"For by grace are ye saved trough faith; and
that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any
man should boast," Eph. 2:8, 9, King James Version. This is a
very emphatic statement. The negative is stated, Salvation in not
of works. In other words, it is not BY works.
However, it is in Romans that we find HOW sinners are
saved. Ephesians tells us, rather, of our standing. The
beginning of the above quotation should be, "For you have been
saved IN grace, through faith." Let us study Romans to find
how we are saved.
"Therefore it is by faith that it may accord
with grace," Rom. 4:16. Faith is not of ourselvesit is
nothing of ours, it is God's oblation, Eph. 2:8. In other words, a
person does not originate or manufacture faith. If he has it, it
is because God gave it to him. And God gave it in order to win
that person's love. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. He
gives it to the same ones to whom He gives faith. The two go
together. Indeed, love goes with the other two. "The
grace of our Lord overwhelms with faith and love in Christ Jesus,"
I Tim. 1:14.
Gracefaithlove! These constitute the
experience of the saved. Neither comes through our efforts.
God gives all three. Grace is a favor. Faith accords with
it; it is also a favor. Love is one of the emotions that
overwhelms when we have grace and faith. So it is a
"But not as the offense, thus also the
grace. For if by the offense of the one, the many died, much
rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of the Man,
Jesus Christ, superabounds to the many," Ron. 5:15.
"Gratuity" means something given without a cause.
"The gratuity in grace," emphasizes that salvation is not
bestowed on us because of any merit found in us.
The certainty of salvation is spite of all sin, is
taught in verse 20: "Yet where sin increases, grace
superexceeds," or, as it is in the King James Version, "Where
sin abounded, grace did much more abound." There may be
mountains of sin, but there are a greater number of mountains of grace.
Sin may be as plentiful as the water in the ocean, but grace is more
When Paul cries out in agony and desperation, "A
wretched man am I! What will rescue me out of this body of
death?" The answer comes with emphasis: "GRACE!",
is omitted from this verse. Perhaps it was omitted by a copyist of
the Greek manuscript on which the Version is based. But the word
is in the best manuscripts. The reasonableness of its inclusion is
apparent. If Paul had no answer to his question, how could he have
said, "Now I am thanking God through Jesus Christ our
Lord?" Since he knows that Grace is to rescue him out of the
body of death, he thanks God through Jesus Christ.
In II Tim. 1:9, Paul says, "....God, Who saves
us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in
accord with His own purpose and grace which is given to us in Christ
Jesus before eonian times." Yes, before the eons began, this
purpose was formed, and the grace was ready. This was long before
there was a sinner. We hear much from pulpits, about it being too
late for God to save certain ones. How could it be too late, when
the remedy was ready before any person ever needed it?
Paul says that the method of his being shown mercy is
a pattern of those who are about to be believing, I Tim. 1:16. Let
us study the pattern.
He was not praying. He was not seeking
Christ. He did not make up his mind to accept Christ. He did
not decide to do better. He went to no mourners' bench. This
the negative side. What is the positive? He was a hater of
Jesus Christ. He hated His word. He was foremost among
sinners. He deserved the direst doom.
Christ changed his heart in an instant. In less
time than it takes to tell it, he was changed from a persecuting tyrant
into a praying manone who was really praying. He suddenly
learned that he had never known what to do, so he cried, "Lord,
what will You have me to do?" Paul did not have any hand in
saving himself. There was not any latent goodness in him that led
the Lord to love him.
Quite the reverse was true. Paul says,
"Faithful is the saying and worthy of all welcome, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, foremost of whom am I.
BUT BECAUSE OF THIS WAS I SHOWN MERCY," I Tim. 1:15, 16. It
was not Paul's righteousness that attracted Christ; it was his
This is not so strange as it may seem at first
thought. Who attracts the skilled surgeonthe whole, or
the ailing? The surgeon's business is to perform operations.
A well man has few attractions for him, unless it is one who has been
made well by his surgery. But tell him that a man needs an
operation, he immediately says, "Let me get to him."
This is not true of those who make money their god. But it is true
of those who love their profession more than money. A case in
point is my own experience in a hospital last year. The surgeon
had never seen me or heard of me. But when a staff, physician
phoned him about me, he said, "Put him in the hospital. I'll
take the case without fee." It the physician had called him
and said, "We have a man here who is perfectly well," the
reply would probably have been, "Why tell me about it? I'm looking
for those who need surgical help."
Conditions that repel me, attract the surgeon.
If a man has been in a wreck, and his face is disfigured, his arms
broken, and his body mangled, and the blood flowing, I try to get
away. I can't bear to see such a sight. But the surgeon will
crowd in and say, "Let me have him." There is nothing
else so attractive to him.
Christ loves His professionthat of Savior of
sinners. He came to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke
19:10. If there had been a man on earth that needed no salvation,
I dare say Christ would never have looked at him. He would have
been entirely without attraction for the Lord. He came to call
sinnersnot the righteous.
This is why Saul of Tarsus was so attractive.
The surgeon who never has an opportunity to do any work except pick out
splinters, has no chance to show his skill. He wants a case that
is really badone that is considered hopeless. If mankind just
needed a little help, to enable them to save themselves, Christ would
never receive any glory as a Savior. His skill is shown in the
salvation of hopeless ones. In Saul He found a condition that
would do credit to His ability.
There is no one whom the Lord cannot save. If
He saved the one who was foremost among sinners, what is to keep Him
from mastering lesser cases? We are foolish to think any person
can ever be beyond the power of His skill, after we read that He saved
Saul of Tarsus.
God has saved by grace in every period of man's
history. But during that period in which He was demonstrating,
through law, man's failure, He did not make grace prominent. He
chose to use Israel for this demonstration. He gave them the old covenant. They broke it. If salvation had been dependent on
their ability to keep it, all would have been hopelessly lost.
During that time God was saving by grace. Those who did honor the
covenant, did so because grace enabled them to do it. But few ever
understood this. At that time He was saving by grace, IN lawnot
What Paul tells us in Eph. 2:8, is that God now saves,
not in law, but in grace. He is not operating in the realm of
law. It is in the realm of grace that He moves. All mankind
now live in that realm. For the conciliation is a fact, II Cor.
5:18-20. In Christ God was conciliating the world to Himself, not
reckoning their offenses them.
So, not only is it true that we are saved BY grace;
we are also saved IN grace. This is the secret of God's attitude
of peace toward the world. Mankind may be ever so offensive to
Him, but He ignores it. At present, He has no quarrel with any
person or nation.
It is not true that He is calling all mankind into an
experience of salvation at present. Only the chosen are being
called, Rom 8:28-39; Eph. 1:4, etc. What a wonderful chain is
found in the former passage! Whom He foreknew He also
predestinates or designates beforehand to be conformed to the image of
His Son for Him to be the Firstborn among many brethren. Whom He
designates before hand, He calls. Whom He calls He
justifies. Whom He justifies He glorifies.
God is for us; who is against us? No one can
be! He spares not His own Son, but gives Him up for us. How
shall He not, together with Him, be graciously granting us all? He
shall! Since God is the Justifier, no one can indict us.
Christ is the only One who has the power of indictmentand He is on
our side! He died. He was roused. He is at God's right
hand. He is pleading for our sakesnot against us.
Nothing that never be imagined, shall separate us from the Love of God
that is in Christ Jesus.