Paul said to Ephesus, “By grace are you saved” (Eph. 2:5). Everyone who is permitted to enter heaven will be there by grace, but not grace alone. He also wrote, “Through Faith” (Eph 2:5). This is not my faith, this is not your faith, but this is “the faith” of God, which is the gospel of Christ (Phil 1:27).
Grace does not circumvent Jesus Christ. “For the law was given by Moses, but GRACE and TRUTH came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). The “truth” is the gospel of our salvation (Eph 1:13). God demonstrated His loving-kindness for sinful man in the gift of His Son. In Christ “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his GRACE” (Eph. 1:7). Saving grace is found in Jesus, not out of Him. Paul said to the Corinthians, “I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:4). The grace that saves comes to man by or through, not apart from, Jesus Christ, that being through the gospel.
The good news of justification through Christ is referred to as “the gospel of the grace of God” and “the Word of his grace” (Acts 20:24, 32). To preach the gospel is to distribute saving grace. The saints at Colosse were reminded of “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and brings forth fruit, as it does also in you, since the day you heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:5,6). It was not until the gospel was preached in Antioch that people turned to the Lord and the grace of God was “seen” in that locality (Acts 11:19-23).
Grace does not permit access apart from faith. “Access” is that which gives admittance, entrance, or introduction. One must show faith in Jesus Christ in order to gain access into saving grace. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1,2). Since faith comes by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17), one must hear the gospel to enter God’s favor. “For by grace are you saved through faith . . .” (Eph. 2:8). God provides salvation through undeserved favor. Mankind accepts that provision of grace by means of confessed faith (Rom 10:8-10).
Grace does not rule against baptism for the remission of sins. God requires that we show faith by being baptized, and that demonstration of faith is unto the remission of sins. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Peter preached repentance and baptism “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). But he acknowledged that it is “through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” that we shall be saved (Acts 15:11). Salvation by grace requires faith, and faith requires baptism unto the forgiveness of sins.
Grace does not give license to sin. The law of Moses was given to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Under the law sin abounded. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. . . ” (Rom. 5:20). Does this mean that the more men sin, the more grace will be shown? Or, as Paul worded the question, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” He answered, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1,2). God’s grace over sin is not to be interpreted as a license to sin. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Rom. 6:12). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly . . .” (Tit. 2:11,12).
Grace does not offer unconditional security. Remaining in that grace is conditioned on our willingness to continue in faith. The Hebrew writer warns us that one may “fail” or “come short” of the grace of God (Heb. 2:15). The Galatians were called “into the grace of Christ” but afterward accepted false teaching that “removed” them (Gal. 1:6,7). Paul wrote to them, “You are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). This literally destroys the theory of once in grace, always in grace or “Once saved, always saved”.
Grace does not save by and of itself. Truly, the grace of God which saves man was initially the gift of God’s holy Son (Jn 3:16). However, If one does not take hold of this grace and do the works of God, they will be eternally lost. Yes, we must have faith, but faith without works is dead, for even the demons believed and trembled (Jam 2:19,20). As James concluded this matter, “You see then by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (Jam 2:24). The works which justifies man is found in our obedience to the Will of God through the gospel of Christ.
Conclusively, no one will be saved without GRACE. If Christ had not died, no one would be saved, period! However, even the GRACE of God cannot save anyone who does not yield themselves to the WILL of GOD (Mt7:21). The Will of God is that all be saved (2 Pet 3:9). As the scripture most often quoted says, “For by Grace are you saved, through FAITH” (Eph 2:8). Then they quote verse 9 which says, “Not of works, lest any man should boast”. And then they stop. If they had read but one more verse, they would not conclude one is saved by “Faith only”. Notice Ephesians 2:10 which says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Faith is a work of God (Jn 8:29). Repentance and Baptism are also works of God (2 Cor 7:10 f; Heb 6:1). Let us never forget the greatest gift of all, the gift of God’s Holy Son (2 Cor 9:15). However, let us never forget to take hold of this glorious gift by obeying the gospel of your salvation (Eph 1:13).