FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 4)
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. “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). “This includes all sorts of grace, adopting, justifying, pardoning, regenerating, and sanctifying grace; every particular grace of the Spirit, as faith, repentance, hope, love, fear, humility, self-denial all are gifts of God, and entirely owing to His free grace, and not to man's free will and power, or to any merits of his; and all come through the hands of Christ, and are given forth by Him, as the Mediator of the covenant, and in consequence of His blood, Righteousness, sacrifice, and merit.”
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” (Acts13:48). The word ordain means appointed. The original Greek has it “and believe as many as were having been set into life”. 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.
Contrary to what many believe, salvation is not a combined effort of grace on God’s part, and a work—believing or doing—on man’s part. The Scriptures never present salvation in the context of grace and works, but always grace or works (see Rom. 11). One man has eloquently stated: ”There are only two kinds of people in the world: the righteous who understand themselves to be sinners, and the sinners who believe themselves to be righteous”. It’s either Christ’s Righteousness, or your righteousness. You can only stand before God with one, or the other. Just as there is no Scripture which supports grace and works in salvation, so too, the blasphemous concept of a composite righteousness—made up of Christ’s Righteousness and a man’s own righteousness—is nowhere to be found in the Word of God. Like grace and works, Christ’s Righteousness and that of man’s are always sharply contrasted in the Scriptures, and are never in harmony. The concept of grace and works form no solution to man’s crisis of sin, but highlights his ignorance of the fact that a man is saved by grace alone. If salvation is by grace alone then all the glory for salvation rightfully belongs to God. However, if what a man does must precede salvation taking place, then salvation is conditioned on what a man does, on what a man decides, and so, God could not legally take responsibility for all of salvation, for some of the glory for it would rightly belong to man. For the apostle Paul, and for every true believer the glory for salvation all belongs to the Lord: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:14-16).
Scripture clearly states: “…by grace are ye saved...” (Eph. 2:8). It does not add that one is saved by grace through works, or after a particular work is done, but solely through the gift of faith. It does not add that one is saved by a combination of grace and works, but that salvation comes solely by grace through the gift of faith, allowing nothing of which a man can boast of having done, or that has emanated from within him. A saved man is not one who exalts himself, or trusts in himself that he is righteous, but one who is humble, exalting only his Lord, and rejoicing in all that the Lord has done for him, exalting only in His Righteousness, for “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Prov. 20:9). The saved man trusts not in his own obedience, or in anything which originates within him, but only in the obedience of Christ. Christians are “…the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have NO confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). Salvation is a work of God, not a work of man. If one is saved by grace, then salvation depends only on grace, only on God. In the world of spiritual mathematics, grace = salvation. Nothing else can produce the right answer to the question of salvation. The correct answer to salvation cannot be arrived at by any other combination, or by any other means, than: GOD BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH. Works will not produce salvation, grace and works will not produce salvation, only God’s grace alone through the gift of saving faith given by God will produce salvation. Nothing added to grace—which automatically and simultaneously takes away from grace—can produce salvation. And most importantly, nothing added to grace will ever sustain salvation. The saving grace of God disqualifies everything else as being a necessary element in the eternal salvation of a man. THE GRACE OF GOD IS THAT AGENT WHICH GIVES THE GOSPEL OF GOD ITS EXCLUSIVE POWER TO SAVE. Any gospel which takes away from grace by adding anything to grace, such as the works and vain efforts of man to ingratiate himself to God, is a gospel which has no power whatsoever to save anyone. God’s power to save is by grace alone. EVERYTHING OUTSIDE OF GRACE IS ANOTHER GOSPEL. Every gospel that allows room for a man’s works is not testifying to the grace of God in the salvation of His people, but is rebelling against it, and everyone who believes such a gospel is a willing, albeit ignorant, participant in that rebellion. To trust in a lie is rebellion against God (see Jer. 28:15,16). So many claim salvation is by grace, but then immediately proceed to condition the maintaining of salvation not on grace, but on one’s personal obedience! If such were truly the case, if the maintaining of salvation was dependent upon a man’s obedience, how would anyone ever know if one had obeyed enough? And who would provide the standard of measure against which we could test and see whether our level of obedience was satisfactory? Paul posed the question: “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3 cf. Phil. 1:6). The Righteousness of Christ does not need your righteousness to make it any more Righteous than what it already is. The saved man is not saved, nor does he remain saved, by his own attempts at obedience, but by abandoning his own righteousness, and solely trusting in the Righteousness of Christ imputed to him “And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9).
