Ephesians – Chapter 2, Part 3
God’s Way of Salvation
Ephesians 2 ~ Vs. 8 – 9
Chapter 2 – Outline: Positional Relocation.
- The New Position in the Heavenlies, the new life in Christ. God has spiritually regenerated sinners, transforming them from death to life, vs. 1-10.
- The New Position in the Household, unity in Christ. He reconciled Jews and Gentiles, moving them from alienation to oneness, vs. 11-18.
- The New Position in the Habitat, the Church is a Temple for the habitation of God through the Spirit. Gentiles are no longer aliens but fellow citizens of heaven being formed into a Holy temple for God’s dwelling, vs. 19-22.
Chapter 2 – Theme: God’s Grace:
The great theme of this chapter is God’s grace towards man as Paul discusses how sinners who deserve nothing but God’s wrath can become trophies of His grace.
- Vs. 1-10, speak of the grace panorama regarding our regeneration, from death to life, and our new position individually.
- Vs. 11-17, speak of grace and the barrier regarding our reconciliation, Jews and Gentiles as one.
- Vs. 18-22, speak of grace and the Church regarding being fashioned into the Temple of God.
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Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
In the Greek, this verse begins with the anaphoric article HO in the Dative case used to link what has already been noted in vs. 5regarding “being saved by grace.” With it is the Postpositive Conjunction GAR meaning “for” or even “because,” linked with the Instrumental Dative of Cause for “grace,” CHARIS, χάρις. The Instrumental Dative of Cause indicates the cause or basis of the action of the verb, which is “having been saved,” as noted below. It tells us the why and basis for our salvation, which is the grace of God. So we translated this phrase, “For on the basis of the grace.”
As we have noted above, this grace refers to the Plan of God as emanating from the character of God. Grace is the operating principle of God’s Plan; grace is the way in which God can provide all things for us which He designed to provide for us in eternity past without ever compromising His character and at the same time glorifying Himself. So grace is the only principle to the plan of God because grace means that God is responsible, God does the work, God does the providing. But to keep His plan perfect God must do all of the work and all of the thinking, and take all the credit. Therefore, grace excludes man’s works in the Plan of God.
The Axioms of Grace:
- God is perfect; therefore, His plan is perfect.
- A perfect plan can only originate and function from a perfect God.
- If man can do anything meritorious in the plan of God, it is no longer perfect and obviously no longer grace.
- A plan is no stronger than its weakest link. For this reason, grace excludes human merit and human ability. Grace also excludes human good. Do-gooders never make it under the Plan of God.
- Legalism, asceticism, and human good are the enemies of grace.
- Therefore, works of human righteousness have no place in the Plan of God.
With this we have a periphrastic phrase made up of two words. First we have the Present, Active, Indicative, 2nd Person, Plural of EIMI that means, “is or to be,” so here it is “you are.” This is linked with the Perfect, Passive, Participle in the subject Nominative case of SOZO, σῴζω that means, “save, keep safe, preserve, rescue, or make well.” It is the Intensive Perfect Tense that emphasizes the results or present state produced by a past action; therefore, we have “you are saved,” (in the past with the present result of being saved in the present time that continues into the future).
So far we have “for on the basis of the grace you are saved, (with the results that your salvation will continue absolutely into the future).” Here we see that the basis or cause for our absolute salvation is the grace of God, period, and nothing else.
Then we have the Genitive of Means from the Preposition DIA and Genitive Singular of the Noun PISTIS that means, “through faith.” This is the subjective medium for the process of salvation, indicating a necessary condition. It is the means of appropriation that emphasizes the non-meritorious function, “through faith.” There is no definite article here which gives great emphasis to the noun “faith.” It emphasizes the qualitative aspect of the noun rather than its identity. The quality of faith is non-meritorious and yet it is totally efficacious because of the object of faith – Jesus Christ. Therefore, our salvation is a non-meritorious system of perception, a system whereby we can never receive any credit at any time.
Doctrine of Faith – For Salvation
There are basically three systems of human perception:
Faith, a non-meritorious system of perception based on confidence in the authority and the veracity of another. Faith is not based on one’s own knowledge, as the other two systems are.
Rationalism, reason from the source of knowledge in itself, superior to and independent of any other source of perception. Rationalism says that reality is what you think to be true. It is the belief that reason and logic are the primary sources of knowledge and truth and should be relied on in searching for and testing the truth of things. Rationalism requires a high I.Q., from which systems of philosophy are often developed.
Empiricism, knowledge from perception by observation and experience rather than by theory. All ideas are derived from some sensuous experience using the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, touch, etc, having no innate or a prior conception.
Faith is the only system of human perception, which is non-meritorious in nature. It is the only system of perception, which will unlock spiritual truths; neither rationalism nor empiricism will do this, 1 Cor 1:18-2:16; Heb 11:6.
Faith must begin with the fact that God is, and that He rewards those that diligently seek Him. Nothing can be known or received of God unless man first believes that God is.
