For By Grace Are Ye Saved
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we
are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
When paraphrased, this Scripture means that we cannot be saved by works
alone, because we are saved by the mercy of God. If we could save ourselves
we would be able to boast about how good we are. Because God created us
(we are His workmanship), He controls whether we are saved or not and He
says that we can only be saved if we come into Covenant with Him through
the Lord Jesus Christ. And only then must we have works that the Lord Jesus
has told us about. First comes being saved and only then come the works.
Not works in our own strength, but works that He has asked us to do.
The words of a Praise song describe it in another way:
By grace I'm saved through faith in God
Not by works alone but by Jesus' blood
Now I'm filled with strength by the Spirit's power
And you've set my heart on fire
What does it mean to be saved.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily,
I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom
To be born again means to become spiritually connected with God through
the Holy Spirit by the sacrifice of the lifeblood of Jesus.
All people who were ever born will end up in one of two places; heaven
or the lake of fire. The lake of fire is sometimes called hell.
The bodies that we will have will not be powered by blood but by the
power of the Spirit. They are called resurrection bodies and cannot die.
Paul explains it this way:
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what
body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened,
except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that
shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
(1 Corinthians 15:35-37)
Here he explains by giving an example. When the wheat plant dies it leaves
seed behind that also looks dead but has the potential to grow when it
is planted and watered. If our dead body is planted in the ground like
a grain of wheat, when it is "quickened" or comes alive, it becomes a spiritual
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption;
it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in
glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural
body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there
is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made
a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit
that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural;
and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth,
earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the
earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the
heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne
the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
(1 Corinthians 15:42-50)
So, what are we saved from?
From spending forever in the lake of fire. The place is also called the
lake burning with brimstone. Brimstone is the element sulphur that comes
out of volcanoes and is yellow in colour. When it melts it gives off a
terrible smell that burns the lungs. Sulphur smoke is used to kill insects
like bees that have made their nest in an inaccessible place.
This is the place where those who are not saved will be punished forever.
The Bible says:
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out
without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented
with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the
presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever
and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and
his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
We are saved from this by the grace of God.
Grace is described in the Chambers Dictionary as the undeserved mercy of
This means that we cannot be saved by our own power: we read that it
is the gift of God. If we want to become saved we must ask God for the
gift, or else cause Him in some other way to bestow this gift to us.
Not of works lest any man should boast.
If we could become saved ourselves, by our own power, God our Creator could
not select who should come into heaven because we would all want it. Who
wants to burn in a lake of fire that never stops? Heaven is God's Kingdom
and he says who comes in and who doesn't. He makes the rules.
He has decided that He will give the gift only to certain people.
"That's unfair" you might say, "I am a good person, I obey the law,
I don't steal". That might be so, but God is God, He is the Creator, He
made you, He decides what to do with you.
We are His workmanship.
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be
put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men
should fear before him.
"Have I a choice" you might say, "Can I persuade God to let me into heaven?"
You must be created in Christ Jesus; You have to be born again spiritually
like the grain of wheat. You cannot do it after your earthly body is dead
because you have then already set the direction that you will go.
You have to believe in faith that Jesus walked this earth as a man
and was raised from the dead; that He is the Son of God.
Believe in faith means that you really believe, not just pretend. God
And you have to do good works in Christ Jesus because this is the way
that was previously ordained by God.
"How do I know what good works to do in Christ Jesus?"
Study from the word of God, the Bible, and you will learn.
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart
to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest
up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest
for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear
of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom:
out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up
sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk
uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of
his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and
equity; yea, every good path.
"I am a very busy man" you might say, "I don't have time to study the Bible,
I work long hours."
This shows that you are still part of the world.
"How often then must I study the Bible?"
One of the first things you will learn from the Bible is that you must
repent. What does this mean?
It means a determined turning from sin. Not what you believe is sin,
but what God knows is sin.
For example, the Bible states that once you are born again your earthly
body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is part of the Godhead. He lives
in you. This means, for example, that you must stop desecrating your body
by smoking tobacco or pot or getting drunk.
"This is hard, I have tried giving up smoking but can't do it, I suffer
Yes, this might have been so when you had faith in your own ability,
why not try faith in God's ability? He can do anything. He really can.
Just look in the night sky; He made it all.
When you are really willing to give up the pleasures of this world, and
God will know, He will give you the power to do so, because He will ask
the Holy Spirit to enter into your body and make a connection with your
spirit. If you are willing to let God work in your life through the Holy
Spirit, you will become born again and have the power of God in you. You
will be able to perform miracles. You will become "on fire" for the Lord.
You will be like a light bulb that has been switched on.
Using someone else's words:
"The life changing power of Jesus Christ has been made so accessible
to all of us, and when you continually choose to spend time in God's presence,
you are changed, from glory to glory."
There are three stages described in the Ephesians passage at the beginning
of this dissertation: Doing works; being saved; doing works.
Our works before being saved are selfish works, what we will get out of
it. We hope that when Jesus Christ comes the second time, he will take
us with him because we have been such good guys. This is probably where
Mother Teresa fell down.
Then we are saved. What glory, what life-changing power. God's gift
is a spiritual gift, not one that worldly people can see from the outside
like the gift of a television set. It is exceeding riches, a bubbling up
of gratefulness that we shall be removed to a place without evil, a place
where our Creator lives, oh what a glorious feeling to be able to fall
down at His feet and worship Him. We are free from the fear of sin and
death; death has no power over us anymore.
Then we do works in Christ Jesus. Doing the works is important, but
more important is the motive for those works. How we love our fellow man,
to be able to share what God has done in our lives, to give some of this
free riches to others, to make them happy too. Our concern is to try and
get them to see this new freedom, so that we can dance with joy with them
in the streets of the New Jerusalem and sing praises to our God. Our reward
will not only be that of reaching heaven, but that of a smile on the face
of our redeemer. All the words that have ever been written cannot explain
the spiritual riches that we have obtained. Oh, Glory to You Lord of Hosts,
Creator of the worlds and everything therein.
Ah, my friend, if you who are reading this do not know this experience,
seek it for all you are worth, for without it you are lost. ...lost. ...lost.