What Actually Saves Us ? Its’ More Than You Think !
One of the most popular passages in the entire bible, is Ephesians 2, verses 8 & 9, which says; “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
And the reason that’s such a popular passage, is that it’s the #1 passage that people go to, in their efforts to support the doctrine of faith only. And “faith only” is a very popular doctrine among those who claim Christianity as their religion. But of course, that verse (verse 8) doesn’t say that anyone is saved by faith only, does it? No, it doesn’t. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even say that anyone is saved by faith at all! What it says, is that “by GRACE you are saved”. Not “by faith you have been saved”, but “by grace you have been saved”.
Now there is a verse where Jesus said to someone; “..Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” That’s in Luke 7, verse 50, but that was while the law of Moses was still in force, and so we’re not even going to consider that verse here this morning. Because we’re going to talk about what actually saves us today! Today we live under the new covenant law of Christ, not under the old covenant law of Moses. So then, what actually saves us today?
And the bible says clearly, that God’s grace saves us! But of course that verse doesn’t say that the grace of God ALONE saves anyone, does it? No, it’s certainly does not, even though many people come to that conclusion. Since the bible says; “For by grace you have been saved..” they conclude that it means by grace ONLY! And you know what? If the bible didn’t say anything else about what saves us, I’d also conclude that it was by grace alone. But of course the bible says plenty, about what ELSE saves us. And so it would be pretty reckless, and irresponsible, to say that it is grace alone that saves anyone.
Because, in that very verse, where it says we are saved by grace, it also says that it is THROUGH faith, that the grace saves us. Well now it’s clear to see, that it can’t be grace alone, that saves us, because it’s through the agency of faith, that the grace saves us. Faith is the “vehicle” through which God’s grace saves us. Without that “vehicle” of faith, God’s grace, all by itself, evidently won’t save you. And of course that also means, that if you leave out God’s grace, the “vehicle” of faith, won’t save you all by itself either. You have to have them both, don’t you?
You have to have God’s grace, because without that, you don’t have an ice cube’s chance in you know where, of being saved. So then, it all begins with God’s grace. Without God’s kindness, and without His favor toward us, and without His love toward us, we don’t have a chance in the world. But, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..” (John 3:16) “..That whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Whosoever has faith in Him. Grace, through faith. God’s Grace is only useful to us, through believing in Jesus Christ. Without that, God’s grace becomes of no value to us at all.
And Romans 5:8 tells us; “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s grace! God’s kindness and favor, toward undeserving human beings. Jesus Christ is the demonstration of God’s grace! He is the proof of God’s love toward us!
Listen to Romans 5, verses 1 & 2; ” Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access, by faith, into this grace, in which we stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” By FAITH in Jesus, we have PEACE with God, and access, into the GRACE of God, in which we stand. To stand in God’s grace, is to stand in faith, in Jesus Christ. And to stand in faith in Christ, is to stand IN Christ.
We have all fallen, from the saved condition that we were born in, that we so to speak, “stood in”. Maybe you didn’t know that newborn babies could stand, but they can! And they do! They all “stand” in their sinless and “saved” condition. But if we live long enough in this world, we fall from that sinlessness, don’t we? And we no longer “stand” in that saved condition. We “fall” into sin, and we grope around in darkness, and we’re lost in that darkness.
But by the grace of God, through the use of our faith in Jesus Christ, we are once again lifted up, and made to stand, in salvation. Jesus IS, the salvation of God. Even the name Jesus means.. God saves!
Remember when John the baptist, saw Jesus walking along the shore of the Jordan river, and he said, in John 1:29; “..Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
In 1 Corinthians 15, verse 1, Paul says; “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel, which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand..” We stand in the gospel, and we stand in Christ, and we stand in the grace of God. Jesus IS the grace of God! Jesus IS, for all practical purposes, the gospel of God. Jesus is the good news of salvation! God saves, is what the name Jesus means!
But yet, that’s not all that saves you. Grace alone doesn’t save you, and faith alone doesn’t save you, and even grace plus faith, alone, doesn’t save you! But people say; Oh yes it does! The bible says right there, that grace alone, and faith alone saves you. But No, the word “alone” simply isn’t there is it? But they say; The bible IMPLIES grace and faith alone. But the truth is, NOTHING alone, can saves anyone.
You know the verse in the bible, that has the words “faith” and “alone”, both in the same verse don’t you? It’s James 2, verse 24, and it says; “As you can see, a man is justified by his deeds, (or works) and NOT by faith alone.” The only verse in the entire bible, where the words ‘faith” and “alone” are in the same verse; And it says; “..NOT by faith alone”!