Heb 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Perception by faith is always non-meritorious, because it depends on the authority, veracity, and ability of someone else. Faith requires authority. Faith also means a system of Doctrine, or a creed, perceived by faith; i.e., what is believed.
Faith is Not:
A mental assent, a simple agreement to a set of historical and doctrinal facts about Christ, God and the Bible. This is a “head-faith,” (left lobe – GNOSIS faith) and not a “heart-faith,” (right lobe – EPIGNOSIS faith). It is the faith of demons, James 2:17-20; cf. Mat 8:29; Mark 1:24; 5:7; Luke 4:34; Acts 19:15. Many religious people believe in the Bible, God and Christ, but it is merely a mental assent to facts without any real heart-faith in Christ.
Presumption, to take for granted or to suppose something to be true without positive proof. It is something believed without actual evidence. This is arrogant, insolent, over confidence, and to take liberties in the spiritual life, Psa 19:12-13; Prov 21:24.
Prov 21:24, “‘Proud,’ ‘Haughty,’ ‘Scoffer,’ are his names, who acts with insolent pride.”
Natural Faith, which trusts itself to things seen in the realm of the natural senses and in the world of others, 2 Thes 3:2, cf. Heb 11:1-3, 6.
Faith in oneself, much “faith” preaching today teaches man to have faith in himself, his own abilities and latent soul powers. This kind of faith makes man his own savior and god.
The noun PISTIS used as an attribute means what causes trust or faith, reliability, faithfulness, or integrity, Titus 2:10; 2 Thes 1:4. Used in the active sense, it means faith, confidence, trust, faith as a recognition of and acceptance of Bible doctrine. In the active sense, faith is used in three ways.
- Saving faith, Eph 2:8; 1 John 5:4, 5.
- The three stages of the Faith Rest Drill, Rom 3:22; Heb 4:3.
- The metabolization of Bible doctrine.
Therefore, true faith is confidence in another (The Lord Jesus Christ) and His Word with committal and surrender of oneself wholly over to God, to Christ, and to His Word, trusting Him for all, embracing and obeying His Word, Acts 16:31.
Faith is Assurance of your Salvation. Assurance is “freedom from doubt, firmness of mind; confidence, to make sure or certain.” In addition, it is “a pledge or guarantee; the state of being sure or certain; security.” Theologically it is the “inner knowledge” that God has forgiven us in Christ and accepted us in His beloved Son, Eph 1:6.
The believer should have assurance of salvation and acceptance before God, 1 Thes 1:5; 2 Tim 1:12. As John said over 40 times, it is to “know.” In this the believer does not presume when he has confidence in the promises of God through Christ, 1 John 2:3, 20, 29; 3:14, 19-21, 24; 4:6, 16-17; 5:18.
The believer is to have full assurance of:
- Faith for salvation, Heb 10:22.
- Understanding God’s Mystery doctrines for the Church Age, Col 2:2.
- Hope unto the end, Heb 6:11.
We can have assurance of Salvation based on:
- The testimony of the Word of God; the external evidence and testimony, 1 John 5:1-2; 2:3, 13-14, 20-21, 29.
- The testimony of the Holy Spirit; the internal evidence, 1 John 5:9-12; 3:19; John 16:8; Rom 8:16; Gal 4:6; 2 Cor 1:2.
- The testimony of a clear conscience; (another inner witness), Acts 24:16; Rom 9:1; 1 Peter 3:21.
- The testimony of the Christian life; the outward evidence, living in harmony with the Word of God, the inner Christ like life,1 John 3:14; 2 Cor 13:5.
Hindrances to Full Assurance: Things that rob believers from walking in their salvation, (or even unbelievers of their salvation).
- Doubts and unbelief, Mark 11:22-24.
- A lack of forgiving spirit, Mark 11:25-26.
- Spiritual lethargy and lukewarmness, Rev 3:15-16.
- Grieving the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30-31.
- Allowing Satan to rob you of assurance, John 10:10; James 4:7.
- Failure to do the will of God, Luke 12:47-48.
- Wrong companionships, Prov 4:14; 1 Cor 15:33.
- Love of the world, (Satan’s cosmic system), 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4.
- Failure to maintain a love relationship with Christ, Rev 2:4.
- Willful sin, Heb 10:25-26.
- Walking by sight, by feelings instead of by faith, 2 Cor 5:7.
- Disobedience to the Word of God, Heb 5:8-9; Acts 5:29, 32.
Faith is the means by which we perceive reality in the invisible essence of God and His Plan for our lives as we surrender whole heartily to Him and His Word, 2 Cor 4:18.
2 Cor 4:18, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Faith is the means of salvation adjustment to the justice of God.
- As we have noted above, believing is non‑meritorious perception. The merit is always found in the object of faith (Jesus Christ) and not in the subject, the one having the faith (the believer). Likewise, we have noted, that salvation is by faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ, as is documented in many passages including, Acts 16:31; John 3:16, 18‑19, 36; 6:47, 20:31; Rom 3:22, 28, 4:5; 9:30; Gal 2:16; 3:26; 1 John 3:23; 5:4‑5.
