The entire work of salvation, all that is involved in bringing a sinner from the dung heap of fallen humanity into the eternal glory of heaven, is accomplished by the free and sovereign grace of God. ‘Works’ is a dirty word among believers. And ‘merits’ is a foreign word to God’s church, not found in our vocabulary. From the foundation stone to the top stone, we cry nothing else but ‘Grace, grace unto it.’
Language could not be clearer. Paul tells us that if any man is saved it is altogether by grace. It is written in the Word of God: ‘God hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.’ In Ephesians 1 Paul ascribes our salvation entirely to the three persons of the sacred Trinity.
God the Father planned and purposed our salvation. He chose us in Christ in eternal election. He predestinated us to sonship in eternal love. He made us accepted in the Beloved by his eternal decree. Salvation originated in the mind of God. He devised a plan whereby he could be just and yet justify the ungodly: he would do it by a divine substitution. He gave his only Son to be our Substitute. And he accepted the sacrifice of Christ for us. Our salvation was purchased and accomplished by God the Son. Through his blood he paid our debt, satisfying the claims of the law against us. And that precious blood of Christ did actually wash our sins away, accomplishing eternal redemption for us. Then, in the fullness of time, God the Holy Spirit effectually applied that salvation to our hearts. He caused us to hear the gospel and receive it by faith. He sealed all the blessings of grace to our hearts. And he preserves us unto the day when Christ will claim his purchased possession.
Why has God chosen to save sinners in this way? ‘That no flesh should glory in his presence.’ And he has done it ‘according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace!’
Don Fortner, Pastor Grace Baptist Church – Danville, Kentucky From Grace For Today, June 17