For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…
I. CONSIDER NOW WE ARE SAVED BY OR THROUGH FAITH.
1. Without faith we cannot be saved.
(1) Faith is necessary in the appointment of God.
(2) Faith is necessary in the nature of the case.
2. All who have faith will be saved. But remember, faith is not a mere assent to and profession of the truth; but such a belief as purifies the heart and governs the life.
II. CONSIDER WHAT PLACE AND INFLUENCE WORKS GAVE IN OUR SALVATION.
1. In one sense our Salvation is not of works.
(1) We are not saved by works, considered as a fulfilment of the original law of nature.
(2) Nor are we saved by virtue of any works done before faith in Christ, for none of these are properly good.
2. Yet there is a sense in which good works are of absolute necessity to salvation.
(1) They are necessary as being radically included in that faith by which we are saved. A disposition to works of righteousness is as essential to faith, and therefore as necessary to salvation, as a trust in the righteousness of the Redeemer.
(2) A temper disposing us to good works is a necessary qualification for heaven.
(3) Works are necessary as evidences of our faith in Christ, and of our title to heaven.
(4) Good works essentially belong to religion.
(5) Works are necessary to adorn our professions and honour our religion before men.
(6) Works are necessary, as by them we are to be judged in the great day of the Lord.
III. THE NECESSITY OF WORKS DOES NOT DIMINISH THE GRACE OF GOD IN OUR SALVATION, NOR AFFORD US ANY PRETENCE FOR BOASTING. The whole scheme of redemption originated in God's self-moving mercy. And our spiritual services are acceptable only by Jesus Christ, not by their own intrinsic worth. Practical reflections:
1. Humility essentially belongs to the Christian temper.
2. The mighty preparation which God has made for our recovery, from ruin teaches us that the human race is of great importance in the scale of rational beings, and in the scheme of God's universal government.
3. It infinitely concerns us to comply with the proposals of the gospel.
4. Let no man flatter himself that he is in a state of salvation as long as he neglects good works.
(J. Lathrop, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: