FOR BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED
THROUGH FAITH: te gar chariti este (2PPAI) sesosmenoi (RPPMPN) dia
pisteos: (Eph 2:5; Ro 3:24; 2Th 1:9)(Mk 16:16; Lk 7:50; Jn
3:14, 15, 16, 17, 18,36; 5:24; 6:27, 28, 29,35,40; Acts 13:39; Acts
15:7, 8, 9; 16:31; Ro 3:22, 23, 24, 25, 26; 4:5,16; 10:9,10; Ga 3:14,22;
1Jn 5:10, 11, 12)
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For by grace
- Literally "by the grace".
notes that Paul is saying
"by this grace, the grace already
mentioned. Grace is the explanation of their own salvation, and how
surpassingly rich the grace must be that could effect that!" (Ephesians 2:8-10 Commentary
- Expositor's Greek Testament)
We have this expression, "by grace
are ye saved," twice over in this chapter. Paul knew that he needed
to repeat himself, or people would forget what he taught. At bottom, all
the wanderings from the faith at the present day amount to this,
salvation by works instead of salvation by grace. The battle of the
Reformation has to be fought over again. Men are justified by grace
through faith in Christ Jesus. All the enmity of natural men is against
that truth. They want to be saved by their own morality, and all sorts
of things that they put instead of salvation by grace through faith in
our Lord Jesus Christ.
And that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest
any man should boast. "Oh!" said one to me just now, "the man who is
saved by his own righteousness cannot do much in the line of praising."
"No, my dear brother," I replied, "except he praises himself; and he can
generally do that pretty well." Your self-made man usually worships his
creator very earnestly; and your self-saved man glorifies him that saved
Grace (5485)(charis) is God’s generous favor to
undeserving sinners and needy saints. Grace is God's free and undeserved bounty.
Grace shocks us in what it offers (or at least it should "shock us" when we come to
realize the importance of grace in our lives). The grace of God is the expression of
God's goodness toward the undeserving. In salvation, men who deserve
hell obtain heaven because of grace that flows from the Cross
(1Co 1:18). This provision
of heaven instead of hell cannot be explained apart from free,
grace. Grace is a gift that costs everything to the Giver
and nothing to the receiver (Amazing Grace!) It is given to those who
don’t deserve it, barely recognize it, and hardly appreciate it. Paul is
teaching in this passage that every conversion is a living supernatural
example of God’s supernatural grace! Hallelujah!
put it in proper context
To make a man a saint, grace is absolutely necessary and whoever doubts
it, does not know what a saint is or what a man is.
And it is
important to understand that men in both the Old and New Testaments have always been saved the same way, by grace
through faith. God does not have two ways of saving sinners, one by
keeping the law and the other by grace, but always and ever by amazing
grace that saved a wretch like me. The first mention of "grace" is found in Genesis where
Moses records that
Noah found favor (grace =
charis in the
in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8)
The writer of
Hebrews adds the details regarding Noah's salvation writing that...
By faith Noah, being warned by
God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the
salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became
an heir of the righteousness (when one is justified by faith in
the NT they are declared righteous, Christ's righteousness being imputed
or placed on their "spiritual account") which is according to faith.
Writing of the
salvation of Abraham Moses says that...
Abraham believed (Heb = aman
to be firm, speaks of stability and confidence, signifies receiving
something as true and sure [See study of related word
amen]; Lxx =
pisteuo) God and it
was reckoned (Heb = chashab = impute, consider, an accounting term,
almost parallel to a bookkeeping transfer of an eligible item from one
column to another as in Lv 25:27, 50, 52, 27:18;
logizomai = placed on his
spiritual account so to speak) to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)
is the ultimate ground of salvation, Paul recording that God
saved us, and called us with a holy
calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose
and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity"
2 Timothy 1:9)
see a clear distinction between God's grace and man's works.
All of this grace was given to us in Jesus Christ. We could not
earn it; we did not merit it. This is the grace of God!
The grace of God is undeserved,
unsought, and unbought (except that it is made available by the precious
blood of the Lamb of God, Acts 20:28, Re 5:9-note;
1Pe 1:18, 19 -
1 Peter 1:18). The infinitely high price of redemption was
paid for by
the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He
became poor (His incarnation), that you through His poverty might become
rich (spiritual riches that Jesus gives to all who place their trust in
Him - cp Col 2:3-note). (2Cor
So the riches of our salvation
(calling, election, justification, sanctification, glorification-see
Three Tenses of Salvation) were
all made possible by the "impoverishment" of Christ Who became a
suffered and died a cruel death on the cross so that grace could be
lavished upon (Eph 1:7,8-note)
those who were separated from God by their sin (cp Isa 59:2, Pr 15:29). When we realize what it cost God to express
grace, it helps us realize the extreme wickedness of our sin and the
undeserving state of all mankind (Ro 5:12-note). What an amazing divine paradox -- grace
was immeasurably costly for God to express and yet is unconditionally
free to all men. Grace is God’s favor freely offered but
Grace starts with God, continues with God, and ends with God. Anything
we do is in response to what God has first done for us. It follows that
even after salvation by grace through faith, we remain forever debtors
to and dependent upon God's all sufficient grace (cp 2Co 9:8, 2Cor 12:9-note).
