Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Saved by Grace Alone

This will be a short week of posts because I have a lot of student papers to grade. I want to address the issue of salvation by grace. What does it mean? How is it appropriated? What is God's role, and what does call tell us to do in order to be saved? These are some of the common questions people ask.

First of all, to be saved by grace means to be saved apart from any merit I possess. I have nothing to bring to God by which to earn his love and favor. He is free to give his love or to withhold it. He is free to show mercy or not show mercy. Someone might say, "Well, that doesn't seem quite right." Why would someone think that? Perhaps because he or she doesn't understand and appreciate the sinful condition of lost human beings.

Every person born except one has a problem. That problem is SIN. It's an ugly three letter word that people don't like to use anymore. We may be neurotic, socially maladjusted, dysfunctional, or any of a number of other conditions defined by psychologists today, but don't use the word SIN. Sin involves guilt, and guilt involves personal responsibility for my actions. Furthermore, sin means that I've offended a holy God and earned his wrath. It means I stand justly condemned to eternal torment unless God saves me out of sheer grace.

In its fullest sense to say that I am a sinner means that I am corrupted in my person and my actions. It means I've inherited a "sin nature" from my ancestors going all the way back to humanity's original parents, who violated God's law and brought condemnation on themselves and all their posterity. God finds me worthy of condemnation for two reasons: (1) I bear in my person a defaced and deformed image of God that has been corrupted by sin--I have a sin nature--a propensity to sin. God finds that nature worthy of his condemnation because it is contrary to his standard of perfect holiness. (2) Because my nature is corrupted, left to myself I freely and willingly choose sin over holiness, even when I do "good" things. That is, even my best actions are tainted with self-will, pride, or other impure motives. But given the chance and not guided by grace, I am capable of the most horrendous crimes. So, I stand condemned for my actions, thoughts, and words, as well as for my nature. No wonder the old hymn writer said "Be of sin the double cure."

In order for me to come to God for salvation I need to realize first just how lost I am and in what kind of state I live. I must first realize that God is perfectly just to do with me as he sees fit. I have nothing to offer him that would move or motivate him to show me mercy. I must face squarely the problem of my sin and see it as God sees it. Otherwise I will never appreciate what it means to be saved by grace.


  1. good post AJ, and I appreciate your willingness to teach, and the effort you put into it. Thanks you

  2. Thanks for your support and friendship.