For By Grace

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Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Today we’re going to look at one of the most profound Scriptures in the Bible. I love John 3:16. They are the words of our Lord, who said:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His Only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

These are beautiful, cherished words. But I also love this text. In three short verses the Apostle defines the Christian way of life. You learn first of all,

Salvation Is BY Grace THROUGH Faith

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved …

It is GRACE that saves the believing sinner. GRACE is the opposite of WORKS. GRACE is a free gift. God tells us in …

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

The Pharisees sought salvation by WORKS. They thought that – by the animal sacrifices, the feasts, and the rituals like circumcision, they could be good enough for God. But we can never be good enough for God in our own power. We need GRACE.

Word Study The word translated “GRACE” is the Greek χάρις cháris, {pronounced khar’-ece}, which means “unmerited favor, good will, loving kindness, unearned love”. One of my commentaries said, “of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.”

Grace is found – like a glorious red thread – from Genesis to Revelation. In the Garden of Eden God warned Adam that “the day you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you will SURELY die” (Genesis 2:17). Though God plainly told Adam, Adam nonetheless ate the forbidden.

The LAW demanded Adam and Eve’s death.
The LAW was clear, and Adam failed.
The LAW told Adam:

Genesis 3:17-19 … cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

The Law of God must fulfill what it said. “By one man sin entered the earth, and DEATH by sin, for all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Spiritual death came on Adam, and physical death became a part of life. “In Adam, all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). It was the LAW that pronounced rightful death on Adam and his children.

The LAW demanded death – but GRACE demands life!

Adam and Eve should have died for their sins – or at the least, cast out of Eden naked and afraid. Grace allowed an innocent to die for them – and for us.

For Adam and Eve, an innocent animal was sacrificed to cover their sins. We read:

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

But it was BY GRACE that God allowed Adam another day of life. It was by GRACE that God clothed Adam and Eve by killing the innocent creature. Pastor John MacDuff said:

No sinner would have sought God – but “by grace”. The thickets of Eden would have proved Adam’s grave, had not Grace called him out.”

Illustrate Grace The writer of this Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul the Apostle, well knew the Grace of God. As a Pharisee under the LAW, Saul sought out Christians to destroy them. But then Saul met Jesus Christ and GRACE on the Damascus Road, his life changed. Paul would later testify:

1 Corinthians 15:10 … by the GRACE of God I am what I am …

Illustrate Grace: It is GRACE that saves. One of the clearest pictures of this in the Scripture is on the Hill of Calvary, on the very day our Lord Jesus died. Two thieves hung next to Jesus as He hung on the Cross. One thief mocked Jesus. “If You are really the Son of God, get us down and yourself as well”! This thief did not believe in Jesus, nor in Grace. But the thief on Christ’s right hand BELIEVED in Jesus, and cried out:

Luke 23:42 Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

The thief BELIEVED in Jesus. Hanging, hurting, bleeding, dying, gasping for air, this thief focused on the Son of God next to Him.

Illustrate: And it is FAITH that caused Jesus to focus on this man. Jesus told him, “Truly I say unto you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Think about this unnamed thief:

The thief never partook of the Lord’s Table.
The thief was never baptized in water.
The thief never joined a Church.
The thief never went to a prayer meeting.
The thief never heard a sermon.
The thief never tithed or gave any money to charity.
The thief never even sat on a Church Committee.
The thief never knelt at an altar, nor folded hands in prayer.
The thief never lived a moral life.
His life was defined by the word “thief”.
The “thief” robbed God of glory, and man of goods.

The thief comes to steal, to kill, to destroy. But Jesus came that He might give all – even this thief – abundant and everlasting life. (John 10:10)

I believe the repentant thief would have served Jesus had he been able. After all, he called Jesus “Lord”. But he couldn’t do good, nor bad. Nailed to the Cross, he could not even physically follow Jesus. The thief did the one thing that he could do in his current state.

He believed on the Lord Jesus – and Jesus received him into glory!

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves

Salvation is BY Grace, THROUGH Faith. Salvation is a gift of God. Sin is a function of the flesh that brings death. The Scripture says:

Romans 6:23 … the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The gift of God comes BY Grace THROUGH Faith – and that NOT OF YOURSELVES.

We Have No Ability To Save Ourselves

Just as the thief had no ability to save himself, we have no ability to save ourselves. Without Christ and God’s intervention, we are all born into this life spiritually DEAD. Read with me:

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Word Study: Let’s clean this verse up a bit. The words hath he quickened are not in the original text, but were added by the King James translators. The translators italicized these words showing they added them, believing their addition would add clarity to the translation. The words are not needed. Take the added words out, and read the text:

Ephesians 2:1 And you who were dead in trespasses and sins;

The Apostle is telling the Ephesian believers – and us – that Christians were dead – that’s past tensein trespasses AND sins. Trespasses are violations of God’s Law and God’s directives. Sins refers to the lost person’s state of being.

Every person born physically alive into this world is also born spiritually estranged from God.

The theologians call this “Total Depravity”. What does this mean? It means that, because of Adam’s fall, his progeny – that’s us – are born physically in this world corrupted by sin. Sin effects everything we do, and penetrates to the very core of our being.

Jesus put it this way. He said, Every good tree bears good fruit, but bad trees bear bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit” (Matthew 7:17-18). We are born into this life broken, far from God. Since God is the Source of Spiritual Life, and we are born broken and without life, we are naturally inclined to follow – not God – but the ways of this lost world and its master, the Devil.