Scripture states plainly in many, many verses that salvation is not by works at all, it is not at all according to, or reliant upon, what a man does, whether it is believing, or performing any act of obedience, or making a decision. God has saved and called His elect “…not according to (their) works, but according to HIS own purpose and grace…” (2 Tim. 1:9 cf. Rom. 4:16; Eph. 1:7; Titus 3:7). We learn from this that salvation is not a reaction, it is not a response from God to something man has done including his ‘prayers to be saved’. One cannot ask to be saved if one is dead in sin. Spiritually dead men cannot call on the true God to save them, for there are none righteous, none that understand the true God, or seek Him (see Rom. 3:10,11), so how could it be that such a creature could ever call upon Him. Salvation is not about man who asks, but God Who calls. “…how then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?...” (Rom. 10:14). How can any man be asking the true God to save him, before he has heard of Him through the preaching of the Gospel, before he has believed in Him by grace? Prior to hearing there can be no faith, and if there is no faith there can be no calling on the true God (see Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:6 cf. Rom. 10:20), and if there is no calling on the true God there can be no life, therefore, no grace in operation. If salvation came after one pleaded with God to save him, then salvation would be God’s response to a man’s initiatory act. It would be salvation by works: God’s response to, therefore, His reward for, our works, what we have done. A salvation which can only come after a man has done something first, is not salvation by grace. Salvation is a reflection of God’s will, not man’s will. It comes because of what God wants, and not because any man has asked for it. Salvation is God acting upon His will and purpose, and rescuing His people by His grace and mercy. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16 cf. Rom. 5:19; Gal. 3:11). This proves, unequivocally, that salvation does not come after anything a man has done—from asking to be saved to performing a work to get and/or remain ‘saved’. “…by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight…” (Rom. 3:20 cf. Psa. 130:3; 143:2). A MAN IS NOT SAVED BY WHAT HE DOES, BUT BY WHAT GOD DOES. Salvation is not conditioned on works, but on grace. It is not conditioned on a man’s will, but the will and purpose of God. A man’s justification comes not by what he does, but by the obedience and Righteousness of Christ alone: “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). SALVATION IS NOT BY, AND, THEREFORE, CANNOT BE DEPENDENT ON, WHAT A MAN DOES, OR DOES NOT DO. To say ‘saved by grace’ is to say saved and kept by God, saved and preserved by what God, and no one else, has done. “…by grace are ye saved….not of works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). By God’s “…grace are ye saved…not of yourselves” (Eph. 2:8). “…by grace are ye saved…lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9 cf. Psa.115:1). Salvation is by what God has done, and the grace of God simply shuts man completely out of the picture insofar as doing anything—therefore, being able to do anything—to gain or maintain salvation. Why would salvation be completely by grace alone, if there were anything a man could do to gain it? The Christian has not been given a faith with which to partially believe and trust in the Saviour. The faith God gives to His elect is one which trusts completely in the Saviour. No part of God-given saving faith leads a man to ever trust in himself, partially or otherwise. One’s whole faith, and complete trust, must be in Christ as total and complete Saviour for there to be explicit, and incontrovertible, evidence that one is saved of God. Salvation is totally of God, and not at all of man. The fact that salvation is by grace shows conclusively that salvation could be by nothing else. Salvation comes by no other means but grace, and no other one, but God.
