For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…
1. We are delivered from death. So long as we continued under the impending curse, there was nothing due to us but death. Death temporal, spiritual, and eternal, were all included in the threatening. Death temporal is the separation of the soul from the body. Death spiritual is the separation of the soul from God. And death eternal is the separation of both soul and body from God forever. But from all these we are saved. Death temporal, no doubt, performs its work, but it is not now penal; in its rapacity to devour it caught Jesus, but He was too mighty for death! He overcame it, and left it vanquished in the grave; so that it is now in the hand of the Mediator, converted into a mean for bringing His saints to glory. And spiritual death shall have no dominion over us; now and then, indeed, we may experience a compunction of conscience and a pang of mind, because we carry about with us bodies of sin and death. But these shall no longer prove destructive, but are all so many incentives to bring us to Jesus, and to cause us to rely upon Him more fully. And death eternal shall have no place; whenever the soul is set free from the body, that moment shall it be in paradise, carried by the angels, and so shall it be forever with the Lord.
2. We are delivered from the love of sin. By the covenant transgression of Adam, there is a sinful bias given to our minds. Because we have broken the law, there is a deep-rooted enmity in our hearts to all that is holy; and we cannot think of returning to God, for that would be calling our sins to remembrance, and setting before our face the curse which awaits us from an offended Judge. But when we obtain salvation from the Lord, we have no more desire for sin. But now does the Lord become the supreme object of our delight. We see in Him a beauty and an all-sufficiency suited to give true comfort to the saint, something which is congenial to our celestial part, and which in life and in death continues alike calculated to give deliverance, and to present with a crown of glory.
3. We are saved from the power of sin; for whom we serve, His we are.
4. We are saved from the practice of sin.
II. THE SOURCE WHENCE THIS SALVATION FLOWS. The sovereign love and free grace of God.
1. The sovereign love and free grace of God are the source of salvation; because when man had sinned, and all the clouds of wrath were thickening around him, and all the thunders of Jehovah's justice were ready to burst around man's guilty head, it remained with God to manifest whether justice should take its course, or He would stretch out His strong arm to deliver; whether He would be reconciled to man, or punish him according to his iniquities, by everlastingly secluding him from His presence. And, until the decree was declared, there must have been a solemn pause, as if the pulse of nature stood. All the angels in glory must have looked on with intense interest, and devils must have trembled in dire suspense for the declaration of the Divine will, which made fully known whether man was to be restored to the favour of his God, or eternally to expiate his guilt, by bearing the punishment due to his crimes. And, at that all-important moment, in the riches of His grace, and gave the intimation of His pleasure, "Deliver from going down to the pit; for I will be merciful."
2. The sovereign love and free grace of God are the source of salvation, inasmuch as, in the bowels of His compassion, God so loved the world, that He gave the Son of His bosom for the sin of man's soul, and thus provided a ransom. When the rebellion of man had plunged him into the depth of distress, and he was altogether helpless as an infant abandoned in the open field, then did God make known the Deliverer. This no ingenuity of man could ever have discovered, nor could the united prowess of the human race ever have procured the Mediator.
3. The sovereign love and free grace of God are the source of salvation, inasmuch as salvation can be applied to the soul only by the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit. "Paul may plant, and Apollos may water; but God alone can give the increase." There is both a natural and a moral inability about man to prevent him from being saved. His moral inability lies in the utter perversion of his will; he has no desire for that which is good; but his whole affections are set on things which are evil, and his natural inability lies in the utter incompetency of created capacity to change itself.
III. THE MEDIUM THROUGH WHICH SALVATION IS APPLIED TO THE SOULS OF MEN. Faith.
1. Faith, in the case of the saint, is the same thing which is known in the world by the name of belief, and signifies the assent of the mind to the truth of some statement, so as to act upon the belief of what is said to us.
2. Salvation is by grace when applied to our souls through faith, because faith neither flows from intrinsic worth in us, nor does it beget in our hearts any principle, upon the ground of which we can merit salvation.
3. Salvation through faith is by grace; because, even when we are made to believe, faith gives no remuneration to God for what we receive.I shall now conclude this discourse with a few remarks.
1. From what has been said, learn the humility with which this subject ought to inspire us. Is all by grace? Then let us come to God, humbled in heart and soul, and entreat of Him that He would make us participants of His free favour; that He would put down every high thought, and every haughty imagination, which exalteth itself; that we may be enabled to say, "Not unto us, O God; not unto us, but to Thy name be the glory."
2. From this subject, learn the duty of living in complete obedience to the holy will of God. In this passage there is no mention made of the world, nor of the things of the world; but salvation is the whole theme of the verse, and that is certainly calculated to direct our attention from time unto eternity.
3. From this subject learn the complete disappointment which all those shall receive who trust to the law for the salvation of their souls.
4. From this subject learn the firm footing upon which believers stand. The foundation of their hope is placed upon Christ, who is the Rock of ages, and the pillar and ground of the truth.
Parallel VersesKJV: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: