FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 2)
Before we launch into our study of John 3:16, we need to briefly turn our attention to one particular word which has been grossly misunderstood, the consequences being far greater than a wrong interpretation of the words suffer and peculiar. The word is whosoever. As well as being perhaps the major factor in attributing to John 3:16 the false teachings that God loves everyone, and that Christ, His Son, has died for everyone, the single word whosoever, has been so taken out of context and blown out of all proportion, that it has been forcibly, and slavishly, employed to popularize the lie that man has a free will to choose God, and accept what has allegedly been done on everyone’s behalf. This one innocent word, whosoever, has been so misused—the false interpretation of which most have become accustomed—it has developed into a quite integral element in the construction of the worst false gospel to have ever been presented to, and accepted by, naïve and sinful man. An entire theology fed by a carnal philosophy of thought—of wrongly perceiving Who God is, what He is like, how He saves and whom He saves—has been unnaturally crammed into one word, whosoever, in order to make it say what it was never intended to mean. This greatest example of Scriptural overreach, the single word whosoever has been used in the construction and defence of the lie that God has done everything He can to pave the way for all to come to Him, and have eternal life, and that it is now all up to man, any man, to make his free will decision, to put his stamp of approval on what God is alleged to have done, and willingly receive it thus setting it in motion. John 3:16 has been so twisted as to be irresponsibly, and misleadingly, used to support the most popular false gospel the world has ever known, the Arminian gospel, and its satellites.
Many books, and commentaries on John 3:16 have focussed their attention on providing word studies in an attempt to explain away the corrupted view of the Scripture which most have been taught, and are accustomed to, and the Internet is awash with many such worthy and detailed studies which are all readily available to the student of Scripture. Whilst providing a relatively brief study of what the words of John 3:16 are really saying, this book will not limit itself to the particular study of words, which can at times not totally convince the student one way or the other. Context, and comparing Scripture with Scripture will always shed the brightest light on what a verse, passage, or chapter of Scripture is really saying. Entering into such a study is like transitioning from using a torch to help find one’s way in the darkness, to utilizing huge floodlights. When one turns on the floodlights by conducting, and combining, word studies with contextual studies, and branching out into other books of the Bible exposing oneself to parallel verses, and the New Testament Letters, allowing oneself to see the situation as a whole—what the Scriptures as a whole are really saying, and what the Gospel of the grace of God in the salvation of His people is proclaiming—then one can walk away knowing one has the full picture, the big picture, and not merely a limited, insular, view provided by the pen-lights of bias, prejudice, ignorance and fundamentally flawed man-made traditions which have no basis in truth. “Confirmation bias is the strong human tendency to dismiss or distort evidence contrary to our beliefs and readily seek out evidence that supports our views.” Only through the blessing of God shall any see, and accept, His truth “…in Thy light shall we see light” (Psa. 36:9 cf. Psa. 119:105,130). May the blessing of God be upon all those who read this book.
One of the most vital questions which needs to be asked by everyone who claims to be Christian, an abider in, and a student of, the Word of God, is: Does what is claimed a verse of Scripture is saying match with the rest of God’s Holy Word? Another is, ‘Does what I believe a verse of Scripture is saying truly align with what the Holy Word of God is really saying? Am I being completely honest with myself in what I believe, or have I chosen to look away from that which poses a threat to my perception of what I believe the Scriptures are saying?’ Comparing Scripture with Scripture should not be restricted to merely the immediate chapter from which a verse is taken, not even the Book, or Letter, in which it appears, but what is claimed, and believed, a verse is saying must match with the whole of Scripture. However important word studies are, to which a significant portion of this book is devoted, it is the overall doctrinal ramifications of what a person alleges John 3:16 is saying which we shall concentrate the majority of our attention and energy on, in order to show conclusively that John 3:16 does not at all teach that God loves everyone without exception, and that one of the greatest follies of man has been to build an entire gospel on the flimsiest of foundations: the one word whosoever, a word which does not even appear in the original Greek! What will no doubt come as an even greater shock to those who believe in the false interpretation of John 3:16, is the fact that no other verse in all of God’s Word contains any reference whatsoever to ‘God loving the world’, or ‘God loving everyone without exception’. The whole concept of God loving everyone without exception is totally foreign to the Scriptures. Try telling Esau that God loves everyone without exception. “…Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13 cf. Mal. 1:1-3), and do not think for one moment that God’s hating Esau eventuated because of any action on Esau’s part, “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;)” (Rom. 9:11). Try convincing the townsfolk of Sodom and Gomorrah that God loved them (see Gen.13:13; 19:23-29). In addition, how can it be said that God loved Eli, desiring his salvation, when Scripture tells us “…therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever” (1 Sam. 3:14). These three simple examples show in a trice how the false teachings that God loves everyone without exception, and desires the salvation of all, have no substance, and how billions have placed their trust in nothing but vacuous, yet not inconsequential, lies.