Many people fear teaching sinners about God's grace because they think it leads to a "who cares"
attitude. "I'm saved and forgiven so now I can live it up like the people of the
world." (cp Jude 1:4) But anyone who turns God's grace into an excuse to
justify their sinful lifestyle shows they have
never understood God's grace in the first place. God's grace saves us
and liberates us from the power of sin, so that out of love we seek to
obey, and that too, even enabled by grace.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote,
“Because God is gracious,
therefore sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified and saved. It is
not because of anything
in them, or that ever can be in them, that they are saved; but because
of the boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy and grace of
God.” (from "All of Grace")
"In its use among the pagan Greeks it
referred to a favor done by one Greek to another out of the pure
generosity of his heart, and with no hope of reward. When it is used in
the New Testament, it refers to that favor which God did at Calvary when
He stepped down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself the guilt
and penalty of human sin. In the case of the Greek, the favor was done
to a friend, never an enemy. In the case of God it was an enemy, the
sinner, bitter in his hatred of God, for whom the favor was done. God
has no strings tied to the salvation He procured for man at the Cross.
Salvation is given the believing sinner out of the pure generosity of
God’s heart. The Greek word referred to an action that was beyond the
ordinary course of what might be expected, and was therefore
commendable. What a description of that which took place at the Cross! (Wuest,
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
The Power of
Grace - Lord Kenneth Clark, internationally know for his television
series Civilization, lived and died without faith in Jesus Christ. He
admitted in his autobiography that while visiting a beautiful church he
had what he believed to be an overwhelming religious experience. "My
whole being," Clark wrote, "was irradiated by a kind of heavenly joy far
more intense than anything I had known before." But the "gloom of
grace," as he described it, created a problem. If he allowed himself to
be influenced by it, he knew he would have to change, his family might
think he had lost his mind, and maybe that intense joy would prove to be
an illusion. So he concluded, "I was too deeply embedded in the world to
change course." (Our Daily Bread, February 15, 1994)
once said that someone spelled out "grace" as...
G stands for Gift, the
principle of grace.
R [stands] for Redemption, the purpose of grace.
A [stands] for Access, the privilege of grace.
C [stands] for Character, the product of grace.
E [stands] for Eternal Life, the prospect of grace.
Have been saved (4982)
[word study]) conveys the basic meaning of
rescuing someone who is in great peril or danger. Other nuances of sozo include to
protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole.
Sozo is in the
which underscores the permanence of our salvation (once truly
saved, always totally saved) and
thus serving as another small but definite marker of the believer's
(cp Jn 10:27, 28, 29). If you are
with whether or not you can lose your salvation, then study Paul's
letter to the Ephesians and mediate on the truths that firmly nail down
the doctrine of the believer's eternal security
in Christ. This truth
can set you free so that you are free indeed (Jn 8:36).
Study Bible writes that...
The full sense of the expression “you
have been saved” is difficult to capture in English. The Greek
emphasizes action initiated in the past, the effects of which continue
into the present and beyond. Therefore, salvation has a moment of
initiation in the past, but the results of that primary experience
continue (Ed: See
Three Tenses of Salvation). This is another evidence of the permanence of our salvation, a
doctrine which is called the “eternal security of the believer.”
W A. Believer's Study Bible: New King James Version. 1991. Thomas Nelson)
Commenting on the
significance of the tense of the two verbs "been" (present
tense) and "saved"
Not content with the details offered
by the perfect tense, Paul uses a periphrastic construction (Ed note:
a periphrasis is the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible
shorter form of expression = a roundabout way of expressing something.
In Greek it specifically means the use of a verb in any tense but aorist
in combination with the verb eimi = to be as the auxiliary verb)
consisting of the participle in the perfect tense and the verb of being
in the present tense. The perfect tense speaks of the existence of
finished results in present time, whereas Paul wanted to express
persistence of finished results through present time. So he borrows the
durative aspect of the present tense verb to give persistence to the
existing results. The Expanded Translation reads: “By the grace have
you been saved completely with the result that you are in a state of
salvation which persists through present time.” Present time in this
instance is always the time at which the reader reads his statement. The
security of the believer could not have been expressed in stronger
Kenneth - The Practical Use of the Greek New Testament - Part II: The
Eloquence of Greek Tenses and Moods - Bibliotheca Sacra: A quarterly
published by Dallas Theological Seminary. Volume 117. Issue 466. Page
Journal Subscription info) (List
of 22 journals - 500 yrs of articles searchable by topic or verse!