What is so amazing in all of this is that many are under the impression that they agree with these teachings, but add that they must make a free will decision to believe, which they fail to grasp instantly cancels out any claim they have to believing salvation is by grace alone. Any act of man’s which is believed necessary before one is saved, displaces God from His rightful position of Saviour. If salvation waits upon your act of obedience, then it is no longer of grace. It is no longer of God, but of you. Some would reply by saying this is merely a matter of semantics. In saying this such folk fail miserably in understanding the very essence of Scripture which is that GOD IS THE SAVIOUR: HE SAVES US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES. Salvation is not by a work, it is by a SAVIOUR! Grace is God saving His people based on what He has done, and not on what they have done. God’s people are the saved, the rescued, and God alone is the Saviour, the Rescuer of His people. The very terms ‘saved’ and ‘rescued’ imply a person’s needing someone else to act—for they cannot—in order that they be freed from danger and placed into a place of safety. Those who need to be saved, or rescued, are obviously not in a position to extricate themselves from the danger they are in. A salvation by grace is not subservient to, or in any way controlled by, any act of man, but only to, and by, the will of God. God is free to be merciful to whomsoever He wills to be merciful toward, and so, by this we see that the mercy of God awaits only His will before it is applied and becomes operational. There must be no room at all for man to think that he has done anything to get saved, or remain saved, for all the glory for salvation belongs solely to God, for it is only ascribable to His grace. The Gospel of God, the Gospel of salvation by God, is “…the Gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Anything which is added to, or taken from grace leaves one without the Gospel of God, without the only Gospel that saves. The only thing that shuts out man, and gives all the glory to God, is grace. Grace is being saved by God, by what HE has done, and, therefore, by nothing you have done. Anything else, any doctrine which is added to this is nothing but leaven which leavens the whole lump (see Matt. 16:12 cf. Gal. 5:9). Salvation is by God, not man. Anything a man does is the result of his being saved, and not that which in any way procures, or contributes to, his salvation. Nothing which a man does can save him, or can in any way help to bring about his salvation, which is why God has provided a Saviour, and given Him the people He has chosen to save, for only HE can save. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11 cf. Psa. 138:2). “And He is the head of the Body, the Church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence” (Col. 1:18). “Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but Me: for there is no Saviour beside Me” (Hos. 13:4 cf. Isa. 43:11). It is by Christ’s death and resurrection, as well as His Obedience and His Righteousness, that a man is saved. Man cannot reach salvation by what he does. Just as “Wisdom is too high for a fool…” (Prov. 24:7), so too, salvation is too high for the lost. The Saviour saves those who cannot save themselves, by making those who were dead to Him, alive in Him. It is only those who know they did nothing, nor could have done anything, to save themselves, or assist in their salvation, that are the truly saved children of God. God makes those who did not desire Him, to desire Him, and no other; to believe in His Gospel of grace, and no other. Salvation is not achievable, or procurable, it is not attainable nor accessible by man which is why it must be a gift given, which at once rules out salvation as something which can be earned, or in any way deserved, thereby, proving it comes only from God and according to His will and grace.
A man’s believing is a gift given to him by God, and not something which comes from within man which merits salvation. If salvation were meritable, it could not, would not, be a gift (see Rom. 11:6 cf. Rom. 4:13-16). The gift of believing is not prompted by anything a man is, or does, for it is totally something which comes according to God’s will, purpose and grace. Saving faith comes from God’s ability and willingness to give, and not from any ability on our part to savingly believe. Salvation is of the Lord. Man plays no part in his getting saved, or staying saved, for salvation is totally by grace. It is solely “…the grace of God that bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11). It is the grace of God which delivers salvation. Salvation is allocated to all God’s elect. It is not man who goes out to obtain salvation, for salvation is unobtainable by man. No man can procure salvation for himself, for there is no man who seeks God, and, therefore, no man who seeks salvation the true God’s way. Inherently, salvation is not that which can be offered, but only given. ONE CANNOT CHOOSE, OR TAKE, THAT WHICH IS INTRINSICALLY A GIFT. Salvation is brought to man by grace which is only and always according to the will of God, and never by the will, or works, of any man. Salvation is purely by God, and is according to Him, His will, purpose and grace. Salvation by grace alone is the only way all the glory for salvation could be attributed to God alone. God saves His people by grace alone, for everything outside of grace is outside of God, in that, everything outside of grace is performed by someone other than God. 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). How, in light of this Scripture, can salvation possibly be offered to all, based on their works, their free will response, when it is clearly given to a predetermined number—God’s elect—according to God’s purpose and grace before the world began? The Scriptures identify, they define, salvation as a gift by grace, and not a reward through effort, for it is exclusively according to the will, purpose and grace of God. Before the world even began, salvation was given to God’s people in Christ. Salvation is by reason of the will, purpose and grace of God, and, therefore, cannot be because of anything a man has done, or can do. There is no room in grace for man to do anything, for grace has given salvation to those who have been given to Christ before the world began. There is no room in God’s will for man’s will. And, there is no room in God’s purpose for man’s purpose. NO ROOM, AND NO NEED FOR MAN, BECAUSE GOD, BY GRACE ALONE HAS DONE IT ALL.