Whatever the Word of God teaches, it wholeheartedly supports. If the Scriptures are saying something then it may be found throughout Scripture, and not just in a single verse, or two. The Holy Scriptures’ sole Author is God Himself, and, therefore, there is not, and cannot be, any contradiction within its pages. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16 cf. Job 32:8; Psa. 119:142; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:21). “…ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God…” (1Thess. 2:13). All is uniform and non-contradictory, when it comes to the Word of God. Doctrinal themes of the Bible are not established on one single verse, but are discernible in, and supported by, scores of Scriptures throughout the Old, as well as the New Testament. The Scriptures never once contradict each other, for the Word of God is perfect, the Word of God is truth. The only contradiction, and any resultant confusion, exists not in the pages of God’s Word, not in the intentions of its Author, but only in the sinful minds of lost men to whom the truth has not been revealed. “Instead of superimposing a meaning on a Biblical text, the objective interpreter seeks to discover the author's intended meaning (the only true meaning). One must recognize that what a passage means is fixed by the author and is not subject to alteration by readers. ‘Meaning’ is determined by the author; it is discovered by readers…Jesus said His words lead to eternal life: “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jn. 6:63). The doctrines which Christ had then been delivering concerning Himself, His flesh and blood, being spiritually understood, are the means of quickening souls. The Gospel, and the truths of it, which are the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, are the means of conveying the Spirit of God, as a Spirit of illumination and sanctification, into the hearts of men, and of quickening sinners dead in trespasses and sins: the Gospel is the Spirit that giveth life, and is the savour of life unto life, when it comes not in word only, or in the bare ministry of it, but with the energy of the Holy Ghost, and the power of divine grace. But for any to receive eternal life through Christ’s words, they must be taken as He intended them to be taken. A cultic reinterpretation of Scripture yields another jesus and another gospel (see 2 Cor. 11:3,4; Gal. 1:6-9) will yield only eternal death (see Rev. 20:11-15).”
What a particular verse is actually saying will be supported by many other verses. Proper contextual studies involve looking at the verses which are contained in the same chapter, and book which the verse in question comes from, and must also, of course, be compared and align with the whole of Scripture. Improper contextual studies are conducted by those who do not know the Scriptures. These errorists, intentionally or otherwise, misuse context in some vain attempt to rationalize their false arguments and spurious teachings. The Word of God is something which must be studied, and studied in the proper and correct manner. While there are many verses which do say what they appear to be saying on the surface, for example “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8), and “…the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life…” (Rom. 6:23), there are many others which require diligent study before a proper understanding can be reached. Those who say they have no time for such study, or who simply believe what the English translation is saying through the contemporary use of the English language, will fall into many diverse and strange doctrines. There will be no contradiction, or error, if your understanding of God’s Word is conformed to the meaning each Scripture is given—and which other Scriptures confirm—by its Author, God Almighty. “When you’ve eliminated the Scripturally impossible, whatever remains, however improbable it might be to the carnal mind, must be the truth.” Scripture was never meant to be used in such a way so as to support one’s own preconceived ideas, and concepts of God—Who He is, what He is like, and how He saves—but is the means God has chosen to reveal Himself and express His truth to those He has given eyes to see, and ears to hear.
