Grace, Grace, God’s Grace
By Jack Kinsella
”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8)
In reading Ephesians 2:8, one notices four important words; grace, saved, faith and works. The reason they are so important is that each has only one logical meaning.
Grace is unmerited favor. My car insurance company gives me a grace period. The bill is due on a certain date, but my company allows me a few days ‘grace’ before canceling my policy.
They don’t have to. If I had an accident during this grace period, the insurance company could easily deny my claim. I didn’t earn this grace period, I can’t even claim I deserve it.
The company grants it because it wants to keep my business, but if I were a lousy driver and a bad risk, it could just as easily (and legally) revoke my policy for non-payment the day my policy expired.
That is why it is called a “grace” period. This life is our grace period. When it is over, that grace period has expired.
Saved is another word that has but one logical meaning in the context of this verse. “Saved” means to rescue or keep safe from harm or danger.
“Faith” means complete trust or confidence in someone or something. One cannot partially trust someone or something, since it implies a partial lack of faith.
Finally, there is the word “works” which means, “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.”
Let’s put it all together in a logical syllogism (deductive reasoning as distinct from induction).
God’s grace is extended to all men, but not all men will be saved.
In order to be saved, one must have faith (a complete trust in Someone or something) in this case, trust that the shed Blood of Christ is sufficient payment for our sins.
Ephesians 2:9 says our salvation is not of works, “lest any man should boast,” eliminating the argument that man can create his own path to salvation.
Note that even saving faith is a work of God. “And that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God.”
“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD, that YE BELIEVE ON HIM Whom He hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)
“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…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.” (Romans 3:23-24,27-28)
Pulling it all together, the Bible says that ALL men are sinners without exception. Doing good works cannot undo bad works. One cannot be ‘good enough’ to be saved.
God grants all men a ‘grace period’ during this life before demanding payment for sin.
During this grace period, man can be saved by having faith that God, Who cannot lie, will accept the payment for sin extended by Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for one’s sins.
To be saved, one must believe.
“Believe” verb, [trans.] as true; feel sure of the truth [intrans.] have faith.
There are many who believe God exists, and may even believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but they are not necessarily saved. It depends on whether they trust His Promise, or if they put their trust in their own righteousness.
Merely believing in God is not enough. Satan believes in God. But Satan isn’t saved.
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)
Salvation demands faith that Jesus is able to keep safe all those who put their faith in Him to do so, no matter the circumstances.
The central theme of Scripture centers around three main points;
1) Man is a sinner constitutionally incapable of keeping the law.
2) Nobody is qualified to enter into the Presence of God based on his own merits and,
3) 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.” (John 3:16)
Remove any of those key points from the equation and the theme of salvation makes no sense. If point 1 were not true, then it would negate point 2, which would then eliminate the necessity for point 3.
If eternal security is a false doctrine, that means we each play a role, through our works, (either sinful or righteous) in maintaining our salvation.
In that case, maintaining one’s salvation would require working at it by maintaining our personal righteousness. But the Scripture says that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)
Remember, our native unrighteousness is the central theme of Scripture — and it demands the necessity of a Savior.
Therefore, if maintaining one’s personal righteousness is a condition of salvation, then point 1 is not true, point 2 is partially untrue and point 3 is unnecessary. That would defy the central theme and context of the revealed Word.
The first lie of the Garden of Evil was that man should trust in himself and on his own understanding. The Scriptures teach the precise opposite.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
The doctrine of eternal security flies in the face of that first lie by removing man from the equation altogether. Eternal security says that human righteousness is as ‘filthy rags’ before the Lord, therefore, Jesus paid the FULL penalty for sin.
It teaches that man plays no greater role in his salvation than that of accepting the gift of Pardon offered him by repenting (which means to change one’s mind) about his sin and trusting in the shed Blood of Christ as a completed work.
The Scriptures teach us we can be, “confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phillipians 1:6)
One doctrine, that of salvation plus works, teaches that once He hath begun a good work in me, it is up to ME to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
The other, that of eternal security, teaches that, once He hath begun a good work in me, HE will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Which doctrine lines up best with the main theme of the revealed Word of God?
We return to the message of salvation, but presented WITHOUT the implicit promise of eternal security for the believer.
“You are lost and deserve to go to hell. But Jesus has made a way for you to be saved. All you have to do is believe in Him and not sin again. Go to church, learn the Bible, quit smoking, drinking, swearing, having lustful thoughts, avoid all your old sinful friends, do good and don’t sin, and you shall be saved. But if you continue in sin after trusting Jesus, you will go to hell anyway.”
If one discounts the doctrine of eternal security as some kind of Satanic lie, then giving the Gospel in any manner differently that the one above is deceptive advertising.
But the Scriptures teach,
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
If one is turned into a ‘new creature’ through God’s extension of Sovereign grace accepted through faith, how then does one turn ONESELF back to the old creature by an act of human will (sin)?
“Grace” is not a license to sin, it is Divine permission to get back up and try again. Sin is burdensome because it tends to pile up so fast. Soon, it becomes so heavy you CAN’T get back up on your own.
The burden is lifted by the grace of God so that we can get back up, heal our wounds and return to battle. Grace is not license to sin. It is medicine to heal and bandages to cover our sin so we can fight on.
Understanding grace is to understand what Paul meant when he told the Galatians,
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
Be encouraged. If you’ve trusted Jesus, not only will you make it to heaven, in God’s eyes, you are ALREADY there.
“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,” (Ephesians 2:6)
“Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24)
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
You can trust Him. He won’t let you down.
Originally Published: February 13, 2007.