Ephesians 2:2-3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the {ways} of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air {this is the Devil}, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation {anastréphō, way of life} in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

When we were lost, without God, we lived our lives following our lusts, and our desires of the flesh. Like animals, we followed our appetites, doing what gratified ourselves. We sought only glory for ourselves. We were – as the Apostle puts it – by nature the children of wrath.

We, like the world, were far from God. But this is not the end of the story. The Apostle goes on to say:

Ephesians 2:4 … But God …

Word Study: I love the phrase But God. This phrase is used to introduce the Grace of God throughout Scripture.

Psalm 49:15 BUT GOD will redeem my soul from the power of the grave …

Psalm 73:26 … BUT GOD is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever

Romans 5:8 BUT GOD commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

Separated from God (Isaiah 59:2) because of sin, alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18)

God reached out to us. We heard the Gospel of Christ. We heard that Jesus Christ died for our sins, died so that we might have eternal life. We who are saved believe on Jesus and Jesus alone. When we believed on Jesus:

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Word Study: Oh, the richness of God’s love! Oh the power and all encompassing mercy of God! When we call upon the Name of Jesus, believing He and He alone is our Lord and Savior, God quicken(s) us together with Christ. That word quicken(s) is the Greek συζωοποιέω syzōopoiéō, {sood-zo-op-oy-eh’-o}, which means “to make us ALIVE WITH CHRIST”. This same word is found in:

Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him {syzōopoiéō}, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

When you received the Grace of God THROUGH faith in Jesus and Jesus alone, God the Holy Spirit binds your life together with Christ. Jesus is the Son of God. Bound to Him, you are a son of God. Jesus is without sin. Bound to Him, God views you without sin. Jesus is the Heir apparent of Heaven. Bound to Him, you are “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). As Jesus died and rose again, defeating death forever, bound to Jesus you will one day die, but you will rise again! Death has no hold on the believer, and sin is no longer our master.

But – HEAR ME. Salvation is only possible THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. Jesus said, I AM the DOOR of the sheep” (John 10:7). Jesus is the only One that you can have faith in to be born again (quickened together with Him). Jesus warned:

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the {narrow} gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 because {narrow} is the gate, and {tight} is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Ephesians 2:5 {we are} quickened together with Christ (by Grace ye are saved)

BY Grace – THROUGH Faith in Jesus. This is what brings about salvation. And salvation always brings about a NEW LIFE.

Quickened People Have A Different Master

When we were dead in trespasses and sins we followed after the prince of the power of the air. We were just like the rest of the world. But now that we have BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH believed on Jesus, and are bound to Jesus, we serve a different Master.

Illustrate: The lost are like lumps of clay, spinning on a pottery wheel. Two hands press in on that lump, molding and making it into what it desires. One hand, worldliness, presses into the clay of that life. The other hand, Satan’s, presses and shapes. The lost person may not be as evil as he could possibly be, but the lost are the product of their potter.

Illustrate: We who are saved are lumps of clay spinning on a pottery wheel, but it is the hands of Jesus that mold us. One hand, Grace, presses and shapes us, while the other nail scarred hand Mercy effects our lives. We are the Property of Heaven. When we get to eternity we are told:

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

We have ages to come because we are bound to Jesus. One day we will walk in the direct Presence of God, and will forever be trophies of God’s Grace. God will be glorified. Not us, not Satan, not this world. But God!

Ephesians 2:10 … For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus …

We are His”. We are His Lump, His Sheep, His Possession.

We do not belong to Satan.
We do not belong to Sin.
We do not belong to SELF.
We belong to the SAVIOR.

Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under Grace.” (Romans 6:14). Because of Christ our spiritual position has changed. The Apostle said:

Ephesians 2:11-12 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

When we were without Christ, we were cut off from the blessings that God offered Israel. We were without promise from God. We were in a helpless and a hopeless place, “without God in the world”. But now?

Ephesians 2:13 but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

We as Christians are brought near to God, so that we can walk with God daily.

  • We are brought near to God literally, for God the Holy Spirit indwells our bodies.

Romans 8:9-11 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

  • We are brought near to God as His sons and daughters. We are no longer sons of Adam, but are children of God.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit {Himself} beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

  • We are brought near to God in our behavior. We are to love as Jesus commanded, as Jesus loves. The Apostle said:

1 John 4:11-13 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

We are not saved by faith – but once saved, we live
our lives for the One Who saved us.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are created in Christ to do the good that Christ would do. We are created in Christ to be like Jesus.

Word Study: We who are saved by faith in Jesus are before ordained to do good works. That phrase is but one word in the Greek, “προετοιμάζω proetoimázō, {pronounced pro-et-oy-mad’-zo}”, which means “to be predestined in purpose”. What does that mean? The word is also found in:

Romans 9:23 … that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared (proetoimázō) unto glory,

Preach: If you are saved, God has a plan for your life. He plans for you to do good works, to be the Light of God in this present darkness. You are to shine for Jesus. You are to love your enemies, and do good to them. You are to live so as to bring glory to the Lord Who saved you!

Those who say “I am saved” but never do good works for God’s glory are not truly saved! The Bible says:

James 2:17, 20 faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. … 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Jesus died for us, to bring us to God, so that we might be “the light of the world” (1 Peter 3:18; Matthew 5:14). Christian, you are a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) in Christ. Live your lives for Jesus! If, dear friends, your life shows no good works, no works to glorify Christ, then you may not be saved. If not, come to Jesus this very day. Lay your life down at His feet. Surrender, as a lost sheep to the Great Shepherd. Surrender, as a piece of clay to the Heavenly Potter. Jesus loves you, and bids you come to Him. Will you come? May God the Holy Spirit open your eyes to come to Jesus. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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