THE HOUSE OF GOD - part 15
One cannot be believing and trusting in God’s only Gospel of grace if one counts oneself saved prior to hearing it, for to believe one was saved prior to hearing and believing the only Gospel of God is to believe one can be saved prior to grace, and, therefore, without grace and without God. Moreover, one cannot be a true believer in God’s Gospel if one reckons that one is/was saved whilst believing any other gospel, for all other gospels stipulate that a man’s works are a necessary requirement before salvation can be obtained, and/or in the maintaining of it, and are, therefore, false gospels. No other gospel than God’s Gospel teaches GRACE ALONE as that which saves. “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 cf. Rom. 3:25-28; Rom. 4:1-8). The clarity with which these Scriptures speak, serves to pronounce anyone as lost who would be so ignorant, so utterly blind, as to read anything into these Scriptures that suggests man must do something, or he cannot be saved. To replace what was intended by the Author, with a new, and different, meaning, or to take away, or add to His words, is to distort His Message in such a way as to render it a meaning which is according to one’s own understanding, and not the Author’s intention. No one, who has been given the gift of faith from God to believe in salvation by the grace of God, will ever believe that a man must do something to ensure his salvation. If a man does not have this right, if he cannot understand, and, therefore, does not believe that salvation is 100% OF GOD BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, then that person is currently in a lost state. God’s people have been made to see and love God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone. If God’s truth concerning how He saves cannot be discerned, it is clear that those to whom it is indiscernible are lost. “…if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). “…though some will not be lost eternally, whom God has chosen, Christ has redeemed, and who by the Spirit are brought savingly to believe in Christ; but there are others, that will be lost for ever; and to these the Gospel is hid; and they are such, who are left to the native blindness of their minds, and are given up to a reprobate mind, to judicial darkness, and are suffered to be under the influence of the prince of darkness, as in the following verse.” People may claim they are Christian, and insist that they do believe the Gospel, but if they do not see, understand and believe that grace is the most fundamental rule of salvation, they cannot possibly be Christian.
ALL the glory for salvation belongs to God, for there is no part of salvation that allows room for a man to boast of what he has done to obtain it. Highlighting certain parts of these Scriptures from Ephesians 2, far from doing a disservice to the context, sheds even more light on God’s description of how salvation is obtained, and how it cannot be obtained: “BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED…NOT OF YOURSELVES…NOT OF WORKS…” (Eph. 2:8,9 cf. Rom 11:6). In other words, salvation is not of yourselves, salvation is not by your works, for salvation is only by God, salvation is only by God’s grace. Salvation can do without your works, but it cannot do without God’s grace. Notice how salvation by God’s grace is expressly contrasted with the notion of salvation by man’s works, in Ephesians 2, how the gift of God is markedly at variance with the works of man. God will not tolerate man boasting of having any active part in salvation, this is because all of salvation is by the grace of God to the glory of God. Boasting of salvation by one’s works is excluded by the law of faith (see Rom. 3:27). Paul was adamant that there is nothing which a man has done, or can do, of which he can boast. Man has nothing to boast of, for there is nothing he has done, or can do, in order to gain, or maintain, salvation. If there is nothing for man to boast of, it means there is no contributing factor in salvation, nothing prior to, or after conversion, which man is responsible for. There is nothing in salvation which is due to man, or relies upon man. Salvation can only be ratified purely by grace. The grace of God is that which formally sanctions salvation. It is only grace which makes salvation legally valid in God’s eyes. The grace of God does not enable anyone to do what only grace can do. The apostle wrote: “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” (Gal. 6:14). Paul was dead to the beggarly elements of the world; the rules and laws of religion that conspire to hold back, or restrain, a man by unnecessary burdens, rather than free him as the truth of God does. And so, Paul adds in conclusion “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Gal. 6:15 cf. 1 Cor. 7:19). In other words “…a man is justified by faith WITHOUT the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28). The Word of God says “For ye are all the children of God BY FAITH in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). Salvation by grace is to have full and complete faith in Christ, and not in ourselves. The work of salvation is all of God. We are to look to Him, for He is the God of salvation. Scripture says “Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Pet. 1:21), and not in yourselves, or any false god identified by false teachings about the true God. Christ is the Propitiation, or Satisfaction, of all the demands of God’s Law and Justice. It is faith in Him alone that saves, for He is the only one who has achieved anything! The Christian believes the truth because of Him. It is because of God that the Christian’s faith and hope is solely in God. That’s why the true believer, and only the true believer, has his faith and hope ONLY in God, and in nothing that proceeds from himself. THE FAITH THAT COMES FROM, AND IS GIVEN BY, GOD TRUSTS ONLY IN GOD. This is the Gospel which the apostle Paul preached, and it is the Gospel which every resident of the House of God believes to the exclusion of all others, for all other gospels present a disfigured grace, for they all include at least some works as the condition for salvation, whereas the Gospel of God conditions all of salvation on grace alone through the gift of faith.
