By Grace Through Faith

Ephesians 2:8 ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves…’

To continue the thought already started, grace is not something deserved. It is altogether the glory of God to bestow the gift of eternal life upon men. He will not share His glory with men, as though they could earn salvation, neither would it be glorious to do so, for it would compromise both His justice and His mercy at once. No, his glory is seen in His grace.

This grace is both personal and pursuing. Firstly, it is personal. That God was offended personally at our sins is seen in the fact that He suffered personally for our sins on the cross. He truly cared about those sins, because He cared about the relationship. He cared about us. Have we cared about Him? No, even since we were saved, we have not cared for Him as we should. 1 John 4:10 ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’

It is a pursuing grace. Christ came, not to respond to people that were basically good, and simply needed some help—He came to seek and to save that which was lost—dead in sins and trespasses. God initiated the reconciliation. He sought us out to save us, and He still seeks us out for fellowship.

‘O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee…’

In verses 5 to 8, God’s grace has made possible the following things: 1. We were made alive with Christ from an altogether dead condition. 2. We have been raised up together, and seated with Christ in the Heavenlies. 3. In the ages to come, God will show us the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us.

Notice that these are all things that we know by faith. They are the eternal works of God, which are largely hidden to the natural eye, but believed and experienced by the child of God. The Christian life is a life of faith, just as it began by faith.

The Christian life begins ‘…through faith…’ That is, through believing. But lest one should focus on the believing rather than what is to be believed, let him remember that Paul has said of this salvation, ‘…and that not of yourselves.’ Faith’s value is tied up with its object. A sinner who comes for salvation ought not to gaze upon his own faith to see if it is sufficient for believing, for it is not the nature of faith to gaze upon itself. The great cloud of witnesses in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, and their exploits, still testify, not to themselves, or even to their own faith primarily, but to the Author and Finisher of their faith, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if faith’s value is intrinsically tied up with its object, let those who are believers continually comfort and strengthen themselves by looking upon the object of their faith, as Paul did: (Gal 2:20) ‘…I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ This is as if Paul was to say, ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me. I therefore believe that He continues to love me and will give me all that I need to my journey’s end.’

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