“Saved By Grace Alone” 10/1/17
500 years ago, on Oct. 31, Martin Luther posted a call for debate concerning what he saw as abuses within the Catholic church. He included 95 points, or theses, which he wanted addressed. This act is often seen as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. In the following years the reformers identified 5 basic beliefs that they considered essential for Christianity:
We are save by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone, according to the Bible alone, to the glory of God alone. Today I would like to look at what it means to be saved by grace.
Ephesians 2:4–5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
I remember one day when I was in high school, one of the other kids in the class stood up and said, “Jesus saves, …. but Esposito scores on the rebound!” We use the word ‘saved’ in a number of ways. In hockey it’s when the goalie prevents the puck from going into the net, in shopping it’s not spending as much money as you might have, at home it could be keeping something instead of throwing it away, financially it means putting money aside for later.
In religion it usually means delivered, rescued from sin, judgment, the wrath of God, condemnation, and spiritual death. Popularly, when someone asks, “Have you been saved?”, they mean are you going to heaven?
Does not necessarily mean saved from experiencing hardships, illnesses, poverty.
Saved by grace – expresses the present permanent state as a result of a past action.
Past – set free from the penalty of sin
Present – set free from the power of sin
Future – set free from the presence of sin
Has nothing to do with who we are or what we’ve done.
God’s great love – infinite, unconditional, incomparable,
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rich in mercy – undeserved kindness, does not give us what we deserve
Psalm 103:10–11 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
Made us alive in Christ – because we are united with Christ
We were spiritually dead, separated from God
Rescues us from the power and consequences of sin
When we were dead in sins – our hopeless condition apart from Christ
God does not wait for us to come to Christ, Christ comes to us
Death and resurrection of Jesus
Martin Luther said, “God, then, is more earnest for me to be saved than I am to be saved! “He so loved the world that He gave His Son” (see John 3:16). He loved not saints, not penitents, not the religious, not those who love Him; but “the world,” secular men, profane men, hardened rebels, hopeless wanderers and sinners! He gave not a mere promise, not an angel to teach us, not a world to ransom us, but His Son—His only begotten! So much did God love the world, sinners, me! I believe this. I must believe it; I believe on Him who says it. How can I, then, do otherwise than rejoice?”
Knowing that salvation does not depend on my ability to be good enough but is entirely an act of God, initiated by God and completed by God, takes a huge burden off of our shoulders. It sets us free from fear.
On the other hand, it does not mean that I can do as I please. Scripture is very clear – we are saved entirely by grace not by works, but equally clear that we are saved for works. In other words, when a person is saved, understands the greatness of God’s love, the riches of His mercy, and the extent of His grace, that person’s life is changed and will produce good works.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
A response to salvation
A purpose of salvation
A sign of salvation
As we come to the Lord’s table, we come rejoicing, knowing that we have a place here solely because of God’s grace. We come repenting, knowing that in this way our sins are forgiven. We come hungering, knowing that here our souls are fed. We come worshipping, offering our lives in the service of our Savior.