It Is By Grace

It Is By Grace!

Ephesians 2:8

The thought of this message clusters around three words: "grace;" "saved;" "faith."
Anyone who knows the biblical meaning of these three words knows the gospel.

Paul is preeminently the apostle of grace.
Out of 155 New Testament references to the word, "grace," 130 are Paulís directly or indirectly.

"Grace! 'Tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear;
Heaven with the echo shall resound
And all earth shall hear."

In order to have a true and clear understanding of what it is that makes us Christian,
we must learn the truth of this statement: " By grace are you saved."

Notice that Paul starts with the word: "For."
This statement is a continuation of what Paul has been saying.
Paul is looking back to what he has been saying, and then he puts it in a manner that
we should never forget.
This is a description of what it really means to be a Christian.
I believe that most of our troubles in the Christian life arise here at this point.
Many are still confused at this very first step and therefore are always full of problems,
difficulties, and questions.
They do not understand this.
It is because they have never been clear about the very foundation.

Well, here it is.
There is no clearer statement of it anywhere in Scriptures.
Why the confusion?
It is because so many insist on bringing in their thoughts and their theories.
The minute we do this, we are in trouble.
We either accept Godís Word as our only foundation or else we do not.
The moment we leave the Scriptures, our own ideas enter.
Then, we are introducing our own ability, our own understanding, and our own theories.

Here is the whole foundation of our position as Christians.
It is here we are told exactly how we become Christians.
What does Paul say: "By grace..."

He says that we are Christians entirely and solely as the result of Godís grace.
The whole essence of the teaching at this point, and all through the New Testament,
is that we have no right whatsoever to salvation.
We deserved nothing but punishment and hell and banishment from the presence of God
throughout all eternity.
Yet, God with His loving grace has saved us.

There are two classes of people in this world:

Salvation is all of grace:

We did not deserve it .
We could not provide it.
We did not seek it.
From first to last, salvation is all of grace.

"Oh, the love that sought me,
Oh, the blood that bought me,
Oh, the grace that brought me to the fold."

Grace excludes all human merit.
It renounces all human claim.
It centers in God alone.
Grace runs like a golden thread throughout the Scriptures.
It is the theme to the New Testament.
Paul never tired of praising God for His marvelous grace and proclaiming it everywhere he went.

What else could he say?
He was the blaspheming Saul of Tarsus, who hated Christ.
He hated the Christian church.
He did his best to wipe Christianity from the face of the earth.
So, as he looked back at what he had been and then, at what he was,
what else could he say but, "I am what I am by the grace of God."

What does the word, "grace" mean?
Grace is a big word.
It is a great word.
It is an all inclusive word.
It is perhaps the greatest word in the Bible because it is the word most truly expressive
of Godís character and attitude in relation to man.

The word, "grace" comes from two or three roots in the Hebrew and the Greek.

Among the Greeks, grace stood for all that is most charming in personal loveliness.
It stood for that one who is attractive and charming.
It was also used for that spontaneous generosity where there was no claim or merit.
It stood for that kindness given without any hope of return.
It stood for that disposition which was lovely in itself.

Grace means far more than we can put into words because it means nothing less than the
infinite character of God Himself.

The basic meaning of grace is that of favor shown to the utterly helpless and undeserving.
The words, "By grace" assert that God was under no obligation to save men.
It asserts that salvation is a gift from God.
It is not a reward or merit. The exact and discriminate meaning of the word grace should be crystal clear to every child of God.
When used in the Bible to set forth the grace of God in the salvation of sinners,
the word, "grace," discloses not only the boundless goodness and kindness of God
toward men, it reaches far beyond and indicates the supreme motive which actuated God
in the creation , preservation, and consummation of the universe.
What greater fact could be expressed by one word: "grace."

All of this is in full measure and overflowing abundance because of nothing in us,
but because of everything in the Giver, God Himself.

Salvation is by grace.

All that God does in Christ is what we mean by "saved."
The fact is, He forgives. He pardons. He receives us as His own. He regenerates us.
He adopts us into His family as a child of God.
All this God does.

Salvation in its fullest sense, including the past, present, and future work of God for the believer,
is one continuous series of acts of grace.

" 'Twas grace that wrote my name
In lifeís eternal book;
'Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took." "Grace taught my wandering feet
To heed the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet
While pressing on to God." "Grace taught my heart to pray,
And made my eyes oíerflow;
ĎTwas grace which kept me to this day
And will not let me go." Surely, all this is grace upon grace by Him who was full of grace and truth.

Salvation is all by grace!
Salvation is the gift of God.

If one should say, " It is too cheap," let him look at Calvary, and see the cost to God
of the death of His Son.
If one should say, " It is too easy," let him look at Calvary, and realize what was needed
to put our sin away.

When we, as Christians, the receiver of Godís grace look back on ourselves,
we feel more and more that we have become what we are by no act or activity of our own.
We know that grace comes to us without our own will or power.
It took hold of us. It led us on. It leads us on.

Before any act of our own, we see redeeming love seeing us and choosing us.
In all these things we recognize the marvelous grace of God.
Praise His holy name! We are saved by His grace!

"Someday the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing;
But oh, the joy when I shall awake
Within the palace of the King.

Someday my earthly house will fall,
I cannot tell how soon ítwill be;
But this I know - My All in All
Has now a place in heaven for me.

Someday: till then Iíll watch and wait,
My lamp all trimmed and burning bright,
That when my Saviour opens the gate,
My soul to Him will take its flight.

And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story - Saved by grace;
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story - Saved by grace."

"Oh, let Thy grace inspire
My soul with strength divine!
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine!"

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White