and works, knows nothing of the grace of God, and remains lost in his sins. Not being saved by works shows that one can only be saved by grace alone. If salvation is “not of yourselves”, “not of works”, then it can only be by grace alone. NO ONE but the unsaved can come from reading Ephesians 2:8-10 and conclude that no one can be saved without works. Salvation by grace does not include works. Salvation by grace is something which God does WITHOUT your works! Salvation by grace is not something God does with you, but for you. What are works? Works are what WE do. Salvation is not by ANYTHING we do, therefore, salvation is something which does not follow anything a man does. Salvation is not a consequence of works, but exclusively of grace. As a consequence of this Biblical fact salvation cannot be something which is contingent upon anyone, or anything, but God and His glorious grace. The Word of God states clearly that salvation is by grace. What is grace? THAT WHICH GOD DOES!! Salvation is only by what God does. Salvation is, therefore, not by what a man does, but only by what God does.
The only Righteousness by which God saves His people, is not their righteousness, but only the Righteousness of Christ alone. Salvation requires PERFECT Righteousness, GODLY Righteousness, therefore, it cannot be conditioned upon your personal obedience. Paul the apostle did not want to be found with his own righteousness produced by his works of obedience, “…but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9). This Righteousness, the only Righteousness which saves, is WITHOUT YOUR WORKS!! This Righteousness is produced by God the Son, and given to His people by grace alone. “But to him THAT WORKETH NOT, but believeth (trusts in, or commits oneself to) on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for Righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth Righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:5,6). “Not that the believer does not work at all, but not from such principles, and with such views as the other; he does not work in order to obtain life and salvation; he does not seek for justification by his doings”, for he trusts in the Righteousness of the Saviour to save him. God justifies His people by what His Son has done, not by what they have done, both before and after they have been saved. Those who try to justify themselves by their works are not the people who “…through the Spirit wait for the hope of Righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5 cf. Gal. 5:7,8,18). By grace ALONE are ye saved through faith ALONE in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ ALONE. It is imputed Righteousness that saves, not the righteousness that any man has worked to establish. It is the Righteousness that has been produced for a man, not by a man, which saves him. This means there is absolutely nothing that a man can do to gain admission into Heaven. “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor. 15:50 cf. Jn. 3:6). It is not your righteousness, but only Christ’s Righteousness that will gain you access into His Kingdom. It is not the old creature, but the new creature created by God in Christ Jesus who will inherit the Kingdom of God. It is only the Righteousness of Christ charged to His people by which they are saved. It is because of what HE has done, it is because of Who HE is that His people are saved, not because of who they are, or because of anything they have done. “…thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Anyone who cannot see this is simply not saved. “…if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3).
Salvation is by grace not works. It is through faith in the Righteousness of Christ that saves, not faith in your own righteousness which is produced by your works. The Christian has a Righteousness that he did nothing to gain. It is the Righteousness of Another charged to him by grace. You cannot do anything to gain Christ’s Righteousness. Neither can you build up a righteousness of your own which will save you. Saving Righteousness does not come from a man, it is given to a man. It’s not your righteousness that salvation is conditioned on, but only Christ’s Righteousness. It is not your righteousness God gives His gift of faith to you to believe in, but solely Christ’s Righteousness. Saving Righteousness does not come from you, it is not inherent within you, but is charged to the chosen people of God. It is a gift by grace not works. Salvation is not payable, but only giveable. Salvation comes not because of a man’s individual righteousness, that is, his obedience to God, at all, for salvation is exclusively given to him “…THAT WORKETH NOT…” (Rom. 4:5). Those who work for Righteousness cannot earn Righteousness and will not be given Righteousness. Righteousness is given only to those who have been saved by grace alone. It is only Christ’s Righteousness which saves. Imputed Righteousness not righteousness by works. The Christian is saved by Another’s Righteousness, and not his own. ONLY THE RIGHTEOUSNESS PRODUCED WITHOUT YOUR WORKS IS WHAT SAVES. It is Another’s works by which a man is saved, and not his own. It is only by the obedience of Jesus Christ that a man is made Righteousness. “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteousness” (Rom. 5:19). Only the blind fail to see this; only the spiritually dead cannot understand it.
