Today’s teaching is going to be about a certain topic… And this topic is without question, the most important topic in the Bible for you and me to understand… The topic I’m speaking of, and am going to have you search the scriptures with me on this morning is the topic of salvation…
You may, or may not have heard the phrase that states that we are “saved by grace”, and indeed we are. However, do we have a proper understanding of how that phrase applies in our lives as it relates to our salvation? Is there more to it than simply saying that we are “saved by grace?” I’m going to show you in this teaching that there is indeed more to it than just that…
I’m going to talk to you about the fact that the Bible teaches that we are saved “by grace, “through faith.” Many people, many religions, denominational, and non-denominational alike, have latched onto the concept that we are saved by grace, but what do the scriptures actually teach regarding this topic?
So with all that being said, I want you to open up your bibles with me, or bible apps whatever may apply, to the book of Ephesians, and we’ll start out this morning by looking at chapter 2. And we’ll go ahead and just start reading at verse 1, where it says:
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Okay; I’m going to pause right there and teach step by step as we approach this topic today. Verse 1 here is speaking about a person that has gone from death to life. We are of talking about a person that is spiritually dead, and then has been made spiritually alive. We of course know that according to Jesus, God the Father is a Spirit. We also know that we are created in His image, and are spiritual beings.
From the gospel of John chapter 1 we know that God became flesh and dwelt among us as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. However, it is important to understand that it was actually sin made us spiritually dead in the first place, and it is sin that separates us from being in a right relationship with God. God told Adam in the garden what would happen if he was disobedient to what God had commanded him. He told him that he would surely die.
From verse 1 here in Ephesians we see that a person that has come to faith in Jesus Christ has had a resurrection of the soul take place in their life. We also see that the original cause of spiritual death is trespasses and sins of a person. In addition to causing separation from God the Father, our trespasses and sins cause spiritual death! The Greek word that is used there for the English word trespasses is the word pä-rä’p-tō-mä , and it is a word that literally means to “fall beside, or near something”. So this speaks of a deviation from the truth. It is where a person draws near to sin and settles there rather than making the choice to steer clear of sin. This is what a trespass is. Think of it as being somewhere you really shouldn’t be.
A Christian is called by the Lord to have no fellowship with darkness. An earthly saying that I can give you regarding this is that if you play with fire, you’re going to get burnt! We also see the word sin there in verse 1 of Ephesians 2, and this is the Greek word hä-mär-tē’-ä, and it literally is a word that means “to not have a share in.” It is the actions of our lives that keep us on the outside of the Kingdom of God. We will not have a share in the Kingdom of God if we remain in sin! That’s one of the most important things that I will say in this teaching today. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5 takes it even further, and lists: idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
So sin presents a major problem when it comes to entering the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of heaven!
To willfully choose to live our life in sin is to live our live’s in a manner where we are missing the mark, and the mark, the bullseye if you will is righteousness.
We are called by the Lord to live righteously, soberly in this present age! As we saw in our last study this is what the grace of God teaches a person to do! If they are not living godly, soberly, righteously in this present age then the grace of God has had no effect on their lives. (read Titus 2:11 and 12) To live in sin is to live in an unrighteous manner. So we shouldn’t be in trespasses or sin. We shouldn’t be falling near unrighteousness, but rather we should be steering clear of unrighteousness! For the person that has come to faith in Jesus Christ, trespasses and sin, as willful choices should be a thing of the past. Galatians 5:24 says: And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Hence the reason we see in verse 1 here that we “were” dead, but in Christ we have been made alive. So for the born again Christian there is a past life, and a present life. At one time we all willfully walked in trespasses and sins, but now by the leading of the Holy Spirit, which we also talked about in our last teaching, we now no longer live the same life that we lived without Christ Jesus!
And as verse 2, here in Ephesians 2 continues it says of those trespasses and sins:
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
So do you see the clear distinction being made here in the word of God? Trespasses and sins is the manner in which the children of wrath walk, and not the manner in which the born again Christian walks. We all once were children of wrath, and we use to conduct ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, just like the rest of the world that is led by the prince of the power of the air. That spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience, but those that are truly in Christ no longer walk in that manner! There is a clear distinction between the born again person and the one that has not been born again!
And verse 4 continues and says:
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Okay, so this is very important that you understand this! Verses 4 and 5 tell us here what the grace of God is! It is God having mercy on us, loving us so much that even while we were sinners. Even while we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive again in Jesus Christ! That is the grace of God, and that grace has appeared to “all” of mankind! Anyone, and everyone can reap the reward of the grace of God!
What else did God do in His wonderful mercy and grace? Verse 6 continues and tells us:
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Oh what wonderful grace this is. Oh the wonderful favor God has bestowed upon mankind!! He has given by His grace the opportunity for all of mankind to be saved. And for those that are in the faith today, they have the grace of God to thank for their salvation!
