Saved by Grace

It seems there is considerable confusion in both the secular and religious world as to when and how we are saved. When we appear before the judgment seat (Romans 14:10), we do not want to hear we have fallen short of living and teaching what God desired of us.

There are many kinds of voices sounding (1 Corinthians 14:10), each trying to get us to listen to them. But we want to listen only to the voice of God through His Word. Let’s allow God’s Word to do the speaking, then we will not go wrong.

1. What were the people asking? Acts 2:37-39

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

Acts 2:37-39

They had just heard Peter tell them, “you have crucified the Son of God.” This hurt and the people wanted to make things right with God. Did Peter tell them to do some great deed or inflict themselves some way? No. It was very simple: repent (Psalm 51:17). It is apologizing to God because we are sorry for our sins (disobeying Him).

“Believe in the Lord”

2. Instruction to the jailer. Acts 16:30-31

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Acts 16:30-31

Seeing the miraculous deliverance of Paul, Silas, and the other prisoners, the jailer knew it had to be from God. He too wanted to be a part of this special people that was turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6). Paul and Silas told him to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” If we take this verse alone, it does not tell us anything about repentance, nor about being baptized. Even the devils “...also believe, and tremble!” (James 2:19).

Why do Paul and Silas say believe on the Lord and the jailer would be saved? It is because Jesus is the embodiment of all righteousness. If one really believes in Christ, he will repent, he will be baptized to bury the old man, and rise to live a new life, as Christ came forth a new creature from the grave (Romans 6:2-6).

3. John’s wonderful news! John 1:29

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John 1:29

Each year, on the day of atonement, they sacrificed a lamb. This lamb reminded Israel each year, the Lamb of God was coming to die for their sins. The very first time John laid eyes on Christ, the Holy Spirit told him, this is the Lamb you have been waiting for, the true Lamb of God. Can we not imagine the joy that John (and the others) must have felt (and we should feel the same).

If Christ is the embodiment of all righteousness, we haven’t shown from the Scriptures, just how we are saved. Is it then a mystery? Not in the least.

Saved by Grace

4. Paul herald’s the message! Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Does Paul tell the people, before they could be saved, they had to do some great deed? No, it was simply by grace. Grace is a gift and means unmerited favor of God (Webster’s Dictionary). It is something we have not earned, can’t earn. Not by obedience, money, or fasting. It is only by divine favor, through God’s precious love that grace is extended to us. What a precious gift through faith in God. He is not here personally to tell us. But He has, through His Word, and we must believe Him. This occurs at our conversion when we repent of our sins. Saved means saved from the penalty of sin.

John expressed it so clearly in 1 John 2:2 when he said, “And he is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

5. Justified by grace. Romans 3:24

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:24

The word justified means made right or innocent. This can be accomplished only by God’s wonderful grace.

6. Paul was so appreciative of the gift of grace. Ephesians 3:8

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Ephesians 3:8

Not only had Paul been forgiven his sins, but he was given the privilege of preaching the gospel. Just think, we too have been given the privilege of telling others about Christ and the gift (grace) we have received.

7. How expansive is "the grace bank"? Ephesians 1:7

In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of HIS grace;
Ephesians 1:7

The “...riches of His grace”, means there is an unlimited supply. We may feel we were such great sinners, there would not be enough grace to cover it all. But there is (2 Corinthians 4:15). There is no sin too great for God’s grace to cover. That is the joy of it all.

8. To Paul, God’s grace was something special. Galatians 1:15

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
Galatians 1:15

Before Paul was converted, he was a murderer. Yet God, through His grace, could look beyond Paul’s sins and see what kind of worker he could become. That amazed Paul, “…called me by His grace.” When Paul was able to look into the mirror of God’s Word and really see himself as to who and what he was, he was amazed that God would, or could do such a thing. Paul considered himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

9. Not justified by works of the Law. Galatians 2:16

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:16

We can keep the law to the letter, but we will not be made right or righteous. That can be made possible only by the grace of God, the unmerited favor of God.

God has made it so easy, that none should be left out. Believe! Have faith through His Son, Jesus Christ.

10. Paul reaffirms the thought. Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Titus 3:5

Paul is reminding Titus how they all were saved and it was not by their good works. Because we have received God’s grace, He has washed us (made us clean) and renewed our thinking (by His Spirit).

