Saved By Grace Through Faith
What does saved by grace mean?
As we draw near to this planets final history and the second coming of Christ, there has been a definite increase in the amount of confusion on what it means to be saved by grace through faith and we know this confusion has only one source. So what does Paul mean when he says by grace you are saved through faith? And faith in what exactly and what is grace?
Reading verses like Romans 3:20, Romans 3:28 and Ephesians 2:8-9 on their own could easily lead one to conclude that there is no need to obey the Ten Commandments anymore. But as usual, when it comes to studying the Word of God, it is necessary to take all relevant scripture into account and not just focus on a single verse or two that may sound appealing to some. So the question is what does Paul mean when he speaks of being saved by faith?
Note that Paul is stating that being saved by faith also means we are not saved by the deeds of the law or should we say by keeping the law. So the question also is why can't we be saved by keeping the law? The answer is actually very simple. To do so one would mean having to keep the law perfectly which is impossible for us to do. The only one who could and did was Jesus Christ and all others without exception have sinned. Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23.
So that is why it is impossible to be saved by keeping the law because we cannot keep it perfectly and if we tried to do so then we would just end up feeling frustrated and condemned. But even more importantly, if we were trying to keep the law just to be saved, not only would we fall a long way short, but we would be doing it for all the wrong reasons. Our reason for being here is to love God and others. 1 John 4:8. Now even if one could keep the law perfectly and one did so because they wanted to be saved, then what good would it be?
The fact is that it would be of no value whatsoever and would not save you because it was done for the wrong reason. The right reason must be because we love God and our neighbour. These simple words from Jesus that He quotes from the second of the Ten Commandments say it all. John 14:15. And these verses are also clear. John 15:10; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 5:2-3. If one truly loves God and their neighbour then it will be an automatic response to obey all the law. And when one does fail in the flesh, it will also be an automatic response to repent and confess their sin and the Bible tells us that Jesus is just to forgive us when we do this. 1 John 1:9. But there is still a little more to it than this.
It is after repenting and confessing our sin that we need faith to be saved by grace. One still has to have faith that the sacrifice of Christ will cover our sinful fleshly failings. Satan is always trying to steal our salvation and will attempt to sow seeds of doubt as to if we are forgiven or not so do not listen to him. We must have faith that we are forgiven and if we do not have that faith then we will not be. Hebrews 11:6 also tells us it is impossible to please God without faith.
Now comes the final part being God's grace. We do not deserve the forgiveness we get as we are terrible sinners and God cannot accept sin because of who He is and His character. Romans 6:23 tells us that sin results in death. But note the but. Because of Christ interceding for us, when we repent (genuine sorrow for what we have done) and confess our sin, and then have faith in the sacrifice of Christ, we are forgiven anyway even though we do not deserve it.
Getting something we do not deserve like this from God is called Grace. Hence God’s grace is simply His unmerited and undeserved favour. We do not deserve His grace when we sin but we get it anyway because of our faith in the sacrifice of Christ. And as scripture tells us, (Ephesians 2:8-9) grace is a free gift from God after we Repent, Confess and believe by Faith that we are forgiven.
So as Paul exhorts in Romans 6:15, shall we continue in sin because we are under grace? God forbid he says. No way! Who would want to continue in the very sin that nailed our loving Saviour to the cross?
Many are also asking what is the purpose of the Ten Commandments that God personally spoke and wrote in stone with His own finger. Quite simply, the law is just to show us what sin is. Romans 7:7 explains it very well and Romans 3:20 concurs stating, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” So did you note that Paul is therefore also saying that sin is breaking the Ten Commandment law of God, which also means that if there was no law then would be no sin either? But scripture says we are all sinners and so therefore a law has to exist.
It is really no different in today's society either. If man for example were to abolish one of his own laws that says we should not steal, then those who chose to steal would not be guilty, and hence would not be charged as there would be no law that states they should not do this. Thus no law, no sin.