The very fact that a man even believes the Gospel of God, is solely attributable to grace: “...which had believed through grace” (Acts 18:27). Romans 3:24 informs us that the saved are “...justified freely by His grace...” (cf. Titus 3:7). Just as a man is saved by grace through faith, the saved man believes, only because he has been given faith by the grace of God to believe. “…unto you it is given…to believe on Him…” (Phil. 1:29). “Who by Him do believe in God…” (1 Pet. 1:21 cf. 2 Thess. 2:13). This verse dispels forever the very notion that a man believes because of his free will, or by his free choice, to do so. To believe in God is a gift from God, born of His will, and no other's (see Jn. 1:13). Election unto salvation is also all by the grace of God (see Rom. 11:5,6). The believer is “...called by His grace” (Gal. 1:15), while 2 Thessalonians 2:14 tells the believer that God “...called you by our Gospel...” Again, we see grace and Gospel used synonymously. The elect were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and “...predestinated...unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of HIS will, TO THE PRAISE OF THE GLORY OF HIS GRACE, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:5,6). Ephesians 2:5 and 2:8 both state that “by grace ye are/are ye saved”, while Paul, in Ephesians 1:13, calls the Gospel "...the Gospel of your salvation..." Further on in Ephesians 3, Paul tells of “...the dispensation of the grace of God...How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery...as it is now revealed unto His apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs...and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel” (Eph. 3:2,3,5,6). Here we see the dispensation of the grace of God being that which is revealed in, and through, His Mighty Gospel, hence the Gospel is of the grace of God, and about the grace of God. Grace and the Gospel are also connected in Paul’s second letter to Timothy: “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, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light THROUGH THE GOSPEL” (2 Tim. 1:9,10). Notice that the grace of God it took to call, or summon, His people is now made manifest by the appearing of Christ. “It is God Who both calls and chooses those who shall be saved” (see 2 Pet. 1:10 cf. Psa. 65:4). God calling and choosing His people is irrevocably connected to Christ Jesus the Lord, as this calling, according to His purpose and grace before the world began, is made manifest by the appearance of Christ. How is this calling made manifest? By the appearance of Christ. The Lord Jesus says “...Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:13 cf. Jn. 17:2). Christ is the very evidence of election, and what He did confirms that the beneficiaries of what He would do would indeed be those whom God had called and chosen! The very presence of the Saviour in a world of spiritually dead people is testament to the fact that God sent Him, and that God would save people from their sins by grace through His Son. Which people would He save? The elect—those whom He has called and chosen according to His grace before the world began. Titus 2:11 talks about “...the grace of God that bringeth salvation”. Without God there can be no grace, and without grace there can be no salvation. By nature, man is without Christ, without God and without hope, therefore, if man is without God, then he is also without grace and surely without any hope of coming anywhere near salvation by what he does. Without God = without grace = without any hope of salvation (see Eph. 2).