No spiritual blessings are conferred to any man because of what he has done, but only because of the grace of God. God has blessed His people “…with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). “Pardon, peace, redemption, Righteousness, adoption, the earnest of the Spirit, etc., referred to in the following verses—blessings which ‘individual Christians’ enjoy, and not external privileges conferred on nations.” God’s will does not require anything, or any man, to ensure it is done, for God says: “…My counsel SHALL stand, and I WILL DO ALL My pleasure” (Isa. 46:10). The Christian is “…predestinated according to the purpose of Him WHO WORKETH ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSELOF HIS OWN WILL: that we should be to the praise of HIS GLORY, who first trusted in Christ” (Eph. 1:11,12 cf. 1:14). “The purposes and decrees of God, which are within Himself, wisely formed by Him, eternal and not frustrable; and which shall stand, or be accomplished, being the counsels of Him Who is all wise, all knowing, all powerful, unchangeable, true, and faithful; whether they respect the providence of God in relation to the world in general, and the government of it, or to particular persons, and their affairs, from the time of their birth to their death; or whether they respect His grace and goodness in the salvation of men; such as His purpose according to election (see Rom. 9:11), the covenant of His grace, redemption by Christ, the effectual calling, and eternal glorification; all which, as they are according to the will and counsel of God; stand firm and sure, and shall have their full accomplishment; (see Psa.33:11; Prov.19:21).”
God’s will and purpose do not wait upon anything to be done before they can be enacted and fulfilled. God’s will and purpose do not await anything to be done before they can be enacted or fulfilled, for it is God that makes alive according to His will and purpose. Nothing can be done before grace makes alive, and nothing needs to be done after one is made alive to the true God by God. God’s will and purpose in the salvation of His people are fulfilled simply because God has willed and purposed it according to His good pleasure. The English meaning of the word purpose, is ‘the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists’. God’s purpose is the reason for salvation, and its presence in one’s life. Nothing else, and no one else is behind the instigation, and sustentation of eternal life, but God and His purpose. Salvation is not instigated by man, because it originates with, and from within, God. Salvation cannot be instigated by man, for anything a man does is preceded by God’s making him alive. Nor is anything man does that which marks the inception of salvation. It is not an act of man, but the will of God which initiates salvation. God is the beginning and the end, the very Author of salvation (see Rev. 1:8; Heb. 5:9). Salvation is God’s property, therefore, it is His to give to whomsoever He wills to love: “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: Thy blessing is upon Thy people” (Psa. 3:8). “…the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD…” (Psa. 37:39). “Both their temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation; particularly the latter, which is originally of the Lord, and springs from the thoughts, purposes, and resolutions of His heart: it is of Him freely, of His rich grace and abundant mercy; and it is of Him fully and completely; it is an entire salvation of soul and body; includes all blessings of grace and glory in it; it is to the uttermost, and from all sin, and every enemy; and it is of Him only; there is no salvation in any other; and the glory of it is to be ascribed to Him, even to Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit; for all the three Divine Persons have a concern in it: the determination, contrivance, and settlement of it, is of Jehovah the Father; the impetration or effecting of it is of Jehovah the Son; and the application of it is of Jehovah the Spirit.” Salvation is of God, salvation is a blessing of, and from, God prepared for, and given to, His people, the ones He loves. The original Greek word prósthesis, in 2 Timothy 1:9, means “to purpose or plan a setting forth, presentation, an exposition, determination, plan or will. It involves purpose, resolve, and design. When used of the purpose of God, it exclusively refers to salvation. Therefore, in Romans 8:28, ‘…to them who are the called according to His purpose’, katá prothesin must be taken as synonymous with eudokéō, indicating that those who are called are called because of God’s good pleasure, and not because they deserve it (see Eph. 1:4-9)”. The will and purpose of God is the salvation of His people. That is why they are saved, that is why certain ones are His people. “…thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21 cf. Lk. 1:77; Gal. 1:4).