The key to properly understanding any Scripture, or Scripture passage, in the Word of God, particularly those which have to do with the Gospel of salvation, is to rightly discern and accept the fact that the overriding theme in all of Scripture is the Person, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the principle of salvation is the Sovereign grace of a merciful and Almighty God. Attempting to understand the true meaning of a verse by isolating it from all other verses, or worse still, ignoring the content of other verses, or certain verses, or chapters, in particular, because they conflict with your preconceived notions, preferred beliefs, or denominational bent, does not only invite error into one’s life, but exacerbates the existing problem of catering to one’s perception of the Scriptures, rather than submitting oneself to God’s perspective of what His Word is saying. Attitudes, agendas, and preconceived ideas make a person vulnerable and prone to manipulation. Error begets error, and can only lead a man to false gospels which simply cannot save. All Scripture must, and does, conform to the unchallengeable reality that it is by grace alone that a man is saved. By grace are ye saved means that salvation is by the grace of God, and, therefore, solely by the God of grace. Salvation is of the Lord by grace alone.
It is important to realize that, while claiming to believe in salvation by grace, those who have latched onto John 3:16, ignorantly claiming that it attests to God’s loving all, Christ’s dying for all, and salvation being dependant on how a man responds to what God has allegedly done for him, actually attach conditions to the saving grace of Ephesians 2:8. To say, ‘By grace are ye saved, BUT…’ immediately rules out grace from salvation altogether. Inserting any qualifications, or provisos, into Ephesians 2:8, means adding a condition, or conditions, to grace. Conditional grace is always dependent upon what a man does, therefore, it cannot be the grace of God which is being spoken about, or that saves him, but that which a man does in response to grace, or with the assistance of grace. To condition grace on how a man responds to it, immediately cancels out grace, for anytime a condition is met the reward is not of grace, but of works. Such thinking changes grace from that which saves, to something encountered along the way to salvation. Many people think that salvation is on the other side of what we do. They say God’s grace enables them to do what needs to be done before they can be saved. To claim that man can only do what needs to be done because of grace is to redouble the ridiculous, for grace does not empower a man to do that which must be done before he can be saved, for it is by grace itself that a man is saved. One of the most critically important principles in Scripture, which all Arminians have failed to grasp, is the fact that the grace of God which Scripture speaks of is not an enabling grace, but is an enlivening grace, it is saving grace (see Eph. 2:8; Titus 2:11; Rom. 3:24-27). Grace is salvation, grace = salvation. There is simply no other means to salvation other than by the grace of God through the gift of faith. Grace requires no assistance from man, for it is by grace alone that a man is saved. The erroneous interpretation of John 3:16 cuts a swathe right through grace, for it champions the lie that salvation is based on an individual’s free-will decision, rather than the Sovereignty of Almighty God, on man’s choosing God rather than God’s choosing man.
Any gospel which conditions salvation on anything a man does, or must do, whether it is claimed it can only be done with the assistance of grace, or not, is a nonsense. It would be like saying, ‘God saves, but only through something done by someone else’. Grace is God doing, so anytime anyone conditions salvation, or any part of it, on what a man must do, they frustrate, or nullify, the grace of God. You cannot condition grace on what a man must do, otherwise grace would no longer be grace. If salvation awaits what a man must do then it is solely by works. If, however, salvation awaits what God does then, and only then, is it a salvation purely by grace. A conditional salvation leaves no room for grace, but only that which it has been conditioned on. To cancel out grace by conditioning salvation on what a man must do is something which the apostle Paul clearly did not do: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). Paul was saying that if right standing with God comes by what a man does, then the grace of God is frustrated. The original Greek has unplacing grace, or repudiating grace. The word frustrate in Galatians 2 means: “To do away with; to set aside, to disesteem, to neutralize, violate or disregard; to thwart the efficacy of; to nullify, to make void, to render null, to reject, to refuse, to slight; to cast off, despise, disannul, to bring to nought, to displace, to abrogate, abolish, get rid of, and, to act towards anything as though it were annulled, to deprive a law of its force by opinions or acts contrary to it”. Paul was saying that if right standing with God comes by what a man does—if any obedient act on the part of man precedes salvation—then the grace of God is done away with; it is set aside; grace is disesteemed and neutralized, and cannot, therefore, be appealed to. Emphasizing his point, the apostle later declared: “…if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing…Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:2,4). Any appeal to works, any reliance upon what you feel you must do before salvation to get saved, or after salvation to remain saved, and Christ shall profit you nothing, who He is and what He has done is of no effect unto you. “Christ is become of no effect unto you”, “Or, ‘ye are abolished from Christ’; or as others by an ‘hypallage read the words, ‘Christ is abolished unto you’; for by their seeking for justification by their own works, it was all one to them as if there was no Christ, and no Righteousness in Him, and no salvation by Him; they had nothing to do with Him, nor He with them.” Salvation based on what a man does violates the grace of God. The works of man disregard the grace of God, and, therefore, displace God from His rightful place in the salvation of a sinner. Man’s works abolish God’s grace. Man’s inherent and insatiable need for reward abhors grace, for man’s carnal insistence on reward for obedience seeks to displace grace and usurp works as the very means to salvation. Can you see how the works of a man are an utter enemy to, the very archnemesis of, the grace of God? Salvation has never been a reward for effort proposition, but always and only a gift given by grace. No matter all the spin about works working hand in hand with grace, works always replace grace when it comes to the matter of how a man is saved, and how he remains saved (see Rom. 11:6). Salvation is either by grace or by works. These terms are often juxtaposed in Scripture (see Rom. 3:20-24; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:4-7).
