By Grace Are You Saved Through Faith
Men, posing as religious teachers, frequently quote Ephesians two verses eight and nine in an effort to prove the doctrine of salvation by faith only. The only time the expression "faith only" is found in all God's Holy word is in James 2:24 where James says, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified and NOT (caps mine) by faith only".
Grace means unmerited favor. No man can work bug enough, or hard enough, to earn the bountiful blessings showered upon him day by day by our Heavenly Father. The clothing we wear, the food eat, and the very air we breathe, are all manifestations of God's bountiful grace. However, we cannot conclude that man is completely passive in the application of these blessings. He must breathe the air, eat the food, and wear the clothing if he is to receive any benefit from God's unmerited favor in these matters.
What man could not do for himself spiritually the grace of God has abundantly supplied for him. Man could never have supplied for himself a saviour. Nor could he have ever worked out a plan of salvation for himself that God would have accepted. Because of the seriousness of sin it was necessary that blood be spilled as atonement. "And without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). Animal blood would not suffice. 'For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins (Heb.10: 4). "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Rom. 5:8,9). " . . . And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I Jno. 1:7).
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things . . .but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot"
(I Pet. 1:18,19). These passages show clearly that God's grace has been extended to us in the provision of the blood of his Son for the remission of our sin.
Our text says that God's grace plus man's faith saves. Man must accept and obey God's spiritual laws in order to receive the spiritual blessings, just as he must breathe the air, eat the food, and wear the clothing to receive physical blessings therefrom. Man's part then is to exercise his faith. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" (I Pet. 1:22,23). "Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). "Not every one that sayeth unto me Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH (caps mine) the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Mat. 7:21). Man is commanded to: (1) Believe, Jno. 8:24; (2) Repent, Luke 13:3; (3) Confess, Acts 8:37; (4) Be baptized, Acts 2:38; (5) Live godly. Rev. 2:10b.
The apostle Paul warns the disobedient by saying that Jesus will come "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know rot God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thess. 1:7). Then let us accept God's grace by obeying his commandments through faith.
Truth Magazine: VIII, 3, p.1 December 1963