Salvation Truths (Part 1): Grace, Faith, Obedience, And Good Works
And so we all got mixed up and I ended up promising to come up with a detailed article covering these truths. And today seems to be the day for the article, read on.
Note: I will first look at each of the above truths (grace, faith, obedience, and Good works) alone and then finally do the synthesis (joining the concepts).
The final question to answer is this; how does the gift of faith in the saving grace of Jesus (God) bring about obedience and good work (s)?
What is Grace?The theological dictionary defines Grace as “God’s free favor and love”. Preparing for eternity cites Grace as “the freely given, unmerited favor, and love of God”. In other words, as emphasized by the Theological dictionary, the word implies the happy state of reconciliation and favor with God wherein they (people) stand, and the Holy endowments, qualities or habits of faith, hope, love, and more, which they (people) possess.
In my words, Grace is simply undeserved (unwarranted, unearned, unmerited) ‘everything’ (or everything good thing) from God.
The Bible encyclopedia reveals that the word ‘grace’ appears more than 170 times in the New Testament (frequency of appearance probably signifies its weight or value). It is emphasized by theologians that two forms of Grace exist; general or common grace (see Romans 2:4 and 1 Timothy 4:10a).
Indeed, both rain and sunshine reach out to all of us, and seriously, the whole world’s existence (including that of evil people or seemingly evil people) depends on His grace. Then there is special Grace (see Romans 8:28-30 and even 1 Timothy 4:10b). In other words, some people have it and others don’t. And you know what! This is the saving grace. Read the shared verses to get the real picture.
There are so many other definitions and serious terms used to describe Grace, especially the Special Grace (for example, the imputed and inherent Grace, irresistible, efficacious, and victorious Grace, and so much more), and that may not be an issue today, but the general point is clear; Grace is simply unmerited love, favors, and provisions from God, and this includes the unmerited election and call for some for salvation.
ALSO READ this: Today's Devotional Verse Here. Thank you
Grace and salvationThe Bible clearly asserts that we are saved by God’s grace alone and not our good works or anything special about us. And thus none (among those saved) should boast! (See Ephesians 2:1-10). This Bible reference has all the necessary explanations. Adam sinned and thus all (Adam is the figurative representative of human race) of us sinned (Romans 3:23).
In other words, we are all born dead, rotten sinners who know and do nothing good but evil; we are born sons and daughters of Satan-enemies of God (See Job 20:14, Matthew 12:34; 3:7). Man (all of us) has nothing good in him, not even a 0.000000001% of good in him. All we love is sin, evil, and destruction-that is our nature.
Do you ever think and feel that some people somehow are better and do some good, after all they don’t steal, kill, quarrel, and are simply nice people to live with? You are very wrong; no one is good except God (Matthew 19:17).
In other words, considering what ‘good’ is in His Majesty, God’s real definitions, there is never such thing as good people. Men love darkness rather than light (John 3:19). Listen to Robert Murray M’cheyne’s description of our evilness; “if the heart of God were within the reach of men, it would be stabbed a million times in one moment”
I hope you have seen the real picture of man in his fallen state.
But, according to Romans 8:28-30 and the above Ephesians 2:1-10, God graciously or freely (considering no merits at all) offers his gift (Jesus Christ) of salvation to us through faith. Indeed, we are saved by faith in His mercy or saving grace but we can’t even have the faith if He doesn’t or didn’t graciously give it to us.
Note: I have avoided important words here; election, call, predestination, God’s foreknowledge, justification, and the like to avoid the unnecessary confusion, at least for now.
What is the point?
The point is that salvation is not earned by any of us, but graciously given to us as a free gift. In other words, we don’t get saved because of OUR good works or obedience but because of God’s (Jesus to be precise) good works and obedience. In other words, salvation has conditions, conditions never paid by us but Jesus. Again, Jesus does not save us by pushing away the law; He saves us by fulfilling the law for us.
And by the way, Grace is one of the five solas. I don't have a detailed article about the five solas, but Desiring God has some hint here
We will have time for faith next time.
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