Salvation by Grace Through Faith

 

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10

 

I.          When we read Ephesians 2:8-10, there are four important words which stand out: grace, saved, faith, and works.

             A.         The gift mentioned in verse 8 is the gift of salvation given to us by God’s grace.

                          1.          Grace is an unmerited favor.

                                       a.          It is an action distinguished by justice.

                                       b.          Justice is delivering exactly what is deserved.

                                       c.          Mercy is a release from what justice demands.

                                       d.          God’s grace grants us mercy - Ephesians 2:3-5

                          2.          We all understand what grace is.

                                       a.          Most have a grace period on our credit cards or insurance bills.

                                       b.          Money is due at a certain date, but the company allows us extra time to make that payment.

                                                    (1)        That period of time is not earned. It is not owed us. Nor can we claim that we deserve the grace period.

                                                    (2)        Technically, we owe the money, but grace gives us an unmerited period of extra time to pay off the debt.

II.         False ideas about this passage

             A.         God’s grace is irresistible

                          1.          Even this passage teaches that all were in sin, but some received God’s grace - Ephesians 2:1-6, note the beginning of verse 3.

                          2.          We were among them, but had left them behind.

                          3.          It was by God’s grace that Christ died - Hebrews 2:9

                                       a.          Notice that he died for everyone

                                       b.          Yet not all received salvation.

                          4.          Man plays a role in his salvation

                                       a.          Peter urged his audience to save themselves - Acts 2:40

                                       b.          Peter is not saying that salvation is solely of their own making, but it is of their own choice.

                                       c.          We have to work out our salvation - Philippians 2:12

                          5.          Man is able to resist the truth - II Timothy 3:1-9

                          6.          Man is able to resist the Holy Spirit - Acts 7:51

             B.         Salvation is by grace alone

                          1.          If this was true, we already noted that by God’s grace Christ died for everyone (Hebrews 2:9).

                          2.          Yet Christ made it clear that most will be lost - Matthew 7:13-14

                          3.          There will be people who will face God’s wrath - II Thessalonians 1:7-9

                          4.          If everyone were saved, then there would be no need for judgment - II Corinthians 5:10

                          5.          Notice that judgment is according to each man’s deeds - Romans 2:6

                          6.          Some teach that God selected each individual who will be saved or lost before the world. If so, then what do our deeds have to do with anything?

                          7.          God has invited all to be saved, not just some - Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 22:17

                          8.          Grace has been granted to everyone, but not everyone will be saved.

                                       a.          Just like the credit card bill grants grace to all its members, but not all of its members will avoid paying interest.

                                       b.          It is freely offered, but certain conditions must be met.

             C.         Salvation is by faith alone

                          1.          James has already settled this matter - James 2:24

                                       a.          The reason? Faith without works is dead - James 2:17, 20, 26

                                       b.          One can have faith without works - James 2:19

                                       c.          It is illustrated by the leaders of the Jews - John 12:42-43

                                                    (1)        Do you suppose these men were saved by their faith?

                                                    (2)        Of course not! - Luke 9:26

                          2.          Faith alone cannot save.

             D.         Salvation by grace comes as a result of works of men

                          1.          James stated that men’s faith is shown or proven by their willingness to obey the commands of God.

                                       a.          Without obedience, a man cannot be saved - Hebrews 5:9

                                       b.          We must do the will of God - Matthew 7:21

                          2.          When Paul said “not of works, lest any man should boast” in Ephesians 2:9 he eliminated man creating his own path to salvation.

                                       a.          You cannot be saved just by doing good works.

                                       b.          But you are meant to do the works of God - Ephesians 2:10

                          3.          The Jews illustrate this problem for us.

                                       a.          God’s commandments are righteous - Psalm 119:172

                                       b.          But the Jews were substituting God’s commands with their own - Romans 10:3

                                                    (1)        If such saved them, who then would get the glory? God or the man who invented his own righteousness?

                                                    (2)        If we follow God’s commands and not our own, who then would get the glory? Men or God?

                          4.          There are people practicing good deeds which are lawless deeds - Matthew 7:22-23

                          5.          Even faith is a work of God - John 6:28-29

                          6.          Repentance is required - Luke 13:3

                                       a.          But repentance is a deed or work - Acts 26:20

                          7.          Some want to eliminate baptism because it is a work

                                       a.          Interestingly enough, faith is something I must do. Repentance is something I must do. But baptism is a passive command. It is something I must have done to me.

                                       b.          Baptism is not the performing of a work, but a submitting to the command of God.

                          8.          When a person believes, repents, confesses, and has been baptized wherein can he boast that he has created his way to salvation?

                                       a.          All he has done is submitted to the will of God

                                       b.          Doesn’t God have the right to tell us what we must do to be saved?

III.        All of God’s commandments are righteous - Psalm 119:172

             A.         Who then is a righteous person? - I John 3:7

             B.         Who then is unrighteous? - I John 3:10

             C.         God has freely offered salvation to all of mankind.

             D.         But that offer must be accepted by faith, a faith demonstrated by obedience to the commands of God..

             E.         Will you accept that offer or spurn it to go your own way?