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Does Grace Save?
C. D. Cole (1885-1968)
all professing Christians profess to believe that salvation is by grace. You can
hardly find a church member of any denomination who will out and out deny that
salvation is by the grace of God. The Bible so oft en declares that salvation is
by grace that few men will boldly deny it. But the trouble is that many think
and speak of grace in such a way as to frustrate it. The grace they think and
speak of is not grace at all. It is so mixed with human works and merit that it
is (as Paul says) "no more grace."
are some things of earth that no human pen or brush can do justice to--- such
things as storms, rainbows, cataracts, sunsets, icebergs, snowflakes, dewdrops,
etc. Because God made them, no man can properly describe them or paint them. And
grace is something in God that no human tongue can do justice to; no man can
give an adequate treatment of it. But, by grace, we can keep from frustrating
grace in our own thinking and speaking and living. And none except the children
of grace will honor grace in thought and word and deed.
was only after Saul of Tarsus had been saved by grace that he said, "By the
grace of God I am what I am." Paul thus gave grace the credit for his
conversion. A great change had taken place in his thoughts and affections and
ambitions, and he attributes this change to the grace of God. He once believed
in salvation by works and profited in the Jewish religion above many men of his
age, but it pleased God to call him by His grace, and reveal His Son Jesus in
him (Gal. 1:14). He once knew Christ after the flesh and hated Him---he once had
a carnal or fleshly conception of Christ and looked upon Him as an imposter and
boasted that he would be separated from Him; but since grace wrought in his
heart, he delights to say, "For to me, to live is Christ." He was once
ambitious for worldly honors and human praise, but since grace wrought his
conversion he was ambitious to be well-pleasing to Christ.
has been defined as the unmerited favor of God, but this is weak and inadequate.
It has also been defined as the favor of God to the ill-deserving. This is
better but still not strong enough. Grace is the salvation of the
Hell-deserving. Grace is an attribute in God; it is a principle in His character
that causes Him to give sinners the very opposite of what they deserve. The
sinner deserves condemnation, for he has sinned; but grace gives justification.
We read in Romans 3:24, "being justified freely (without cause) by his
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." The sinner deserves
eternal woe; grace gives eternal joy. The sinner deserves damnation; grace
brings salvation. The sinner deserves death, even the second death; grace
provided a substitute; even the only begotten Son of God. The sinner deserves
Hell; grace gives Heaven. God is called the God of all grace. We are saved by
His grace and not by our graces. All the graces in men are the gift of the Grace
DOES GRACE SAVE?
answering this question we shall lay down some principles by which to reason:
Salvation by grace destroys all room for human boasting. No man is sound on
grace who boasts of anything HE has ever done. If your idea of salvation leaves
any room for boasting you can be sure it is wrong. No man can even boast of his
repentance and faith for they are gifts of His grace. All our graces are fruit
of the Spirit, originated in the grace of God.
Salvation by grace means that God is to have all the praise for providing the
Saviour; The Son is to have all the praise for performing the work of salvation;
and the Holy Spirit is to have all the praise for causing us to trust the
Saviour and appreciate His salvation.
Salvation by grace does not give license to sin. He, who justifies his sinning
on the ground that salvation is by grace, does not have the grace of God in him.
The child of grace, you may be sure, hates sin, strives against it, and when he
falls into sin he forsakes and confesses it. . .
back to our question: HOW DOES GRACE SAVE?. . .
Grace does NOT save by enabling us to perfectly keep the law of God. By nature,
and of ourselves, we cannot keep the law. Sin is natural to the natural man. Now
if God should put within us supernatural and spiritual power, and eradicate
every vestige of our sinful nature, causing us to keep the law, that would be
grace indeed. It would be grace because it would be giving us that which we do
not deserve. But this is NOT the way that grace saves.
That would not satisfy justice for the sins already committed. God is just as
well as gracious and grace never acts contrary to justice. If the sinner could
quit sinning after his first sin, and never sin again, justice would condemn him
for that one sin.
