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Studies in the Epistles of the Mystery.
#36. The Grace-by-Faith-Salvation (Eph. 2: 8, 9).
pp. 17 - 20
Having carried us on into the ages to come, and given us a glimpse of what the
exceeding riches of grace will bring, the apostle returns to the present to speak of the
salvation which is now in operation. Salvation is of grace, and as we begin to understand
something of its fulness, we shall begin to realize the unspeakable glory that lies ahead,
wherein exceeding riches of grace may be displayed.
While salvation from sin and death and wrath is most prominent in our eyes owing to
their immediate presence, salvation to the glory yet to be is in fact the greater. The
salvation from sin is indeed the foundation without which the glorious building could
never be erected, and for the moment this will occupy our attention.
The first thing to notice is the emphasis upon grace, and the resulting exclusion of
works--"for by grace are ye saved". Grace is all of God, it is utterly incompatible with
"And if by grace then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace, but if
it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Rom. 11: 6).
"For by grace are ye saved. . . . not of works" (Eph. 2: 8, 9).
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done. . . . being justified by His
grace" (Titus 3: 7).
"Who hath saved us, . . . . not according to our works, but according to His own
purpose and grace" (II Tim. 1: 9).
"By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. . . . being justified freely by His
grace" (Rom. 3: 20, 24).
Scripture presents us with two methods of salvation, salvation by our own works, and
salvation by God's grace. It knows no other. The blending of works and grace as a
means of salvation is an abomination, it is the "Linsey-wolsey garment" of one of Hart's
quaint, yet forcible hymns. The robe of our own weaving must be either a white robe of
righteousness, or filthy rags--there will be no patches seen in heaven.
Grace is linked to faith, just as law is linked to works. This salvation which is by
grace is through faith. God who planned salvation by grace planned the gospel of grace.
A gospel is good tidings, and tidings have to be heard and believed before anything
further can be done. Faith is by no means a modified work, it is rather an acceptance of a
work done. Let us not miss the emphasis upon faith because of our inability to define it
satisfactorily: salvation by grace becomes our salvation, through faith; a man who is an
unbeliever is at the same time unsaved.
Justification is free and by grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, that
redemption of Christ is spoken of as a propitiation--a propitiation through faith in His
blood (Rom. 3: 24, 25). The redemption becomes mine through faith. The Scripture