11. How should we approach God? Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

The word boldly means with confidence. Paul is encouraging everyone, little sinners, big sinners, to come to God, believing He will forgive (extend grace). He will accept each and everyone. God will not turn anyone away.

Note: The time when God extends His grace to us, is when we are converted. Nothing else is involved in our salvation but grace. Here is where the confusion comes in. We are saved at the time we receive the grace of God. Yet, grace does not allow us to live any way we desire.

12. What follows conversion? John 14:15

IF! ye love me, KEEP my commandments.
John 14:15

At the time of conversion, when we repented of our sins and felt the love of God come into our lives by His grace, our feeling was, “LORD, I love you so much.” He then said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” You see, when God becomes a part of our life, we want to live for Him. We want to obey and live in obedience to His divine will.

13. What shows we have been saved? James 2:20

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:20

What is the faith that James is emphasizing? It is the faith that God has saved us by grace through Jesus His son. James is not saying that we are saved by works, but that our works authenticate or reflect that we have been saved. Paul makes this very clear in Galatians 5:17 when he said, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Obedience to God’s word (or works) is the only way to please God and the only way people can tell we have been saved. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22)

14. Why is it our desire to obey Him? 1 John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we KEEP HIS commandments: and HIS commandments are NOT grievous.
1 John 5:3

This verse tells us obedience is the only way we can show that we love God. If you ever disobeyed your parents, did they feel you were showing your love to them? Also, His commandments are not grievous, or against us. They were given to us, for our good, for our happiness.

15. How many are we allowed to break? James 2:10-11

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

For HE that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

James 2:10-11

We are to keep all ten of the commandments — not even allowed to break one. For if we do not to keep all of the commandments, then that shows we do not love the LORD. Most of the religious world fails to keep the fourth commandment, which tells us which is the Sabbath day. God wants us to keep holy the seventh day, not the first day of the week. If we break even one, we are a transgressor (sinner) as seen in verse 11.

16. What does it show, if we do not keep the commandments? 1 John 2:3-4

And hereby we do know that we know Him, IF we KEEP His commandments.

He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth NOT His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1 John 2:3-4

We may claim we know Him, but if we disobey, our works show we do not know Him, for He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He wants us to obey Him.

17. How did Paul say we are saved? Romans 5:10

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of HIS Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 5:10

“Being reconciled” is past tense. It had happened sometime before he spoke or wrote to them. Without a doubt, he was referring to their conversion, as that is when we are reconciled to God. So now (present) we are saved by His life, or our works, each day of our life. Paul was saying, we are to live as Christ lived. Again, the Word is telling us, after grace, works are important to our relationship with God. Paul was explaining obedience (or works) is important to our salvation. This is on a daily basis.

When Grace Does Its Work

18. The receiving of Grace, present or future?

Paul seems to indicate it is the present, as he indicates in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Paul speaks in the present tense, are saved. He does not indicate it to happen in the future but at the time of conversion. Notice Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling...” Paul, in his letter to Timothy, indicates it to be in the past, for he used the words, “hath saved.” The word hath indicates it happened in the past. Then the last reference we want to use is found in Titus 3:5, “...according to his mercy he saved us...”

All the above references indicate grace was given at the present or in the past, for Paul said we are “saved by grace” (Ephesians 2:8). This indicates it is received at conversion, not at the judgment.

When Christ Comes

19. How are we going to be rewarded? Matthew 16:27

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Matthew 16:27

When Jesus comes to judge man, He is not going to check to see how much grace we received but how we have obeyed His Word (according to our works).

20. How is Jesus going to judge us? John 12:48

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
John 12:48

In the end, we will be judged by our obedience. In the end, it will be by our works we shall be saved.

21. What will the Lord do when He comes? Revelation 22:12

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Revelation 22:12

When the Lord comes in His glory, to reward His servants, how will He know who are His servants? He will know them according to their works — by their fruits.


Let me sum it up this way. We were saved (by grace) at conversion. We are being saved (by works) daily. We will be saved at the judgment because of our good works.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them
Ephesians 2:8-10

Law or Grace - 7/9/1986, MP3 Podcast open_in_new - by Elder Israel Haeger

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Material from the book Answers to Your Bible Questions by Wesley Walker.

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Answers to Your Bible Questions