Incredible Online Resource!)
Most NT uses of
sozo refer to salvation in a spiritual sense as illustrated
in the following passages:
the angel's conversation with Joseph declaring
She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you
shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save (sozo) His
people from their sins. (Mt 1:21)
is equated with deliverance from sins (guilt and power of) with Jesus'
name being a transliteration of Joshua meaning "Jehovah is salvation".
Jesus warned His
And you will be hated by all on
account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end
will be saved (sozo). (Mt 10:22, cf Mt 24:13)
Comment: Note it is not one's
endurance [self effort or works] that saves. That person's endurance is
the effect not the cause of salvation, so that genuine salvation enables
one to endure.
Jesus was teaching
His disciples about salvation and declared
"it is easier for a camel to go
through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
God." And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and
said, "Then who can be saved?" (Mt 19:24, 25)
Comment: Here He
entrance into the kingdom of God with being saved.
In explaining to
His disciples and the multitudes what it meant to come after Him,
denying self, taking up one's cross and following Him, Jesus declared
"whoever wishes to save
(referring to one's physical life) his life shall lose it (eternally);
but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save
(spiritually) it (eternally)." (Mk 8:34)
Jesus speaking to
"woman in the city who was a sinner"
(Lk 7:37) "said to her
""Your sins have been forgiven" (Lk 7:48) and then
"Your faith has saved (sozo)
you; go in peace." (Lk 7:50).
In these passages
Jesus equates sozo with forgiveness of sins, confession of faith
and experiencing peace!
In a parable
explaining the role of the Word of God and the character of the "soil"
in salvation, Jesus taught that
those (people) beside the road are
those who have heard (the seed, the Word, the Gospel); then the devil
comes (Mark's gospel adds "immediately", "at once") and takes away
tense - continually) the word from their heart, so that they
may not believe and be saved." (Lk 8:12)
Observe that one
cannot be saved unless he believes the word and that merely hearing (and
even assenting to the veracity) of the word does not result in
the repentant Zaccheus declaring for all to hear
Today salvation has come to this
house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham (who by faith was reckoned
righteousness Ge 15:6). For the Son of Man has come
to seek and to save that which was lost (this word speaks
not of annihilation as some falsely teach but of
eternal ruin, destitution and spiritual death)." (Lk 19:9, 10)
Jesus taught that
God did not send the Son into the
world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved
through Him." (Jn 3:17)
Comment: One is saved (only) by entering "through Christ" as He
amplified later explaining "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me,
he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
Peter explained to
his Jewish audience how one could avoid the terrifying and dreadful
Day of the LORD's
wrath, quoting Joel 2:32
"that everyone who calls on the name
of the LORD shall be saved." (Acts 2:21)
Peter later made
it very clear that
"there is salvation in no (absolute
negative - no exception clauses) one else; for there is no other name
(Jesus) under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be
saved." (Acts 4:12)
jailer summed up spiritual salvation asking Paul and Silas
"Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved,
you and your household." (Acts 16:31).
(dia) in is a preposition which serves as marker by which
something is accomplished. Paul is describing the instrumentality of our
faith. The idea is "by means of" faith. Faith
is the "channel" through which salvation flows to sinners. It
is the instrument or means.
D F Salmond
Paul never says dia ten pistis, as if the faith were the ground
or procuring cause of the salvation. It is the grace (chariti), too, not
the explanatory faith (pisteos) that has the first place in Paul's
thoughts here" (Ephesians 2:8-10 Commentary
- Expositor's Greek Testament)
put the meaning of man's need to express faith this way...
“He who created you without you will
not save you without you.”
Comment: Dr Johnson explains
that "what he meant in the context was that our part in salvation, which
is not to be confused by being made of works, is simply to receive the
salvation by faith. We do believe, God doesn’t believe. We believe. But
that response, Augustine goes on to say, is something created in us by
God. We do believe. By grace are ye saved through the instrumentality of
The words, “through faith”
speak of the instrument or means whereby the sinner avails himself of
this salvation which God offers him in pure grace. Expositors says:
“Paul never says ‘through the faith,’ as if the faith were the ground or
procuring cause of the salvation.” Alford says: “It (the salvation) has
been effected by grace and apprehended by faith.”
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but
in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to
God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and
holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. Note that faith per
se is not viewed as a positive "work" or accomplishment of the believing
Here is a very
interesting line from the Statement of Faith at a Christian College...
We believe that salvation is by
grace—plus nothing and minus nothing.
Thomas Chalmers said it this way...
Faith is like the hand of the beggar
that takes the gift while adding nothing to it.
Someone has offered the following acrostic defining faith as...
Here are some variations of this
acrostic - For All I Take Him. For
All I Trust Him. For All I
Thank Him. For All My Need I Trust
humbling to admit that we can do nothing to earn our
deliverance from the domination by sin. But anytime we add anything to
grace, we subtract from its meaning. Grace must be free or else it is
not grace at all. Free grace? Of course. What other kind could there be?
