Saved By Grace Through Faith
Salvation is by the grace of God and man cannot do anything to earn it, but God expects man to show his trust in God’s grace through an obedient working faith. Many today do not understand the concept of being saved by grace through faith. They falsely claim that any action on man’s part is considered a “work”, thus it is an attempt to earn their salvation. It is true, no works of merit, can earn one’s salvation. Works of merit, or works of the law, expect one to obey every command of God perfectly so that God owes or is indebted to man to give them salvation. But, God does expect man to obey certain conditions or commands given to prove their faith and trust in God’s gracious offer of salvation. These are works of God, or works of obedience, that in no way make God accountable to give man anything. They are simply the way that man proves his trust in God through an obedient faith. Remember, “faith without works is dead” (Jam. 2:20), and “a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Jam. 2:24). The key to understanding is to realize the difference between works of merit and works of obedience. Let’s look at some examples from the Bible of people accepting God’s grace through faithful obedience.
1. Noah and his family were saved by grace through faith. God was going to destroy all of mankind because of their wickedness, but the Bible says “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8). If Noah were to be saved, it would be through the grace of God. God commanded Noah to build an ark for the saving of his family. If Noah had only believed God would save him, but would not build the ark as commanded, he would have been lost with the rest of mankind. His faithful trust in God drove him to obey. The Bible says, “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Gen. 6:22). Listen to how the writer of Hebrews describes Noah’s salvation. “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb. 11:7). Noah did not do anything to earn his salvation, but he did faithfully obey the conditions of God’s gracious offer of salvation. What Noah did by preparing the ark, was a work of faithful obedience, not a work of merit.
2. The city of Jericho was destroyed by grace through faith. As the children of Israel entered the promise land, their first obstacle would be the walled city of Jericho. God told Joshua, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand” (Josh. 6:2). God said this before they had conquered the city. God was telling Joshua that He was going to give the city to the Israelites through His grace. Now, could Israel have sat back and simply believed what God had said? Would their faith alone have been enough for the city to fall? No, they would have to faithfully obey God’s conditions for them to receive the free gift from God. God commanded them to march around the city and shout in a certain order and He would destroy the walls. Would the people’s obedience mean they earned the cities destruction? No, it simply meant they were showing their trust in God by faithfully obeying Him. The writer of Hebrews said, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days” (Heb. 11:30). A further study of Hebrews chapter eleven will show how people accepted God’s gracious offers by faithfully obeying His conditions to show their complete trust in Him.
3. We are saved by grace through faith when we obey the plan of salvation. Many today will claim baptism is not essential to salvation because it is a work. Again, they confuse works of merit with works of obedient faith to God’s conditions. Like Noah building an ark, or the Israelites marching around Jericho, baptism is the condition we faithfully obey in the plan of salvation to show God we trust in Him to graciously forgive us of our sins. Salvation is an unmerited gift from God. Our Obedient faith is how we accept the gift. -Ed