There is no grace outside of grace. There is no gospel which rightly declares the grace of God other than the Gospel of God. Every gospel that is not God’s Gospel is anti-Gospel, for every false gospel is against, and seeks to replace, God’s Gospel with a lie. Any time you have a gospel which teaches works as a way to gain, or maintain, salvation, you have a gospel which is diametrically opposed to the grace of God, and the Righteousness of Christ as they are exclusively, and properly, manifested in God’s true and only Gospel. Salvation is by grace alone, through Christ’s Righteousness alone. The Gospel of God is the Gospel of grace. The Gospel of God is God’s showcase of grace. The Gospel is like God’s display case of grace, it exhibits only the grace of God, and no work of man’s. The Gospel of God speaks only of what God has done by grace to save His people from their sins. IT NEVER POINTS TO WHAT MAN MUST DO, BUT ONLY TO GOD AND WHAT HE HAS DONE, FOR HE HAS DONE IT ALL! The Gospel of God proclaims that God has done everything to save, God has done everything that will save, His people from their sins. Every other gospel contains some directive that adds what a man must do in addition to what God has done. The instant one adds anything to grace, what God has done, one completely does away with what God has done, and is left with one’s own imperfect deeds. An elderly gentleman once said to me, ‘I live a good life, and help people when I can’. The context in which he said this was that he always seeks to do good, and really doesn’t need a Saviour. My response was to ask him ‘What about your sin?’ What will he do, what can he do, about his past and present sin? He did not have an answer for me. Anyone who looks to their deeds of obedience as that which they base, or partly base, their ‘salvation’ upon, MUST also deal with their sin by their works. It is a profitless venture for a man to look to the Saviour to take away his sins, if the man looks to his own deeds of obedience as playing any part in his alleged salvation (see Gal. 5:1-5). If a man looks to his own obedience as essential to salvation, he is not a beneficiary of grace, but a debtor to the law, and must fulfil every part of the law perfectly (see Gal. 5:3). But man is behind the eight ball, as it were, from the beginning, for not only does man sin, he is a sinner by nature, and must have a Redeemer to forgive and wash away every last stain of sin. Like the Ethiopian who cannot change his skin, or the leopard his spots (see Jer. 13:23), no man can do a single thing to change his nature, let alone perform anything which can contribute to, or promote, his spiritual re-birth. Man cannot do a thing to change his current spiritual state. Man cannot make himself a new creature. Man cannot even take one step towards the True God without the Lord, for, by nature, man does not know Him, and, therefore, does not seek the true God. The Christian boasts only in what God has done, for without God the Christian would not even be a Christian. It is the Lord who makes the Christian to differ from another. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor. 4:7 cf. Jn. 3:27; Job 35:7). It is what God has done that makes the difference. “And I will put a division between My people and thy people…” (Ex. 8:23). “Or, a ‘redemption’; for by distinguishing them in His providence from the Egyptians, He might be said to redeem or deliver them; thus God makes a difference between His chosen people and the rest of the world, through His Son's redemption of them by His blood, out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation.” Just as God divided His people from the Egyptians, it is God Who distinguishes His people from all others by granting them His faith to believe only His Gospel of salvation by grace alone.
This shows clearly that no man can perform any deed which could ever play a part in his salvation, for every deed man performs is stained by his own sinfulness. Man is such a corrupted, depraved creature who has not only sinned against the Great and Holy God, but further compounds, or exacerbates, his situation by rejecting God’s way of salvation by grace alone, and seeking salvation by his own efforts at obedience, or by an ungodly combination of God’s grace and man’s works. Rather than improve his condition, man’s reliance upon his own obedience is testimony of, and only contributes to, his lost and sinful condition, thus further condemning him. Every ‘good’ deed which man performs in order to get saved, or ‘remain saved’, is self-condemning, for it is imperfect, and a mere reminder of his presiding sin nature. “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me” (Job 9:20). All man does is defective, and substandard, and so could never be used as part of the ground of salvation. Man can do nothing to fix his sin problem. Man’s attempts to appease, and please God are as effective as placing a bandage on a wound which requires surgery, or taking an