This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
Saved by Grace Alone!
Meditation on Ephesians 2:8,9
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.
These verses are one of the most well-known passages of the Bible. Our text has three parts. The first part tells how it is that God saves. “It is by grace.” The second part speaks of the channel through which this grace of God comes to us. “It is “through faith.” The last part, which is a contrast, tells how God does not save us, and it explains why. It is “not of works, lest any man should boast.”
We had this first clause already in verse 6. Literally, it reads, “By means of grace ye are saved.” It is the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Grace is, first of all, beauty. God is beautiful in Himself. He is gracious. Then it is also grace bestowed upon us. It is grace that is imputed to us. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by grace. It is also grace in the sense that it is the principle of grace wrought in our hearts. We have that grace and experience it. What is that grace that we experience? It is the work of the Holy Spirit as He has given us new life. We are called out of darkness and given faith. How wonderful when the Spirit causes us to know that we are justified! But the work of the Spirit is not done. He continues to work in us sanctification so that we may live godly lives, saying no to sin and yes to the will of God. The Spirit preserves us so that we do not fall away from God and our faith.
The salvation that is given to us is a present possession that we already have in our hearts and lives, and we are conscious of it. The Spirit is applying to us all the blessings earned for us by our Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are saved by grace “through faith.” The apostle selects faith out of “the order of salvation” because faith is the means whereby we are united with Christ. Through faith we become one with Him. Therefore, through faith we receive all the benefits of salvation from Christ. If one is not united to Christ, they cannot be saved. All the blessings of salvation are in Christ Jesus. So faith is the channel or means of our salvation.
The apostle continues to say that this salvation, this salvation by grace, and this salvation through faith is not of our selves; it is the gift of God. From beginning to end, salvation is of God. He chose us in eternity and gave us to Jesus Christ. God the Son accomplished this salvation by redeeming us from our sin by His death on the cross. God the Holy Spirit applies this salvation to each of God’s children. So salvation is all of God and therefore a gift of God. The emphasis is on God.
The apostle emphasizes once more that salvation is entirely God’s work by adding, “not of works, lest any man should boast.” Our salvation is from God, and the works that we are called to perform are the fruit of that salvation. In being saved in Christ and through the Holy Spirit we naturally bear fruit as the apostle explains in the next verse. All of our salvation is a gift and work of God so that no person may boast of what they have done. One cannot help but think of the lyrics of many songs: “I have decided to follow Jesus.” “I came to Jesus as I was…” “The Savior is waiting for you to open your heart. Won’t you please let him come in?” But there is no boasting whatsoever in ourselves or glorying in self. All of our salvation is of God and in Christ Jesus and through faith. Therefore, in all humility because of our own depravity and God’s rich grace, we shall boast only in God. Oh, how the glory and beauty of God is revealed in our salvation! Are you ready to sing of God’s marvelous grace?
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured_ There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace. Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within: Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.” ~ Daniel Towner 1850-1919
Rev. Audred Spriensma (Wife: Alva)
Ordained: January 1981
Pastorates: Atwood, MI CRC - 1981; Bethany, S.Holland, IL CRC - 1984; Grandville, MI - 1992; Missionary to the Philippines - 2002; Kalamazoo, MI - 2007; Byron Center, MI - 2010; Home missionary (Byron Center PRC), 2017Website: www.prca.org/missions/domestic
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