Saved by grace means that we are saved because God gives us salvation as a free gift. You may have heard this before, but if we take the five letters of the word grace, and use them as the first letter of five words, we can present this as God's grace: God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Salvation is a free gift of God; but it cost plenty, a price which God Himself paid in full. His grace is extremely rich; and the cost was Christ's cross and obedience as our covenant Head.
This we must bear in mind when we look at Ephesians 2:8 , where we read, "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Here we must be careful with our use of the word "faith." Paul does not mean that by our act of faith (that is, by believing) we earn salvation. Paul condemns that idea in the next verse where he wrote, "Not of works, lest any man should boast." Note that Paul in verse 8 states that we are saved through, not because of, faith. The idea is that God saves us through faith, not that we save ourselves by believing. We are saved because Christ died for our sins, and because God engrafted us into Him by faith. Thus we find in Romans 11 , and Jesus spoke of it in John 15 , that we are engrafted into Christ. Faith is that bond that unites us to Christ. And that this occurs, that we have this blessing, is because of God's grace. We do not deserve it. We deserve being driven from God and into the torment of hell.
Here is a blessed truth. God made us to be one with Christ, made us to be the living members of His body, the church. United to Christ we have salvation, and all its blessings flow into us.
We believe because we are saved. We are not saved because we believe. We are saved through faith, not by our act of faith. We do not even deserve to be given faith. It is a free gift from God unto us.
Read: Romans 4 .
Through the Bible in One Year
I Chronicles 4:1-5
I Chronicles 5:1-17
Quote for Reflection:
Herman Witsius: "... it is necessary for every one who acknowledges Christ as his Lord, to renounce Satan, the world, sin, and even himself, that he may belong to none but Christ. It is absolutely impossible to serve at the same time two masters that are so contrary to one another, and the one of whom, at least, justly demands the submission of the whole man. Whoever belongs to Christ, doth not belong to Satan; he is rescued from his tyranny. ‘In time past,’ but only in time past, he ‘walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.’ He doth not belong to the world; he is ‘delivered from this present evil world,’ and he has learned that ‘the friendship of the world is enmity with God’ (The Apostles’ Creed, vol. 1, pp. 359-360).