And to even further confirm this, 1 John 3:4 tells us that sin is transgression of the law and Romans 4:15 states that where there is no law then there is no transgression, or no sin in other words. So again we find that if there is no law, then there is no sin. If sin exists then there has to be a law. The same applies to God's grace. No law, then no sin, and hence there would be no need for repentance of breaking God's law, confessing our sin, faith in the sacrifice of Christ and no need for God's grace being His undeserved favour we would receive after repenting, confessing and believing by faith we are forgiven.
So many have been taught incorrectly as to what the grace of God is. But as you can see, if there was no law and hence no sin, then there would be no need for God’s grace. Some typically quote Romans 6:14 but rarely verse 15 which informs us that grace is not a license to continue in sin, which is breaking God's law. And you will rarely hear the two verses before it quoted either because they say, Romans 6:12-13. And not forgetting what follows verse 15 which also states that grace is not a license to continue in sin. Romans 6:16.
The topic here is law and grace and so when this passage speaks of obedience, there is only one thing this passage can be speaking of obedience to, which is the law. Thus the choice should be simple. So according to verse 16, do we continue in sin unto death? Or do we obey the law in love, that is, obedience unto righteousness? An easy choice if one truly loves God and desires to spend eternity with Him and have access to the tree of life. Revelation 22:14
So what about those living before the cross? Does the Old Covenant encompass a dispensation of works and the New a dispensation of grace? It was certainly work and bondage having to take an unblemished animal to the temple priest to be sacrificed every time one sinned, but they still had to have the same faith in that their sacrifice pointed forward to the sacrifice of Christ. The Bible has only one perfect plan for everyone to be saved and that is by grace through faith.
So now we know why we cannot earn our salvation by keeping the law. The law simply tells us what sin is which we keep only because we love God with all our heart and love others as our self. So if one does truly love others, then one will be automatically fulfilling the law as Paul explains in Romans 13:9-10, where he says the last six of the Ten Commandments relating to loving others can be “briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, you shall love your neighbour as thyself.” It should be an automatic response to love others and the same applies to God of course with the first four Commandments.
Can we be one hundred percent certain that being saved by grace means that the Ten Commandments are not made null and void through faith considering verses like Romans 3:20 and Romans 3:28? We can very easily. All we have to do is read Paul's final and concluding words to this chapter. Romans 3:31 And in the previous chapter Paul gives even more clarity. Romans 2:13
Beware of those who teach by faith alone
One needs to be very weary of those who teach faith alone and nothing else as the Bible says otherwise. We are not at liberty to just take one scripture that tickles our itching ears and make a doctrine out of it that pleases the lusts of our hearts. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) God will never accept this. When it comes to any point of scripture, we have to be able to take all other relevant scripture and have it all line up without any contradiction, and if we cannot, then have the good sense to know we have something wrong. To begin with, this means regularly reading through the Bible each year and knowing the Word of God well.
Now Paul says we cannot be saved by the works of the law because we are unable to keep it perfectly but makes it clear that we still uphold the law. The sacrifice of Christ was not a license to continue in the sin that nailed our Saviour to the cross causing Him so much pain and suffering. But James instructs us that there is another kind of faith that without the accompanying works will not lead to salvation and hence is essential.
There are effectively two types of sin involved here, which is the sin of breaking the law of God which is about what we should not do. But there is also the sin of omission which is about what we should do and don't do. James 2:14 says what does it profit someone if a man has faith but does not have works and asks can faith alone save him with the clear implication that it cannot.
