FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED
By John C. Carpenter
 
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, wrote to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph 2:1-10). In these subject verses, Paul makes three points: we were dead, we were quickened, and we were saved through faith in Christ. According to God's plans, purposes, and will, our salvation was and is a gift of grace from God the Father.
 
DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS
 
Speaking to members of the Ephesus church, the apostle Paul explained that believers in Christ have had two lives, an old and a new. Speaking the truth in love, Paul described their old, past life by giving them the hard, but truthful, specifics: Wherein in time past [the old life] ye walked [lived]according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (brought about by Satan), the spirit [of worldliness] that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation [lived our lives] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath [death], even as others. Paul was direct with the Ephesian believers because he well knew the deadly temporal and eternal dangers of worldliness. Paul explained that before coming to faith in Christ, we were living according to worldly standards which were and are estabished and maintained by Satan, who is the spirit that is working in the world, and who is causing the unsaved to be disobedient to God and His standards and will. Our past worldly ways included walking, or living, in the lusts of the flesh, and in fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind. Because of living in these worldly ways, the unsaved are therefore destined to be the recipients of God's wrath, the result of which is eternal damnation, punishment, and death. Another apostle, John, also understood the dangers of worldly living, and warned that those who love the world do not love God: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world [the old ways of worldliness] passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:17). Paul gave Titus some very sound Christian advice:In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: [and] in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:7-12). Paul specifically connected worldliness with God's wrath when he wrote Colossian believers, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time [in the past, in your old life], when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, w hich is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (Col 3:1-10). The apostle Peter wrote the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.For the time past of our [old] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (1 Peter 4:1-6). Because of their blatant sins, Paul also warned Roman believers [and the rest of us as well] that their ungodliness would result in Gods' wrath: the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18), and that after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom 2:5-6). Paul added that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18). Paul also entreated believers in Colossae to mortify their members upon the earth, because such sins as fornication [harlotry including adultery and incest], uncleanness [physical and moral impurity], inordinate affection [powerful lust], evil concupiscence [extreme lust for that which is forbidden], and covetousness[greediness] would cause the wrath of God to come on the children of disobediance (Col 3:6).
 
QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST
 
Secondly, although Gods' holiness and righteousness demand that worldliness must result in wrath and damnation, wrath and damnation are not God's desired outcome for man. Because of His great love, God is rich in mercy; and because of His rich mercy and abundant grace, He quickens the undeserving sinner:But God, who is rich in mercy, for [because of] his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Because of His love, mercy and grace, God quickened us, and made us alive together with Christ. Although dead in their sin, sinners who come to faith in Christ are quickened for two reasons: God's rich mercy, and God's abundant love.
 
The idea that God is merciful is abundant throughout scriptures. We are taught that God's mercy endureth for ever (1 Chron 16:34), while the psalmist exclaims thatAll the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies (Psa 25:10) and The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy (Psa 103:8). The beloved physician, Luke declares God's mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation (Luke 1:50). Referring specifically to the nation of Israel [and to believers in Christ], Paul wrote Roman believers, For as ye [Gentiles] in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel's]unbelief: Even so have these [Israelites] also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all [Jew and Gentile alike] in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all (Rom 11:30-32). God's salvation is Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified [rendered just and innocent] by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:5-7). Peter taught that those who are saved are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy (1 Peter 2:10). God said For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel [and all believers] after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Heb 8:10-12).
 
God the Father also has great love towards mankind. In the verse that many people are familiar with, Christ explained to Nicodemus that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17), while Paul wrote believers in Rome that 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). Scriptures teach Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10) and that God cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
 
Paul further explains that God the Father, because of His great mercy and love, has raised believers up from the consequences of worldliness and sin, has made us to sit together in heavenly places because of our faith in Christ Jesus, and has quickened us together with Christ. The word quicken means to vitalize, revitalize, make alive, give life, and to save from death. Writing Roman believers, Paul explained if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [revitalize, save from death] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you (Rom 8:10-11). Believers in Christ are Buried with him [Christ] in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Col 2:12-13). Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18). Paul taught now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man [Adam]came death, by man [Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be [quickened and] made alive (1 Cor 15:20-22).
 
BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH
 
Third, Paul taught that 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-10). In other words, our faith and resulting salvation are completely the result of God's grace. It is nothing more than God's mercy, love, and grace which brings about our faith and resulting salvation.
 
The word grace, translated from the Greek word kharece, means acceptable, beneficial, full of favour, a gift, or liberality. Grace may also be thought of as the manner or act of gratifying, and the divine influence upon the heart with its' resulting gratitude. Theologians often define grace as unmerited favor, something done beneficially for us which we neither deserved, earned, or played a part in. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines grace as unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification, a virtue coming from God, or disposition to or an act or instance of kindness or clemency. Unger's Bible Dictionary, by Merrill F. Unger, says that grace is what God may be free to do, and indeed what He does, accordingly, for the lost after Christ has died on behalf of them. Grace thus rules out all human effort. It requires only faith in the Savior.The apostle Paul recognized God's unmerited favor operating in his own life: And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (1 Tim 1:12-14). The apostle John instructs us And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:14-17). We know that all have sinned, have come short of the glory of God, yet are being justified freely by God's grace through the redemption that is available through Christ Jesus (Rom 3:23-24). The apostle Paul taught, Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift [of righteousness and life] by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:14-17), then added Moreover [additionally] the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 5:20.21). Directly connecting grace and salvation through faith in Christ, Paul instructs us For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14); then later added, For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7). We are all exhorted in times of temptation and hardship to seek God's grace and help: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:14-16).
 
The word saved is translated from the Greek word sozo, which means to deliver, to protect literally or figuratively, to heal, preserve, to cause to do well, or make whole. Both confession and belief are essential to salvation in Christ: ...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:9-10). He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).Paul wrote believers in Thessalonica But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do (1Thess 5:8-11). Elsewhere, Paul concluded Much more then, being now justified [through faith] by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life (Rom 5:9-10).
 
Translated from the Greek word pistis, the word faith means assurance, belief, credence, conviction, fidelity, or reliance upon for salvation. Paul wrote those in Rome that the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Rom 3:22-28). Paul later added 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 [faith in] him (Rom 5:8-9). Paul also wrote believers in Galatia 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). Christ also clearly taught that salvation resulted from faith, and not works. Some leaders of the Jewish church, believing that salvation came through works, asked the Lord, What [works] shall we do, that we might work [perform] the works of God? (John 6:28); Jesus said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (John 6:29). Paul also wrote Titus that salvation is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:5-7). The apostle John wroteFor God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16-18). Faith in Christ is essential to salvation: Neither is there salvation in any other [name other than Jesus Christ]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
 
MIGHT GRACE REIGN THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO
ETERNAL LIFE BY JESUS CHRIST
 
It is only by the grace of God the Father that men develop faith in Christ Jesus and, as a result, are saved from God's wrath. Salvation is freely given by God, and cannot be earned by the efforts of man. It is by God's grace that believers are justified and made heirs to the Kingdom (Titus 3:7), that Christ was made to be sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21), and reconciled to God by the death of His Son despite the fact we were originally the enemies of God (Rom 5:10). It is by God's grace that He was merciful unto our unrighteousness and remembers our sins no more (Heb 8:12), that we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins and redemption (Eph 1:7), and that we were reconciled to God the Father through the blood of the cross (Col 1:19-20). It is by God's grace that believers in Christ have been given abundant life (John 10:10), that believers in Christ have been given eternal tresures in the heavens (Luke 12:33), and that believers have received the good gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). It is by God's grace that God gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not be condemned nor perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16-18), that God forgives us our debts, trespasses, and sins (Mat 6:12-15, Mark 2:10), that believers in Christ have the forgiveness of sins through His blood and the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7), and it is only by God's grace that we are what we are in Christ (1 Cor 15:10).
 
In addition to His mercy and grace, God is full of goodness. The psalmist wrote Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! (Psa 31:19), as well as For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD (Psa 33:4-5). We are exhorted by scriptures,Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (Psa 107:8-9). Isaiah wrote, I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses (Isa 63:7).
 
God even refers to His own goodness towards Judah and Israel: And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it (Jer 33:9). Scriptures remind us For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty(Zec 9:17). To Roman believers, Paul refers to God's goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering which leads to repentance (Rom 2:4). In instructing the Gentile believers not to boast in their faith and salvation, Paul again referred to God's goodness when he chastened and warned Gentile believers to Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them [the Jews] which fell, severity; but toward thee [the Gentiles] , goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off (Rom 11:22).
 
Paul explained well the totality of what God's grace accomplished: For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Christ] the free gift [of eternal life] came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto [the free gift of] eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 5:17-21). It is God's grace that makes righteousness and eternal life available through faith in Christ, who is the author [chief leader, captain, prince] and finisher [completer, consummater] of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:2).  AMEN.
 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"My times are
in thy hand:
deliver me from
the hand of mine enemies, and from them that
persecute me.
Make thy face
to shine upon thy servant: save me
for thy
mercies' sake"
(Psa 31:15-16)




 
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