- In addition, the justice of God is our point of contact with the Essence of God because justice judged our sins in Christ on the Cross. Therefore, salvation adjustment to the justice of God is believing in Jesus Christ.
- When we believe in Christ the mechanics of receiving all blessing from the justice of God goes into action, which is called “grace.” Our faith is non-meritorious, therefore, compatible with grace, Eph 2:8‑9.
- For salvation adjustment to the justice of God, the object of faith is Jesus Christ. For maturity adjustment to the justice of God, the object of faith is Bible doctrine, the mind of Jesus Christ.
The Object of Faith:
- Because the object of faith always has the merit and there is no merit in the subject because faith is a non-meritorious system of perception, all the faith in the world secures nothing but condemnation from the integrity of God. Remember that we are born with faith, we first learn vocabulary by faith, and therefore, faith itself secures nothing.
- Yet, the tiniest bit of faith in Christ secures eternal salvation. It only takes a little more faith than no faith at all. It is the object of faith that counts, not the worthiness of the one with faith. There is no merit in believing; the merit lies in the object of faith. Faith is not something we do, but it is the channel by which we appropriate what God has done for us.
- Through the adjustments to the justice of God and blessings from the integrity of God, Jesus Christ becomes the author and finisher of our faith, Heb 12:2.
Grace in salvation is the work of God.
- God the Father imputed our sins to Jesus Christ on the Cross.
- God the Son received the imputation and judgment for our sins on the Cross through His substitutionary spiritual death.
- God the Holy Spirit reveals the plan of salvation to the spiritually dead person under the doctrine of common grace.
- So an invitation from God is extended. (Remember that God always reveals Himself to us. We do not go out and find God.) When that invitation is accepted simply by believing in Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit makes our faith effective for salvation.
- Therefore, the whole principle of eternal salvation is faith and faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ, which provides for the Grace of God to work in our lives.
Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Continuing with Eph 2:8, we now note that our salvation is not accomplished nor maintained from our own work or power but is purely, wholly, and completely a grace gift from God, as stated in the last half of the verse, “and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
The Greek reads KAI TOUTO OUK EX HUMON, THEOU TO DORON.
KAI meaning, “and,” is the Conjunction that ties the last phrase with the following one, establishing the negation of salvation by works.
TOUTO for “this” is in the neuter gender of the immediate demonstrative Pronoun HOUTOS that does not refer to either grace or faith, but refers to salvation in general.
OUK is the Greek negative for “no or not.” It is used as a negative for a statement of fact. The statement of fact is that we absolutely did not and cannot save “ourselves,” HUMON. And in fact we have been “saved”, SOZO, “by grace through faith which is a gift from God.”
“It is the gift of God,” uses THEOU as the possessive Genitive of THEOS which means, “God,” and DORON the noun that means, “gift, offering, or present.” The first time we see DORON in Scripture is Mat 2:11, when the Magi from the east gave gifts to the new born King, Jesus Christ, in appreciation for God’s gift of sending His Son to provide salvation for all of mankind.
Interestingly, we also see in Scripture that any “gift” or “present,” including the votive offerings of religion, could be deemed a DŌRON by classical Greek writers. Sometimes “temple offerings” are called DŌRA (see Moulton-Milligan). The Septuagint also bears witness to this, as DŌRON was frequently selected as an equivalent to the Hebrew term QORBĀN that means, “an offering or gift.” Therefore, it has a sense of sacrifice associated with it.
In addition, a second meaning of the word in classical Greek is “the breadth of the hand, the palm,” (see Liddell-Scott), therefore we are given an image of the hand of God that reached out toward us by having His Son crucified on the Cross for our benefit, when our Lord’s hands were stretched out and nailed to the Cross.
Col 2:14, “Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
2 Cor 9:15, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
“It is the gift of God,” refers to the whole process of salvation, not just to the granting of faith to believe, as this grace gift is also referred to as the “gift of righteousness,” made available through the obedience of one Man, Jesus Christ, Rom 3:23-25; 5:15-19. As such, God’s love is expressed in His giving gifts to men, His greatest gift being His own Son.
Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.”
And we see that our Lord perfectly expressed this attribute of God by giving His life as a ransom for many. In turn He commanded His disciples, John 15:13, and us, to lay down our lives in sacrificial giving; as it is “more blessed to give than to receive,” Acts 20:35. As such, your entire Christian life should be characterized by giving with a view toward serving God with a grateful heart in the process, because of what He has done and freely given to you, cf. Rom 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5.
Next we see in vs. 9, the support that Salvation is not from our own doing or power.
Eph 2:9, “Not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
The Greek reads, “OUK EX ERGON, HINA ME TIS KAUCHESETAI.”
OUK EX ERGON simply means, “not of works.”
“Works” is the Genitive Neuter Plural of the Greek noun ERGON that means, “work, deed, action, task a thing or a matter.” It is used extensively through the N.T. and here means our human works or effort to save ourselves. In fact, the use of ERGA (plural) as a technical term for “deeds” of keeping the Law, also tells us that our religious service and duties cannot and will not save us, e.g., Rom 3:20, 28; Gal 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10.