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13 cf. Eph. 2:10; Heb. 13:21). God circumcises the heart of man TO love God, not because a man loves God (see Deut. 30:6 cf. Eph. 2:4,5). God vivifies His chosen according to His grace. God is spiritually-inanimate-man’s only hope of ever being saved. God saves His people not by their works, but by His grace, according to His will, purpose and mercy. Salvation does not come after anything a man does, but only in accord with the mercy of God: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:5). Mercy is for those who have nothing to offer. God said unto Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom. 9:15 cf. Ex. 33:19; Jn. 5:21). If a man is saved by God’s mercy then he is saved by God—'HE SAVED US according to His mercy' not by any work of righteousness which we have done. Salvation is because of God, it is not a debt paid, but a gift given by Him according to Him. Salvation does not come from any human origin, but only from God via His mercy sent down to His chosen ones. “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9). The apostle Paul says that God has predestinated His saints, not according to what they have done, not because they have believed, not because they have performed some act of obedience, or made some decision for Him, but “…ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL, TO THE PRAISE AND GLORY OF HIS GRACE…” (Eph. 1:5,6 cf. Eph. 1:9; Isa. 49:8). Salvation is not according to man’s will, but GOD’s will. It is not according to a man’s free will decision, but by reason of predestination: the predetermining will of God. The inheritance which the saints have obtained is via predestination according to the will and purpose of God: “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: THAT we should be to the praise of HIS Glory…" (Eph. 1:11,12). God’s saints are all predestinated to the praise and glory of GOD’S grace, not to the praise and glory of a man’s believing, or doing. God’s grace gets all the glory for salvation because God’s grace has done it all. It is God Who makes His chosen accepted in the beloved by the taking away of their sins, and the imputation of Christ’s own Righteousness to them. Redemption is only unto the praise of HIS glory (see Eph. 1:14). It is God Who has chosen His people before the foundation of the world to be holy: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: 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…” (Eph. 1:4-6 cf. Gal. 4:4,5). The original Greek has ‘He graces us in the Beloved’. This is the Word of God, and not the words of men.
Seeing that both grace and faith are gifts from God, salvation by grace and salvation through faith are, therefore, both completely independent of a man’s works. Both grace and faith come from God, and so, both grace and faith are gifts given by God. The Bible is replete with clear statements concerning the confliction between those who seek salvation by what they do—which includes the act of believing—in other words, by their righteousness, and those who are given salvation because of the Righteousness of Christ imputed to them. If grace depended on anything outside of God, salvation would cease to be by grace, but would, instead, be by whatever grace relied upon to lift the boom gate, as it were, so that it would be able to grant the gift of salvation for which it was sent. Grace is something which comes from God because of God. Seeing that salvation is of the Lord, the grace that saves through faith is also of, from and because of the Lord, and is, therefore, solely conditioned upon the Lord’s will, purpose, grace and mercy. How can any part of salvation be conditioned on man who cannot be saved without God’s will and the gifts of grace, mercy and faith? It is God Who gets all the glory, therefore, it is God Who has done it all. The apostle Paul’s summary statement “And ye are complete in Him…” (Col. 2:10 cf. 2 Cor. 3:5) shows that God has done it all. A sampling of other Scriptures which support this follows: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6 cf. Jn. 6:29; Gal. 3:3; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 12:2); “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me” (Psa. 57:2 cf. Psa. 138:8). Grace saves those whom the Lord has chosen to be merciful and compassionate toward. This is something which the fallen, sinful nature of man hates with a passion: the fact that salvation is 100% of God, and something over which man has absolutely no control, or influence. It is a hated doctrine because it goes against the grain of that which comes naturally to the carnal, post-Fall, mind of spiritually dead man.