Mankind hasn’t done, nor can they do anything to earn salvation apart from the free gift of God’s grace! It was an amazing gesture of love for God to show such grace to all of mankind! 1 John chapter 2, and verse 2 says of Jesus that: He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
And it pertains to this topic of salvation that’s a very important verse of scripture as well as! Jesus shed His blood for the sin of the whole world, not just a select few that would be saved. Whomsoever will can come to salvation! That’s the grace of God! It is offered to all of mankind! But not all of mankind is saved are they? There is more to being saved than just the grace of God! When it comes to being saved, the grace of God is the initiating factor, but is there more to it?
And now, we’ll get into that part of the study… Verses 8, and 9 here says:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith,
Oh wait a minute! There it is!! Plain as day!! It’s not just by grace we are saved, but it’s through faith we are saved!
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
So again, it is in the wonderful mercy, the amazing Grace, the loving kindness of our Great God that He has offered salvation to all the world. Again, 1 John chapter 2, and verse 2 says of Jesus that: He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. That’s God’s amazing grace for all of mankind! As I said earlier, no person can by their works have the opportunity to be saved apart from the grace of God! It had to be offered by God, as a free gift! So then, how do we get to that salvation? How do appropriate that salvation in our lives? What do we do with this amazing grace of God? How do we capitalize on this grace, and come to this wonderful salvation?
We get there through faith, as it says in verse 8!
We become a new creation in Jesus Christ as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says we can do! The Old passes away, and all things become new for the person that begins to live their lives through faith in Jesus Christ. That person that is truly in Christ is a person that now does walks by faith in good works. They do not remain in their trespasses and sins. Why do I say that? Well lets look at what verse 10 tells us here. It says:
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Very plain and clear isn’t it? Salvation has been offered to us by the grace of God, by the wonderful mercy, and kindness of God in which He has offered salvation to all of mankind, but we are saved through faith. And faith without works is dead! The person that has truly come to faith in Jesus Christ is the person that has been created in Jesus for good works, as verse 10 tells us here. God prepared those good works for the saved person to walk in. However, if a person remains in trespasses and sins, then they remain spiritually dead! The faith the Bible teaches. The Salvation the Bible teaches is a faith, a salvation that produces good works that God prepared for us to walk in!
Turn with me now in your bibles to the book of 1 Peter chapter 1, and let’s look down and start reading at verse 3. It says:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (emphasis mine)
So here we can learn something. Those 3 verses that we see here in 1 Peter, are speaking about people that through the mercy of God, have come to a living hope as verse 3 calls it there. It is a living hope! In other words a hope that we now have in this present life! This living hope was accomplished for us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And in verse 4 there we see that there is an inheritance reserved for those that have been made alive again, that is those that have been born again…
Those that have been saved from trespasses and sins, and this inheritance is incorruptible, and it is undefiled! In other words it is something extremely good to say the least! This wonderful thing is waiting for us in heaven! It is our salvation, and this salvation will be revealed in the last time! At the end of this life if you have stayed the course of faith you will be saved!Right now we know we are saved when we are walking in the faith, and not in the ways of this world!
Remember there is a way we use to walk, and a way we walk now! We once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. We once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Isn’t that what we read back in Ephesians? When a person is truly walking in the faith, the faith that will bring us to our salvation, that person is now walking in the good works that God prepared for them to walk in! They now walk that way, because they have been born of, and are led by the Spirit of God!
So through faith we are saved, and the saved people are easy to recognize, because they are obedient to the commandments of the Lord, and do not do the things the non-born again world around them does!
Peter goes on in verse 6, speaking of our salvation and says:
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
You see, in this life, this temporary life through which we now walk in the flesh; there are various trials aren’t there? In the early days of Christianity in the part of the world that the recipients of this letter were living, they were being persecuted for their faith. Even being put to death! We’re not going through that yet here in this country, but even without that there are still trials that test our faith in this life we now live. Some great, and some small. Temptations come our way! Temptations that cause to desire the things of this the world, the things of the flesh! However, the born again Christian that is staying the course of faith in Jesus Christ, that has this living hope, is the person that is by faith denying this world, and looking for, and waiting for all that is reserved for them in heaven!
And you know what? When we go through trials of faith in this life, there is a purpose for it! And verse 7 tells us that purpose. It says:
7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Now, we need to keep something in mind here. We have not yet come to the revelation of Jesus Christ.
That’s still a future event. If you want to know more about that there is a book written about, and it’s right here your bible, and it’s called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” And in the end when Jesus is revealed, and this is am important point here! In the end when Jesus is revealed your faith will either be found genuine, or it will not!! You will have to had withstood the test, the trials of your faith that came your way during the life you had here on this earth! You will be saved through faith! A faith that endures.
Again, the opportunity is a gift from God. That’s His Grace, His Mercy. The person that has received the grace of God is a person that walks in righteousness, as they are led by the Holy Spirit. This is why our faith gets tested in this present life so that it can be proven genuine in the end. Many people profess a faith in Jesus Christ today, but is it a genuine faith? Are we living our lives professing faith in Christ, but still fulfilling the lust of our flesh, thinking that the grace of God allows us to do so? If so, according to the Scriptures we are greatly mistaking! Salvation comes through faith. That faith is a faith that fights the fight against the lust of the flesh, and by the power of the Spirit of God, a truly saved person, is the person that will have stayed the course of righteousness all the way till the end of their lives.
None of this is accomplished by our own power, our own ability to remain righteous. We all stumble in many things do we not? The only way we can stay the course of faith is to walk in Christ Jesus, and this we do not by sight, but by faith. We choose on a daily basis to take up the cross and follow in the ways of Jesus. We choose to day by day live in the new life that He gives to us by the power of His Spirit working within us. We put off the sin that so easily besets us, and we run the race of faith all the way to the finish line! We beat our bodies into submission as the Apostle Paul teaches! Many people today have a form of godliness, but are denying the power of the Spirit of the Lord! The Spirit that gives them the power to walk in a newness of life. The pews of churches are filled on Sunday mornings with people that live in unrighteousness Monday through Saturday! All the while thinking they are saved by a grace that overlooks their sin, when the Bible teaches that we are saved through faith! A faith that walks not in accordance with the world, and the lust of the flesh!
In Jude 4 it says this, I’m not going to have you turn there, you can look it up later, but Jude 4 says this:
4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today unfortunately many people have turned the grace of God into Lewdness. Lewdness means unbridled lust. In other words people don’t hold back from sin because they’ve twisted God’s grace to mean that no matter what they do they are saved! But again, the Bible teaches that you are saved through faith, and that faith is a faith that endures to the end!
And I know that I am repeating myself here, but the faith that the Bible teaches is a faith that causes you to deny ungodliness, and worldly lust!
Still speaking of Jesus verse 8 here in Peter says:
8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls.
You see, at the end of faith. When that day comes when will indeed see Jesus. We will receive that salvation that we rejoice in right now! Right now we walk by faith, and not by sight. Right now, I by faith rejoice in Jesus Christ! Someday in the future though, I will receive the salvation of my soul, and so will you, If we stay the course of faith! Faith is what we now have to go through, all the way till the end when we will receive the salvation of our souls! And you know what? In the end every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! So if you don’t believe in Jesus now,If you haven’t given your life to His leading, as your Lord. Someday you will confess that He is Lord, but it will then be too late!
For those of you that do walk in this life now, by faith in Jesus. Be aware of the fact that there will be people standing before Jesus someday that will hear Jesus say to them depart from me, I never knew you! These will be people that will have done wonderful works on the earth in the name of the Lord.
If you don’t know what I’m referring to it’s found in Matthew chapter 7 and it’s where Jesus says:
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
You see, the person that practices lawlessness, in other words the person that continues in sin and trespasses, even though they profess belief in the Lord, and even though they go to church, and may have done many good works; that person will not enter the Kingdom of God. Not according to Jesus.
Because the faith through which we are saved is a faith that doesn’t practice lawlessness, but rather practices righteousness! This can only be accomplished when we are in Christ! When we are walking in the faith, and being led by the Spirit of the Lord!
The salvation of your soul is more important than your image. It’s more important then how much money you have in your bank account, and how many friends you have. It’s more important then your, family, your marriage, there is nothing more important!
Jesus thought it was so important that He said:
35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”(Mark 8:35-38)
Does your salvation mean that much to you? Are you willing to lose your life here on this earth? That is are you willing to let go of the desires of your flesh, the things you lust after, in order to follow Jesus? If you hold onto this world you’re ashamed of Jesus! A man asked Jesus one day, he said: “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved” Jesus answered that man and said: Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (Luke 13:23,24)
When Jesus said that, He told that man to make every effort to enter through the narrow door. If you study that in the Greek, you’ll find to make every effort means to make a continuing agonizing effort to enter through the narrow door to get into the Kingdom of God! Many people today don’t want to put that much effort into it. They would rather continue in sin, and profess to be saved by grace.
Turn and read with me from Hebrews chapter 12. Starting in verse 1 it says:
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
Again, the faith that saves is the faith that endures!Our faith begins and ends with Jesus! We can’t give into to sin! No one is asking you to shed you blood for your faith. Not yet they aren’t!
The Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 6 teaches that the one:
8 … … who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
And Paul went on to say:
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
And when he says: ‘if we do not lose heart’ in the Greek it means ‘if we don’t relax.’ I’m telling you folks!Study your bibles! Don’t just grab on to the doctrines of men! You must fight the fight of faith against trespasses and sin, or in the end your faith will not be found genuine! Yes it is the grace of God that has offered salvation, but we will saved through faith. And that being a faith that has endured all the way till the end!