Denominations frequently quote Ephesians 2:8,9 in an effort to prove the doctrine of salvation by ‘faith only’. The only time the expression “faith only” is found in all God’s Holy word is in James 2:24 where James says, “You see then how that by works a man is justified and NOT by ‘faith only'”.
Grace means unmerited favor. No man can work hard enough to earn the bountiful blessings showered upon him day by day by our Heavenly Father. The clothing we wear, the food eat, and the very air we breathe, are all manifestations of God’s bountiful grace. However, we cannot conclude that man is completely passive in the application of these blessings. He must breathe the air, eat the food, and wear the clothing if he is to receive any benefit from God’s unmerited favor in these matters. In other words, it is possible for mankind to refuse the favors of God.
What man could not do for himself spiritually the grace of God has abundantly supplied for him. Man could never have supplied for himself a Savior, nor could he have ever worked out a plan of salvation for himself that God would have accepted.
Because of the seriousness of sin, it was necessary that blood be spilled as atonement. “And without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). Animal blood would not suffice. ‘For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins (Heb.10: 4). “But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Rom. 5:8,9). ” . . . And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).
“Forasmuch as you know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18,19).
These passages show clearly that God’s grace has been extended to us in the provision of the blood of his Son for the remission of our sin.
Our text says that God’s grace plus man’s faith saves. Man must accept and obey God’s spiritual laws in order to receive the spiritual blessings, just as he must breathe the air, eat the food, and wear the clothing to receive physical blessings therefrom. Man’s part then is to exercise his faith. “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet. 1:22,23). “Why call you me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). “Not every one that says unto me Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOES the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 7:21). Man is commanded to: (1) Believe with the heart and Confess with the mouth that Jesus is the Christ, Rom 10:9,10; (2) Repent and be Baptized for the remission of sins, Acts 2:38; (3) Remain Faithful unto death. Rev. 2:10 in order to receive a crown of life.
The apostle Paul warns the disobedient by saying that Jesus will come “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:7). Therefore, let us accept God’s GRACE by OBEYING his commandments through the FAITH of the GOSPEL (Philip 1:27).