Saved by Grace
Before we study this subject we shall define it. Thayer's Greek English lexicon says that grace is that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm; grace as used of the kindness of a master toward his inferiors or servants, and so especially of God toward man. Winston's Dictionary: Grace: Biblical meaning: God's unmerited mercy toward mankind. As we study the Word of God I think we shall learn that these two meanings are borne out.
Why do we need the mercy (grace) of God? Scriptures teach that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Is there an intelligent man who will question that statement? In the 1900 years since the New Testament was written man has made great progress in many ways but it is still as sadly true now as then, that all have sinned. How serious is this, that all have sinned? The Word of God assures us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Salvation is in Christ and in none other: And in none other is there salvation; for neither is there any other name under heaven given among men, wherein we must be saved (Acts 4:12). For the grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2:11). Some have contended that Christianity is the Western man's religion. This verse shows that this is not true. Sin is not a prerogative of the West -- all have sinned. So God's grace does not belong in any exclusive way to the West. Grace brings salvation to all men.
I would like to point out here some teaching from the Scriptures: The flesh profiteth nothing (John 6:63). Again: Peter opened his mouth, and said, 'Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to him' (Acts 10:34,35). The scripture further teaches: Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh: even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more (II Corinthians 5:16). So all have sinned. Grace is extended to all. Grace is for all. Christ is the ruler of all. After He arose from the dead He declared: All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:18-20). All need grace and all can have grace to be saved.
Some people have the idea that they are good enough to go to heaven, or that they can go to heaven by their own righteousness. We cannot be saved by our righteousness for the Word of God expressly says: For by grace have ye been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). Thus, no one can save himself without Christ. On the other hand, no one is so bad that Christ cannot save him. He is able to save to the uttermost those that draw nigh unto God through him (Hebrews 7:25).
It is true that grace has been extended to all men. It is not true that all men have access to grace. For we have access to grace by faith (Romans 5:1-2). There is no respect of persons with God. God's grace is extended to all believers. Listen to the apostle Paul: For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him. For, whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:12-14).
It is by faith that we have access to God's grace. The word justify means to pronounce free from guilt or blame. Now we read Romans 3:24: ...being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. So we see that grace works by faith and the redemption is in Christ Jesus. So we must be in Christ to have this redemption. Our sins have been forgiven in Christ Jesus. All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), we are baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27).
Grace is the gift of God; this we have learned in the Scriptures we have studied. Here is God's unmerited favor. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). So God's grace is extended to the believer. Paul wrote to the Romans and said: Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:9). Grace is extended to those who believe in the shed blood of Jesus as the means of justification: ...whom God set forth to be a propitiation through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of sins done aforetime in the forbearance of God (Romans 5:25). Grace is for all. That is, it is for all believers.
We must believe in the blood of Christ as an atonement for sin. We must believe in the resurrection of Christ for our justification (Romans 4:25). We must believe that justification is in Christ Jesus. The Scriptures plainly teach that all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:1).
Finally, we learn that we are baptized into Christ. Let us read together: Or are we ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death: We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:3,4). Again, the Scriptures declare: For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).
God's grace has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. That salvation is in Christ and in none other. We must believe in Christ. We must believe that his blood atones. We must believe that He was raised for our justification; that He saves those who obey him: ...and having been made perfect, he became unto all those that obey him the author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9).
In the light of the above we can understand the significance of what Jesus said: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned (Mark 16:16). We should have no difficulty accepting the command of the Holy Spirit: And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
After that we read: Then they that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls (Act 2:41). They had believed through grace. They had obeyed through grace. Then God added them to the body of Christ. God's grace is always there if you believe and obey.
J. C. Bailey, 1981, Dauphin, Manitoba
Published in The Old Paths Archive