Grace vs. the Obedience of Faith
Saved By Grace...
Let us look quickly at Acts 15:11, Ephesians
2:5-8 and 2 Timothy 1:9, where it talks about being
saved by grace or through grace:
we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same
way as they also are." Acts 15:11(1)
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of
His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were
dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you
have been saved),
and raised us up with Him, and seated
us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you
have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of
not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for
good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our
Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel
according to the power of God,
who has 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,
but now has been revealed by the appearing of our
Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel,
for which I was appointed a
preacher and an apostle and a teacher." 2 Timothy 1:8-11 (3)
(1)A look at Acts 15:11
In Acts 15:11
above, Peter is not saying that they were saved by grace
alone. Instead the Jews and the non-Jews (the Gentiles) were
though faith in the same way" (not by physical circumcision or works of
the law of Moses).
In Acts 15, Peter is responding to a report by Paul. Paul is speaking
to the apostles and elders in the church in Jerusalem about how some men had
come down from Judea and were teaching (falsely) that the Gentiles must be
circumcised according to the Law of Moses and must follow the Law of Moses to be
saved (see Acts 15:1-6). After some discussion Peter stood up and reminded
them that the Jews and Gentiles were both saved in the same way. Peter then recounted the story of how
the Holy Spirit had fallen on the Gentiles the same way as it happened at first
(see Acts 15:7-11). Peter was there when the Holy Spirit had fallen on the
Gentiles and Peter had commanded these Gentiles to be baptized (Acts 10:34-48),
just as happened in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit had fallen on the Jews there and
Peter had commanded them to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and the
receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:28-39).
(2)A look at Ephesians 2:4-10
Ephesians 2:8 above, Paul is not saying that they were saved by grace alone.
Instead he says that it is
Paul says in verse 5 that we were
"dead in our transgressions," but "God made us alive together with Christ."
In Romans 6:3-8, Paul explains how through baptism
we are united with Christ in His death; being raised
to be alive with Him.
(3)A look at 2 Timothy 1:8-11
2 Timothy 1:8-11, Paul is not saying that we are saved by grace alone...but
rather "according to His own purpose
God and Jesus' grace was poured out onto all men and women. Jesus
didn't die for just a few...but He died for everyone. If all that was
needed was God's grace, then everyone who has lived and will live on
the earth would be saved automatically.
The scriptures teach plainly that, although
everyone has an opportunity to be saved, many will reject this opportunity and
be condemned on the day of judgment -- see Matthew 13:37-42 for one example.
On the other hand, it is very important for us to realize that we are
not saved by
the obedience of faith alone. Faith in
Jesus Christ requires our obedience to what Jesus
commands (e.g., Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Romans
6:1-10, etc.). But without God's grace...faith
would be useless. If Jesus never died for us...or if Jesus was never raised from the
dead...then our faith in God (and the obedience that results from our faith)
would be meaningless.
"For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are
still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen
asleep in Christ have perished.
If we have hoped in
Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied." 1
Corinthians 15:16-19 (NAS)
"...and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith
also is vain." 1 Corinthians 15:14 (NAS)
Saved by Grace, Through Faith:
Let's take a quick look at Titus 3:5-7:
saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but
according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy
whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus
Christ our Savior,
that being justified by His grace we
might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
In this verse Paul mentions several things that are involved in our salvation:
- According to His mercy --Titus 3:5,
- By the washing of regeneration* and renewing by the Holy Spirit -- Titus
- Justified by His grace -- Titus 3:7.
*Washing of Regeneration:
When Jesus' church
is first established in Acts 2,
Peter preached the gospel of Jesus and tells all there to repent and be
baptized (immersed in water) for the remission of sins and to receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit. On that day, 3,000 obeyed by faith and were baptized
(see Acts 2:38-41).
Today, when a person is baptized for the forgiveness of sins,
he or she arises (by faith) from the waters of baptism clothed with Christ (see
Galatians 3:27) to walk in newness of life (being born again or regenerated --
See Romans 6:4).
Regeneration means to be born again, or re-generated.
When a person is baptized for the forgiveness of sin...they arise from the
waters of baptism "with Christ"...having placed their faith in the working of
God...not their own power (see Colossians 2:12).
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order
that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we
too might walk in newness of life....Even so consider yourselves to be dead to
sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:4, 11 (NAS)
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