What a gracious act it is by God to save some, let alone an innumerable multitude. The question, ‘Why didn’t God save all’, truly pales into insignificance, in light of the fact that all are guilty, and God has chosen to graciously and mercifully save some. It is like looking at the Grand Canyon in Arizona and consuming one’s time trying to calculate how deep it is, rather than allowing oneself to be captivated by the creative splendour of it all. What a GLORIOUS thing that God has chosen, before the world began, to save some, anyone. To ask why God does not save all, overlooks the awesome fact that God has saved any! To ask why God does not save all conveniently ignores the fact that: ALL ARE DEAD IN SINS AND DESERVING OF NOTHING BUT WRATH. It is a question steeped in unbelief toward the Majesty of God, and the sheer sinful insolence of mankind. Only when a person is given eyes to see and a mind to understand the evil sinfulness of mankind will a person realise that no man in his state of spiritual death is rightly deserving of anything but the eternal Wrath of God. The inflexible Justice and pure Holiness of God would have seen all rightly condemned to Hell. There is nothing unfair in the condemnation of the guilty. People may say God could have saved all, but no one has any right whatsoever to even think that God should have saved all. The fact that God is Righteous in all that He does, shows conclusively that saving some was the Righteous thing to do rather than saving all. To question what God has done, that He should have not done this, or that, or ‘He should have done it this way’ etc., is to plumb the depths of foolishness. No one should ever wonder at why the guilty are not set free, but should always rejoice in the fact God has chosen to make His people free. No sane, guilty criminal would ever say to a judge, ‘You should let me go! You have acquitted others in the past, why not me!’, so what gives spiritually dead man the right to even think of saying to God, ‘You should save all!’ or ‘You shouldn’t have saved just some!’ Since all are only deserving of eternal torment, what could possibly be wrong in God’s having appointed such people to His eternal Wrath? In light of this what could be so evil in a benevolent act such as appointing others to salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ Who would die for them (see 1 Thess. 5:9,10). To ask why God does not save all, why doesn’t God act with grace and mercy toward all, are questions which are often not really asked in a genuine search for a Biblical answer. Such questions are asked in ignorance of the fact that no sinful man is in any position, and has no justifiable right, to expect God to save him, or to act in any way toward any sinner other than in accord with His fiery, justifiable and eternal Wrath.
Again, perhaps the most appropriate answer to the question ‘Why doesn’t God save everyone?’, is the even bigger question, ‘Why should God save anyone!’ All are guilty, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, man at his best state is nothing more than vanity and all his righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Try and find something in all of this Scriptural evidence against a man being saved to support such a Biblically illiterate question as, ‘Why doesn’t God save everyone?’, and you will see the foolishness behind it. I believe that a proper study of the question, ‘Why does God save anyone?’ using God’s Word will go a long way in helping people understand, not only why God saves, but also why in the vast majority of cases, He does not. One helpful insight into why God has elected to save some, and not all, is seen in Ephesians 1. According to Paul the apostle, God chose some to be His people before the foundation of the world by His predestinating them “…according to the good pleasure of His will, To the praise of the glory of His grace…” (Eph. 1:4,5). God wanted to elect them because He has chosen to love them according to the good pleasure of His will. If imperfect man is allegedly free to do as he pleases, then surely God is free to do whatsoever He pleases (see Psa. 115:3). Who could legitimately question God’s freedom to do as He pleases, especially in light of the fact that God, unlike man, is Perfectly Righteous. Is there something wrong with God’s choosing to love those whom He has chosen to love? Is there something wrong with the Righteous God wanting what He wants? Cannot God do what He wills with His own? (see Jer. 18:6; Rom. 9:21). Does God not have the right to choose to love some and not all? Is God loving those whom He is willing to love an unrighteous act? Seeing that God is Righteous and cannot sin, is not the election of some, and not all, a perfectly Righteous act? Seeing that no one can by saved by their will, thoughts, acts, etc., that no man can come unto Christ, that no man, by nature, seeks God, is salvation by grace not a splendidly Righteous act?