Rom 3:20, “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
Rom 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
There is no human works, human good, human service, human action, human effort, etc. that we can do that will give us or ensure our salvation.
As Job stated in Job 4:17, “Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?”
One reason why God does not allow for works for salvation is human arrogance, “that no one should boast,” HINA ME TIS KAUCHESETAI. Here ME is used for the negation. “In classical Greek this negative particle is used for the negative of thought, i.e., negation that depends on a condition that is understood. It is distinct from OUK which denies, while ME rejects. When one thinks a thing is not, ME is used. It is subjective, involving will and thought, not fact and statement,” (Liddell-Scott).
The thing that is rejected is man’s arrogant “boasting,” KAUCHAOMAI, καυχάομαι that means, “to boast or glory.” Negatively, boasting is self-centered, self-reliant, and proud. Arrogance is also a facet of its meaning, because it ignores the work of Christ and gives credit to one’s own abilities. Therefore, mankind’s boasting of a right relationship with God can never rest upon works, i.e., keeping the Law, which is what is also called, “human good.”
Human good is associated with the great mental attitude sin of pride and boasting. Pride is the expansion of the self-consciousness of the soul in reversionism to the point of total disorientation to the grace of God. The believer who rejects the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith and its accompanying eternal security are very proud because inevitable they think their sins are greater than the grace Plan of God. As such, they are more impressed with their sins than they are with what God has done for their sins.
Why is salvation by grace through faith and not by works?
Apart from the fact that God is perfect and His perfection demands He do all the work, salvation by grace eliminates all forms of human arrogance through human works. Therefore, salvation is the total grace of God and no man can boast in himself about his works for salvation. God has done everything for man’s salvation. Sinful, arrogant man can do nothing to pay for his own sins. Everything the unregenerated man produces is tainted with sin, even his faith. Therefore, any works unsaved man produces include sin, and sin cannot pay for sins. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Only the perfect unstained works of God can pay the price for our sins. In addition, arrogance and grace cannot coexist. They are diametrically opposite. One is something you produce; the other is something you receive. One is from man; the other is from God. One is from sin; the other is from perfect righteousness.
Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Therefore, there is no possibility of self-achieved salvation, and no reason for boasting.
Even though the Scriptures are dogmatic regarding this fact, many people, religions, Christian denominations, and evangelicals believe that works can save them and/or ensure their eternal salvation.
The following is a list of erroneous viewpoints regarding:
“Salvation by Works”
- “Repent and believe.” Repent is a word that has been misinterpreted, especially in regard to salvation. Many misinterpret it to mean to feel sorry for your sins. That is pseudo-repentance which wrongly or erroneously construes repentance as feeling sorry for sin. As a result, they include with their gospel message to feel sorry for your sins. No one is saved by feeling sorry for his sins.
Repent means to change your mind about Christ, as occurs under the Holy Spirit’s ministry of Common Grace. The Greek word is METANOEO that means to change your mind. To repent is simply the result of common grace. You understand the gospel and so you change your mind about Christ; that is why you believe in Christ. Repentance is a result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in common grace and the Divine invitation; it is not a condition of salvation.
In the misapplication of the word, many preach that you must confess your sins for salvation. Confession of sins, 1 John 1:9, is only for the believer in Rebound after salvation, never for salvation.
- Begging God to save you. This is ridiculous, coming from one who is spiritually dead.
- “Inviting Christ into your heart” is total nonsense and blasphemy. A spiritually dead person cannot invite eternal God, the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere! Not into his heart, his home or his life. As Pastor R.B.Thieme Jr. noted, “This is stupidity, asininity, emotion, and works. You believe in Christ! Do what the Bible says, not what some jackass evangelist says.”
- Muttering repetitious words or phrases as, “O God, O God, O God save me!” Or “hail Mary.” These do not impress God.
- “Acknowledge Christ publicly.” This is not effectual for salvation. This is a distortion of Rom 10:9-10, which is about cause and effect: the cause is faith; the result, as the believer matures, is to witness, to acknowledge Christ. But you are saved only by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ by the Grace of God. Public acknowledgement of Christ as Savior is a failure to understand Rom 10:9-10. Acknowledging Jesus Christ as Savior is a result of salvation; it is not the means.
All this can be called the “magic word” system. People are very superstitious, and look for the magic words for their salvation, e.g., “plead the blood of Christ.” Many have carried their superstitions into the Christian life by trying to be saved by the “magic word(s).” The omnipotence of the Holy Spirit does not make verbal works an effective part of salvation.
Ritual works include water baptism, circumcision, or the observation of the Eucharist as a condition for salvation.
- Most common in this category is baptismal regeneration or salvation through faith plus water baptism. Salvation by baptism is prominent with us today. This was started in the Protestant churches by the Lutherans in the reformation, copied from the Catholics, who also believe in infant baptism for salvation.