As someone has well said "Faith is to the soul what a mainspring is
to a watch."
Bridges has a similar "definition" which describes faith as...
both a renunciation and
a reliance. First, we must renounce any trust in our own
performance as the basis of our acceptance before God. We trust in our
own performance when we believe we’ve earned God’s acceptance by our
good works. But we also trust in our own performance when we believe
we’ve lost God’s acceptance by our bad works—by our sin. So we must
renounce any consideration of either our bad works or our good works as
the means of relating to God. Second, we must place our reliance
entirely on the perfect obedience and sin-bearing death of Christ as the
sole basis of our standing before God—on our best days as well as our
worst. (The Bookends of the Christian Life)
Grace is the source, faith is the means, and salvation
is the result. Or you might say that Grace is the reservoir,
Faith is the channel, and Salvation is the stream that washes
my sin away.
As faith relates to Christ it represents a
strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah,
through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom
of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only
through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.
The grace of God is the source of
salvation; faith is the instrument or channel, not the cause. God
Alone saves. Salvation never originates in the efforts of people but
always arises out of the lovingkindness of God.
Luther on faith
God creates faith in the human heart the same way that He created the
world. He found nothing and created something.
Be careful to distinction several
common misunderstandings concerning faith. Faith is not a subjective
feeling. True feelings may be emoted in genuine faith, but not all
emotions certify the presence of saving faith. Biblical faith is not
credulity or the attitude that accepts something as true apart from
evidence simply because one wishes it to be true. Biblical faith is not
a positive mental attitude the result of which the thing believed is
supposed to happen. This false (non-saving) faith was popularized by Norman Vincent
Peale in a book entitled "The Power of Positive Thinking". John Stott
has analyzed Peale's approach and sums it up as just another word for
S Lewis Johnson writes that
Believe is our responsibility. There is human responsibility. We are
responsible to believe. And even though that is the gift of God we are
responsible to believe. And so I call upon you, believe in the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved if you are not. (Ephesians
2:1-10 His Power and Our Salvation)
The Protestant Reformers emphasized
that genuine faith works declaring...
Sola fide justificat sid non
fides qua est sola
“Faith alone justifies but not the faith which is alone”
True faith will issue in good
works. Now not necessarily seen by you or me, but there must be good
Constable explains "by
faith" writing that...
The instrument by which we receive salvation is faith (i.e., trust in
Christ). Faith is not an act or work that earns merit with God that He
rewards with salvation. When a person puts out his hand to take a gift
that someone else offers, he or she is doing nothing to merit that gift.
The giver gets credit for the gift, not the receiver. Likewise faith is
not a meritorious work. (Ephesians Expository Notes)
Wayne Grudem defines faith
that saves one's soul...
Saving faith is trust in Jesus
Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life
with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a
belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me... Because saving
faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word “trust” is a
better word to use in contemporary culture than the word “faith” or
“belief.” The reason is that we can “believe” something to be true with
no personal commitment or dependence involved in it...
Scripture never says that we are justified because of the inherent
goodness of our faith, as if our faith has merit before God. It never
allows us to think that our faith in itself earns favor with God.
Rather, Scripture says that we are justified “by means of” our faith,
understanding faith to be the instrument through which justification is
given to us, but not at all an activity that earns us merit or favor
with God. Rather, we are justified solely because of the merits of
Christ’s work (Ro 5:17, 18, 19).(Grudem,
W. A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine
Wuest explains that...
When (pistis and related the
related verb pisteuo) refer to the faith which a lost sinner must
place in the Lord Jesus in order to be saved, they include the following
the act of considering the Lord Jesus
worthy of trust as to His character and motives
the act of placing confidence in His
ability to do just what He says He will do
the act of entrusting the salvation
of his soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus
the act of committing the work of
saving his soul to the care of the Lord.
This means a definite taking of one’s
self out of one’s own keeping and entrusting one’s self into the keeping
of the Lord Jesus. (Ibid)
William Barclay notes that...
Faith begins with receptivity.
It begins when a man is at least willing to listen to the message of the
truth. It goes on to mental assent. A man first hears and then agrees
that this is true. But mental assent need not issue in action. Many a
man knows very well that something is true, but does not change his
actions to meet that knowledge. The final stage is when this mental
assent becomes total surrender. In full-fledged faith, a man hears the
Christian message, agrees that it is true, and then casts himself upon
it in a life of total yieldedness. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster
Charles Swindoll explains
genuine belief writing...
illustration of what it means to believe is the true story of Ann
Seward, a resident of Portland, Oregon. She was asked to costar with
high-wire artist Philippe Petit at the opening of the Portland Center
for the Performing Arts. Intrigued by the opportunity, she responded,
“I’d like to meet this man and see if I trust him.” Her stage would be
on an eighty-foot wire between the new theater building and the Arlene
Schnitzer Concert Hall. On August 31, 1987, the ninety-one-pound Seward
placed her life in the hands of the high-wire artist and was carried on
his back while he performed high above the street. (from Chris Myers, “Chance
Encounter Led to a Truly High Time,” Oregonian, 3 September 1987)
She said that her performance had a lesson for those who witnessed it.