That would rob Christ of any part of our salvation. If grace saves us by making
us sinless in nature and conduct then salvation would be by grace, and apart
from Jesus Christ. It is absurd to suppose that grace saves apart from Christ.
If grace saves us by enabling us to keep the law, then the Holy Spirit would be
the Saviour rather than Christ. If a spirit of perfect obedience were given us
that would be the work of the Holy Spirit.
Grace does not save us by overlooking our sins! That would be grace if God took
no account of our sins. Our sins deserve punishment but if God overlooked them
and did not inflict punishment for them, that certainly would be grace---that
would be unmerited favor of God---that would be salvation for the
Hell-deserving; but this is not the way that grace saves.
Because it would be at the expense of Justice. God said that the wages of sin is
death. He has declared that sin must be punished, and if He overlooked sin and
did not punish it; such would be grace, but grace at the expense of Justice.
There would have been no need of Christ's coming to earth and dying for sinners.
His death would be in vain---it would not be needed---if grace could save by
It would cause us to admire one attribute and despise another. If grace saves
apart from the satisfaction of Justice the sinner might admire the grace
Grace does not save by giving us ordinances to believe! The ordinances or
ceremonies of Christ are for those already saved. Nobody but the saved are to be
baptized and come to the Lord's table. The most terrible and soul-destroying
heresies have come from a false conception of the ordinances.
DOES GRACE SAVE?
Grace saves us from the guilt and penalty of our sins by putting our sins upon
Christ, and having Him bear them in His own body on the tree. Grace saves by
punishing Christ instead of the sinner. Christ put away our sin by the sacrifice
of Himself. This way of salvation conserves the truth in all things.
It conserves the truth of God's Justice. Justice says my sins must be punished,
and they have been punished. Grace did not war against Justice. Grace met the
demands of Justice by putting my sins on Christ and there Justice found them and
punished them. Let me illustrate:
son of a poor man commits an offense. The court fines him $50.00. The boy has
not a cent with which to pay the fine. The son of the trial judge steps forward
and hands the clerk the $50.00. Justice is satisfied and the poor boy goes free.
Grace led the Judge's son to pay the fine. The boy did absolutely nothing to
merit it. Yet his fine is paid and Justice is satisfied.
Grace gives all the honour to Christ. When we think of the liquidation of our
sin debt, nobody is to have any credit but Christ. We can glory in nothing but
His cross. "Grace," cried Spurgeon, "is everything for nothing;
Christ free, pardon free, Heaven free."
Grace saves by making Christ and His atoning death precious to our hearts. The
death of Christ does not benefit a man who lives and dies without ever hoping in
Christ. And every man of us would so live and die were it not for the converting
grace of God. By nature Saul of Tarsus was a proud, self-righteous Pharisee and
a persecutor of the Church and Christ, but grace wrought in him the graces of
repentance and faith. It was grace that made him sick of self and fond of
is the work of the Holy Spirit, and His work is as much the work of grace as was
the work of Christ on the cross.
helpless guilty nature lies,
of its load!
heart, unchanged, can never rise
happiness and God.
aught beneath a power divine
stubborn will subdue?
thine, eternal Spirit, Thine
form the heart anew.
of a poem of Anne Steele, 1760).
sum up, the grace of God the Father is seen in the gift of His Son to us and the
gift of us to His Son; the grace of God the Son is seen in His dying to redeem
us from the curse of the law; and the grace of God the Holy Spirit is
experienced by us in regeneration and sanctification. The grace of God the
Father is eternal; the grace of God the Son is external; the grace of God the
Holy Spirit is internal.
Father PURPOSED our salvation!
Son PURCHASED our salvation!
Spirit PROMOTED our salvation!
Father PRESCRIBED the remedy for our guilt!
Son PROVIDED the remedy for our guilt!
Holy Spirit APPLIED the remedy!
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726