One of the greatest Scriptures which deals with grace and works is found in Paul's second Letter to Timothy. Speaking of God, Paul says: "Who 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 cf. Gal.2:21). The Gospel of the apostle Paul did not include within it any preaching of works as part of God's salvation plan. To include works as part of what saves, or keeps a man saved, is to put an end to grace. It is to reject the competency of grace alone to save anyone. To reject grace is to reject God. To join a man's works to the Grace of God is also a rejection of grace which is nothing less than a rejection of the true God. One can never Scripturally change grace or works into grace and works. Salvation is by either one or the other (see Rom. 11:5,6; cf. Rom. 9:11). Man’s corrupt nature is what lies behind the religions of the world which place a man’s works at the forefront of salvation doing away with the essentiality, and exclusivity, of salvation being by grace alone. To attempt to join works with grace is to go against the grain of Scripture. It is to be an enemy of grace. It is to say that grace is not enough, and needs the addendum of a man’s works before it can save. Obviously, those who say righteousness comes by what they do, which takes in all those who say man must do before he can be saved, frustrate the grace of God, and have put their faith in a saviour who has died in vain (see also Gal. 5:2,4). Works abolish grace. The apostle Paul phrased it thusly: "And 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 cf. Gal. 2:21). Contrary to what man is naturally drawn to in his thinking, a man is, and can only be, saved purely by what God does. A man’s efforts to get saved or stay ‘saved’, are as beneficial to him as if he had never performed them. Works mean nothing, for grace is everything. Anything in addition to grace is a denial that what God does to save a man is enough. A salvation which requires a man to do anything in order to get saved, or stay saved, is a salvation which requires man to assist God before, and so that, God can realise the fulfilment of His will. The Scriptures know nothing of a God Who requires anyone, but Himself, to fulfil His own will. “…what His soul desireth, even that He doeth. For He performeth the thing that is appointed for me…” (Job 23:13,14 cf. Psa. 115:3; 135:6; Isa. 14:24-27).
