Gnostic Doctrine

Thursday, 29 July 2021

By grace are ye saved Ephesians 2:8




Ephesians 2:8, 9 "By grace are ye saved . . . it is the gift of God . . . not of works, lest any man should boast.


This passage is used by some Christians to justify their doctrine of "eternal security" when "Jesus comes into the heart". This "eternal security" is said to be independent of subsequent works. 

Let it be said at the outset that one cannot obtain salvation as a return for works done. The law taught this lesson. (Gal. 2:21; Rom. 3:21; 5:21).

There are two sides to salvation. The divine side which is grace and the human side which is obedient faith. some Christians argue that if one "works" for salvation then the reward is paid as wages rather than a gift. This is an over-simplification. God gives us food, but we must work for it. God gave Joshua the city of Jericho, but he was still commanded to march around the walls for seven days. (Josh. 6:2, 4). Likewise salvation is the free gift of God, but man must comply with the conditions.

It is true to say that no man can ever be saved without the grace of God, but there are other characteristics required in the receiver of grace, for salvation. The following is a list:
"For we are saved by hope." (Rom. 8:24).
"Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God . . ." (Rom. 5:1).
"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all men that obey him." (Heb. 5:9).
"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us . . ." (1 Peter 3:21).
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).
". . . Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil. 2:12).
"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:24).
"Save yourselves from this untoward generation." (Acts 2:40).
"By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you . . . " (1 Cor. 15:2).

Grace involves three things: a giver, a gift, and a receiver. From these passages it is clear that the receiver must demonstrate hope, faith, obedience, baptism, works, and that he also saves himself.

The question as to which single characteristic saves the man is an abstraction. An illustration is helpful. A man who has fallen into the river screams for help. A man on the bank runs with a rope and throws it to the man in the river. He catches hold and is pulled to safety. What saved him? Was it his scream? Was it the rope? Was it the man on the bank? Did he save himself? Or was it all of these working together?

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12

Ultimate salvation is not now a present possession. The following passages indicate this:
". . . he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matt. 10:22).
". . . the gospel . . . by which ye also are saved if ye keep in memory what I have preached unto you . . ." (1 Cor. 15:1, 2).
". . . give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." (2 Peter 1:10).
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." (Heb. 3:12-14).


The logic of Calvinism has a superficial impressiveness. When examples are cited of "saved" members who have fallen away (e.g. drunkards, who will be excluded from the kingdom, Gal. 5:19-21), these Christians reply by stating that such individuals never were really "saved". This is not logical since security has been purchased at the price of truth.


Almost without exception, those who are quick to stress Eph. 2:8 are the very ones who dismiss baptism as a mere outward sign of an inward change. When such occasions arise Gal. 3:27 ("For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ"), should be emphasized. It is also impressive to cite the baptism of Paul, since it can be shown that a man can be "converted" (Acts 22:10), but does not have his sins washed away until baptized. (Acts 22:16 cf. Acts 2:38, 41).

Conditional Grace
God’s grace has been offered to the entire human family. “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men . . .” (Titus 2:11). This cannot mean that every soul will be saved. Such a conclusion would contradict numerous other passages.

What this does suggest is that God’s grace is potentially available to all who care to access it by means of the divine plan of redemption (cf. Romans 5:1; 6:3-4,17).

The receiving of God’s grace is conditional. Some Christians get this wrong asserts that grace is bestowed unconditionally by the sovereign will of God. The Bible negates this concept.

The principle is illustrated by the example of Noah, who “found grace in the eyes of Yahweh” (Genesis 6:8); and yet, as the writer of Hebrews shows, Noah and his family were saved by preparing an ark in obedience to God’s instruction (11:7; cf. Genesis 6:22). Yahweh proffered the grace. Noah, by faith, obeyed Yahweh, and so was blessed. While God extends grace, human beings must be willing to “receive” the favour (2 Corinthians 6:1).

Grace is conditional and requires something on our part: faith.

Justification– “A man is justified by faith” (Romans 3:28)
Sanctification– “sanctification by…faith in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Glorification– “[Jesus will] present you before Him (God) holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if you indeed continue in the faith.” (Colossians 1:22)
The Grace/Knowledge Connection

1 Corinthians 1:4-7

4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all discourse and all knowledge,
6 just as the witness about the Christ has been made firm among you,
7 so that YOU do not fall short in any gift at all, while YOU are eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ

Grace is expanded into "discourse and all knowledge,” v5 endowments with which the Corinthians were especially favoured

The access to God’s grace is by means of an objective body of revelation. Paul noted: “For the grace of God hath appeared . . . instructing us . . .” (Titus 2:11-12). Christianity is a taught religion. Isaiah, speaking of the kingdom age, proclaimed: “. . . he will teach us of his ways . . .” (2:3). Jesus himself declared: “It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and has learned, comes unto me” (John 6:45).

God’s grace is not dispensed apart from an instruction that requires both understanding and obedience. In these days when there is a tendency to “stampede” folks into the church, with little  comprehension of what they are doing, this is a crucial matter to emphasise.
Grace Is Not Earned
Grace excludes merit. We must constantly remind ourselves that humanity is not deserving of salvation. No one can “earn” pardon by works of human merit. If such were the case, we could boast regarding our redemption; however, that is impossible (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Even if one were able to perform everything God commands, he still must regard himself as an “unprofitable servant” (Luke 17:10). Jesus taught that our sins have put us head-over-heels in debt, and no person has the ability to liquidate that obligation (cf. Matthew 18:24-27).

When this concept is truly comprehend, service to Almighty God will flow with a freshness and zeal that invigorates the soul. Doubtless a failure to comprehend fully the true significance of grace is the reason many church members are spiritually inactive.


"Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17); that is, the real saving, redeeming, transforming power came to man through the work that Jesus did in establishing for the race a new and higher consciousness in the earth. We can enter into this consciousness by faith in Him and by means of the inner spirit of the law that He taught and practiced.

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