“I think that one of the most beautiful things about the performance was
that it took a lot of trust—absolute trust—to do that,” she said. “I
think in the world that is a very profound issue....Here it is—I’m
putting my life in someone else’s hands and trusting the whole crowd not
to do anything to distract him.”
Many of those who
witnessed the performance “believed” that Petit could
successfully complete the performance with someone on his back. But
their belief was merely intellectual and did not
feature the absolute trust and total commitment exhibited
by Ann Seward. She expressed her belief by placing her very life in the
hands of the artist. This is the kind of “belief” referred to in the
words of Paul, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts
16:31). This belief is not merely head knowledge; it is the
response of a heart to the person of Christ saying, “I trust Your
redeeming work to deliver me from sin and carry me safely to heaven.”
C. R., & Zuck, R. B. Understanding Christian Theology.: Thomas Nelson
Faith is relying on what God has done rather than on one’s own
efforts. In the Old Testament, faith is rarely mentioned. The word
trust is used frequently, and verbs like believe and rely
are used to express the right attitude to God. The classic example is
Abraham, whose faith was reckoned as righteousness (Ge 15:6). At
the heart of the Christian message is the story of the cross: Christ’s
dying to bring salvation. Faith is an attitude of trust in which
a believer receives God’s good gift of salvation (Acts 16:30,31) and
lives in that awareness thereafter (Ga 2:20-note; cf. Heb
Faith, like grace, is not static. Saving faith is more than just
understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing. It is inseparable from
repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. None of those
responses can be classified exclusively as a human work, any more than
believing itself is solely a human effort.
Faith is manifest by not believing in spite of evidence but by
obeying in spite of the consequences. John uses the related verb pisteuo
to demonstrate the relationship between genuine faith and obedience
"He who believes (present
tense = continuous)
in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not
see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36)
Swindoll commenting on the relationship between faith and obedience
in John 3:36 concludes that...
In John 3:36 the one who “believes in
the Son has eternal life” as a present possession. But the one who “does
not obey the Son shall not see life.” To disbelieve Christ is to
disobey Him. And logically, to believe in Christ is to
obey Him. As I have noted elsewhere,
“This verse clearly indicates that
belief is not a matter of passive opinion, but decisive and obedient
action.” (quoting J. Carl Laney)...
Tragically many people are convinced
that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, so long as you are
sincere. This reminds me of a Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown is
returning from a disastrous baseball game. The caption read,
“174 to nothing! How
we lose when we were so sincere?”
The reality is, Charlie Brown, that
it takes more than sincerity to win the game of life. Many people are
sincere about their beliefs, but they are sincerely wrong!" (Swindoll,
C. R., & Zuck, R. B. Understanding Christian Theology.: Thomas Nelson
A W Tozer would agree having stated that...
True faith commits us
was translating the
Scripture for the South Sea islanders, he was unable to find a word in
their vocabulary for the concept of believing, trusting, or having
faith. He had no idea how he would convey that to them. One day while he
was in his hut translating, a native came running up the stairs into
Paton's study and flopped in a chair, exhausted. He said to Paton,
“It’s so good to rest my whole weight
in this chair.”
John Paton had his word: Faith is resting your whole weight on
God. That word went into the translation of their New Testament and
helped bring that civilization of natives to Christ. Believing is
putting your whole weight on God. If God said it, then it’s true, and
we’re to believe it.
Nothing before, nothing behind,
The steps of faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The rock beneath -- Whittier
In 1981, a Minnesota radio station reported a story about a stolen car
in California. Police were staging an intense search for the vehicle and
the driver, even to the point of placing announcements on local radio
stations to contact the thief. On the front seat of the stolen car sat a
box of crackers that, unknown to the thief, were laced with poison. The
car owner had intended to use the crackers as rat bait. Now the police
and the owner of the VW Bug were more interested in apprehending the
thief to save his life than to recover the car. So often when we run
from God, we feel it is to escape his punishment. But what we are
actually doing is eluding His rescue.
Faith in the
Right Source - In April 1988 the evening news reported on a
photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with
numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened
their parachutes. On the film shown on the telecast, as the final
skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer
reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out
of the plane without his parachute. It wasn't until he reached for the
absent ripcord that he realized he was freefalling without a parachute.
Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But
tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness.
Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled
on. Faith in anything but an all-sufficient God can be just as tragic
spiritually. Only with faith in Jesus Christ dare we step into the
dangerous excitement of life.
