Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Sermons
All of GraceCharles Haddon Spurgeon Ephesians 2:8
Grace and FaithW.F. Adeney Ephesians 2:8
Salvation: Grace: FaithAlexander MaclarenEphesians 2:8
The Scripture Way of SalvationJohn Wesley Ephesians 2:8
Association with ChristR. Finlayson Ephesians 2:1-10
Gospel Reformation Great and GraciousD. Thomas Ephesians 2:1-10
All Glory to GodW. Gurnall.Ephesians 2:8-10
Bishop Ryle's ConversionEphesians 2:8-10
Christian HumilityE. Blencowe, M. A.Ephesians 2:8-10
Faith: its Meaning, Source, and PowerW. Cunningham, D. D.Ephesians 2:8-10
Faith: What is It? How Can it be ObtainedC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 2:8-10
God's GiftCawdray.Ephesians 2:8-10
God's Grace and Man's SalvationPaul Bayne.Ephesians 2:8-10
Good Works not to be Boasted OfE. White.Ephesians 2:8-10
Hot of WorksEphesians 2:8-10
How We are SavedJ. Vaughan, M. A.Ephesians 2:8-10
Humility Delights in ConcealmentH. G. Salter.Ephesians 2:8-10
No Room for PrideW. Gurnall.Ephesians 2:8-10
SalvationJ. Eadie, D. D.Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation a GiftEphesians 2:8-10
Salvation All of GraceC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation by GraceR. W. Dale, LL. D.Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation by GraceR. Shutte, M. A.Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation by the Sovereign Love and Free Grace of GodR. Montgomery.Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation in its Completeness: the Place of Faith and WorksT. Croskery Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation of God Through FaithJohn Pulsford.Ephesians 2:8-10
Salvation, its Root and its FruitR.M. Edgar Ephesians 2:8-10
SavedW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Ephesians 2:8-10
Saved by GraceW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Ephesians 2:8-10
The Clinging Power of FaithC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 2:8-10
The Freeness of Grace and LoveW. Bridge.Ephesians 2:8-10
The Mistake of Relying Upon Faith ConsideredBishop Hoadly.Ephesians 2:8-10
The Qualities of Justifying FaithPaul Bayne.Ephesians 2:8-10
The Realizing Power of FaithC. H. Spurgeon.Ephesians 2:8-10
The Respective Places of Faith and Works in SalvationJ. Lathrop, D. D.Ephesians 2:8-10
The Source and Way of SalvationJohn Hannah, D. D.Ephesians 2:8-10
We are Saved by Faith -- not of OurselvesD. L. Moody.Ephesians 2:8-10
We are Saved by Grace OnlyEphesians 2:8-10
Works ExcludedPaul Bayne.Ephesians 2:8-10
Works, no Sure FoundationBishop Ryle.Ephesians 2:8-10
One thought runs through these two verses like a thread of gold. We are not saved by works, but unto works.

I. THE PRIVILEGE OF BELIEVERS. "Ye are saved."

1. It is implied that the salvation is a present reality. It is not, "Ye shall be saved." They were already in an actual state of salvation; they had passed from death unto life; and the life was everlasting.

2. The salvation was more than a deliverance from the guilt of sin, so as to exempt sinners from future punishment. This is, indeed, the first step in salvation. There must be likewise a deliverance from the power of sin. To be saved from sin is the climax, the consummation, the essence of salvation. Holiness is the most essential thing in salvation. Therefore, while believers may rejoice that they have received pardon through the blood of Christ, let them still more rejoice that Jesus "saves them from their sins" by a continuous supply of his living grace.

II. POWER FOR GOOD WORKS IS INCLUDED IN SALVATION. "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." We are saved because we are thus created. This was the Divine purpose in the mission of the Son; God sent Christ to bless us "by turning every one of us away from our iniquities" (Acts 3:26). We have learnt to believe that our works have nothing to do with our pardon - our evil works have not hindered it, our good works have not helped it; our pardon is of pure grace. But the apostle teaches, in the tenth verse, that what is true of pardon through the death of Christ is equally true of power by his life - that if we are delivered from the punishment of sin by the atoning death of Christ, we are also delivered from the power of sin by the loving grace that streams from the fountain of the cross. Salvation, if it be salvation at all, is "unto good works;" good works not being the root on which salvation grows, but the fruit which grows upon the tree of life.

III. HOW IS THIS FULL SALVATION TO BE OBTAINED? "By grace are ye saved, through faith." You are "God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."

1. Grace is the fountain at once of pardon and of holiness. The purpose of God is of grace, for "he hath saved us according to his own purpose and grace" (2 Timothy 1:9); the atonement is of grace, for "ye know the grace of ... Christ, that, though he was rich, for your sakes he became poor" (2 Corinthians 8:9); the application of it is of grace, for it is "grace that bringeth salvation" (Titus 2:11); and it is according to this grace "we are called with an holy calling" (2 Timothy 1:9). Now, we have learned to say of pardon that it is "not of works;" equally true is it of our purification that it is not of works - that is, not of our working - for we are "his workmanship, created... unto good works." The old man cannot work. The new man receives the power in the very structure of his spiritual being; for, having died with Christ, he is risen with him that he should walk in newness of life.

