Spirit of Free Grace
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us salvation is by the free grace of
God through faith in Jesus Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast.” Salvation is by free grace.
The old way of legalism does not like that kind of
salvation. The legalists do not like to hear the good news in Jesus Christ. True
salvation is by grace of God through faith in Christ. There is no hope of
salvation by the law because no sinner can ever live up to the righteous demands
of God’s holy law. Salvation is on the basis of free grace, and grace alone,
through faith in the person and saving work of Jesus Christ. It is God’s free
gift to the sinner.
The apostle goes on to write in the next verse the outcome
of salvation by free grace. “For you are His workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in
them” (v. 10).
The emphasis is still on grace. We are “His workmanship.”
We are His poem. It is His creative work, not ours. It is so easy to get the
wagon in front of the horse. Our good works do not save us. The good works are
produced as a result of His work in us. Our works are a result of justification
In Philippians 2:12, the apostle Paul wrote, “work out your
salvation with fear and trembling.” This clause is not suggesting work for
our salvation. The Philippians were already “saints.” The idea is to go on to
Christ-likeness in your spiritual growth. “Work out” has the idea to carry it to
its ultimate conclusions, work on to completion, finish, or manifest. Work out
what God has already worked in when you put your faith in Christ to save you.
Carry on to completion what God has begun. Let the Holy Spirit produce His fruit
in your daily life.
The legalist believes that grace is “too risky to be true”
because people will take it to the extreme and use it as an excuse to sin. But
grace does not produce a desire to sin because it does just the opposite. It
creates a desire within us to pursue holiness.
The apostle Paul tells them not told to work for their salvation, but
to work out the salvation God had already given them. It is a work of
grace. Only God could enable them to do it because He is at work
within them (v. 13).
C. H Spurgeon said, “The spirit of free grace is this—if
God saves me for nothing, then I belong to Him forever and ever. If He forgives
me every sin, simply because I believe in Jesus, then I will hate every sin, and
flee from it. If He grants me forgiveness on no ground but that of His own
absolute mercy and good pleasure, as He has put it, ‘I will have mercy on whom I
will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion;’
then I will love Him with all my heart, and soul, and strength, till time shall
be no more. Now, for the love I bear Him, I will lead a holy life. I will serve
Him with every power of my being. The virtue I aimed at before, in my own
strength, I will now ask for from His Holy Spirit. The goodness that I thought I
had but never had, I will seek to have as a gift of His grace wrought in me: and
I, because of His great goodness to me, will live to Him, and will not
henceforth serve myself or serve sin, but will serve Him who has bought me with
his precious blood. Many will not submit to that; yet they can never be saved
from sin unless they yield themselves as the blood-bought servants of Christ.
Christ comes to save His people from their sins, and from their sins will save
them: they shall no longer be in bandage to the powers of evil. The Lord Jesus
accomplishes this salvation by freely forgiving them, and then moving their
hearts to such a love of Him that they become in love with everything that is
pure and holy, and are filled with hatred of everything that is unjust, and
wrong and wicked, and their life becomes totally changed. What the principle of
law talked about doing, but never did, the principle of grace actually does. It
puts a new mainspring into the man . . . ” (Sermons Preached by C. H.
Spurgeon of London, vol. xvii, pp. 179-80).
Simple faith brings the soul to Christ. Christ keeps the
faith alive, and that faith enables the believer to produce good works to the
glory of God.
He gave Himself for us and redeemed us to “purify for
Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).
We are not saved by the merits of good works, but by the
free grace of God. The fruit of free grace is good deeds of righteousness that
will glorify God. We are saved by grace to serve.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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