Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand, that WE should WALK IN THEM.”
Grace and Faith
God’s grace to us is his kindness, his favor toward us, to share something with us that will be of benefit to us. It is him extending himself toward us in offering to us his favor, his blessing, as a gift, which in this case is our salvation. But he doesn’t just hand it to us. There are conditions which must be met. For one, it is by grace we have been saved through faith. So our faith is our heart response to his offering. But then, what is faith?
The word “faith,” at its core, means to be persuaded, and our faith is always a gift from God and not of our own doing. So we don’t get to decide what that faith looks like. God does. And Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2), and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ (John 6:44). So God is the one persuading us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience.
So, there is nothing that we can do in our own flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We can’t even believe unto salvation of our own doing. We did nothing to provide the salvation, and there is nothing we can do in our own merit to attain the salvation. It all comes from God, but it is to be received by us and put into practice, but in the power of God and his strength and not in our own earthly thinking or wisdom or good deeds.
But let me go back to the subject of grace. We read in the Scriptures that God’s grace, which is bringing us salvation, trains (or teaches) us to renounce (to say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshy passions and desires, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (see Titus 2:11-14).
So God’s grace to us in offering to us his gift of salvation is not a free ride to heaven and carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin. There are conditions to his grace which must be met, some of which are mentioned in the passage in Titus 2. We have to die to our old lives of living in sin and for self, and we have to say “No” to sin, and we have to live godly and holy lives in the power of God, for the glory and praise of God. For if we don’t, the Scriptures teach that we will not inherit eternal life with God.
And this brings me to the question of, “What is our salvation?” What are we saved from and to? Now some people are teaching that we are merely saved from the punishment of sin so we can go to heaven when we die. That is part of it, but it is not all of it. We are saved from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now walk in holiness and in righteousness, and in obedience to our Lord’s commands (New Covenant). And this is required.
Also, are we saved, done deal, on the basis of a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ? No! That is man’s idea, not God’s. All throughout the New Testament we learn that our salvation is progressive. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present active), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns for his bride, which is when our salvation will be complete. But there are conditions to be met.
We must deny self, die daily to sin and to self, and follow our Lord in obedience and in righteousness from now until the end of time, in practice. For if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, and sin is our practice, and righteousness, holiness, and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we will not inherit eternal life with God. We won’t be saved from our sins, and heaven will not be our eternal destiny.
Now, just because our salvation is not a result of our own fleshly works, it does not mean that no works are required of us. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (cf. Titus 2:14). All throughout the New Testament we are being instructed in what must no longer be a part of our lives and we are instructed in the kinds of actions and behaviors which are required of us as part of our believing faith. And we must obey them.
But again, we can do none of this in our own flesh, of our own doing, and in our own strength and wisdom. We must surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, and he must become our Lord (owner-master), and now we must be empowered of his Spirit so that we can walk in holiness and in righteousness and no longer in sin. So, we are totally dependent on our Lord for us to be able to live the kind of lives which he requires of us to live.
Scriptural support for what I just shared: [Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Praise the “I AM!”
An Original Work / February 24, 2012
Jesus, my Savior, full of compassion,
Glorious in power, mighty in strength;
Gracious Redeemer, mighty deliv’rer,
My heart adores Him. Praise to His name!
Perfect salvation my Lord provided
When He died for my sins on a tree;
Crucified my sins; conquered in vict’ry,
When He arose, so I could be free!
I am so thankful for His forgiveness;
Grateful that He chose to pardon me,
Giving me new life full in His Spirit,
So I can serve Him; His servant be!
Walking in daily fellowship with Him,
Obeying Him whate’er He commands;
Forsaking my sins, living in freedom,
I will endure with Him to the end!
He gives me peace and calm reassurance
In times of sorrow, or in distress.
His grace is sure, and oh, how sufficient
To meet me in my need for sweet rest.
Oh, how I love You, Jesus, my Savior.
My heart longs for You where’er I am.
Your word is precious; speaks to my spirit;
Brings comfort, healing. Praise the “I AM!”