Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Only Way People Can Be Saved

‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.’                 Let us look first at the positive statement. Here is his assertion positively, that we are Christians entirely and solely as the result of the grace of God. Let us remind ourselves once more that ‘grace’ means unmerited, undeserved favor. It is an action which arises entirely from the gracious character of God. So the fundamental proposition is that salvation is something that comes to us entirely from God’s side. What is still more important is this, that it not only comes from God’s side, it comes to us in spite of ourselves—‘unmerited’ favor. In other words, it is not God’s response to anything in us. Now there are many people who seem to think that it is—that salvation is God’s response to something in us. But the word ‘grace’ excludes that. It is in spite of us. The apostle, as we have seen, has already been very much concerned to say this. You notice the interesting way in which he, as it were, slipped it in in the fifth verse. He interrupted himself, broke the symmetry of his statement, and was guilty of a serious blemish from the standpoint of literary style. But he was not interested in that. Listen to him: ‘Even when we were dead in sins, he hath quickened, us together with Christ’, and then, instead of going on to the next step—in parenthesis ‘(by grace ye are saved)’. Here, he puts it a little more explicitly. Salvation is not in any sense God’s response to anything in us. It is not something that we in any sense deserve or merit. The whole essence of the teaching at this point, and everywhere in all the New Testament, is that we have no sort or kind of right whatsoever to salvation, that the whole glory of salvation is, that though we deserved nothing but punishment and hell and banishment out of the sight of God to all eternity, yet God, of His own love and grace and wondrous mercy, has granted us this salvation. Now that is the entire meaning of this term ‘grace’.                 BY MARTYN LLOYD-JONES

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