Saved by Grace Alone
A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation
The Relationship Between GRACE and WORKS
Consider Romans 11:5-6, "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Grace and works are two principles that are utterly opposed. They are mutually exclusive. They are contrary the one to the other. If you have grace then you cannot have works. If you have works, then you cannot have grace. If you have a free gift, then it cannot be earned or paid for. If you work for something and earn it, then it cannot be a free gift. If it is a debt, then it cannot be grace. If it is a reward, then it cannot be grace. Salvation is either all of grace or else it is all of works. And the Bible insists that it is all of grace, "not of works" (Eph. 2:8; Tit. 3:5).
You cannot and must not add works in any shape, form or manner to the grace of God. Why not? ". . . otherwise grace is no more grace." When it comes to our salvation, God wants and God deserves and God demands all of the credit! God does not want most of the credit and thus allow man to have a little of the credit! No, God gets all of the glory and all of the credit, because it is God who alone does the saving! As the hymn says, "Gods grace has planned it all--tis mine but to believe and recognize the work of love and Christ receive."
If man were to deserve some of the credit for salvation (even a little), then man would have some basis whereby he could boast. But God says that boasting is totally excluded (Rom. 3:27) and that "no flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Cor. 1:29). Salvation is something that the sinner does not deserve at all, not even in the slightest bit. A person is saved by the free, unmerited favor and grace of God PLUS NOTHING ELSE!
In considering the relationship between grace and works it is helpful to examine Romans 4:4, "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." Here is the person who works! This person is a total stranger to the grace of God. He knows nothing of the grace of God. He foolishly thinks that he will be blessed and rewarded for his works. He foolishly thinks that God owes him something because of how he lives. He somehow thinks that his works and his love for God and his commitment to God and his surrender to God and his obedience to God have earned him salvation. Quite the contrary! The only reward he will get is eternal death.
In Romans 4:5 we have a description of the person who is justified freely by Gods grace: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Notice that he is the person THAT DOES NOT WORK! He does not work at all! He is not trusting or counting on anything that he has done. He realizes that there is not one thing that he has ever done that could earn one drop of favor or approval or acceptance before a holy God!
He does not work! What then does he do? He believes! He believes on the God who justifies freely by His grace! We must not miss the significance of Romans 4:5, "that worketh not, but believeth." This tells us very clearly that faith is not a work. This person does not work but he believes. Faith is not a work. Rather, faith is resting upon the work of Another. Faith is resting all of ones weight on the WORTH (the Person, who He is), on the WORK (what He has done) and on the WORD (what He has said) of Jesus Christ. Faith is non-meritorious. If believing were a work, then we could boast about our faith: "Look at what I have done! I have believed!" How silly! Believing is not some good work that we do. Believing is a humble recognition on the part of the guilty, broken and contrite sinner that he has done no good before a holy God and that his only hope is found in Jesus Christ. There is nothing good about a persons faith. It is the Saviour who is good and who is great, and our faith must be in Him. Faith in itself gives us no merit before God. Faith does not boast except in a crucified and risen Saviour!
The Relationship Between FAITH and GRACE
"For BY GRACE are ye saved THROUGH FAITH" (Eph. 2:8). Faith and grace go together. Why? Faith is the "hand of the heart" that reaches out and receives Gods free gift which is totally undeserved and unmerited. We need to make a difference between the gift (salvation) and the reception of the gift (faith). See our study on Ephesians 2:8-9.
The Relationship Between JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE and WORKS
Consider Romans 3:28; 4:6, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without [apart from] the deeds of the law . . . Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without [apart from] works." Justification by grace is totally "without" or "apart from" works.
This same Greek word is used in Hebrews 4:15 of Jesus Christ who was "without sin." This means that the Saviour had no sin whatsoever. He was totally WITHOUT SIN. Likewise, justification or salvation by grace has no works whatsoever! God saves the believing sinner totally apart from any works which he has done (Tit. 3:5).
If you charge the character of Jesus Christ with just one little sin, then you have totally destroyed [not actually but by accusation] the perfect, sinless character of the Saviour. You have made Him a sinner [by attributing sin to Him]. Likewise, if you add one little work of any kind to salvation then you have totally destroyed the gospel and it is no longer salvation by grace. Works must never be added as a requirement for salvation ("you must do such and such in order to be saved"). Justification is totally apart from works.
The true gospel is the "gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). Any other gospel is under the awesome curse and anathema of God [Galatians chapter 1, and note especially verse 6. What these false teachers had moved away from was "the grace of God."] The true gospel is a message of good news about a great Saviour who saves people in only one way: BY HIS GRACE!! FREELY BY HIS GRACE!! ONLY BY HIS GRACE!! Any so-called gospel message which mingles or mixes works in any way, shape or form is a false gospel and Gods curse is upon it. Notice Galatians 2:16 where THREE TIMES IN ONE VERSE we read "not by works"!
The Relationship Between SALVATION and THOSE WORKS THAT PLEASE GOD
Good works are the RESULT of salvation. We are not saved by good works but we are saved "unto good works." "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). Likewise in Titus 3:8, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." Good works are not something that a person must do in order to be saved. Good works are something that a saved person does because he is saved and because God is working in and through Him (Phil. 2:13).
The danger comes when we take what ought to be the RESULT of salvation and make it the REQUIREMENT for salvation. Never put the cart before the horse! Good works should always follow salvation but good works are not the requirement or the means of salvation.
Saved By Grace Alone
A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation
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