Bitesize Teachings: Saved by the Grace of God
In Acts 9, we read the account of the conversion of Saul, Paul. What happened to him was remarkable for several reasons.
He was taken completely by surprise.
He did not ask Jesus to save him. He had never sought salvation. He had always thought that to please God, it was necessary to keep the Law. He found he could not resist the Lord Jesus Christ, because having been struck blind, he was totally dependent on others. He then had a vision. A man he did not know entered the room he was staying in, and restored his sight, miraculously. e began to preach in the name of Christ. His people, the Jews, tried to kill him, and therefore friends planned his escape.
This is grace, all grace, nothing but grace. Paul did NOTHING himself to earn his salvation, literally nothing at all.
‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God’
Like all of us, Paul was born in sin, so utterly depraved that he could not discern good from evil, and quite incapable of approaching God….incapable! His sin was ‘getting in the way’ of his choosing Christ, making it impossible to reach out to God. So, instead Christ reached out to him, and chose him for Himself.
‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you’
Just think about it for a moment. If you could earn or partly earn your salvation in Christ by doing good works, then Christ need not have gone to the cross in the first place, to shed His precious blood! To imagine you can pay with good deeds as the price of getting into heaven, regardless of Christ, is a complete blasphemy. Therefore God has come to your rescue.
‘The Great Exchange’
In the old days when murderers were about to be hanged, they were reminded that they had been found guilty and received a just punishment ie they were justly condemned.
The bible tells us that all men and women are as guilty as any murderer could be, and also stand condemned in the sight of God, Romans 1:18-2:2. We have all fallen from grace in Adam, Romans 5:12-21. We deserve to be punished, because we are all guilty! God has every right to consign each one of us to the Lake of Fire. However, arising out of His great love, and by His grace, He has intervened on our behalf by sending Christ to die on a cross of shame.
He declared His Son guilty in our place, and He punished Him accordingly, as if He were us. Our sin(s)were debited to Him and His righteousness was credited to us. This does not mean we become righteous or cease to be sinful, for the ‘great exchange’ is by imputation only.
We are therefore declared to be JUSTIFIED, i.e. just as if we had lived a perfect life, like Jesus did. And most importantly, the blood the LORD shed at Calvary has turned away the wrath of God from us, Romans 5:9. And we believe this in faith, Hab 2:4; Rom 3:28 & 5:1, very much a faith granted by God, not worked up by us.
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and all to the glory of God alone. His decision to save us was made, by Him, before the world was formed, 2 Tim 1:9, and therefore has nothing to do with our own devices or efforts or works, Eph 2:8. This is what is meant by ‘Justification by Faith’.
“The apostle Paul is abundant in teaching, that ‘we are justified by faith alone, without the works of the law!’ There is no one doctrine that he insists so much upon, and that he handles with so much distinctness, explaining, giving reasons, and answering objections.”