Romans says that we are not good people but sinners and enemies of God. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We could not gain eternal life because we were helpless. Therefore, He decided to help us.
The message of Ephesians is that our gracious God rescues sinful men and women from their sin by His grace. But He did not give us a little grace or a cup full of grace.
He lavished His grace on us! The New Testament also teaches that salvation is by grace alone , through faith alone in Christ alone Acts ; ; ; Romans ; Ephesians ; 2 Timothy That is, eternal life is not the result of anything that anyone can do. Salvation is not the result of any effort or works.
Consequently, no one will have any reason for boasting. No one deserves salvation and no one can earn it Romans As a result, God the Father justifies or declares Christians to be righteous, as righteous as God is righteous. Then we continue in His grace. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
Christians remain in His grace.
Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith
We are urged to believe in Christ, yet faith is given to us by God. How these two truths work together is a mystery and only God has the answer. Many people think they understand how election works, but the apostle Paul did not understand Romans True, saving faith is evidenced by repentance and submission to Jesus Christ.
They all exist at the moment of saving faith. Grace, salvation and faith are all gifts from God Acts ; Romans ; That is the message of Romans We can rejoice that God did not require us to perform works in order to obtain eternal life. Instead, He decreed in eternity past that salvation would be by faith and not by works Romans The answer is found in Romans which states that we cannot do any works that are good enough to obtain eternal life.
Note that Jesus told the rich, young ruler in Matthew that there is only One who is good. The man wanted to do some good work. The message is that we are not good Psalm ; John , 34; Romans We are slaves of sin at birth and all that we can do is continue to sin during our life. It must be overcome! In a way, this evil entity within us actually becomes part of the means of our perfection. Overcoming is a long process, and it requires diligent and humbling effort to subdue our human nature.
However, we must never allow ourselves to fall into the attitude that all of our effort is somehow justifying us before God—even though it pleases God and gratifies us. The holiest of our actions, the holiest of the actions of the holiest saints, are still full of imperfections and defects. Even some of these are done from the wrong motive.
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They could even qualify as being nothing more than a splendid sin in God's sight. Nevertheless, we are saved by grace through faith. Even with that, God requires that we make an effort to do what we can on our part. Romans The word of Christ is what brought us out of the world and that to which we were converted. When we drift away from it, we become confused, and we begin dividing, bickering and fighting among ourselves.
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The solution is given elsewhere in the Bible: Get back to what brought us together in the first place —the combination of the word of Christ and devotion to Him, to the love that we had at the beginning Revelation Genuine ignorance may be a defense before God , but neglect never is. We need to remember Hebrews , "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Yet, "to whom much is given, from him much will be required" Luke We are not in ignorance.
10 Bible Verses About Salvation
If we are slipping away, it is because of neglect. One way we can be unworthy at Passover time I Corinthians is by neglecting or forgetting what we are now. We need to evaluate faith in light of the Passover and the state of our minds and our hearts as we approach it. Moffatt translates Romans as, "Faith must come from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the word of Christ.
Along with obedience, practical application of God's Word is a must if we want to have saving faith. We must check ourselves before Passover to see whether we have passed up or neglected opportunities to make practical use of our faith. This means so much to our attitude, the way we approach life on a daily basis. Ritenbaugh A Pre-Passover Look. Galatians Justification is clearly an act of God's grace, because what we deserve from what we have earned—from what we have done, the conduct of our lives—is death.
There is none righteous, no not one Romans ; Psalm Since justification, then, cannot be claimed as a right because we have sinned, it must be received as a gift. That fact that it is given makes it an act of grace. It is not our hanging on to Christ that is, the keeping of the law that saves us, but rather Christ hanging on to us.
That is, it is not what we do, but it is what He does continuously as acts of grace that saves us, because we deserve death. If we can earn salvation through law-keeping, Paul is saying in verse 21, "then Christ died in vain. Justification is not vindication or exoneration.
Both of those words connote that a person was right all along, but the true facts were hidden from those who were doing the judging. In some cases with men, vindication is possible because people are judged unrighteously. Their judges are not using righteous judgment. But God never judges unrighteously! He knows all the facts. He knows our heart.
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He knows everything about us in every situation that we have ever been in, so He cannot vindicate us because we are not clear of guilt. He cannot exonerate us because we are not innocent. Justification is more than that. It is setting us right or calling us righteous though righteousness does not exist in us.
Ritenbaugh Grace Upon Grace. Ephesians These verses confront us with a list of spiritual-sounding words: grace, saved, faith , gift, works. Even those who have been in God's church for many years and who may clearly understand each of these words individually are slowed down in comprehension when faced with such terms presented one after the other.
So, let us take a very brief Greek lesson. Here are the key terms contained in this scripture in English and Greek, the Strong's Concordance reference number, and, to make the meanings clearer, other English terms translated in the New Testament from the same Greek words:. Ergon is the original Greek for the English word "works.
But what do the many people and churches who claim that works are not required perceive "works" to be? Opinions vary. One group perceives works to mean the whole law in general. A second group perceives works as specific portions of God's law, which they look upon as being "Jewish" or "Old Covenant," or that they are just not willing to keep and teach. A third group, amazingly enough in their rejection of it, perceives this term as meaning works of charity in general! Individuals or groups who choose to substitute the word "law" for the word "works" in Ephesians , and who thus say that New Testament Christians do not have to keep God's law, do not appear to mean it totally and literally.
Instead, most of them reserve the right to choose which parts of the law they wish to keep "You shall not kill," "You shall not steal," etc. God has nowhere given authority to His people to be selective in these matters, thus this stance toward the law is inconsistent and even hypocritical. The church of God has always agreed one hundred percent with those who say that salvation is a gift, and that a Christian cannot earn salvation by charitable works or by obedience to God's law.
However, obedience is a condition we must meet before God will give us His free gift of salvation. New Testament evidence is overwhelming on the matter.