Vol. 14 No. 44
Eph 2:5, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”
Salvation is by faith in Christ plus nothing. There are three reasons for faith plus nothing as the condition for eternal salvation.
- Efficacious grace, documented by Eph 2:8-9.
- Our Lord’s utterance on the Cross: “TETELESTAI.”
- The direct statement of scripture.
A. Efficacious Grace.
Efficacious grace fits into the pattern of faith alone. When the spiritually dead person responds to the Divine call or invitation to eternal salvation, he simply responds by believing in Jesus Christ. This is classified as faith alone or faith plus nothing.
1. When the spiritually dead person simply believes in Christ, God the Holy Spirit causes the faith to be effective for eternal life. This is classified as efficacious grace, or the doctrine of effectual faith.
2. The faith of the spiritually dead person indicates positive volition and a non-meritorious function which is compatible with grace.
3. But because the spiritually dead person who believes in Christ is helpless, his faith is ineffective without the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
4. So efficacious grace causes faith to be effective.
5. However, no works can be added to faith. The Holy Spirit can only make faith and faith alone effective for salvation.
6. Works added to faith in Christ are dead works, and the Holy Spirit does not make dead works effective for salvation. So if you add any works when you believe in Jesus Christ, you are not saved at that point. If you add anything to faith, God the Holy Spirit will not touch it, and so there is no efficacious grace. The reason is because Divine omnipotence and human works or power are mutually exclusive. It is the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit that makes only faith in Jesus Christ effectual for salvation.
7. The sequence of the pre-salvation grace ministry of God is as follows.
- In common grace, the Holy Spirit makes the gospel message perspicuous, clearly expressed and therefore easily understood, not only to a spiritually dead person, but to a person with spiritual brain death.
- God the Father invites the spiritually dead person to believe in Christ, which is called the Divine call.
- The spiritually dead person believes in Christ, and the Holy Spirit causes faith to be effective for salvation, which is called efficacious grace.
8. Therefore, God does all the work in our salvation from the Cross to the Divine call in common grace to efficacious grace for those who believe. Consequently, human works added to faith in Christ cancels faith, because human works is human power, which is rejected by grace.
The very nature of real spiritual death at birth eliminates any system of salvation by works. The spiritually dead person is incapable of doing anything to obtain salvation. Spiritual death at birth includes:
- Total depravity, which means moral or immoral degeneration.
- Total separation from God.
- Total helplessness to attain a relationship with God.
- The status quo of dichotomy, having only a body and soul. Without a human spirit, we are unable to understand the simplest concepts of the gospel.
The very nature of common grace, the Divine call, and efficacious grace eliminate any system of salvation by works. Since the unbeliever is spiritually dead, he is totally separated from God and totally helpless to do anything about it. The spiritually dead person can only produce dead works, which have no validity with God.
B. Our Lord’s Utterance: “TETELESTAI.”
1. The second reason for the fact that salvation is by faith plus nothing is the statement of our Lord on the Cross immediately after he was judged for the sins of the world.
2. In John 19:30, after bearing and being judged for our sins, Jesus Christ was still very much alive, as noted by the fact that he said, “TETELESTAI.” This is translated “finished in the past with the result that it stands finished forever.”
John 19:30, “Therefore, when Jesus had received the wine, He said ‘TETELESTAI!’ and then He pushed His head forward and delivered over His spirit (to God the Father).”
TETELESTAI is the Perfect, Passive, Indicative of TELEO that means, “To complete, finish or perform.”
The Intensive Perfect refers to a completed action with emphasis on existing results of that past action. Therefore, it refers to a present state resulting from a past action. The present state is that salvation is available. The past action is that Jesus Christ was judged for our sins. The intensive perfect states in a strong way that a thing “is,” i.e., exists. It is also known as the perfect of existing state. The past action is a completed action so that the present state is a continuing status quo. In other words, our lord said, “It is finished in the past with the result that it stands finished forever.”
The Passive Voice represents the subject, Jesus Christ, as receiving the action, i.e., being acted upon by someone else, e.g., God the Father, who imputed our sins to Jesus Christ and judged every one of them. The omnipotence of the Father imputed all our sins to Christ on the Cross. The justice of the Father judged every sin in the history of the human race. So Jesus Christ received the action of the verb, being judged for the sins of the human race. He completed that action on the Cross while He was still alive. Therefore, Rom 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died as a substitute for us.” The active participation of God’s love and Christ’s substitutionary spiritual death culminate in the Passive TETELESTAI of John 19:30.
The Indicative Mood is declarative for a dogmatic statement of doctrine.
John 19:30 therefore indicates that the work of salvation was completed on the Cross. When something is completed, you cannot add anything to it. The one thing in which you can take absolutely zero credit is faith; none of us earn or deserve salvation.
3. So the only condition for eternal life is non-meritorious personal faith in Jesus Christ, whose substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross provided all the efficacious work for salvation. That is why our Lord said after he had been judged for our sins, “finished!” Salvation was completed on the Cross. There is nothing we can add to it now or ever.
4. Eternal salvation is a free gift which is compatible with God’s policy of grace. Therefore, it is attained by faith alone in Jesus Christ.