Salvation is not something which is in any way meritable, therefore, it cannot in any way be dependent upon a sinful, dead-in-sin, man. The sin that deceives all men by nature, and which is the centre point of every religion, is the belief that man can, therefore, must do something to come to God, appease God, and please God to the point God will save him. “The concept of saviour-gods was widespread in Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, even when people believe in gods who save, they still believe that works are necessary to earn the gods’ favour. The deepest thinkers among mankind have always thought that real forgiveness is possible only when due regard is paid to the moral law. How different is salvation depicted in the Bible…for the Gospel teaches that all glory for salvation belongs to God”, thereby revealing that He alone has done all the work, and that man is incapable of doing anything which is required to save his soul. Endeavouring to ‘get right with God’ is, without doubt, the most futile venture any man can embark upon, for salvation is only by the grace—an unmeritable act—of God. You cannot save you! What you do cannot save you! You and what you do are not the way to life. MAN IS NOT THE ANSWER, HE IS THE PROBLEM!! When a man does come to the Father it is only by the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done (see Jn. 14:6) for the sinner. Without the Father’s intervention no man can come unto the Son (see Jn. 6:44), and without the Son no man can come unto the Father (see Jn. 14:6). Christ is the Saviour, and only by the will and grace of God is a man saved. Without God, man does not even seek God. Man has no inherent desire for the true God, for all men are “by nature the children of Wrath” (Eph. 2:3), they are without God, and, therefore, ignorant of Him, thus, without any hope in the world (see Rom. 3:10-12 & Eph. 2:12).
What I would now like to draw the attention of all those who subscribe to the universally accepted false interpretation of John 3:16 to, is how the basic principle of grace in salvation is shattered when a mistaken understanding of John 3:16 is accepted. If God loves everyone, and Christ was sent to die as an atoning sacrifice for everyone, then one can only conclude that salvation is ultimately not according to the unilateral will and grace of God, for not all are saved, but instead finds itself dependent on the will and works of the individual who chooses to be saved, or not. Moreover, the premise of God loving all and Christ dying for all, also reduces God’s love to a mere sentimental emotion without the power to exceed wishful thinking, for there would be no power attached to that love, no purpose, and no will behind it that would, or could, affect anything. It would be a meaningless love belonging to an impotent god who could do nothing about what he wants to occur. The adherents of loves all and died for all promote a salvation by man’s will, and not God’s will. According to such false doctrines God’s will carries no more weight than a sinful man’s will, considerably less in fact, for those who hold to such tenets maintain that it is man’s will which ultimately determines whether he is saved, or not. If God’s love and Christ’s death are for all, then it is not God Who makes the difference between a saved man and a lost man, but solely the will and ‘choice’ of each individual. Such contrariety to the general principle of Scripture which makes it perfectly clear that God is Almighty, that the true God can not only do whatsoever He wills, but He actually, and always, does whatsoever He wills. God is not a can-do God, but one Who has done, does do and will do. Nothing is impossible to Him, nothing is too hard for Him, for He does whatsoever He wills whenever He wills to do it: “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Lk. 1:37), and “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?” (Jer. 32:27). “…our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa. 115:3). It is God Who makes a saved man to differ from a lost man (see 1 Cor. 4:7). The most fundamental rule of salvation is the key to unlocking the mystery of grace: the Lord will have mercy upon whomsoever He wills to have mercy. Clearly this is done according to God’s will and purpose, and is not in any way subject to a man’s will. None can be saved but by the will and mercy of God. A refutation of this primary principle of grace in salvation makes sense only in the minds of lost men who know not God.