aspirin to rid oneself of paralysis. “A person went to the doctor to be treated for measles because he was unsuccessful when he tried to cure it by placing band-aids over the spots. The illness is inside! It's in the bloodstream. Sin is the same way. When we say or think wrong things, these are only symptoms of the sin within us, of our sinful state. Doing a few good works is like putting band-aids on the evil symptoms of sin. We're still sinners, and thus stand condemned before God.” Any time a person talks of their obedience as being necessary to gaining, or maintaining, salvation, one must always remind the person who is of such a mind, that they must also deal with the fact they are a sinner. They must be faced with their sins, and confronted with the reality that they carry the sin seed within them. There is no forgiveness for the man who looks to his own obedience to be the ultimate cause for salvation, for “…Christ shall profit you nothing” (Gal. 5:2 cf. Rom. 4:13,14), if you look to your own obedience. The man who looks to his own obedience cannot appeal to Christ in any way. Anyone who appeals to their own obedience toward a “particular system of values and principles of conduct,” or even bases their moral code on the Ten Commandments, and believes their adherence to it ensures their salvation, has no legal, or moral right, to appeal to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Cling to what you do, or have done, and you forsake Christ. “Christ is a whole Saviour, or none at all; to join anything with Him and His Righteousness, in the business of justification and salvation, is interpreted by Him as a contempt and neglect of Him, as laying Him aside, and to such persons He is of no profit; and if He is not, what they have, and whatsoever they do, will be of no advantage; wealth and riches, yea, the whole world could it be gained, their works and righteousness, whatever show they make before men, God has declared shall not profit them; and trusting to these renders Christ unprofitable to them.” Seeing that man’s imperfect obedience could never be used to save him, it shows that the only way a man can be saved is by the grace of God through the faith which comes from God, for nothing that a man does can rightly be the cause for him to boast as playing any part in salvation. Salvation is all of God, and no part of it is conditioned on man, for no man could ever fulfil any condition of salvation. This is why the Saviour, Jesus Christ, was sent to the earth: TO SAVE THOSE WHO COULD NOT DO A THING TO SAVE THEMSELVES! Whoever heard of anyone saying ‘I’ll save you’, to one who could obviously save himself? Lost man, by nature, has never, and can never, acknowledge the fact that there is nothing he can do, therefore, must do, to get or ‘remain’ saved. Without God, without being made a new creature in Christ, all man can do is believe in a gospel which says that there is something man can do, and, therefore, must do if he wants to be saved. According to the Word of God, such gospels ultimately, and invariably cause man to look to himself to ensure his salvation. Man, by nature, can think no other way, for he is without God, and, therefore, without right knowledge of the fact that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in what God has done, and not on what we do. Only when a man is saved by God, and believes in the Gospel of God—salvation by grace through faith—does a man believe that salvation is by grace alone, that salvation is by the obedience of Jesus Christ alone, and not one’s own obedience at all. Paul said that if one were to add even a relatively innocuous thing such as circumcision to the Gospel of grace, Christ would not profit that person at all (see Gal. 5:2), but they would, as a consequence, be a debtor to do the WHOLE law: “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law” (Gal. 5:3). If you appeal to your obedience to even one law, you become indebted to obey every law perfectly. In other words, adding only one rule of obedience, and believing that one’s obedience to that rule forms any part of the ground of one’s salvation, disqualifies the legitimacy of any appeal to Christ and His Righteousness. Add anything to grace, and you do away with grace. Add anything to the Gospel of grace, and you have another gospel, a gospel of works which cannot save. Add what you do to anything which God has done, and you have another god who cannot help you. This is what the apostle Paul warned the Galatians about. The utter gravity of the situation is not in any way diminished by the apostle who warned that if anyone brought to them such a gospel, a gospel which focussed on their obedience—even to a mere observance of days, months, times and years (see Gal. 4:9-11)—as being in any way needful in ensuring their salvation, such a person was accursed. Belief in any works-based gospel cannot save you. Belief in any such gospel only reveals the accursed state of those whose faith is in them.