James starts this chapter by referring to the Ten Commandments as the perfect law of liberty as in freedom which it is, and that we should not get the idea that it is okay to just do our best to keep nine or less of the Commandments. James states that if we wilfully break even one of them that in God's eyes we may as well be breaking them all and are transgressors of the law that we will be judged by. James 2:10-12 Very sobering words for those who think they can ignore one of God's Commandments such as the one that is a weekly blessing and quality time with Him and others and a joyful day of rest. We see a similar example in scripture in Exodus 16 where the people thought they could keep any day as the Sabbath as many do today. But how did God respond when they did not keep the Seventh day as God has so clearly stated? Note this is before the Ten Commandments were first officially written by God. When these non-Jews broke His law by not keeping the Seventh day Holy, God accused them of breaking all of His law. As far as God was concerned, if they were breaking even one of His Commandments, then they may as well have been breaking all of His law.
Now despite this example from James on keeping all the law, the works he is referring to is not directly in regards to the law though is related. It is about the good works that follow becoming a new person in Christ and having faith in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 In other words, James is referring to acts of love and charity. We easily observe this by the following two verses. James 2:15-16
James points out that there is more to just obeying God's law such as not lying, stealing etc, which are things we must not do if we love others but there is also the sin of omission being the acts of love we do not do but should do as a result of the transformation that takes place in our heart because of our newfound faith in Christ. This type of faith involves a personal relationship with Him that has an attitude of love and gratitude and is based on an admiration for Him that involves a sincere desire to know Him and be like Him. There can be no justification without this kind of faith as it cannot be separated from the transformation of our conversion through our rebirth and subsequent growth. So the word faith in this case implies the beginning of a new life of love, obedience and transformation.
Hence James teaches that faith that does not produce acts of love, obedience, mercy, compassion and charity is dead and in vain. He says that even the demons believe but clearly they are not saved. James 2:17-24 So please do not allow yourself to be confused or deceived on this issue of faith, as just believing in Christ by faith alone and nothing else cannot save you.
How to be saved by Grace through Faith
Let's start with the wrong way or reason, which is trying to keep any of the Commandments to be saved for the sole purpose of salvation. Firstly, this is works and salvation will not be achieved as only Jesus could keep the law perfectly so our efforts would be in vain. And secondly, obeying the law is not motivated by love because one is trying to earn entrance into the kingdom. This is works and legalism and the true meaning of these words and not what some claim as a means to avoid keeping one or more Commandments of God.
The right reason to keep the law is so very simple. Jesus said, “If we love Him, then keep His Commandments.” John 14:15. It is not works or legalism to obey any of the Ten Commandments if the sole reason for your obedience is due to loving God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself. Doing something for someone solely because you truly love them can never be legalism no matter what it is. This includes setting aside the day that God blessed and sanctified to rest and spend quality time with Him because you do truly love Him. So when one accidentally sins by breaking God's law, those who truly love Him will automatically repent, confess and believe by faith they are forgiven, at which time they will receive the free gift of God's grace. When we follow these simple steps, God wipes our slate clean and it is if we had never sinned at all. By faith the repentant sinner presents to God Christ’s merits and the Lord credits to his account the obedience of His Son. The righteousness of Christ revealed in His perfect life and sacrificial death makes it possible for the sinner’s sinful past to be covered and his sinful self to be transformed. So you can see that it is through faith in the sacrifice of Christ and the grace of God that we are made fully righteous and not by our own efforts.
I would also hope for what should now be obvious reasons, that there can be no sacrifice that covers wilful sin. How can one repent (be genuinely sorry) when one is not sorry at all as they are just happily breaking God’s law even though they know it is wrong but do not care and do it anyway. You cannot repent of something you are not sorry for. To continue breaking God's law (sin) is to tread the Son of God under foot and count the blood of the New Covenant as an unholy thing despite being under God's grace. (Hebrews 10:26-29)
That does not mean that person's heart will not change in the future where he would then genuinely repent and of course would be forgiven. One would hope and pray that time comes before that person dies such as meeting with an untimely accident. Some wait until they are old and gray and then repent. But that could not be genuine repentance and hence would not save them. The time for loving obedience is now. And not just nine Commandments but all Ten!
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- Revelation Bible Study
- Bible Chronological Timeline
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”