Lesson 10 Salvation By Grace

“FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is by grace, which means that it is the undeserved favor of God. It is a gift, which means that it cannot be bought or earned. Here is a doctrine that is difficult for people of a religious mind to accept. Often it is accepted partially or in some way that denies its truth.

The Old Testament word for grace meant “to stoop in kindness to an inferior.” This is a perfect description of God’s action toward us. The New Testament word means “favor, free generosity, kindness to someone, or a gift.” This indicates that salvation is not earned, deserved or bought, either in whole or in part. Salvation in Jesus Christ is “the gift of God” and permits no payment to the Giver.

False Ideas of Grace

The reason of man would tell him that certain actions help in gaining merit for salvation before God. Consider these statements by the Word of God about such ideas:

1. Works or Deeds As a Way to God.

“If by grace, then it is no more of works” (Romans 11:6). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). The righteousness of God is graciously granted by God “to him that worketh not” (Romans 4:5). The one who tries to earn favor for salvation through human works is seeking to make God his debtor (Romans 4:4).

2. Keeping the Ten Commandments.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4 NASB). The contrast is seen in John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

There can be no ground of boasting about the privilege to be with God (Romans 3:27). There can be no “staircase to God” built upon human righteousness or religious acts. Men are not saved by giving up something, by bargaining with God or offering to supplement with our efforts what He has done. Salvation is not by works, not by law-keeping, not by religious ceremonies and not by seeking to make God our debtor. It is by grace, and grace alone.

Why Is Grace Necessary?

1. The Moral Condition of Man.

He is without strength to morally approach God (Romans 5:6). He is a sinner (Romans 3:9), an enemy of God (Colossians 1:21), and dead in sins (Ephesians 2:1). How then could he make a way for himself to God?

2. The Absolute Holiness of God.

Man could never reach God by his own efforts. God’s very holiness is beyond even the best of men (Isaiah 6:3-5). God stoops to man in grace.

What Are the Effects of Grace?

1. We Are Saved by Grace (Romans 3:24; Romans 4:16).

There are no human additives.

2. We Are Kept by Grace (John 10:28-29; 1 Peter 1:5; Peter 5:10).

He holds us in His hand and keeps us by His power. We are not kept through the law (Galatians 3:2-3) or by other works. We are under grace, not law (Romans 6:14).

3. We Stand in Grace (Romans 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12).

God deals with us on this principle.

4. We Live by Grace (Hebrews 13:21; Philippians 2:13).

It is God that works in us to empower Christian living.

Warnings About Grace

None of this is to suggest either a license to sin or any downgrading of our calling to live in a godly manner.

1. We Do Not Sin That Grace May Abound (Romans 6:1).

2. We Do Not Turn the Grace of God Into an Excuse for Impurity (Jude4).

Liberty is not an occasion for wickedness but rather for loving sacrifice (Galatians 5:13).

3. We Are Saved Unto Good Works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8).

We do not practice sin (1 John 3:9). We keep God’s Word (1 John 2:3-5). But these are the fruits of salvation and not the means of earning God’s favor. We live for God because we love the Lord Jesus (John 14:15, 21).

The unique Christian message is the Gospel of Grace (Acts 14:3; Acts 20:24, 32). This Gospel proceeds from the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10) who receives us at the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). This is an abiding principle of the character of God and the manner of His dealing with us. We should never approach Him with any idea of obligation on His part.

Study Guide Salvation By Grace

The Christian faith is unique in emphasizing the truth of salvation by grace. Other systems of approach to God deny this truth in whole or in part. Be sure that you understand this doctrine by answering these questions.

1. Observing the Ten Commandments (select one)

a. is essential for the Christians salvation.

b. is to be joined together with Christ’s work on the cross.

c. can now be totally disregarded.

d. is the perfect standard required for attaining God’s righteousness.

e. is none of the above.

2. Check the most accurate. Grace is God

a. reaching those undeserving of His favor.

b. reaching those deserving of His favor.

c. reaching those deserving of His judgment.

3. According to Scripture, all men are (select one)

a. basically good.

b. basically seeking God.

c. basically corrupt.

d. basically well-meaning, but weak.

4. God can save sinners by grace and still be holy because (select one)

a. Christ took the sinner’s place and suffered for us.

b. God can do whatever He pleases, even if inconsistent.

c. sin is not all that serious.

d. that is His duty to His creatures.

5. Paraphrase (rewrite in your own words) Ephesians 2:8-9.

6. Contrast two things in each verse below:

1 Peter 5:5

Jude 4

Galatians 5:4

Romans 11:6

Romans 4:4

7. Which of these Bible statements reflects grace?

a. “This do and thou shalt live.”

b. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.”

c. “We love Him because He first loved us.”

d. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

8. What false idea about grace is corrected by Jude 4 and 1 Peter 2:16?

9. What do you say? State in your own words what the grace of God means to you.

10. What do others say? Contact at least three people this week and ask them the following questions. You may wish to say something like the following:

“I’m involved in a Bible Survey here in (name city). Could you help me by sharing your opinion on three important questions? (1) What was the purpose of the Ten Commandments? (2) Do you ever use the expression ‘grace’ in everyday speech such as ‘grace period’? (3) What do you think the Bible means when it says we are ‘saved by grace’? Thank you so much for your help. Would you like for me to mail/e-mail you a copy of the survey results? Thank you.”

Record their names and addresses on the 3x5 cards provided by the class leader. Record the answers on the back, indicating if survey results are desired. Then return the cards next class meeting. Results of the survey will be tabulated by the class leader and mailed to each person indicating an interest.