A Christian is a work of God, and no self-made creature. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Eph. 2:10 cf. Rom. 1:5; 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). A saved man is a product of God, not of himself. “as men…in Him we live, move, and have our being; and, as new creatures, we are His workmanship, created in Him, and by Him; regenerated by His Spirit and grace, and formed for Himself, His service and glory; and made great and honourable by Him, raised from a low to an high estate; from being beggars on the dunghill, to sit among princes; yea, made kings and priests unto God by Him...‘He hath brought us up, and exalted us' and not we ourselves; that is, 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…" No man can, by his own efforts, or actions, extricate himself from his bondage to sin, or divest himself of his sin nature. No man can cause, or will, himself, to be saved. Man cannot either will, or work, his way to Heaven. The Christian is not born again, he does not become part of God’s Building, because of his good works, but was made a new creature unto good works, therefore no good works can be performed until after one is saved. “…without faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Heb. 11:6). Nothing can be done by a man who is without God, which can in any way please God, without the justifying faith given by God. The Christian is born of grace. No man can do anything in order to become a Christian. There is simply no Biblical logic in such a proposition. Salvation comes from the top down, and is not something within man’s reach, which he can draw down to him. The works a saved man is created to perform do not in any way lead to salvation, nor are they the cause for salvation, for they are nothing more than the fruit of salvation. Salvation by grace produces good works, but cannot be gained by good works. Salvation by grace, is salvation by God, and not by you. A Christian is made a new creature in Christ, by Christ, made alive to Him and His Gospel, and dead to all others. To not count oneself dead to all other gospels is to acquiesce to the notion that there are other gospels, other ways to salvation apart from, or in addition to, God’s only Way—grace alone—that there are exceptions to the Gospel rule. To accept another gospel, to believe that one was saved, or can be saved, through faith in another gospel is to bow down to the groundless lie that God does not save by grace alone, but also by other means. This is a totally and Scripturally unsupportable claim, for it entertains the idea that salvation has other sources than God. If salvation is by any other means than grace, or as well as grace, then salvation becomes something which is attainable through God, as well as through man and any one of his false gods. The works of man is something that is non-compliant with the grace of God, and those who believe in the false gospels which promote the works of man as a way to salvation are, likewise, in opposition to God. The entire concept of salvation by any other means than the grace of God alone, is to not only do away with grace, but also includes the banishment of God Himself. If one dispenses with the need for grace, then one is literally omitting God from the salvation equation. 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 see the stark reality, and the utter evil of a 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).
Being made alive to the Gospel of God is being made alive to salvation by grace alone. To not be made alive by Christ to His Glorious Grace-based salvation Plan as revealed in His Gospel, is to remain dead to the Godly concept of salvation by grace alone. “By grace are ye saved”, means that God saves by grace alone. Salvation is of the Lord, and the only method He has to save is by grace through faith in His Gospel. There is nothing which God adds to grace, so what makes man think that he must add to grace? What justification does any man have to seek to add imperfection to perfection? Why would anyone want 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!
To believe in another gospel is to say that God does not save by grace alone, but that He rather, or also, saves this way, or that way. It would mean changing Ephesians 2:8 from “by grace are ye saved” to ‘By grace are ye saved, as well as by other means’. ‘You are saved by what God does, and/or by what you do.’ To remain dead in sin is to be receptive of, and alive to, the lie which teaches that personal acts of obedience are what salvation cannot do without. Scripture says the Christian is made alive, he is regenerated, and made a new creature in Christ unto good works, and not because of good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Eph. 2:10). Also, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:2 cf. 2 Thess. 2:13). Christ died for those who were still His enemies (see Rom. 5:8-10). He saved them not based on what they did, but despite what they did, and could not, do. Our efforts at obedience is not why we are made new creatures in Him. The following is most important, as it is in response to those who so falsely accuse preachers of the true Gospel that how we live and what we do matters not, and that we promote immorality. This, of course, was what the apostle Paul was also baselessly accused of: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1,2 cf. Rom. 3:8; 6:15). Every believer strives to be obedient to God’s command to be holy and perfect (see Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:16), and every believer fails in this endeavor. Anyone and everyone knows that we cannot ever obey God perfectly. Even the irreligious sinner knows he is not perfect. This truth resides in every man, barring some who have joined extreme cults, and believe that they no longer sin, or that they never even had a sin nature in the first place. These people, according to the Scriptures, are liars who deceive themselves (see 1 Jn. 1:8). Though the true believer knows that no amount of stringent effort on his part to obey can in any way maintain his saved state, he nevertheless knows that he must do his best to live an obedient life, for this is the will of the Lord. This he does with the help of God, not in order to stay saved, or make himself better qualified for Heaven, for his salvation is fully grounded in the Righteousness of Christ, and he is not among the foolish who think that, having begun in the spirit, they must now be made perfect by the flesh (see Gal. 3:3; Phil. 1:6), but in order to follow the teachings of His Lord, to worship Him, and be His disciple, to show his love and gratitude to such a loving Saviour. The true believer’s obedience to God is not a legalistic one, but one born out of love and gratitude. It is not motivated out of a hope for reward, but out of love and devotion towards the One Who has freely given him the gift of eternal life: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO (not because of) good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). Significantly, the true Christian has been made UNTO good works, strongly implying that before being made new in Christ he had no good works by which he could recommend himself to God (see 2 Cor. 5:17). “…‘a new creation’, is a phrase often used by the Jewish doctors, and is applied by the apostle to converted persons; and designs not an outward reformation of life and manners, but an inward principle of grace, which is a creature, a creation work, and so not man's, but God's; and in which man is purely passive, as he was in his first creation; and this is a new creature…” The old man, and his carnal reasoning are now passed away, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). “…the old course of living, the old way of serving God, whether among Jews or Gentiles; the old legal righteousness, old companions and acquaintance are dropped; and all external things, as riches, honours, learning, knowledge, former sentiments of religion, are relinquished.” There are no good works which a man can perform in order to gain anything from the Lord. The good works of a saved man begin only AFTER being born again, and certainly not before. God does not justify the godly, but justifies the UNgodly, the ones who have no good works. The Lord Jesus said: “…They that are whole (“in their own esteem”) have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mk. 2:17). “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly….But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6,8 cf. Rom. 4:5; 5:10).
