Salvation is By Grace, but not By Grace Only

Introduction: 

       I.        SAVED BY GRACE. 

Discussion:

I.                   GOD’S GRACE IS MANIFESTED BY WAY OF TWO GIFTS.

(One of these gifts was the Lamb of God Who was slain on Calvary as a propitiation for the sins of the world.   

Romans 7:24-25a, “O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

The second gift is the revelation of God’s Divine truth in what we refer to as the Bible.  This gift reveals to man the mind of God.  Without the Bible, mankind would be wandering about in darkness.  We would not have any knowledge of the death of Jesus and its purpose for our lives. 

1 Cor. 2:9-13, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:  for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?  Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 

A.        Concerning the first of God’s gifts manifested by His grace, Jesus Christ, the Lam of God that taketh away sin. 

John 1:29, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

1.       Let us now examine Romans 3:21-26 in reference to the death of Christ in relation to man’s salvation by grace. 

Romans 3:21-26, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even 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.”

a.       The lessons about God’s grace from this text are both numerous and profound.  The following matters pertaining to the grace of God are as follows:

(1)     Grace is part of the plan whereby God makes man righteous.

(2)     Grace in Christ Jesus is without the law.

(3)     Grace was witnessed by the law and the prophets.

(4)     Grace is appropriated through faith.

(5)     Grace is for all men, Jesus and Gentiles alike.

(6)     Grace is needed because man has sinned and come short of the glory of God.

(7)     Grace is free.  It cost nothing.

(8)     Grace involves blood.

(9)     Grace was bestowed through the sacrificial death of Jesus.

(10) Grace enables man to be forgiven of sins.

(11) Grace satisfied the demands of Divine justice.

(12) Grace allows God to justify those who believe in Jesus. 

2.       A second passage, Ephesians 2:1-10, reveals that God’s grace can only be obtained by Jesus Christ, and not by meritorious works of our own.

(Ephesians 2:1-10, read)

a.       This text also sets forth numerous lessons about salvation by grace.  Again, we will list some of them.

(1)     Grace brings to life those who were dead in sins.

(2)     Grace sets us free from the oppression of the prince of this world.

(3)     Grace involves God’s rich mercy, great love, and exceeding kindness for lost man.

(4)     Grace saves.

(5)     Grace is exceeding rich.

(6)     Grace saves through faith.

(7)     Grace is not merited; it is the gift of God.

(8)     Grace is not of works.

(9)     Grace puts those who accept it in a position of responsibility before God.

b.      This passage from Ephesians emphasizes the qualities of God that caused Him to send forth His grace. 

3.       Let us now meditate upon Titus 3:3-7 concerning the significance of God’s grace, which is essential for our spiritual salvation. 

(Titus 3:3-7, read)

a.       This passage reveals several things concerning the grace of God.

(1)     Grace is a response to man’s extreme sinfulness.

(2)     Grace was manifest out of God’s kindness, love, and mercy.

(3)     Grace was not offered to man because of any good works he had done.

(4)     Grace involves the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

(5)     Grace has been shed upon mankind in an abundant measure.

(6)     Grace was provided through Jesus Christ our Savior.

(7)     Grace enables God to justify man.

(8)     Grace enables us to be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.                                  

b.      Paul’s words to his son in the faith about grace enable us to see that the faith mentioned in the two previous texts involves more than faith only.  Salvation by grace through faith is more than a mental assent that Jesus is the Son of God.  It is more than merely accepting Jesus Christ into one’s heart as his personal Savior.

c.       Man’s faith is expressed in his obedience to the command to be baptized (Mark 16:15-16). 

B.        The second gift God’s grace has provided to mankind is the gospel of Christ, which is the New Testament.

1.       At Acts 20:24, Paul describes the gospel as “the gospel of the grace of God.”  In Verse 32 of that chapter, he refers to it as “the word of his grace.”  The gospel is a book of grace for three reasons.

a.       First, it reveals the account of God’s grace.

b.      Secondly, the gospel reveals to the lost what he needs to do in order to appropriate God’s grace into his life.

c.       Thirdly, the gospel teaches us what we must do to remain in God’s grace. 

Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.”   

II.                ERRORS CONCERNING GRACE.

(Since God’s grace has been manifested, errors have been taught relative to it.)

A.         In the first century, some taught that the grace of God allows lasciviousness in the life of a Christian. 

Jude 4, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1.      It was taught that since one is under grace, then the more one sins the more grace will abound.

2.      The Apostle Paul brings a question up concerning this matter and then answers the question at Romans 6:1-2

Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid, How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” 

B.         There are those who do not believe that man stands in need of grace.  Those who believe this are atheists, infidels, and humanists.  They do not believe that God exists.  They believe that man is the product of evolutionary, naturalistic processes. 

1.      In the atheist’s mind, man must save himself.  This view was plainly stated by George Gaylord Simpson in his book, Life of the Past.  He writes: 

“Man stands alone in the universe, a unique product of a long, unconscious, impersonal, material process with unique understanding and potentialities.  These he owes to no one but himself, and it is to himself that he is responsible.  He is not the creature of uncontrollable forces, but is his own master.  He can and must manage his own destiny” (p. 155). 

2.      The Humanist Manifesto makes a similar comment. 

“But we can discover no divine purpose for the human species.  While there is much we do not know humans are responsible for what we are or will become.  No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”

3.      The reasoning of the humanist is simple:  (1) No God.  (2) No law of God. (3) Therefore, no sin.  (4) Thus, no need for grace. 