Faith - Back in 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S.
Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. President Andrew Jackson issued a
pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief
Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed.
"A pardon is a slip of paper," wrote Marshall, "the value of which is
determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is
refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged." For some, the
pardon comes too late. For others, the pardon is not accepted.
(in Living Proof, NavPress, 1989, p. 170) illustrates faith that saves
ones soul noting that...
Three elements of personality are
involved in making a decision to become a Christian, or in making any
significant decision for that matter. They are the emotions, the
intellect, and the will.
For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are immediately
attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, "Now there is
someone I'd like to marry." At that point, if the emotions had their
way, there would be a wedding. But the intellect intervenes, questioning
the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she
really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be
better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they
proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He
eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on
the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea
But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast -- that of the will.
It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, "Am I willing to
give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom -- is it worth
the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?" The
marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions
and the intellect. And so it is in coming to Christ.
THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT
IS THE GIFT OF GOD: kai touto ouk ex humon theou to doron: (Ep
2:10; 1:19; Matthew 16:17; John 1:12,13; 6:37,44,65; Acts 14:27; 16:14;
Romans 10:14,17; Philippians 1:29; Colossians 2:12; James 1:16, 17, 18)
(touto) refers not to grace or to faith but to the act
of being saved. It is not of ourselves but is a gift from God. Here Paul
counters the argument of so many who persist in thinking that salvation
is God's response to something in us.
(ouk) signifies absolute negation and definitively excludes human merit in the
process of salvation. 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. We were sons of disobedience and by nature
children fully deserving of God's wrath and not His salvation.
And yet He gives us salvation, epitomizing the essence of grace,
explains it this way...
The word translated “this” (Ed
note: "that" in the NASB) is the neuter pronoun touto (from
which refers not to “faith” or to “grace” specifically in the previous
clause (for they are both feminine nouns in Greek, and would require
feminine pronouns), but to the entire idea expressed in the preceding
phrase, the idea that you have been saved by grace through faith. (Grudem,
W: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. IVP;
agrees writing that the word...
“That” refers to the entire
previous statement of salvation, not only the grace but the faith.
Although men are required to believe for salvation, even that faith is
part of the gift of God which saves and cannot be exercised by one’s own
power. God’s grace is preeminent in every aspect of salvation (cf. Ro
3:20-note; Gal 2:16). (MacArthur,
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)
Hoehner in the Bible Knowledge Commentary writes
Much debate has centered around the
demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto). Though some think it refers back
to “grace” and others to “faith,” neither of these suggestions is really
valid because the demonstrative pronoun is neuter whereas “grace” and
“faith” are feminine. Also, to refer back to either of these words
specifically seems to be redundant. Rather the neuter touto, as is
common, refers to the preceding phrase or clause. (In Ep 1:15-note
and Ep 3:1-note
touto, “this,” refers back to the preceding section.) Thus it
refers back to the concept of salvation (Eph 2:4, 5, 6, 7, 8a), whose basis is
grace and means is faith. This salvation does not have its source in man
(it is “not from yourselves”), but rather, its source is God’s grace for
“it is the gift of God.” (Walvoord,
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor)
It is interesting
to read the thoughts of an excellent expositor James Montgomery Boice
who experienced a change in thinking on his approach to this verse. He
In speaking on this text I have
sometimes referred to the previous phrase in verse 8 (“and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God”) as referring to faith, teaching that
even faith is God’s gift. This is probably not what Paul had in mind,
because “faith” (pistis) is feminine, and “this” (touto) is neuter. The
statements in verse 8 probably refer to the whole of the previous
sentence, teaching that the salvation which is ours through faith is not
of ourselves but rather is God’s gift. (Boice,
J. M.: Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary)
The KJV Bible
Commentary writes that...
The grammatical gender of the word “that,”
occurring in the expression that not of yourselves, is neuter; hence, “that”
cannot refer to the preceding “grace” or “faith,” both of
which are feminine nouns, nor can it refer to “are ye saved”
which is a masculine participle. Instead the neuter “that” refers
back and embraces the entire foregoing “grace, are ye saved,” and
“faith.” This means that no part of salvation is “of
yourselves” or due to what we do—the whole of salvation is the gift
of God. (Dobson,
E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV
Bible Commentary: Nelson)
Hendricksen has an interesting comment regarding the respected Greek
scholar A T Robertson noting that in Robertson's comment on this passage
“Grace is God’s part, faith ours.”
He adds that since in the original the demonstrative “this” (and this
not of yourselves) is neuter and does not correspond with the gender of
the word “faith,” which is feminine, it does not refer to the latter
“but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our
part.”... (Hendricksen refutes this teaching stating that) Without any
hesitancy I answer, Robertson, to whom the entire world of New Testament
scholarship is heavily indebted, does not express himself felicitously
in this instance. This is true first because in a context in which the
apostle places such tremendous stress on the fact that from start to
finish man owes his salvation to God, to him alone, it would have been
very strange, indeed, for him to say, “Grace is God’s part, faith ours.”
