Lesson 3 - The Salvation of God

Jesus asked the profoundly simple question, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul."  Matthew 16:26.  It is of no profit.  Nothing is more important than eternal salvation. 

The apostle Peter preached about salvation, when he boldly declared, "Nor is there salvation in any other (than Jesus Christ), for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."  Acts 4:12.  Salvation is absolutely necessary because: (1)  man is a sinner by nature and choice [Romans 3:23; 5:12], (2) he is under the condemnation of God [John 3:18; Romans 5:18], (3) he will not escape the judgment of God [Romans 2:3; Hebrews 9:27], and (4) he cannot save himself by family relationships, human efforts, or personal achievements [John 1:13; Romans 4:4].

While it is true that we must be saved, it is also true that we can be saved.  Consider the following verses.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Ephesians 2:8, 9.


Saved By Grace

Grace is the unmerited love and favor of God for men.  Salvation is always by the grace of God.  It is always unearned.  It is always God's gift to the undeserving.

It was God's grace that made provision for our salvation.  He sent His incomparable Son into the world "that He (Jesus), by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone."  Hebrews 2:9.  Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins.  He carried our sins to the cross of Calvary, and there He poured out His life blood on our behalf.  He suffered and died in our place.  And He rose again, a living Savior. 

Today it is God's grace that offers salvation to sinful men and women, unable to save themselves.  "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."  2 Corinthians 6:2.  God's invitation is extended to whosoever, that is, to anyone and everyone.

Two men, who were worthy of death by crucifixion, were crucified with Jesus.  One of them turned to Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."  Jesus responded, "Assuredly, I say to you today you will be with Me in Paradise."  Luke 23:42, 43.  The man deserved to die, but was saved.  This is grace.

We are also saved by grace or not at all.  If we are saved by works, than why did Jesus Christ go to the cross and suffer and die?  What would be the point of His death?  The apostle Paul wrote, "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."  Galatians 2:21.


Saved Through Faith

One book of the Bible, the Gospel of John, was written "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."  John 20:31.  If you want to know how to be saved read what John had to say.  We need not look elsewhere.  Here are just a few promises for you to embrace.

 

"But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ),
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name."

John 1:12.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish
but have everlasting life."

John 3:16.

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life;
and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life,
but the wrath of God abides on him."

John 3:36.

"Most assuredly, I (Jesus) say to you,
he who believes in Me has everlasting life."

John 6:47.

We are saved through faith, that is, through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This saving faith is not a mere mental assent, a nod of the head as it were.  It involves a turning from sin to trust in the Son of God.  The apostle Peter describes faith as "resting your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."  1 Peter 1:13.  Your faith finds a resting place in the Lord, who died for you and rose again.

 

Saved Apart From Works

Grace and works don't mix.  If we are saved by grace, we are not saved by works.  If we are saved by works, we are not saved by grace.  It's as simple as that.  The Bible is clear on this point.  "And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.  But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work."  Romans 11:6.

It is safe to say that most people believe that good works are necessary to be saved.  They don't understand that salvation is a gift, freely given by the unmerited loving-kindness of God. 

Today it has been said, "It isn't enough to believe in Jesus."  Or, "You have to believe in Jesus, but you also have to...."  Those who speak this way always add some kind of good works to God's promise.  If you want to go to heaven, you have to go to church, or have to be baptized, or have to do good, or have to refrain from evil habits, or something else. 

The grace of God was under attack in the early church, especially by Jews who insisted that we must keep the law in order to be saved.  Again, they insisted that it was not enough to trust in Jesus.  Some placed an emphasis on circumcision as a condition of salvation.  The test of the gospel of Christ is grace.

"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."  Titus 3:4, 5.  We are not saved by works of any kind.  We are saved by grace through faith apart from works.

 

Created Unto Good Works

In our study we have focused on Ephesians 2:8, 9.  Let's end with the following verse, Ephesians 2:10.

"For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

When we believe in the Lord Jesus as our Savior, in grace God does a transforming work in our lives.  We are born again, and become new creatures in Christ.  We are created in Him for good works.  Faith is the root, and good works are the fruit. 

 

Lesson 4 - The Spirit of God

 
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