THE GRACE PRINCIPLE
GRACE! It is a word many are so very familiar with. Religious people the world over claim that they are saved by grace, and proclaim an undying love for the God of all grace, etc., but the disturbing aspect is that many who claim to believe in salvation by grace nevertheless insist that they must do something to either assist in their getting saved, or in their remaining saved. Like so many today, they fail to understand the true meaning of grace, and have obviously been taught amiss as to just exactly what grace is and what it is to be saved by grace. Much can be said on this vital issue, but in this short article I would like to highlight the very essence, the core meaning, of the grace of God, and what it means to be saved by grace.
It has been eloquently and succinctly put that grace is unmerited favor. Grace is the favor of God upon a totally undeserving person. No one can merit grace, for if they could it would no longer be grace, but a reward (see Rom. 11:6). Even a cursory reading of the New Testament Letters will reveal that grace and works nullify each other. If one can get saved by works, then grace would not be required, but if the only way one can get saved is by grace, then no amount of works can ever attain what only grace can provide. Grace is most definitely not a reward from God for anything we are, have done, or will do. Grace is given DESPITE WHAT WE ARE, HAVE DONE, OR WILL DO!! You see, grace is something that God does, it is something which God does first, something that God bestows upon a person out of His free will, out of His abundant mercy, and the purpose of it is to save that person from what they do deserve—HELL. Grace does not need any human assistance, or compliance in order to fulfil its purpose. Grace is totally in contrast with, and diametrically opposed to, any work of man’s. Grace is a work of God not a work of man’s. No work of man’s can add anything to grace. Any attempt at obedience with the goal of getting saved, or believing it will help in one’s remaining ‘saved’, 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. 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). No work of man’s is necessary in the salvation of man. The best work a saved person has ever done does not contribute one iota to their getting saved, or remaining saved. Obedience is the fruit, not the tree.
Man is saved by grace through faith, and these are both gifts from God. “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” (Eph. 2:8,9). No effort of a man can get him saved, or is necessary in maintaining salvation. The obedience and Righteousness required come only from the Lord Jesus Christ: “…by the obedience of one shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19); “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). God’s grace does it all from A to Z. Grace is GOD DOING FIRST. If anyone believes they are bound to keep a certain law to get saved, or must maintain a certain level of obedience in order to ‘remain saved’, they are, far from being believer’s in grace, as lost as lost can be, for they are reliant on man’s doing to secure a saved state, an acceptable state before God. They are fleshly creatures not trusting solely, and, therefore, not at all—upon the grace of God.
So, should anyone come to you and claim to be saved by grace, and yet declares they are maintaining their ‘saved’ state through their own obedience, you may feel confident in telling them that they have been fed a false gospel, and not the only Gospel by which God saves: the Gospel of grace. Likewise, any who claim to have been saved whilst believing such a gospel are not saved, for they have placed their trust in another gospel, a gospel which does not attribute ALL of salvation to the work of God, the grace of God. God’s Gospel never once talks about what man must do to get saved, or stay saved. It does not talk about man’s works, but purely and simply highlights the work of God (grace) alone in the salvation of His people, and places everything God needed to do to save His people from their sins under the simple heading of GRACE!
The Gospel of God is about His grace. It is filled with what the Bible calls the doctrines of grace, in other words, the teachings of what God has done to save His people from their sins, and not what they must do. God gets His people saved by what He has done, and He keeps them saved by what He has done. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…For therein is the Righteousness of God revealed…” (Rom. 1:16,17); “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1 Pet.1:3-5).
Salvation is not by a work of man’s, but only by the work of God, and that work is all based on the grace principle.
To God be the glory for great things HE has done.
"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare WHAT HE HATH DONE for my soul" (Psa. 66:16).
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