5. You can take zero credit for your faith. By adding anything to faith for salvation, man is in competition with God, and that alone is blasphemous.
C. The Direct Statement of Scripture.
There are many passages of Scripture that tell us our salvation is based on faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross that has been provided for us and given to us by the Love, Mercy and Grace of God the Father. Our Chapter, Eph 2, is one of the great chapters that clearly defines that our salvation is based on the grace of God through our faith alone in Christ Jesus and not by any system of works. Those who believe salvation includes belief in Jesus Christ plus a system of works or continuance of faithful deeds throughout their life, misinterpret James’ statements in James 2:17-26. He, as Paul does in Eph 2:10, was emphasizing the importance of Divine Good Production post salvation, but never meant it to be a condition for salvation.
The overwhelming majority of Scripture regarding our salvation excludes works or continued faithfulness as a condition for our salvation, and speaks solely of a one-time true act of faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. The Scripture also tells us that kind of faith results in eternal life gained as a grace gift from God. Those passages include but are not limited to the following.
John 16:8-9, “And He, (God the Holy Spirit), when He comes, He will convict, (ELEGCHO – to bring a person to the point of recognizing wrongdoing, convict or convince, BDAG), the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.”
Our personal sins are not an issue in salvation. They were an issue at the Cross, and Jesus Christ was already judged for every one of them. Therefore, the Holy Spirit, who convicts us with regard to salvation, never convicts us with regard to our personal sins. The one sin He convicts us of is the only sin for which Christ could not die: the sin of rejection of Him, the sin of unbelief.
John 3:15, “That everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, in order that whoever believes in Him should not perish (eternal security) but have eternal life.”
John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Notice believe is repeated three times in this verse; no works are added to believe.
John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
The issue in salvation is that you either believe in Christ once, or you never come to believe that He is your Savior.
John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you: he who believes in Me has eternal life.”
John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her (Martha), `I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
You have to believe while you are alive; there is no second chance after you die.
John 20:31, “But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name, (person).”
Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved; you and your household.” That is, if anyone in your household believes in Christ, they too will be saved.
Notice that the command is to believe; nothing is added to it.
Gal 3:26, “For you are all sons (children) of God, (royal family), through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Notice that nothing is added to faith.
Rom 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, also to the Greek, (gentiles).”
Everyone is saved the same way, both Jew and Gentile. They are saved, not by keeping the Law, but only by believing in Christ.
Rom 3:20-22, “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law is 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, (Old Testament), even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.”
Rom 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.”
Rom 4:4-5, “Now to the one who works for salvation, his wages is not reckoned as a favor, (not on the basis of grace), but as what is due, (on the basis of debt). But to the one who does not work for salvation, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned, (receives credit), as righteousness.”
Rom 4:14, “For if those who are of the law are heirs, then faith has been made void (Perfect Tense), and the promises have been nullified (made of no effect – Perfect Tense).”
Gal 2:16, “Nevertheless, knowing that a (spiritually dead) man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified.”
How are we justified in the eyes of God? Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that (salvation) is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
a) The only way of salvation is one act of personal faith in Jesus Christ with nothing added to it.
b) To add to faith in Christ for salvation is no salvation at all. If when you believe in Christ, you are depending upon something else besides faith in Christ, you are not saved.
Phil 3:9, “And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”
2 Tim 3:15, “And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings (Holy Scriptures) which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Even if you later renounce your faith in Christ, you are still saved.
2 Tim 2:11-13, “It is a trustworthy statement (faithful is the Word): For if we died with Him (and we have: retroactive positional truth), we shall also live with Him; 12If we endure (suffering for blessing), we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him (negative volition post-salvation), He also will deny us (escrow blessings for time and eternity); 13If we are faithless, (do not believe post-salvation), He remains faithful (eternal security); for He cannot deny Himself.”
God the Father cannot deny the indwelling of the Trinity inside the saved person.
1 John 5:11-13, “And the witness / testimony is this: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13These things I have written to you who believe in the name (person) of the son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”
As we noted in Eph 2:8-9 and Rom 4:4-5 above, salvation is said to be by grace and grace excludes human works. Here are other verses that support that doctrine.
Rom 3:24, “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
Rom 4:16, “For this reason it is by means of faith, in order that it might be in accordance with, (on the basis of), grace.”
Rom 5:1-2, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained an introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand.”
Rom 5:15, “But the free gift of salvation is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of one, (Adam), the many died, (spiritual death), much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the One man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”
Rom 5:17, “For if by the transgression of the one, (spiritual) death reigned through one, much more those who received the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
Eph 1:6-7, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved, 7in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace”
2 Tim 1:8-9, “Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God (doctrine of Common Grace), 9who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling (Divine Call), not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
Titus 3:3-8, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5He 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 renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.”
Heb 2:9, “But we do see Him who has been made a little lower than the angels, namely Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death (as a substitute) for all.”
In the last part of Eph 2:5, we are noting, “(by grace you have been saved).”
And expanded translation is, “by grace have you been saved completely in the past with the present result that you are in a state of salvation which continues throughout present time.”