4.      God’s Word refers to these individuals as fools, in that there is adequate evidence of His existence. 

Psalm 14:1a, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” 

Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.”   

Romans 1:19-21, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”   

C.         There are those who claim that God’s grace can be found in someone other than in Jesus Christ.

1.      The Islamic religion places emphasis upon faith in Mohammad, instead of our Lord Jesus.

2.      Also, other so-called “world religions.”

3.      But, the truth of the matter is that the fullness of the Godhead is found in Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” 

Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other:  for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” 

D.         Some attempt to depict the grace of God as being universal in scope.

1.      Simply stated, universalism believes that all people will be saved by the grace of God. 

Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” 

Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate:  for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” 

E.          Still others claim the doctrine of irresistible grace.”

1.      Those who uphold this concept claim that God predestined who would be saved and who would be lost before the foundation of the world.  They further claim that those predestined to be saved cannot resist the grace of God.

2.      This false teaching can be refuted in a number of ways.

a.       First, the Son of God died for the entire human race. 

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

b.      Secondly, the invitation of Jesus is extended unto everyone. 

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

c.       Thirdly, God wants all men to be saved. 

1 Timothy 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 

Acts 10:34-35, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”  

F.          One concocted false doctrine is salvation by grace only.

1.      If that doctrine were true, then everyone would be saved. 

Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”

2.      The truth of the matter is that we are required to obey the gospel of Christ. 

Acts 2:40, “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”  

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”   

G.         The flip-side of the salvation by grace only error is the teaching that salvation is by faith only.

A.     The word “only” means “and no other; and no more; solely.

1.      The faith only concept would remove the Divine side of salvation.  If grace is needed, salvation is not by faith only.

2.      It is important that we understand that words such as “solely” and “only” are very restrictive.  If one is saved solely by one thing, then nothing else is needed. 

H.         There are those who claim that grace overlooks moral and doctrinal error.

1.      There are numerous questions that the proponents of this doctrine cannot answer.  (a) Where is this doctrine taught in the New Testament?  (b) Does God’s grace cover sins that have not been repented of and that have not been confessed?  (c) What sins, both moral and doctrinal, fall into this category of unconditional forgiveness?  And, (d) what man on earth is “God enough” that he can formulate such a list of transgressions? 

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

I.            Some religious groups claim that a person cannot fall from grace.

1.      This doctrine originated in the mind of John Calvin, the founder of the Presbyterian Church. 

Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” 

Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” 

J.           Purgatory.

(The last three errors that we will discuss are unique.  These three errors grant an individual grace after death, or the second coming of Christ.)

A.        Purgatory seems to be the Catholic’s answer to the question concerning those who die in Christ having moral and doctrinal imperfections.

1.      Instead of being ushered into heaven, they enter Purgatory for a period of “cleansing by fire.”  

2.      Is the doctrine of Purgatory comforting?  Yes.  Is it true?  No!  Luke 16:19-31 proves that it is not true. 

Luke 16:26, “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed:  so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” 

K.         Baptism for the dead.

1.      The Mormon Church teaches that members of their church can be baptized on behalf of those who have already died.  In the book, Doctrines and Covenants, this doctrine is taught. 

“Since baptism is essential for salvation, and since many have died before the church was “restored” under Joseph Smith, it seems inevitable that most of the dead will be lost.  However, the living may be baptized as substitutes for the dead—that is, for those who died without a knowledge of the restored gospel (Doctrines and Covenants, 128:5).

(Luke 16:19-31) 

Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”  

2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 

L.          The last error about grace we will cover is taught by premillennialists, specially the Dispensationalists.

1.      In a pamphlet entitled, God’s Torchbearers, the false doctrine of what is called “the Tribulation” is discussed. 

“Another of the strange doctrines of Dispensationalism is that, despite the fact that the Holy Spirit is to be absent during the Tribulation, a Jewish remnant (some say the 144,000 of Revelation 7) turns to God and is sealed, and then goes through the world preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom minus the cross.  These are Jews who are looking for the Messiah, but who have only a partial understanding of the Gospel and who therefore cannot be regarded as Christians in the proper sense of the word.  Strange as it may seem, however, their work proves far more effective than anything that the Church has been able to accomplish in all the nineteen centuries of its existence.  This great success is achieved without the special regenerating and enlightening power of the Holy Spirit as that power was manifested in the hearts of believers at Pentecost and afterward.  Dr. David L. Cooper, President of the Biblical Research Society, says:  “The greatest revival of all ages will occur in the Tribulation – after the church has been removed from the earth by the Rapture” (as quoted by Loraine Boettner in The Millennium, pp. 185-186).

2.      This doctrine is ludicrous.  The Spirit’s presence is not involved in the conversion process.  Too, the preaching done during that period is said to be “minus the cross.”  Without the blood of Christ, and the Spirit of God, no grace can be extended to mankind.   

III.             IT IS CLAIMED THAT GRACE WAS NOT TAUGHT BY THE PIONEER PREACHERS OF THE RESTORATION?

A.         Many of our liberal brethren charge that the preachers of old neglected to teach about the grace of God.

1.      That is a false statement!  I have studied many sermons of the pioneer preachers.  They had much to say about the grace of God.

2.      The truth of the matter is that liberal brethren have embraced the denominational concept of God’s grace. 

Conclusion:  The grace of God is a wonderful and precious thing.  No man could be saved without it.  However, our response to it requires our obeying the commandments of the Lord. 

John 8:31-32, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 

--Dub Mowery

 

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