True though it be that both the responsibility of believing and also its
activity are ours, for God does not believe for us, nevertheless, in the
present context (Eph 2:5-10) one rather expects emphasis on the fact
that both in its initiation and in its continuation faith is entirely
dependent on God, and so is our complete salvation. (Hendriksen,
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. New Testament Commentary Set, 12 Volumes. Grand
Rapids: Baker Book House)
Press NIV Commentary author asks...
What is the meaning of “this,”
(Ed note: "that" in the NASB) which is given of God
and is not from yourselves? Is it “faith” that is the gift of
God? Since “faith” is a word of feminine gender, and “this”
and “it” are neuter gender, normal grammar disallows referring
back to “faith.” For the same reason “this” cannot refer
back to the feminine word “grace.” It is more likely that the
neuter words refer to the entire situation of salvation: it is God’s
doing, not our own. Even our own responses, such as repenting and
believing in Jesus, would not be possible unless God had invited us to
do so (cf. Acts 11:18 "And when they heard this, they quieted down
and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles
also the repentance that leads to life"). (Boles, K. L.. Galatians &
Ephesians. The College Press NIV commentary. Joplin, Mo.: College Press.
In the following
passages observe that "faith" is presented as a something that is
given from God to men and thus is a gift...
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and
apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of
the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus
Christ: 2 Peter 1:1 (Comment: The verb "received" is aorist
active which signifies an event occurring at some point in time we
received a faith like Peter's faith.)
For to you it has been granted
for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer
for His sake,Philippians 1:29, and
"And on the basis of faith in His
name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you
see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him
this perfect health in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16.
A gift, of course, is a free
and unconditional present. That is the only basis on which God offers
salvation. The gift of God is salvation by grace and through faith. It
is offered to all people everywhere. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
yourselves is literally "absolutely not out of yourself."
This view of salvation is hard for good people to accept because it
means we must give up our "goodness" in order to be saved. We must admit
that nothing we have done matters in the least when it comes to being
forgiven by God. In the words of an old hymn, we must lay our "deadly
doing" down. God has designed our salvation so that he alone gets the
In the end grace
means that no one is too bad to be saved.
(ou) indicates absolute negation.
The story is told
of a man who came eagerly but very late to a revival meeting and found
the workmen tearing down the tent in which the meetings had been held.
Frantic at missing the evangelist, he decided to ask one of the workers
what he could do to be saved. The workman, who was a Christian, replied,
“You can’t do anything. It’s too late.” Horrified, the man said,
“What do you mean? How can it be too late?” “The work has already
been accomplished,” he was told. “There is nothing you need to do but
(doron) is that which is given or granted and stresses the
gratuitous character of the gift.
And all of it is
the gift of God, even the faith that lays hold of God’s grace. Even our
faith is not of us. It too is part of God’s gift. As Martin Luther said,
our situation is so hopeless that salvation must come from "another
place." That’s why the Reformers talked about "alien righteousness."
That means a righteousness that comes from outside ourselves. We are not
saved by what we do but by what Jesus Christ has done for us and makes
freely available to us by faith.
Doron - 19x
in 17v - Mt 2:11; 5:23, 24; 8:4; 15:5; 23:18, 19; Mk 7:11; Lk 21:1, 4;
Ep 2:8; Heb 5:1; 8:3, 4; 9:9; 11:4; Rev 11:10. NAS =
gift(1), gifts(8), given(2), offering(8).
Of God -
the genitive (possessive) is emphasized by its position before the noun
and stands in emphatic contrast with the personal pronoun "yourselves".
Salvation is all of God!
explains salvation is by grace alone and not on account of any merit in
After Paul explains in Romans
1:18-3:20 that no one will ever be able to make himself righteous before
(“For no human being will be
justified in his sight by works of the law,” Ro 3:20-note),
then Paul goes on to explain that
“since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are
justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption which is in
Christ Jesus” (Ro 3:23, 24). God’s “grace” means his “unmerited favor.”
Because we are completely unable to earn favor with God, the only way we
could be declared righteous is if God freely provides salvation for us
by grace, totally apart from our work. Paul explains,
“For by grace you have been saved
through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not
because of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9; cf. Titus 3:7-note).
Grace is clearly put in contrast to
works or merit as the reason why God is willing to justify us. God did
not have any obligation to impute our sin to Christ or to impute
Christ’s righteousness to us; it was only because of his unmerited favor
that he did this. (Grudem,
W: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. IVP;
Rock of Ages
Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress,
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.
