Saved by Grace, Love, and Faith
Be Strong, Be Well — Friday, December 18, 2020
When we study our Bibles we find love, grace, and faith. Some misunderstand these concepts and end up pitting one against the other. There are no contradictions in scripture. Everything God teaches and commands in His Word is in perfect harmony.
There is no problem in understanding we are saved by the grace of God. Paul said, “by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5). Yet, just three verses later he wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Faith is something we do and without faith we cannot be saved (Hebrews 11:6).
There is a sense in which we do not contribute anything to our salvation since it is a gift of God. However, if we don’t show our faith by doing what God commands (works), we can’t benefit from grace (unmerited favor) that saves us from our sins. We must be careful not to misunderstand the difference between the works of the old Law of Moses, or any meritorious works of men, with the works ordained of God that we must do (Ephesians 2:10).
We are saved also by God’s love (Hebrews 2:9; John 3:16). In turn, Jesus taught how true love demands action on our part to prove our love for God. Didn’t Jesus say, "If you love Me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15)? Again, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21).
Jesus lived by this motto. "But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do…” (John 14:31). He said earlier, "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me" (John 14:24).
John, the apostle of love, wrote, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3). When love for God is the motive, His commandments will not be a burden (or “grievous” as the KJV renders it).
Our response to God's grace and love by the works we do will not save us. This is because we cannot earn or merit salvation by our own works. Luke wrote, "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” (17:10).
However, Paul explained how love and works of faith save us. In Galatians 5:6 the apostle emphasized how it makes no difference to God whether a man is of Jewish or Gentile decent. Neither holds any merit with Him. However, God values a faith in his Son, Jesus Christ, which is demonstrated in loving service to Him. Paul said it’s “...faith working through love" (Galatians 5:6). —Chris