Having noted the Doctrines of Salvation and Efficacious Grace, (the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to take the unregenerated person’s non-meritorious act of faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross and make it effective for their salvation), we now turn to the overall Doctrine of Grace to understand God’s operational love, mercy, righteousness and justice expressed towards mankind, especially unbelieving man.
The Doctrine of Grace
1. Grace is all that God is free to do for man on the basis of the Cross of Jesus Christ, on the basis of propitiation. God is actually freed from the confinements of His own perfect character to do something for us. So grace is God’s freedom to express His love toward mankind without jeopardizing any part of His essence. The Cross freed God to save us and to save us permanently. Therefore, grace is the Plan of God, grace is the work of God, the expression of God’s perfection. Grace means very simply that God does all the work and man does all of the benefiting without work. Grace is a plan, a policy, a function, a part of God’s mode of operation.
2. Grace depends upon the essence or the character of God. Therefore, grace depends on who and what God is. Grace is what God can do for man and be consistent with His own character or essence. This is why propitiation is so important.
3. The issue. The believer must sort out the difference between grace and legalism. Legalism is man’s ability, man’s works, man’s actions intruding into the Plan of God. Anything that man throws into the Plan is no good. If it were accepted, it would neutralize or destroy grace. The Plan of God, however, is not destroyed or neutralized because grace rejects our talent, ability, plans, concepts, or anything that we have and regard as beneficial. Man’s plans and God’s plans cannot coexist. This immediately sets up in the soul a great conflict.
4. Grace, sanctification and the Angelic Conflict all meet. The principle is that under grace the greatest things that God can do for any believer is to make that believer like His Son who is the only celebrity of the Church Age, as well as the head of the Church. Man was created to resolve the Angelic Conflict, therefore, when the first Adam blew it through his free will and sin (the Fall), Jesus Christ as the last Adam became human, not an angel, to resolve the conflict, Rom 5:15; Heb 2:14-16.
Rom 5:15, “But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”
Heb 2:14-16, “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.”
The first Adam lost the victory through the Fall and the last Adam wins the victory through the Cross and then Operation Footstool, Col 2:14-15; Heb 1:3-4; 2:6-8, 14; 10:12.
Col 2:14-15, “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. 15When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
Heb 1:3-4, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.”
Heb 10:12, “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.”
So grace found a way to take man, created inferior to angels and in a fallen condition, and make him superior to all angelic creatures. This is accomplished in three stages of sanctification.
a. Stage One: By means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit whereby every believer is entered into union with Christ and became positionally higher than angels, Heb 1-2. This is Positional Sanctification.
b. Stage Two: Because of this, it is possible under the construction of the Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS) and the entrance into the super-grace life to become experientially higher than angels. There is nothing that frustrates the devil more than for a believer to reach super-grace, because positionally the devil cannot do anything about what happened in a second, but he can try to head off building your ECS by which God starts pouring out His grace, and He pours and He pours. Once the ECS has been constructed and once the believer enters into super-grace and maintains it, then he is under what is known as Experiential Sanctification. At this point, God is able to bless the believer here in the devil’s world to a greater extent. When God through grace can start pouring into your cup (ECS) and benefit you way above the demons, it just tears them all apart. And while God is blessing you, God is being glorified. The other side of the picture is that the demons are weeping and wailing. It tortures them to have you blessed under super-grace. The biggest issue in your life is super-grace blessing.
c. Stage Three: That is when the Church receives their resurrection bodies and become the bride of Christ. When Church Age believers receive the resurrection body at the Rapture this is Ultimate Sanctification, and at that point, the believer in Jesus Christ is physically superior to the angels.
1 Cor 6:3, “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life?”
5. The Entrance Factor into Grace. Every believer has entered the grace of God. That means he has tasted grace at least once, the moment he believed in Jesus Christ, Heb 6:4; 1 Peter 2:3.
Heb 6:4, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit.”
1 Peter 2:3, “If and you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”
At the moment of salvation, every believer receives 40+ things that are irrevocable. They are just as immutable as God Himself. This grace package at salvation cannot be cancelled or destroyed either by God or by angels or by human beings. At the same time, God is freed to love you regardless of your experiential status in this life. Maximum love frees God to pour out maximum grace, but grace can only find a place to lodge where there is capacity for grace, and that is the super-grace life. Therefore, God in grace has provided super-grace in order that this might be demonstrated to us, to angels and to the entire heavenly convocation. In addition, grace never goes where grace is not wanted. The issue here is Bible doctrine. God found a way through doctrine, through GAP, to put this into operation.
6. The occupational hazard of believers in the field of grace is ignorance, lack of cognizance with regard to the concept of grace, that leads to disorientation of grace, which leads to reversionism in the believer’s life, Gal 5:4; Heb 12:15.
Gal 5:4, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”
Reversionism is the greatest enemy, the greatest antagonist to the whole Plan of God in Phase Two – your spiritual life. Under grace (super-grace), the believer reaps what God sows; under reversionism, the believer reaps what the believer sows, Gal 6:7-8; Prov 11:18.
Songs pertaining to our subject of Grace:
Grace Wins Every Time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHCMT0nARdg
If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:
15-135, 15-136, 15-137
A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!