Again, the apostle Paul did not nullify grace at all, saying “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21 cf. 2:16). Grace cannot be appealed to, Christ the Messiah cannot be claimed as one’s Saviour if one’s reliance for salvation is not completely on the Righteousness which the Lord Jesus has established for His people. Do not expect to go to Christ with a legitimate claim to anything He has done, if you look to, or have any confidence in, what you do, or have done, as something which is supplementally essential to your salvation. Looking to what you do is adding to what Christ has done, it is adding to Christ’s finished work of atonement and redemption. It is adding to grace that which grace does not need, nor salvation require. Grace is something which is independent of all that a man is, and all that a man can do. Grace does not work with man to get him saved, for it is only the grace of God which has access to salvation, thus providing it as a gift, and not awarding it as a prize, or paying it as a wage. Only the key of grace can open the door to salvation. The ‘safety deposit box’ which contains salvation does not require two keys to open it, for it only has one keyhole, and the grace of God is the only key which was made to fit it. If the Righteousness which justifies a man is due to a man’s doing anything, then the whole concept of the grace of God in giving His Son to die on the behalf of His people was all in vain. All the glory for salvation belongs to God, and so, salvation cannot be something which hinges upon the will of man at all, but must solely rely upon the will of God, it must be all of God, a 100% gift, therefore, it cannot come after, or because, a man has done anything to attract, or merit it. Anything done by man to attract salvation can only repel it, for salvation is attracted only to, and by, grace. The saved are chosen by God, they “…are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Eph. 2:10 cf. Psa. 37:23; Isa. 64:8; Ezek. 36:27; 1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 4:24), not because of good works. Peter tells us that the saved are elected unto obedience, not because they were obedient, or because it was foreseen they would be obedient. The saved are “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience…” (1 Pet. 1:2). “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled IN us…” (Rom. 8:3,4), not by us. Righteousness does not come by the obedience of man, but solely through the obedience of One: the Lord Jesus Christ (see Rom. 5:19). God’s people are chosen unto salvation (see 2 Thess. 2:13), not because they were holy and without blame, but “…that (they) should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4 cf. Rom. 8:29). The original Greek has to be holy. It is God, by grace, Who has made them holy, for His people have not, and could never have, played any contributory part in their own salvation. In Deuteronomy we see that the Lord chose Israel to be a peculiar people unto Him, to be a special people unto the Lord, not because they were in any way special, or different from any other nation: “…the Lord hath chosen thee TO BE a peculiar people unto Himself…” (Deut. 14:2 cf. Deut. 7:6-8; Psa. 135:4). It was God’s will that they be His people. THAT—the will of God, and no other’s—is what makes the difference between the people of God, and the people of the world, the saved and the unsaved.
Salvation, God’s choosing those whom He has elected to be saved, is all the work of God, and is in complete accord with His will, His purpose, His grace, and His good pleasure. Salvation could not, is not, nor did it ever need to be preceded, or attracted, by any good deed, or act, on the part of man (see Eph. 1:3-9; Gal. 1:15,16). God “…hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9). God has called His people not because of anything which they have done, but only according to what HE has done! That is grace. Anything else is not grace, but works. Anything outside of grace alone, is works. Everything outside of grace alone is works masquerading as grace. The grace of God was given according to the express will and purpose of God to God’s people in Christ before the world had even been created. Nothing a man does can be a precursor to salvation, for salvation is not according to, it does not follow, what a man does, but solely what God does. The order is: grace, salvation and then the works a man was appointed to which are not in any way the cause of salvation—for they always succeed salvation—but are the mere fruits of salvation. The matter of salvation, whom God would be merciful to, and whom Christ would die for, was settled before the foundation of the world, let alone the creation of man. The Scriptures could not be any clearer in their testament to the fact that salvation is solely according to God, and not man. And, if salvation is solely according to God, then salvation must be solely according to the grace of God. Salvation is according to grace, therefore, it is according to God’s will and what He has done, and not a man’s will and what he must do. Salvation is according to what God alone has done, and not what a man has done, or must do. God is the Orchestrator of salvation from its conception to its fulfilment, from its Alpha to its Omega, and grace under the direction of God’s will and purpose, is, if you will, what gets the job done. Salvation does not await a man’s will, for its incentive and extent has already been predetermined by the will and grace of God. “Of HIS OWN WILL begat He us with the Word of truth…” (Jas. 1:18 cf. Psa. 119:93; 1 Pet. 1:3). A man is born again, born of the Spirit, born of the Word of God by the will and grace of God alone. No man ever willed, or worked, himself into a saved state. The fact that this all testifies to the undeniable Scriptural fact that man is spiritually dead in his sins, and can do nothing to come to God, for he cannot even seek the true God, is self-evident and will be commented on in detail later.
