Gospel of Grace Alone 38

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Behold the glory of our God in saving sinners. Behold the glory of the richness of His mercy and the greatness of the love with which He loved sinners. Behold the glory of His grace which made sinners alive with Christ and raised them with Him and seated them with Christ in the heavenlies in Christ. One can read the text above in a wooden or rote manner and miss the beauty and glory of it. One can even read the text above in a theological manner (regardless of the theological creed) and miss the glory of it. But the text above strips any concept of righteousness or glory from man and exalts the wonder and glory of God.

Why is God rich in mercy toward sinners? Because of His great love with which He loves them. The focus of why God shows mercy is because of God. Why does God take sinners who are dead in their transgressions and make them alive together with Christ? It is so that “in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” God saves sinners because of Himself and the glory of His grace. There is no room for merit or worth or righteousness from the sinner, but all is from God and is to the glory of His own name and grace. There is no room in this text but a Gospel of grace alone.

When verse 8 starts off the verse with the word “for” which gives us a reason or a cause that links verse 8 with the preceding verses, we can see that the Word of God destroys any hope that sinners have in themselves and the weight of the Gospel is put directly upon grace alone. Why has God saved these wretched creatures and given them life in Christ? He did this to the in order that for all eternity He would show forth “the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Then in verse 8 it gives us an explanation of why and perhaps even how this is true. Grace has saved sinners through faith, but even that faith is not of the people themselves, but faith itself is the gift of God. Faith itself comes to the sinner by grace since it is the gift of God and is not worked for. The glory of grace shines forth in the Gospel that is all of grace.

Verse 8 shows us that this grace that saves comes to the sinner through faith which itself is a gift (of grace) of God, and then verse 9 tells us with great clarity that this salvation and faith are not a result of works. Sinners must grasp this tightly and with great tenacity. Salvation is completely by grace and faith itself is completely by grace as well. If faith is not by the grace of God, then it is the work of the human will and that means men have some room for boasting. Men constantly want to add one work to the Gospel and that is when they want to add the work of faith to the human will rather than have faith be the gift of God by grace alone.

We must fight the insertion of the act of the human will into the Gospel of grace alone or we will be admitting the work of the human will into the Gospel of grace alone and as such will be bringing a work into the Gospel and it is no longer by grace alone. In the modern day many professing Calvinists want to link arms with Arminians in name who are really Pelagians and say that they are preaching the same gospel. Perhaps they are, but a true Calvinist will stand for grace alone and the true Arminian will stand for free-will in the arena of the Gospel and the two can never join hands in reality. The Gospel that is of grace alone will not stand for any work of the human soul and that includes any work of the human will because that intrudes upon grace and allows for one work (at least) to be a part of the so-called Gospel at that point and as such it is no longer a Gospel of grace alone. This insertion of one work into the Gospel should alarm ministers of the Gospel and they should stand firmly in opposition to it.

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