From passages such as Luke 18:15-16; Acts 16:15, 33 and 1 Cor 1:16, where “households” were baptized, the Catholic church believes infants were included in early church baptism and should be today too. To them and others, it replaced the circumcision commanded under the Law, quoting Col 2:11-12 as proof of its replacement. Yet even circumcision did not save the Israelite or proselyte.
“Since the New Testament era, the Catholic Church has taught that it (water baptism) is a sacrament which accomplishes several things, the first of which is the remission of sin, both original sin and actual sin—only original sin in the case of infants and young children, since they are incapable of actual sin; and both original and actual sin in the case of older persons. In the New Testament, if one wants to become a Christian, one must believe in God and Jesus and be baptized.” (Catholic Answers, www.catholic.com).
Water Baptism of infants or adults for salvation is a heresy that has always existed in the Church Age. Baptism was a testimony to retroactive positional truth and current positional truth prior to the completion of the canon of Scripture. But when the canon was completed, water baptism was no longer something to be performed. In fact, the Bible tells us there is only one baptism and that is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which occurs at the moment of your salvation, Eph 4:5; 1 Cor 12:13. When water baptism is added to faith, there is no salvation because the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit cannot and does not make water baptism effective for salvation. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace makes faith in Jesus Christ, and faith alone, efficacious or effective for salvation.
- Circumcision was the favorite of the Jews. Galatians was written to correct this. The Galatians were typical Gaelic people. They were very excited about Paul’s ministry and responded and became believers. But after Paul left, the Judaizers counteracted, telling these new believers they could not be saved until they were also circumcised. These gentile believers swallowed this. So Paul wrote Galatians, a letter telling them they had gone astray from the gospel. Not only that, but Paul likened them to the priests who had mutilated themselves to impress God, and it did not work, cf. Gal 5:12.
- Another heresy is the teaching that one must partake of the Eucharist, (a.k.a. Communion), the partaking of the bread and wine, as commanded by our Lord, Mat 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20, and later Paul, 1 Cor 11:23-26, as a necessity for salvation. Catholic tradition believes it too is necessary for one’s salvation.
“The only essentially important points remaining are the outward sign (matter and form) and inward grace (effects of Communion), to which may be added the necessity of Communion for salvation. Eminent divines, like Francisco Suárez, claim that the Eucharist, if not absolutely necessary, is at least a relatively and morally necessary means to salvation, in the sense that no adult can long sustain his spiritual, supernatural life who neglects on principle to approach Holy Communion. This view is supported, not only by the solemn and earnest words of Christ, when He Promised the Eucharist, and by the very nature of the sacrament as the spiritual food and medicine of our souls, but also by the fact of the helplessness and perversity of human nature and by the daily experience of confessors and directors of souls.” (newadvent.org, Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.)
“The Eucharist is therefore our participation in the saving self-offering of Christ. When we eat His Body and drink His Blood, we receive His divine life and abide in His salvation, receiving forgiveness, healing, transformation, and the power of the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist is thus the fiery center of our Christian life. It is also what binds us together one with another as the Church. Indeed, the Eucharist makes us into the Church, renewing us and reconstituting us week by week as the Body of Christ.” (Catholics.com)
Even though communion is an important ritual of our spiritual life, signifying remembrance with thanksgiving for the saving work of Jesus Christ, there is absolutely no scripture that ties it to or makes it a condition of our salvation. The belief that it is necessary for one’s salvation is “participating in” or adding a work to salvation, which is always rejected by the Holy Spirit for salvation.
Commitment salvation is closely related to verbal works. It is putting the cart before the horse. Commitment confuses the salvation work of Jesus Christ on the Cross with the believer’s dedication, noted in Rom 12:1. Therefore, it makes Rom 12:1 and similar commitment passages a condition for salvation. In reality, commitment is a function that occurs after salvation. So distinction must be made between the mandate for salvation, which is faith in Jesus Christ, and commitment, which is actually a number of post-salvation positive decisions towards God’s Word and His Plan for your life. When commitment is added to faith, there is no salvation. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace does not make commitment effective for salvation.
Lordship salvation is another “work for salvation program,” in that one must recognize the Lordship of Christ, (i.e., be obedient to Him and His Word in every aspect of your life), in order to be saved. This too is adding something to faith. This false system for salvation, made most recently popular by the late Arthur Pink and John MacArthur, uses a false epigram that says, “if Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.” This statement completely ignores the true Lordship of Jesus Christ as a result of the Baptism of the Spirit. Jesus Christ was Lord in eternity past, is Lord now, and always will be Lord. The moment we believe in Christ, the Baptism of the Spirit enters us into union with Christ. Therefore, we share in His Lordship, and therefore He is our Lord. Whether we know it or not, is not the issue. He is our Lord.
He is the “Lord of lords and King of kings,” Deut 10:17; Psa 136:1-26; 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16.
There is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” Eph 4:5.
Rom 14:11, “For it is written, ‘AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD’.” Cf. Is 45:22.
Phil 2:10, “That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.”
Acts 10:36, “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all).”
Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 Cor 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, you do not make a commitment of Lordship for salvation; that cancels your salvation if thought at the time you believe in Jesus. No one can make Christ Lord. Only God the Holy Spirit can do that and it is accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit must never be confused with the salvation ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace. Logically, efficacious grace comes first.
As such, Lordship salvation is salvation by works, and therefore is not salvation. The spiritually dead person does not have the ability to make Christ Lord of anything. All he can do is believe in Christ, and then the Holy Spirit makes his faith effectual for salvation. The volition of the spiritually dead person cannot make Christ Lord or make any commitment to Him, and even post-salvation, making Him Lord, (which you cannot do), does not maintain your salvation because He is already your Lord!
Salvation by emotion.
Salvation by emotion alleges salvation through “feeling saved,” or salvation through ecstatics or emotional activity. This is the blasphemy of adding emotion to faith for the validity of faith. However, the validity of faith in Christ comes from the Holy Spirit, never from emotion. Even after salvation, the filling of the Spirit is not associated with emotion; that only will occur in the Millennium.
The emotions of the spiritually dead are not effective for salvation. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace makes faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ effective for salvation. The Holy Spirit does not make any form of emotion effective for salvation. No one is ever saved because he “feels saved.” Furthermore, no one is ever saved by speaking in tongues or alleging the “second blessing” through the Baptism of the spirit.
Neither emotion nor “feeling saved,” nor a rosy glow experience, nor weeping tears of repentance at the altar, nor speaking in tongues is a condition or a part of salvation. The principle is that emotion is not a valid spiritual experience, either in salvation or in spirituality. The emotion in the soul is designed to be a responder to things you enjoy, but you must never assume that emotion has a spiritual connotation. You may get emotional over understanding spiritual things, such as grace. However, that emotion does not constitute the spiritual function of your life; it is merely a response to the spiritual function of your life. In itself, it does not indicate the filling of the Spirit. Yet, it does indicate appreciation.
How you feel is inconsequential in salvation. The gospel does not emphasize how you feel; it emphasizes who and what Christ is. Being spiritually dead, there was nothing we could do to impress God. When you believe in Christ, how you feel is never important; it is what God has done for you that is important. You may have an emotional response to your salvation, or you may feel terrible. It makes no difference.
We noted “salvation by invitation” under verbal works, but here we are addressing it uniquely because salvation by invitation has a right and a wrong connotation.
- The right connotation is the invitation made by our Lord. He invites us to salvation. The invitation to salvation follows the principle of coming to Christ, not inviting Christ to come to you. By believing in Christ, we come to Christ at His invitation. These words were uttered by our lord Jesus Christ.
Mat 11:28, “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
John 6:35, “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never hunger. He who believes in Me will never thirst’.”
Note that Jesus Christ invites us to salvation; we do not invite Him.
John 6:37, “The one that comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
This is our Lord’s invitation to the spiritually dead. We are spiritually dead as of the moment of our birth. We cannot invite Jesus Christ anywhere. He can only invite us, which he does through common grace. This becomes efficacious grace when we believe in Jesus Christ. Dead people do not issue invitations! The spiritually dead person can hear and believe. But only God the Holy Spirit can make the gospel perspicuous and the faith effective.
And notice in the following verses that even after our salvation we are reminded of the fact that God has called or invited us to Himself, not that we have called Him to us. The Greek noun for “called” is KLESIS that means, “call, calling, invitation.” The Adjective KLETOS means, “κλητός “called out, invited, chosen, or appointed.” Compare: Rom 1:6; 1 Cor 1:9; 7:21; Gal 1:6; 5:13; Eph 4:1, 4; Col 3:15; 1 Thes 2:12; 2 Thes 2:14; 1 Tim 6:12; James 2:7; 1 Peter 1:15; 2:9, 21; 5:10; Rev 19:9.
1 Cor 1:9, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Gal 1:6, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.”
Eph 4:1, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”
Eph 4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.”
1 Peter 2:9, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Rev 19:9, “And he said to me, ‘Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’.”
- The wrong invitation is a reversal of the correct invitation for salvation from God and is divided into two categories: 1) Inviting Christ into your heart, and 2) Inviting Christ into your life. Both come from the erroneous interpretation of several scriptures, first Mat 25:31-43, regarding the separation of the sheep (believers) and the goats (unbelievers) at the end of the Tribulation, as He establishes His Millennial reign.
Mat 25:35, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.”
In fact, the word for “invite” here is a mistranslation. It’s the word ERCHOMAI that means, “to come or go” and should be translated, “you came to Me” rather than “you invited Me.” The NASB is the only translation that uses “invite” which is wrong; the others use “came to Me.”
This passage speaks of works the believer should enter into post-salvation, but yet these unbelievers did not do these works, which demonstrated they were not saved in the first place. This is not a passage that tells us how salvation is gained, as it contradicts all the other salvation passages of faith alone in Christ alone. It was a reproof to these unbelievers regarding their spiritually dead life as demonstrated through dead works. Remember, sin was paid for at the Cross. Only works will be judged in the future. So this verse aligns with Rev 20:11-15.
The other reason for this blasphemous idea is the misunderstanding of Rev 3:19-20, which addresses believers only. It is an invitation to Rebound (1 John 1:9) after salvation for those believers out of fellowship with God. When Jesus Christ stands at the door and knocks, He is extending to us the invitation to Rebound. So this is not a salvation verse, it refers to a post-salvation experience called Rebound. And even if it were a salvation verse, Jesus is the one doing the knocking. He is calling out to us.
1) Inviting Christ into your heart is answered in Jer 17:9, “the heart is more deceitful than all else and desperately wicked; who can know it?” When the spiritually dead person invites Christ into his heart (right lobe), it is equivalent to inviting Christ into a garbage dump. Spiritual death is not only total depravity of the heart, but total separation from God and total helplessness to invite Jesus Christ anywhere. Furthermore, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace is limited to faith alone in Jesus Christ, making only that faith effective for eternal life. Therefore, inviting Christ into your heart is not a condition for salvation, but a blasphemous expression of spiritual death. Spiritual death is total helplessness to do anything for salvation, including inviting Christ anywhere.
2) When people say that you must invite Christ into your life, Rom 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death (spiritual death) by sin, so spiritual death passed upon all men, because all have sinned.” In other words, how can you invite Christ into your life when you are spiritually dead? Dead people cannot give invitations! The imputation of Adam’s original sin to the genetically formed Old Sin Nature at the moment of physical birth results in spiritual death, which means at least three things.
- Total depravity due to our Old Sin Nature.
- Total separation from God.
- Total helplessness to establish a relationship with God on the basis of anything we can do, i.e., human works.
Inviting Jesus Christ into your life is equivalent to inviting Him into total depravity or spiritual death. It is like inviting Christ into a tomb.
For salvation, Jesus Christ does not accept your invitation for Him to enter your heart. Your invitation is works, and Titus 3:5 tells us, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” In addition, our verse, Eph 2:9 notes, “not of works, lest any man should boast.”
You do not invite Jesus Christ into spiritual death and total depravity. Inviting Christ into your heart or life is an act of emotional or irrational legalism. It is dead works. The dead works of the unbeliever are judged at the Great White Throne, Rev 20:11-15.
Therefore, the spiritually dead person cannot invite Christ into his life or anywhere else. Inviting Christ into your life is not salvation. Scripture mandates for us to believe in Christ, it does not say you must also invite Him into your heart or into your life, which is salvation by works that excludes faith, which is not salvation at all. As such, wrong invitations are blasphemous. In salvation, we come to Christ through believing in Him, as per His invitation. There is no salvation by inviting Christ to come to us. The wrong invitation is blasphemous, for it becomes salvation by works. It adds something to faith in Christ.
Jesus told us in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
Mat 7:13-15, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. 15Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Salvation by Morality.
Salvation by morality is legalism. Morality is something the spiritually dead person can accomplish on his own, including keeping the Mosaic Law, adherence to the laws of Divine Establishment, or any other man made religious system of morality for salvation. Anything a spiritually dead person can do is not a part of God’s Plan for salvation. Therefore, salvation is obviously not by morality or any form of legalism.
Rom 3:20-22, “Because by the works of the Law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (title for Old Testament), even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.”
Rom 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.”
Rom 4:4, “Now to the one who works for salvation, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, (CHARIS – is not calculated on the basis of grace), but as what is due (OPHEILEMA – on the basis of debt).”
The harder anyone works for their salvation, the further they go from it. They are only digging a hole that gets deeper and deeper. The more works they add to salvation, the deeper into the hole they go. Works “are not calculated on the basis of grace, but on the basis of debt.”
Then Rom 4:5 tells us, “But to the one who does not work for salvation, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as, (receives credit for), righteousness.”
Rom 4:14, “For if those who are of the Law (keeping law for salvation) are heirs, then faith has been made void and the promise is nullified, (have been canceled).”
This verse says that the only thing God the Holy Spirit can make effective for salvation is faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ. When you add anything to faith, you make salvation void. For the Holy Spirit cannot, under any set of circumstances, take any system of works and make it valid for salvation. When keeping the Law, (i.e., Judaism salvation), or any other system of morality that is added to faith in Christ, that faith is voided and nullified; it cancels out faith. The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit makes only faith in Christ effective for salvation.
Gal 2:16, “Nevertheless, knowing that a man (spiritually dead person) is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”
Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ.”
Salvation by morality or by keeping the Law is legalism and blasphemy. In fact, humanistic morality is not the Christian way of life. Virtue from the Holy Spirit is the Christian way of life. Virtue includes morality but is infinitely greater. The Christian way of life is a supernatural way of life and demands a supernatural means of execution. Only God the Holy Spirit can execute the Christian way of life inside the believer. The Filling of the Holy Spirit, means that something greater is produced than spiritually dead morality. Anything the unbeliever can do is not a part of the Christian way of life. Anything the unbeliever can do is not the way of salvation.