The apostle Paul stated that election is either by grace, and not works, or by works and not grace. “…according to the election of grace. And 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). Thus we see that election is either by grace, or works, so it cannot be by both, therefore, it does not require both. If election is by grace then there is no need for works, and if by works then there would be no need for grace. Likewise, salvation can only be by grace, or by works; by God, or by man (see Eph. 2:8; 2 Tim. 1:9). Therefore, neither election, or salvation can be by a combination of grace and works. Take grace out of the picture, or add anything to it, and you take God out of the picture. Take the words grace and works from Romans 11:6, and replace them, momentarily, with God and man, and you will see the stark reality, and the utter evil, of an election, or salvation, based on the works of man. “And if by (God), then is it no more (of man): otherwise (God) is no more (God). But if it be (of man), then is it no more (God)…” (Rom. 11:6). Salvation cannot be, and, therefore, is not triggered, or maintained by, a collaborative effort on the part of God and man, for if it is by God then it cannot be by man, but if it requires a work of man then it cannot be of God: “…for verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity….every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:5,11). “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity” (Psa. 94:11 cf. Rom. 7:18; 1 Cor. 3:20). Salvation is not by the vanity of man, but only by the grace of God. Nothing man does can in any way be beneficial to him, or bear fruit in the sight of God, for "A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit" (Matt. 7:17ff. cf. Lk. 6:43). Man is like the corrupt tree in the sight of God, and all man's fruit is corrupted and evil and, therefore, useless for the purposes of gaining, or maintaining, salvation. To believe the Gospel is the fruit of a blessed, incorruptible tree. To believe in a false gospel is the fruit of an accursed tree. Paul the apostle said, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing..." (Rom. 7:18 cf. Gen. 6:5). "There could not possibly be a stronger expression of belief of the doctrine of total depravity. It is Paul’s own representation of himself. It proves that his heart was wholly evil. And if this was true of him, it is true of all others." John 2:25 tells us that Jesus "...needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man." In every man by nature dwelleth no good thing! "Behold, He putteth no trust in His saints; yea, 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). “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Prov. 20:9).
Salvation is a creation of God, and it is His to give to whomsoever He wants. Salvation is conceived by God, it is given life by God, and it is distributed by God to His chosen people at the appointed time according to His will. Salvation obeys only the Voice of God, and is not subject to any man’s will. The concept of salvation is not governed by pluralism, but solely by the pre-determining will of the one and only God and the means He has ordered. "...Salvation is of the Lord…by grace…through faith…” (Jon. 2:9; Eph. 2:8 cf. Jn. 1:13). “…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). THE ONLY WAY SALVATION CAN BE BY GRACE IS IF IT IS NOT BY ANY WORKS AT ALL. The moment one adds anything done by man—whether it be his deeds, or believing—to grace, one no longer has grace. “Salvation is by grace through faith without works.” By grace are ye saved, means that man can be saved by nothing else. None of man’s religious ideas and concepts of works and sacrifice are worth a hill of beans when it comes to getting saved, being saved, or remaining saved. “The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation” (Psa. 118:14 cf. Ex. 15:2; Isa. 12:2). If salvation is by grace then it is by grace alone, and if salvation is by grace through faith it is through faith alone, and if salvation is by grace through faith alone it cannot be by any works of man. There is no room for a man to do anything, in something that comes from, and is totally of, God’s doing. There is nothing more that can be added to a glass that is already full. Grace alone has filled the glass of salvation and served it to all God’s people. What justification does any man have to seek to add imperfection to perfection? Why would, and how could, anyone be so foolish as to add a few brush strokes of their own to a masterpiece? God’s not adding anything to grace shows that there is nothing which needs to, or can be, added to grace in order for salvation to take place. Grace stands alone in its salvation work. Salvation needs nothing but the grace of God. Grace does not need anyone’s assistance to ensure salvation, FOR BY GRACE, AND NOTHING ELSE, ARE YE SAVED!