Now we’ve got a third thing, that the bible says saves us. “Deeds”, or “works”. Well, actually it says that “a man is justified by his deeds”. But let me read Romans 8, verse 30; “And these whom He predestined, He also called; (Now let me add here, that those who are “predestined”, are those who choose to believe and obey God. God hasn’t chosen individuals, from eternity, to be saved or lost. But rather, God has “predestined”, that those who will believe and obey Him, shall be saved) So let me start that verse again; “And these whom He predestined, He also called; And these whom He called, He also justified; And these whom He justified, He also glorified.” God glorifies the saved.
So then grace saves us, and faith saves us, and our deeds save us. What kind of deeds serve to save us? Deeds of obedience to God serve to save us, because as we’re told in Hebrew 5, verse 9; “And having been made perfect, He (that’s Jesus) became the source of eternal salvation, to all who OBEY Him.”
Therefore, the deeds that allow Jesus, to become our Savior, are deeds of obedience to Christ Himself. Grace saves us, and faith saves us, and deeds of obedience save us. But that’s not all that saves us! According to the bible, there’s more!
Romans 5, verse 10 tells us; “For if, when we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” That verse says that the LIFE of Jesus saves us. That’s interesting; It doesn’t mention our faith, and it doesn’t mention our deeds of obedience, and it doesn’t even mention God’s grace! Or does it? Remember what it says in John 3:16? “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..” God gave us the LIFE of His Son. And Jesus the Son, gave His LIFE! By the very life of Jesus, we can be saved.
But it’s not only the “giving” of that life that saves us; It’s not only the sacrifice of that life that saves us; But it’s the sinlessness of that life that saves us! Where would we be, if Jesus had simply led a life, like all the rest of us? We’re told in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 21; “God made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God.”
Did God make Christ to BE sin? That’s how that verse is translated. “God made Him, who knew no sin (He committed no sin) to BE sin on our behalf..” Was Jesus the embodiment of sin, or was Jesus the embodiment of righteousness, and obedience? The verse says that He committed no sin. 1 Peter 1:19 says that we were redeemed, “..with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” No spot, no blemish, no sin! 1 John 2, verse 1 refers to Jesus as.. “the Righteous One”.
So how could God make Jesus to BE sin, on our behalf? Well, the fact is, He didn’t! God did not make Jesus to be sin. God made Jesus to “bear” our sins! And He made Jesus to “carry” our sins! He carried them to the cross, where He died for them!
You see, that little word that’s translated “BE”, is used 572 times in the new testament; And in the NASB, it is translated in over 90 different ways, meaning that is how many slightly different meanings that the word has. And that’s the case with many, many words. And that’s why we need to study.
Let me read to you, some of the very best ways in which to translate that word in this verse; “God made Him, who knew no sin, to BEAR sin on our behalf.. To CARRY sin on our behalf.. to DEAL with sin on our behalf.. to EXPOSE sin on our behalf.. to OFFER sin on our behalf.. to PRESENT sin on our behalf.. and, to SATISFY sin on our behalf. Those are seven, of the most appropriate meanings (appropriate in this verse) of that one little word. And they most appropriately describe, what took place at the cross.
That’s what Jesus did, with OUR sin, when He died on the cross. He bore it, He carried it, He dealt with it, He exposed it, He offered it, He presented it, and He satisfied it! And as we’re told in 1 John 2, verse 2, “..He is the PROPITIATION for our sins: And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” The “propitiation” means.. the atonement, and the appeasement, and the payment, and the sacrifice, and the satisfaction, for the sins of everyone; If everyone would simply believe and obey.
Now just briefly, I want to share with you some other things, that the bible says, “saves us”..
Mathew 10:22 says; “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: But he that ENDURES to the end shall be saved.” We are saved through our endurance; The endurance of our faith.
1 Peter 3:21 says; “BAPTISM now doth save you.” Baptism saves us, because it is also “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (same verse) , AND, it is an act of obedience, to the command of God. “He who has believed AND has been baptized, shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16)
Also, Jesus said in Mathew 10:32 & 33, that confession of your faith in Him, will save us. If you confess, you will be acknowledged in heaven, and if you do not confess, you will be denied in heaven. And Jesus said in Luke 13:3, that repentance will save us, because, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
And here’s one last thing that I want to mention that saves us. James 1, verse 21 exhorts us, saying; “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness, and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, (the word which has been planted in our hearts and minds) which is able to save your souls.” The Word of God, saves us!