Lost man’s whole problem lies in the fact that in his natural carnal state, which is always at enmity against the true God (see Rom. 8:7), man will not bow his knee to the true God Who has absolute Sovereignty over all. Man desperately clings to his way of thinking which has convinced him that if man does not control his own destiny then God would be unfair. The lie of free will is encased within the false perception that there must of necessity exist within man an intrinsic freedom to not only believe and choose what he wills, but also determine his own future for things to be on a level playing field. What this lie conveniently ignores is the fact that the sole catalyst for election, according to the Scriptures, is God’s will to be merciful, and that God shows His mercy to whomsoever HE WILLS. This instantly reveals the fact that there is nothing a man can do that can in any way attract God’s mercy to him, and so we learn that God’s mercy is according to nothing but God’s own will. People say that Sovereign election is not conducive to a level playing field, for not all can come, but only those who have been chosen. My friend, THERE WOULD NOT EVEN BE A PLAYING FIELD WERE IT NOT FOR THE MERCY OF GOD in His electing some to salvation!! Those who apportion blame upon, and who, therefore, loathe the doctrine of election, clearly do not believe the words of the Lord God in Genesis 2:17 where He warned Adam that if he ate of the forbidden fruit “…thou shalt surely die”, but rather have embraced the lie of Satan, who said “…ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). All such humanists want to be in control, and deem it a veritable crime against humanity if the true God dares claim Sovereignty over all. Every word of Satan contravenes the Truth of God. The true God is in no way impotent, but is forever Omnipotent: “…the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19:6). God is so powerful that He does not need anyone to comply with His will, for it is His will which dictates all that is to be done, and all that will do anything. None can possibly resist His will (see Rom. 9:19). “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Dan. 4:35 cf. 2 Chron. 20:6; Job 9:12; Eccl. 8:4). God says of Himself: “…I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isa. 43:13). The phrase who shall let it means: "‘who can turn it back’; either His work, or His hand in working; God’s purposes cannot be disannulled; His power cannot be controlled; His work cannot be made void, or of no effect; He always succeeds, for He has no superior that can obstruct Him”. “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased….For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in Heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places…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” (Psa. 115:3; 135:5,6; Isa. 46:10). What God desires never conflicts with what He causes to come to pass.
God is in no way helpless, or powerless, for God and His power are unlimited (see Job 42:2 cf. Jer. 32:17,27; Lk. 1:37). It is man who is the helpless one, it is, therefore, man who is powerless to do anything by which he can be saved, hence the need for grace if any are to be saved. Many do not believe, and some prefer not to be reminded of the fact that the race of man is an accursed race. It is cursed by its own sin. Man physically dies, and is spiritually dead to the true God because of sin. As a result: “…There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12 cf. Psa. 53:1-3). This is the state all men are in by nature. God’s will and God’s love are what a man’s being saved cannot do without, for if God has not willed a man to be saved, if God has not loved the man, if He has not commissioned his salvation, then that man is without hope of ever being saved, for he is without God and without the mercy of God in this world. God’s will comes first, God’s love comes first. God’s love is a purposeful love, and not some empty-hope love, or vain emotion. God’s love is never without corresponding action. God’s love and purpose cannot be detached from the will of God, and it cannot be stopped. Seeing that no man can interfere with the will of God, let alone stop it, or even hinder it, from being fulfilled, God’s love and the purpose for it, cannot in any way be denied, therefore, whomsoever God loves He saves. Those whom the Father loves, He gives to His Son, and they WILL all come to Him (see Jn. 6:37). Man’s love can in no way be the distinguishing factor in salvation, for all who truly love God do so ONLY because they were loved by Him FIRST. God loves because He wills to love for the express purpose of saving the ones He loves, therefore, it is God, and only God, Who makes the difference between saved and lost. God’s love makes the difference between saved and lost, it does not give man the potential to be the difference maker. Salvation is clearly according to God’s will, purpose and grace, and not according to a man’s decision for Christ (see Titus 3:5). It is GOD Who decides who will be saved, not the individual. The individual cannot decide for God, for prior to God’s making a man alive, man is dead in sins (see Eph. 2:1,5), just as no man can love God, before, and without, God’s loving the man first (see 1 Jn. 4:19). Therefore, any, and all, men who truly love God evidence the fact that God loved them first, for without this antecedent, and preeminent, love none can love Him. “The love of God is antecedent to the love of His people; it was when theirs was not; when they were without love to Him, yea, enemies in their minds, by wicked works, and even enmity itself, and therefore was not procured by theirs; but on the contrary, their love to Him is caused by His love to them; hence His love, and a continuance in it, do not depend on theirs; nor does it vary according to theirs; wherefore there is good reason to believe it will continue, and never be removed; and this shows the Sovereignty and freeness of the love of God, and that it is surprising and matchless.” God’s love for His chosen is the forerunner of their love for Him. The order cannot be reversed, for God has chosen those whom He would love before the foundation of the world, hence, the impossibility of salvation being by any means other than the grace of God which is no less than the manifestation of His love for His chosen, and not their love for Him.