People talk about free will, and making a decision for the Lord, etc., and all these acts are said to precede God’s act of saving the person, therefore, ruling out God’s will and grace as the cause, the sole impetus, for salvation, and replacing them with a man’s will and particular act, or acts, of obedience. Salvation is by God’s will and grace—it is an act of God–and not by man’s will and works. You cannot rightly, Scripturally, describe and define God's grace by what you do, for God's grace is God doing. Nor can anyone rightly define salvation as a goal reached through the efforts of the individual. Grace is God doing what the sinner cannot do, therefore, salvation is ALL by God doing what the sinner cannot do. Salvation by grace is not about thanking God for what you have done, but is all about thanking God for what HE HAS DONE, for "...Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). The principle of salvation, and the meaning of grace is summed up perfectly in this next verse: "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what HE HATH DONE for my soul" (Psa. 66:16). Salvation is by an act of God, for it cannot be obtained by an act of man. Grace is what God has done for His people, and not what He has enabled them to do for themselves. Salvation is not God helping us to do for ourselves, but solely about God doing all for those He wills to save. Salvation does not depend on man, but solely upon the God of all grace. The Arminian god requires a work to be done by man, a decision to be made, a free will act of consent, before he can ‘save’ him. The true God is nothing like this, for it is He Who saves, it is by His grace, which is according to His will and purpose. Salvation is what GOD has done for His people.
Notably, the True God states: “Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour….That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” (Isa. 43:10,11; Isa. 44:8; 45:6,7 cf. Prov. 16:4; Jer. 51:19; Amos 3:6). “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made….Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Jn. 1:3; Rev. 4:11 cf. Eph. 3:9; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2). “For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:16,17). God says: “…is there a God beside Me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isa. 44:8). “There is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me….I am God, and THERE IS NONE ELSE; I am God, and THERE IS NONE LIKE ME…MY Counsel shall stand, and I WILL DO ALL MY PLEASURE” (Isa. 45:21; Psa. 71:19; Isa. 46:9,10 cf. 1 Chron. 17:20). God does whatsoever He pleases, and none can stop His will. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21). The counsel of God “…can never be frustrated by the devices of man's heart, though there are many, “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30 see also Psa. 33:10,11; Isa. 46:10; Acts 5:39). This may be applied to the Gospel, and the scheme of salvation in it, called the whole counsel of God in Acts 20:27…all things in this world are ordered as God pleases, and all things are done as He has ordered them; all His purposes are or will be fulfilled; His designs will be accomplished in the world and in His Church, in spite of all the schemes, contrivances, and opposition of men and devils. No human schemes whatever, formed with the greatest wisdom and prudence, can ever prevail against God, or set aside or hinder the execution of any design of His; nothing that is pointed against His Church, His cause, and interest, His truths and ordinances, in the issue shall succeed; all that are found fighters against Him shall not prosper, let them be men of ever so much sagacity and wisdom; though there may be ever so many devices in a man's heart, and these ever so well planned, they shall never defeat the counsel of the Lord…no wisdom of the creature can stand before Him, it presently vanishes and disappears.” This is the true God. He does whatsoever He wants, whenever He wants, with whomsoever He wants. If there is no weapon, no means, formed against the people of God which shall prosper, how much less can anything that is designed against God prosper (see Isa. 54:17).
Interestingly, God says there are none LIKE Him. If there are none like God then what you say about God, what you believe about Him, is extremely significant, for if you are in error about what God is like, you cannot possibly be describing, and, therefore, believing in the True God. The doctrines you believe define the god/God you believe in. The doctrines of the Gospel of God will always reveal the true God, but false doctrines, doctrines which are nothing but myths, or consisting partly of truth and partly of fiction, are far more delusive and destructive than any drug you can imagine. As one man has noted “A half truth is the same as a whole lie”. Perhaps it is even worse, for the half truth uses the truth to surreptitiously gain acceptance for its lie. False doctrines which present false gods and the illusion that they are the true God, keep people trapped inside a delusionary world where darkness is light and light is interpreted as darkness. For such people fantasy is truth, and truth is fantasy. What better description can there be for such than those who sit in darkness. The God of the true Gospel is nothing like the false gods of false gospels. THE TRUE GOD SAVES BY GRACE ALONE, AND EVERY FALSE GOD ‘SAVES’ BY THE EFFORTS OF MAN AT OBEDIENCE. God’s Gospel teaches grace alone in salvation, false gods and false gospels—many of which claim grace as a means to salvation—also teach the indispensability of a man’s works in salvation. Nothing distinguishes the True God from the false gods more thoroughly and immediately than the doctrines of the Gospel which identify Him: what He is like and what He is not like, what He has done, and what He has not done. He alone is God, and, therefore, what He has said is the Truth. There is no alternate God, no alternate truth, but the idols and lies which occupy and monopolize the carnal thoughts of lost men. “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens” (Psa. 96:5 cf. Psa. 97:7; 2 Cor. 6:16).