Does the fact that God has chosen not to save all, suddenly make election by grace—the only way a man can be saved—an unrighteous act. I dare say there would be absolutely no opposition to salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the Righteousness of Christ alone if God had chosen to save everyone. SO HOW CAN SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE SUDDENLY BECOME AN UNRIGHTEOUS ACT, SIMPLY BECAUSE GOD HAS CHOSEN NOT TO SAVE ALL? God choosing to save a man who can do nothing to save himself IS A RIGHTEOUS ACT regardless of how many He has chosen to save!! Is man’s real argument not so much with the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, but with the number that are saved? It’s quite ironical how all those opposed to Sovereign election—God’s choosing a relatively select few to become His people—never complain of God’s exclusively choosing the nation of Israel in the Old Testament as His people and no other, but when it comes to the election unto salvation of people from every nation according to the grace of God (see Jn. 11:51,52; Rev. 5:9), then all Hell breaks loose with frenzied opposition! Writing to the Christians at Ephesus, Paul stated: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…Having 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, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4-6). Salvation is by the grace of God through the gift of faith given to believe solely in the Righteousness of His Son Jesus. Notice what an awesome thing salvation by the election of grace is, it is nothing short of salvation by the will of God, in accordance with God’s purpose to the eternal praise of the glory of God’s infinite grace toward His elect.
God’s predestinating His chosen before the foundation of the world is to the praise of His wonderful Grace! It is not injustice on show, but the GOODNESS of God made manifest. Predestination and election are not subjects which rightfully merit hate, they are not to be despised, but are God’s very expression of Who He is through grace! Man’s natural hatred for election by grace alone shows the evil wicked inherent nature all men have. Moreover, their hatred shows the impossibility of a man choosing to be saved, for God’s only way of salvation is that very thing every man by nature hates. A man must be made alive to see God and appreciate His Wondrous love, grace and goodness in the Work of salvation. God saves the unsavable. Ironically, that which billions of people who believe themselves to be Christians have hated, despised and called evil for thousands of years, is the very goodness of God, the grace of God in the salvation of His people. The above verses from Ephesians 1 explain that God’s Grace, His choice to save some, is a GLORIOUS act!! Election by grace, salvation by grace is a revelation of God’s goodness. It is not something which rightfully warrants any disdain from any man, and it surely does not give any man any reason to accuse God of unrighteousness. Salvation is a glorious act, election is a glorious act, for they reveal the goodness of God in saving such a wretch as man by grace alone. There is no other way to salvation than by God choosing to save a man according to His will and grace. Man can be as religious as he likes; he can feel like he truly loves the only true God, but without the true God no man can come to Him. Without being born again, all a man has is the vanity of religion. The only way a man can come to Him is if God has chosen him to come before the world began. The fact that God has not elected all, that He does not save all, is no crime, for all are guilty and deserving of nothing but the torments of eternal fire. There are no grounds of appeal for those who are unquestionably guilty before God. Unrighteousness does not come from, nor is it in any way related to what God has done, but from what man is: a deceptive, wicked and God-hating sinner. Accusing God of any unrighteousness is merely a manifestation of man’s inherent contempt, hatred, and sheer hostile nature toward the only true God. Later, in Ephesians’ first chapter, the apostle Paul writing to his brethren there, says: “In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). Paul is saying that the believers have obtained an inheritance not because they have chosen God, not based upon their will, but because God has, by grace alone, “after the counsel of His own will” predestinated them according to His purpose. The chosen of God are predestinated according to His will, not their works, to the glory of God’s grace. It is grace that saves them, and it is grace that predestinated them. That is where spiritual blessings come from, God’s grace. “Having 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, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:5,6).