Posted by: missionventureministries | September 16, 2012

SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH – NOT BY WORKS – Ephesians 2:8-9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) 

The word of God is telling us that salvation is received by FAITH based solely on the GRACE of God. The concept of grace is unknown among cults and false religions invented by man. All those who practice in these false religions to some degree are seeking to merit or earn the right to heaven by their works. 

Sadly even among the “Christian” religions there are those who do not understand God’s grace, Christ’s atoning work or biblical salvation. These misguided churches teach a false salvation, based on adding men’s good works, church membership, baptism, and a host of other religious acts instead of biblical truths. They teach that man is saved by the righteous works of man.  

Their assumption is that they can somehow work for their salvation demeaning or discrediting Christ’s suffering and death on the cross for the sins of mankind. However the Word of God explains in Romans 5:12-21 that death came upon all men because of the sin of Adam. Further God says: “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” (Romans 5:15) 

Nowhere in this passage or anywhere else in the Bible does God say a man can in any way justify himself. The atoning for sin was the sole work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was without sin. The Bible says: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)  

It is solely Jesus Christ who atoned for sin and no man can offer his own righteousness for his sins, because all men are born sinners and are under the condemnation of sin. This erroneous doctrine of works is not God’s plan of salvation, and therefore damns those that believe it to eternal damnation.  

What then is grace? The dictionary defines grace as: “disposition to grant something freely the condition or fact of giving favor – mercy, clemency, pardon. In theology it means the “unmerited love and favor of God towards man.” Further the word refers to the divine influence of God to change a sinful man and make him pure and justify him before a holy and righteous God.  

Thus grace by its definition and nature is something which is freely given to man by His Creator in which there is no requirements set other than to freely receive it. Salvation is not earned, nor deserved, but offered as the free gift of God. 

False and unbiblical religions know nothing of God’s grace! Is it grace if I tell you that if you are a good and moral person and go join a church, tithe, and do certain rites, such as baptism, Lord’s Supper, confession, religious works, practice self denial and etc that God will extend grace to you? The answer is a resounding NO because by the very biblical definition of grace it is not grace when there is a condition or requirement attached other than freely receiving it. Romans 5:15 explains this truth and adds that grace is a “free gift”.  

God loves the sinner and offers grace and when it is received He takes away one’s sin and God Himself through Christ Jesus declares us righteous. It is totally the work of God offering us His unmerited favor.  

Romans 3:23-25 says: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.” Note the verse says all are sinners. This establishes every non-believer’s need to be justified. 

Verse 25, uses the word “propitiation” which means to have one’s debt fully paid. The offending debt is appeased; it is removed, taken out of the way and satisfied. Christ Himself, through His dying on the cross, shedding His righteous and innocent blood, paid our sin debt that we could not pay.  

1 John 2:2, says that on the cross every sin ever committed by man was paid for in full. “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”  

The Bible’s use of the word “propitiation” is an emphatic statement that man cannot earn God’s grace or salvation by works. The word means “full payment.” Christ is the full payment, not partial payment added to and completed by our good works. Thus man’s sin is removed totally by Christ based solely on His payment for our sins. God then imparts unmerited righteousness to the believer, when he by simple faith, believes in the Scriptures and trusts God. 

Romans 10:9-10 states: “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” 

Consequently Christians are not saved by their good works.  Christians are saved to do good works and it is crucially important to know the difference.  

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). Also look up Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 10:23-25; Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 2:9-12 and Revelation 22:12-14. 

As we study Ephesians 2:9 we conclude that we are not saved “by works, so that no one can boast,” it restates and clarifies the meaning of verse 8, that salvation cannot come from works but only by grace through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

 

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