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"It's Too Easy"
- I read about an instant cake mix that
was a big flop. The instructions said all you had to do was add water
and bake. The company couldn't understand why it didn't sell—until their
research discovered that the buying public felt uneasy about a mix that
required only water. People thought it was too easy. So the company
altered the formula and changed the recipe to call for adding water and
an egg to the mix. The idea worked, and sales jumped dramatically.
That story reminds me of how some people react to the plan of salvation.
To them it sounds too easy and simple to be true, even though the Bible
says, "By grace you have been saved through faith, . . . it is the gift
of God, not of works" (Ephesians 2:8, 9). They feel that there is
something more they must do, something they must add to God's "recipe"
for salvation. They think they must perform good works to gain God's
favor and earn eternal life. But the Bible is clear—we are saved "not by
works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy"
Unlike the cake-mix manufacturer, God has not changed His "formula" to
make salvation more marketable. The gospel we proclaim must be free of
works, even though it may sound too easy. —Richard De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Salvation is a gift
Not something earned or won;
He freely gives eternal life
To all who trust His Son. —Sper
We are saved by God's mercy, not by our merit—by Christ's dying, not by
><> ><> ><>
- Suppose a non-Christian murders
another unbeliever. The victim would go to hell (Ro 6:23-note; Re
20:11-15-notes). If the killer later receives Christ as his Savior, he would
go to heaven. Is that fair?
From a purely human standpoint, we respond, "No, it isn't!" But God's
ways are far higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9), and He does not deal with
us according to our sins (Ps 103:10-Spurgeon's
If God were to execute justice without mercy and grace, we would all be
lost. In His mercy He does not give us what we deserve, and by His grace
He gives us what we don't deserve. Even though God demands perfection,
He doesn't leave us without hope.
God has designed a plan of redemption in which He can both "be just and
the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Ro 3:26-note).
His perfect standard is satisfied by the perfect sacrifice--His own Son
Jesus Christ. The result? "There is therefore now no condemnation to
those who are in Christ Jesus" (Ro 8:1-note).
No one can rightly accuse God of being unfair. His free offer of
salvation is open to everyone. If we do not receive His gift of mercy,
we will surely face His judgment. God's grace makes it fair. --R W De
Favor to the undeserving,
Love, when from God we have turned,
Mercy, when His love we've spurned--
That's God's grace! --Anon.
Grace: Getting what we don't deserve.
Mercy: Not getting what we do deserve
><> ><> ><>
A Remarkable Life
-This is the story of a man with whom
I worked. David was a remarkable man. Remarkable in his steady demeanor
through 33 years of service with the same ministry. Remarkable in his
gentle, caring love for his wife of 30 years. Remarkable in his
unwavering dedication to his children--through triumph and trouble.
Remarkable in the respect he earned from co-workers and acquaintances.
Remarkable in that when he died too suddenly and too soon at age 56, no
one had anything bad to say about him. Remarkable!
Yet as friends and family sat in solemn silence at the funeral, David's
pastor put his life in perspective. Family members had extolled David's
character and comforted everyone with the assurance that he was in
heaven. Then the pastor said, "None of the good things David did earned
him one second in heaven. He is there because he accepted God's
salvation through Christ."
It's true. No matter how remarkable our lives are, we cannot earn
heaven. It's a gift.
Examine your life. As religious and well-loved as you may be, you won't
go to heaven unless you accept God's gift of eternal life. Ask Jesus
Christ to forgive your sins. That will make your life truly remarkable.
--J D Branon (Ibid)
The ABCs Of Salvation
Admit you're a sinner (Ro 3:23-note).
Believe in Christ who died for you (Jn. 3:16).
Confess Him as Savior and Lord (Ro 10:9, 10-notes
The most exemplary life is nothing without Christ.
><> ><> ><>
yourselves - A marshal in Napoleon's army -- a man who was devotedly
and enthusiastically attached to him -- was mortally wounded in battle.
As the last struggle drew near and he lay dying in his tent, he sent for
his chief. Napoleon came. The poor man thought his emperor could do
anything. Perhaps he even sought to put him in the place of God. So he
earnestly pleaded with his leader to save his life. The emperor sadly
shook his head and turned away. But as the dying man felt the cold,
merciless hand of death drawing him irresistibly behind the curtain of
the unseen world, he was still heard to shriek out, "Save me, Napoleon!
Save me!" In the hour of death, that soldier discovered that even the
powerful Napoleon could not give him physical life. (Ibid)
><> ><> ><>
Gift of God - During the Spanish-American War, Clara Barton was
overseeing the work of the Red Cross in Cuba. One day Colonel Theodore
Roosevelt came to her, wanted to buy food for his sick and wounded Rough
Riders. But she refused to sell him any. Roosevelt was perplexed. His
men needed the help and he was prepared to pay out of his own funds.
When he asked someone why he could not buy the supplies, he was told,
"Colonel, just ask for it!" A smile broke over Roosevelt's face. Now he
understood--the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was
simply ask and they would be given freely. (Ibid)