Psychological works alleges salvation through various gimmicks the potential believer must do while also believing in Jesus for salvation. These psychological gimmicks include things like, raising your hand during prayer, coming forward, walking an aisle, weeping tears of repentance at an altar, making a public declaration of faith, or jumping through some psychological hoop.
These activities show no understanding of grace, for grace says you can be saved only through faith alone. All of these are added to personal faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, and they cancel out faith. The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit makes only faith in Jesus Christ efficacious for salvation.
Evangelists need not know how many are saved. To say they want to know who you are so they can guide you to a local church is baloney! Once you are born-again, you will seek doctrine if you are positive. “The newborn baby desires the milk of the Word,” 1 Peter 2:2. But the emphasis today is on the human beings rather than on the work of Christ on the Cross.
Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
His mercy includes efficacious grace. Regeneration is the creation of the human spirit to which God imputes eternal life.
Corporate works are those things some add to faith in Christ in regard to some form of participation in the local assembly, some of which we have previously noted. Corporate works for salvation include, joining a church, tithing, being baptized, taking communion, etc. In other words, corporate salvation is salvation associated with the activities of a local church. In efficacious grace, the Holy Spirit makes faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ effective for salvation. Efficacious grace does not include church membership or tithing for salvation.
Roman Catholic Salvation Adds Works to Faith in Christ.
As we have noted in several of the topics above, the Catholic Church adds many works to their system of salvation. As such, salvation by Roman Catholic faith is not salvation.
Many Roman Catholics, when questioned, claim that they believe that Christ died on the Cross for their sins. Hence, they allege to believe in Christ. But at the same time, the Roman Catholic Church has a system of penance and works which they follow for salvation. Those Catholics who follow that system of penance, indulgences, and works for salvation are not saved. They have canceled any benefit of their faith by adding the works imposed upon them by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Church believes in purgatory, which they call an intermediate state after death designed for expiatory purification, especially from venal sins, i.e., sins capable of being forgiven. Many light candles or say masses for the dead in this state. There is no such thing; all this is works. The Roman Catholic view of purgatory, mortal sins, and penances form a system of ecclesiastical works which nullifies faith in Christ.
The Roman Catholic belief that believing Christ died for their sins on the Cross, followed by adherence to penance and indulgences to get into heaven, is not salvation. Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. The practice of any form of works is contradictory. Therefore, faith is nullified by these works.
However, many Roman Catholics do not depend upon penance or a system of works for salvation. Those people are truly saved. Therefore, it is impossible to judge whether any Roman Catholic is saved or not. Only the individual himself knows. If he is depending upon the work of Christ on the Cross alone, he is saved. But if he adds and follows the system of penance and works avowed by the Roman Catholic Church, he is not saved.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace makes faith in Jesus Christ only effective for salvation. One of the forty things you receive at salvation is eternal life. You do not have to practice a system of works to ensure or regain your salvation, as alleged by the Roman Catholic Church and many other protestant churches. Therefore, some Roman Catholics are saved because at some moment they believed in Christ alone for salvation, totally apart from the ritual and penance imposed by the church. At the moment they believe in Christ totally apart from the works of the Catholic Church, they receive eternal life plus thirty-nine other things.
Confusion of means and result has given the wrong impression to many spiritually dead persons as to the condition for salvation. The Holy Spirit, in His ministry of Efficacious Grace, only causes faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ to be effective for eternal salvation.
Salvation through faith in Christ is equivalent to coming to Christ, not Christ coming to you to enter your heart or your life. In salvation, the spiritually dead person accepts the invitation to believe in Christ, and God the Holy Spirit uses that. We go to Jesus Christ as the perfect God-man. He does not come to us as one who is spiritually dead and totally depraved. We simply believe in Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit makes our faith effective. Then we are entered into a relationship with God, not on the basis of works, but on the basis of faith.
John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his son, the uniquely-born one, that whosoever believes in him shall never perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:18, “He who believes in him is not judged; but he who does not believe is judged already because he does not believe in the uniquely-born son of God.”
The correct order of evangelism is as follows. Someone communicates the gospel. Under the ministry of common grace, the Holy Spirit makes only what is accurate lucid and understandable, then follows the Divine invitation of God the Father to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation.
The invitation from God the Father is taught in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” God the Father “draws” by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in making the gospel clear.
The invitation from God the Son is found in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me. I give to them eternal life. They shall never perish; no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”
Finally, in efficacious grace, the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit makes faith in Christ effective for salvation.
So in salvation, the spiritually dead person comes to Jesus Christ through personal faith in Him plus nothing. Therefore, in principle, the spiritually dead come to Christ for salvation, not the reverse. The spiritually dead person does not invite Christ to come to him.
“When a man is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People register their vows, and sign their pledges, and determine to go through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, viz., remission of sins.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.)
Next in Ephesians 2 – Part 4, we will study:
Vs. 10 – We are created workman in Christ Jesus for Divine Good Production.
Five Aspects of Being Created for Divine Good Production
Vs. 11 & 12
Vs. 13 – We have been brought near to God through the Blood of Jesus Christ!