"Now to the
one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what
is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who
justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness . .
. For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in
accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to
all the descendants."
"That I may
be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived
from law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the
righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."
chosen by God to be the receiver of salvation, because it does
not pretend to create salvation, nor to help in it, but it is
content humbly to receive it. Faith is the tongue that begs
pardon, the hand which receives it, and the eye which sees it;
but it is not the price which buys it. Faith never makes herself
her own plea, she rests all her argument upon the blood of
Christ. She becomes a good servant to bring the riches of the
Lord Jesus to the soul, because she acknowledges whence she drew
them, and owns that grace alone entrusted her with them."
Spurgeon, All of Grace
The single most amazing truth
about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: it is all of grace. It
is the work of God, not of man. It is the story of a powerful
Savior who redeems His people, and He does so completely. It is
about a sovereign God, a perfect Savior, and an accomplished
In the above quoted Scripture we
hear the very message of life itself. We first hear about our
inability: if we think we can "work" to gain
something from God, we do not understand how truly lost we are.
The one who works receives only his wages, not righteousness. But
to the one who does not come to God with any idea of merit or
earning, but instead trusts in the God who justifies the ungodly,
that kind of faith is reckoned to him as righteousness. It
is a faith that comes with empty hand, claiming nothing for
itself, but seeking its all in Christ. This empty-handed faith is
the kind of faith that results in a right standing with God.
Next we hear about Gods
ability: since faith comes with empty hand, it finds in
the grace of God all that it could ever need or want. Gods
grace is powerful, and it brings full salvation to the soul of
the person who despairs of anything other than free, unmerited
grace. Grace cannot clasp the hand that carries within it ideas
of merit, or good works, or any other kind of human addition to
grace. "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis
of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace" (Romans 11:6).
Gods wondrous grace cannot be mixed with human merit. The
hand that holds onto its own alleged goodness, or attempts to
sneak in a merit here, a good work there, will not find the open
hand of Gods grace. Only the empty hand fits into the
powerful hand of grace. Only the person who finds in Christ his
all-in-all will, in so finding, be made right with God. This is
why the Scriptures say it is by faith so that it might be in
accordance with grace: in Gods wisdom, he excludes
mans boasting by making salvation all of grace.
Finally, we see the certainty
of salvation: because God saves by His all-powerful and
undeserved mercy and grace, the promise of salvation is
"guaranteed" or made firm and unmovable to everyone
who extends that empty but believing hand to His all powerful and
sovereign grace. If salvation was in the least bit dependent upon
the sinner, the promise could never be thought of as firm and
unmovable. But since faith brings no idea of self-worth with it,
and since grace is by definition free and unmerited, then
salvation itself is wholly the work of God (1 Corinthians
1:30-31), and hence it is certain, firm and can be
"guaranteed." Only salvation that is Gods work
in its totality can fit this description.
My friend, do you have the kind of
righteousness that Paul spoke of in Philippians 3:9, cited above?
Or do you have a standing before God that is based upon what you
do, rather than upon what Christ has done in your place?
Can you understand why a true Christian cannot help but stand in
wonder at these words: "Blessed is the man whose sin the
Lord will not impute to him" (Romans 4:8)? Have your sins
been imputed to Christ, and His righteousness imputed to you by
faith? Do you know what it means to have Christ not merely as
Savior in name, but in fact, so that your entire
trust is in Him and in nothing you can ever do? Can you honestly
say you trust Him with your eternal destiny, and fully believe He
carried your sins on the cross, and has given His righteousness
to you, so that you can stand before the holy God? It is my
prayer that if you cannot claim Christ in this way, you will give
consideration to these truths, and God will be merciful toward
you so as to grant you true faith to embrace His gospel. May God
richly bless you as you seek His truth.
or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the
faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace
which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is
the work of Gods grace in us. . ."No man comes to
me," says Jesus, "except the Father who sent me draws
him." So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the
result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving
cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an
important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved
"through faith," but salvation is "by grace."
Sound forth those words as with the archangels trumpet:
"By grace are you saved." What glad tidings for the
Spurgeon, All of Grace
We highly recommend
reading Charles Spurgeons classic work, All of Grace.
Alpha and Omega
Ministries, P.O. Box 37106, Phoenix, AZ 85069 (602) 266-2537
Web page: http://www.aomin.org