God is not prompted to save any by what they do, but only by that which is according to His will: grace. The principle of salvation by grace alone, coupled with the fact that every Gospel believer is the result of God’s workmanship, rules out the remotest possibility of any gospel being God’s Gospel which claims that salvation is, at least in part, conditioned on our good works. The apostle Paul was quite adamant that there was no other gospel which could save apart from the Gospel revealed to him by God. Paul did not mention a person’s character, conduct or conviction as that which could legitimately be introduced into any conversation concerning salvation. Meaning, that no man is saved because of his good character, or how morally he conducts himself, or because he has a strong conviction of whatever false gospel he believes in. Paul’s Gospel is about God, not man. Paul’s Gospel speaks of God’s Character, God’s conduct according to grace in the salvation of His people, and of the faith which God gives to all His people so that they will all believe His Gospel alone. The apostle believed in one Gospel because it was the only Gospel God revealed to him “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord…” (see Rom. 1:1, 3-7). It was the only Gospel which Paul was separated unto (see Rom. 1:1), and it is, and forever shall remain, the only Gospel God reveals to His chosen, and which they are all separated unto (see Rom. 1:6), and believe. Those who are of the House of God are all separated unto the Gospel of God, and those who are not remain in disobedience toward it. The apostle states: “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the Faith…” (Rom. 1:5 cf. Eph. 2:8-10), not because of obedience to the Faith. Grace does not come, it is not given, because of our obedience, but solely on the basis of Christ’s obedience. A Christian is one who has been separated unto God’s Gospel of grace alone, and separated from every gospel which requires the obedience of man to either get saved, or remain saved. The Christian’s God-given faith is in grace alone because it is in God alone. The faith that believes in grace alone comes from God alone. The faith which does not believe in grace alone, is that faith which is common to every man according to his sinful, accursed, nature.
No man can have any influence on God to save him. No work of man’s can get him anywhere near the true God. Salvation is by grace through faith, and all these are gifts from God that are according to His will and purpose. Salvation is entirely by God, and by nothing a man can do. All the glory for salvation belongs solely to God, thus there is no glory for man in salvation, for there is nothing he has done, and, therefore, could do to ensure his own salvation. Salvation is all of grace, all of God, therefore, there can be no room or reason for a man to think to himself that something he must do, or has done, contributes in any way to getting, or keeping him, saved. The following Scriptures specify in detail what exactly God has done in saving a man, and at the same time reveals man to be a mere recipient of that which is a result of the love of God found only in Christ His Son: "...whom HE did foreknow; HE also did predestinate…whom HE did predestinate, them HE also called: and whom HE called, them HE also justified: and whom HE justified, them HE also glorified" (Rom. 8:29,30). There is no room for man here; no requirement, or condition, man must meet before he is saved; nothing he can do to get himself saved, or keep himself saved, and, therefore, no reason for any glory to be attributed to man in his salvation. God gets all the glory because He has done all the work!! God elected, God predestined, God prepared the substitutionary sacrifice, and His Son became that sacrifice which would wash away every sin of those people God entrusted to Him, and which would satisfy the justice of God, and forever put an end to the Wrath of God towards those people and their sins. Notice that there are no ifs, buts, or maybes in any of this, nothing which is conditioned on man in any way. Nothing else is necessary for a man to be saved, outside of God, and what God has done. All of Romans 8:29,30 is according to predetermination, the absolute unshakeable certainty that all these things will happen. ALL those God foreknew because of His love for them, His grace and mercy toward them, WILL be justified and glorified according to God’s plan of salvation for them. It is by GOD’S WILL that any are saved. By nature, man is dead in sin, and so God does not look for man to initiate the salvation process. God does not look for man’s cooperation in the salvation process, for man is dead in sin. Hence, the fact that salvation is all by God through the means of His Gospel, His grace through His gift of faith. James writes: “Of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth…” (Jas. 1:18 cf. 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:3). No one is born again without the Word of the truth of the Gospel of God (see Col. 1:5). God begets His people with the Gospel, by grace, through faith. The word begat means ‘To procreate, as a father or sire; to generate; as, to beget a son. To produce, as an effect; to cause to exist…” As humans, we play no part in our conception, or birth, so too, the Christian plays no part in his election, or his re-birth. God alone is the one who causes the new Christian to come into being, to exist, and no one else. God does this through the means of His Seed, His Word the Gospel (see 1 Pet. 1:23,25).
The Christian is a work of God’s creation, a new creature in Christ. We are His workmanship, and not our own (see Eph. 2:10). A tree does not become a chair, but for the workmanship of the carpenter. No chair can will itself into existence, nor can a spiritually dead man become a saved man, but by the will and expertise of Almighty God. By nature, man is without God, and, therefore, without any hope in the world. This comprehensively rules out every man-made plan of salvation, for man without God is hope-less. There is nothing which a hope-less man can conceive of, or do, which can get him saved. If a man is hope-less nothing which proceeds from him will profit him in any way. “…without Christ…no hope…without God” (Eph. 2:12), leaves a man without any hope of escaping his sinfulness, let alone being able to do anything by which he can drawn near to God. Without God, man is without salvation. Without God, all man has is a vacuous religion that has him inescapably restrained by formulas for salvation which always include, and are always ultimately dependent on, what a man does by way of obedience. There is only one Gospel of grace, and it comes only from the mind of God. Before God, man is without salvation. Man cannot even love God unless God loves the man first. The Word of God says that no man even seeks the true God (see Rom. 3:11; Jn. 14:17). Salvation does not require man’s obedience, for it is conditioned on Christ’s obedience ALONE. There is no room for man’s obedience in a Gospel which promotes salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in the obedience of Christ alone. Anyone who believes in a gospel which declares one’s individual obedience as an essential element of salvation, is on the side of those who will not accept Christ’s exclusive obedience as that upon which salvation is solely conditioned. Christ’s obedience was enough for God to condition the ground of salvation upon, and it is enough for every child of God to base their salvation upon. What makes anyone, who believes Christ’s obedience is not enough, think that God will view their individual obedience good enough? Those who disobey the Gospel of Christ, cling to their own obedience as a necessary part of the ground of salvation. A hopeless man looks to his experiences, feelings and degree of religious fervor as the undeniable evidence of salvation. Anyone who follows a gospel which teaches that Christ’s obedience needs to be supplemented by one’s individual obedience is currently in a lost state. To deny Grace alone, is to deny God, is to deny the Gospel of God. It is the very essence of unbelief, and what lies at the heart of every man, by nature. It is to be an unbeliever. It is to deny oneself a place in the House of God. Religious people the world over would be shocked if they were told they were all unbelievers in God. However, to be an unbeliever, a denier of God, one does not have to deny His existence, but by not believing in God’s Gospel alone as that which saves, one denies the true God and His power to save.
To believe incorrectly is to believe error. To believe error is to believe in lies. To believe in lies is to believe another gospel which cannot save. To believe another gospel is to reveal a faith which is not the gift of faith which God gives to all His people so that they will believe His Gospel, and no other. To believe a false gospel is to be unsaved. Those who disobeyed the Gospel of God in 1 Peter 4:17 did not necessarily deny the existence of God, but they did deny the Gospel of God either through their wilful disobedience of it, or through their obedience to other gospels. Deny the Gospel, and you deny the God of the Gospel. Not abiding in the Doctrine of Christ is denying the only way to salvation that God has declared, and by doing so reveals your dead-in-sin state. Only God’s Gospel saves because it is the only Gospel God has authored, therefore, the only Gospel one needs. It is the only Gospel which teaches grace alone. The teachings, or doctrines, of the Gospel promote the grace of God in the salvation of His people. The Gospel of God is not called 'The Gospel of the works of man’, but the Gospel of the grace of God. There is, therefore, no room in the Gospel of the grace of God for any work of man’s, and so, no part of salvation which can be conditioned on a man’s character, conduct, degree of conviction, or efforts at obedience in order to recommend himself to God. The Gospel of God is about the grace of God in the salvation of His people from their sins. SALVATION IS BY GRACE BECAUSE NOTHING ELSE CAN SAVE!! No one else can save except God, so it is only by what God does that a man is saved. Nothing reveals the spiritually dead state of man quicker than a warped understanding of what the grace of God is, and means. By grace are ye saved. This simple and succinct statement says it all. Man’s sinful, spiritually dead condition has him agreeing with this statement, but only according to his understanding of it, and not God’s. Lost man says, ‘Yes, a man is saved by grace, but we must add our obedience’, not realising that by adding one’s obedience to grace one nullifies grace (see Gal. 2:21). Adding anything to grace is actually replacing grace. It is a return to law, and hopeless bondage. “…sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14 cf. Gal. 5:18). Lost man says God saves us by His free grace, but man must do his part. Many do say they believe a man begins His Christian life in the Spirit, but remains saved by his obedience to God’s law. Notice there are no buts, or howevers in Ephesians 2:8, or any other Scripture which talks of grace in salvation. The moment you place the words but, or however after grace is the moment you reveal your understanding of grace to be an unscriptural one. Paul the apostle clearly taught that if election were by a man’s works then it could not be by God’s grace at all (see Rom. 11:6). And, if election—the precursor to salvation—is by God’s grace, then in no way could it be because of anything a man does, or was foreseen would do. There is no such thing as GRACE AND… but only GRACE THROUGH FAITH. And this faith is also a free gift from God. God saves a man with His Gospel, by His grace, through His gift of faith. No Scripture has ever, or will ever support any other means to salvation. By grace are ye saved, means we are saved by God. Grace is God doing. Grace comes from within God, and is subject only to the will of God, and, therefore, cannot be something which can be coaxed out of God by how good we are, or by our alleged free will. The Gospel of God is not about grace and… . Salvation is by grace through faith which is a gift, not a work of man’s. In my research for this book, I came across one man’s writings where he waxed lyrical about the grace of God in salvation. Like many who at first seem to have an understanding of grace according to the Word of God, all seemed quite Scriptural in this man’s writings, until he said this: “Faith is man’s work”. Arminianism’s boast is “Faith is the sinner's gift to God; it is man's contribution to salvation". If faith were a man’s response to God’s grace, it would be a man’s work, and not a gift from God that would be responsible for salvation. How can a man respond to God when he is dead in sin? And when exactly does a man make his alleged ‘response’, before he is made alive by God, or after? How can a man respond to God before he is made alive, and what need would there be for, what would it benefit, a man to respond to God after the Lord has made the man fully alive to Him? Apparently, no sense makes sense to those who claim faith is a work of man’s, a gift given by man to God. Any faith that is a work of man’s, a faith which is perceived to be a man’s gift to God, cannot be that faith which the Scriptures declare comes by the grace of God as a gift to His people. True saving faith comes only from God, and is given as a gift to His people. Salvation is by grace through faith in the Son of God as God has revealed Him in His Glorious Gospel. Man is not rewarded with salvation by grace because of man’s faith, for saving faith is a gift given him by God solely through the means of free grace. Grace is not a reward, but a gift. Nothing which comes by grace can possibly be of man. Therefore, saving faith is a gift, and not something through which a man earns salvation. Faith is the fruit of grace, and not a work of man’s. If there is no room in the Gospel of grace for what man has done, it is evidence that there is nothing man has done, or can do, which can play any part in his salvation. All the glory for salvation belongs to God for all of salvation is of God. This is the only Gospel which allows no man to boast in anything which he has done, but allows room only for boasting in Almighty God, and rejoicing over His glorious grace in having saved His people from their sins.