God says: “…I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth My counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isa. 46:9-11; cf. Isa. 40:13,14). What is God doing here? He is defining, thereby identifying, Himself—Who He is—by telling you what He is like, and what He is like by what He does. In doing this, God has distinguished Himself from all others, He has set Himself apart from all others, and simultaneously ruled out Who He is not, by revealing Who He is; what He is not like, by declaring what He is like; and what He does not do, by detailing what He does do. In reality, no other god exists except the true and only God, and none of those gods which have been formed in lost men’s minds are like the true God Who knows all, sees all, can and does do all that He wills to do. God Almighty is completely Sovereign. He does whatsoever He wills, and He saves whomsoever He wills to save based solely upon His will and grace. None can possibly choose Him, or consent to being saved, for the Word of God states that all men are dead in sins prior to salvation, and need to be made alive to God which is something that can only be done by God. Salvation is a miracle, it is a supernatural work of God. Not before, or subsequent to, a man’s being made alive by God, is there anything required from man in order for him to be saved, or remain saved, for God has already saved him eternally. What can anyone do before, or without, life? Salvation is spiritual life, and that life signifies an everlasting salvation. Salvation is being born again, being made alive again unto God eternally, solely by the will and act of God. As in the physical creation, the Lord commanded life, and there was life, so too, in salvation the Lord commands spiritual life, and there is spiritual life. Nothing man can do plays any part in his being born again, being made a new creature, for this is, and can only be, the sole domain, the work, of Almighty God Who is the Creator of all things including a spiritually regenerated, or saved, man. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10 cf. Eph. 4:24; Gal. 6:15). “Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (Psa. 100:3 cf. Acts 17:28). “We did not make ourselves, neither as creatures, nor as new creatures; as we have no hand in making either our souls or bodies, so neither in our regeneration, or in the work of God upon our hearts; that is solely the Lord's work.”
Salvation is by the grace of God, for it cannot be by anything else, and so it can be by no one else. If it is by grace then it cannot be by any works—by any act of man—whatsoever, otherwise, grace would no longer be grace (see Rom 11:6). One cannot claim to be saved by grace, if one relies on any act of one’s own as in any way necessary in gaining, or securing, salvation. Even if man had the wherewithal to choose God, no choosing needs to be done by man, for it is grace which always acts first, and so it is the Lord Who does the choosing, and that before the foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:4). Just as a father precedes his son, so too, salvation by grace precedes any act of man. Good deeds do not precede salvation, for they are, and can only be, produced by salvation. The reality is that a free will decision on man’s part is not possible, let alone necessary, for in his natural, spiritually dead state, man can do nothing to come to the true God, or even seek Him. “…no man can come unto Me…there is none that seeketh after God” (Jn. 6:65; Rom. 3:11 cf. Rom. 8:7,8). It is God’s free will alone which saves a man. Every Christian was “… born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD” (Jn. 1:13). “OF HIS OWN WILL begat He us with the Word of truth…” (Jas. 1:18). “…it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Salvation is of God Who shows mercy! In other words, salvation is of God and comes as a result of His mercy, not a man’s decision. "(Salvation) is not to be ascribed to the most generous desire, nor to the most industrious endeavor of man, but only and purely to the free grace and mercy of God." Salvation is not something which is prerequisite to, or determined by, a man’s decision, seeing that God has chosen those whom He calls His own from before the foundation of the world, and predestinated them according to His purpose, “…Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). The word counsel here, means “Will, purpose, intention as the result of reflection”. God works all things “according to the decision [or plan]of His will”. Base any part of salvation on man, cause any part of salvation to be dependent upon what a man does, or that it must be preceded by some act of obedience, including faith, and you have a gospel of works, and not grace. If there is anything a man must do before he can be saved, including his believing, then salvation cannot possibly be by grace, for such a phantom salvation is clearly conditioned on a work of man’s. A man’s believing does not prompt salvation, for saving faith is given, it comes by the grace of God according to the will of God by which a man is saved. Believing comes in the package marked SALVATION BY GRACE.