2. Faith is the instrumental cause of our salvation. "By grace are ye saved, through faith;" and thus the gospel becomes "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Power as well as pardon flows forth from Christ to every one that believeth. We are not to suppose, however, that salvation is given as a kind of reward of faith, for, in a true sense, faith is part of the salvation itself. But the apostle uniformly represents faith as that which apprehends the salvation. It is in no sense the ground of salvation; "the righteousness of God which is by faith of Christ Jesus" is the only ground of it, and it is therefore called "the gift of righteousness" Romans 5:17); but faith is the hand by which it is received. There is thus no merit in faith any more than there is in the hand of the beggar who receives an alms.

3. Good works are the predestined way along which the saved walk. "Which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them." This might be true in a double sense: either that, by the revelation of the moral law, he has fixed the firm and unalterable pathway of the believer's obedience - prepared, as it were, the sphere of our moral action; or that, by creating us in Christ Jesus, he has preordained our disposition and aptitude for this obedience. It is evident from the apostle's doctrine that

(1) good works are not necessary to qualify us for believing in Christ,

(2) or are the ground of our expecting a future inheritance in glory. But they are necessary, notwithstanding, on the following grounds: -

(1) We are elected unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4); and we are "called unto holiness" (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

(2) They are necessary as acts of obedience to the Lord's commands (John 14:15);

(3) as acts of gratitude for all his goodness to us;

(4) as evidences of the sincerity of our faith in Christ;

(5) as tending to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior, and to glorify his Name;

(6) as contributory to our inward peace and comfort. - T.C.







For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your. selves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship.
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.)

The Christian salvation may be divided into three parts: the salvation which delivers us from sin and its consequences; the salvation which restores us to the favour, image, and communion of God; and the salvation which preserves us amidst all the temptations and dangers of our present state until we reach the heavenly kingdom. Yet the salvation itself is but one. Its several parts are inseparably united to each other; and they form that mighty scheme which excludes all evil and involves all good, which fills time with peace and eternity with triumph.

I. THE SOURCE from which our salvation flows is "grace" — the grace of God.

1. It is the grace of God which gave origin and existence to the scheme of our salvation by the death of the Messiah.

2. It is the grace of God which has given execution or accomplishment to the scheme of our Christian salvation.

3. It is the grace of God which gives application and effect to this scheme of salvation.

II. THE WAY in which the Christian salvation is to be obtained — "through faith."

1. An exceedingly plain and simple way.

2. A divinely appointed way.

3. A humiliating way.

4. A holy and practical way.

(John Hannah, D. D.)

If we drew out, in order, the teaching of these verses, it would perhaps fall into something like the following statements. That an affection in the Divine nature is the primary cause of human salvation — "By grace ye are saved." This affection of God is apprehended by the creature's faith — "By grace ye are saved through faith." Though the creature's faith is his own, by the free consent and voluntary exercise of his own heart and mind, nevertheless, in its principle and operation, it is the work of God — "not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Man's salvation, instead of consisting in a single act of God, is His most patient work — "For we are His workmanship." With respect to our new nature, which is the work of God, Jesus Christ is our father Adam — "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus." This new nature gives evidence of itself by a corresponding excellence of character — "We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works." These good works are adequately provided for by a prearranged plan of God, and by the nourishment of our new nature in His Son — "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before prepared that we should walk in them." We must consent to it with our whole heart, that our salvation from first to last is of God and by God.

(John Pulsford.)

1. Look at salvation in its origin — it is "by grace."

2. Look at it in its reception — it is "through faith."

3. Look at it in the manner of its conferment — it is "a gift."

(J. Eadie, D. D.)

It is a very important word surely, that word "saved." It brings before our minds the most solemn consideration that we can possibly be occupied with. Nothing is nearer to us than our own souls; hence there is nothing more important than that we should not lose those souls of ours. Some of us love our money dearly, but what is money to our soul? Some of us love our friends very dearly, but we shall have to part company with them. Some of us love the pleasures of life dearly. What is it to be "saved"? Before we can answer that question, we must ask another: What is it to be in danger? If I were to meet one of you strolling along the road, and rushed up to you with frantic eagerness, and seized you by the arm, and said, "My dear friend, do let me save you!" you would think I had come out of a lunatic asylum, and would wish that I were back there again. Nobody in his senses would address his neighbour in that way, under such circumstances. But supposing we were at Brighton together, and I was walking along the Esplanade, and, looking out to sea, saw you in a little cockle shell boat, tossing about on the waves, and, by and by, I saw that boat go over, and you sinking in the sea; and suppose I stripped off my clothes, and sprang into the water, and swam out to you, and as I drew near, you heard me shout, "Will you let me save you?" would you be astonished at my asking you the question, under such circumstances. Then that brings before us this conclusion — we only want a Saviour when we are in danger. Before the Lord Jesus Christ is of any use to us as a Saviour, we must endeavour to realize what our danger is. Let us, then, try and discover what it arises from. It is not a pleasant thing to think that we are in danger, is it? There is one way of getting away from the sense of danger, that is to trifle with God's truth, and persuade ourselves that danger is not danger. We flatter ourselves that all is safe, when all the time, in the sight of God, we are in a state of terrible danger. Now, I want to point out to you that, so far from that making matters better, it only makes them worse. If I was wandering out near some of your cliffs, on a night dark as pitch, so that I could not see my hand before my face, I should be in a state of great danger. If I knew that there were sharp precipices descending to the sea, three or four hundred feet, I should be on the look out for them, feeling my way carefully with a walking stick, if I had one, doing all I could to avoid falling over the precipices and being dashed to pieces. But supposing I did not know that there were any precipices in the neighbourhood, and I said to myself, "I have only to walk along this moor, and, sooner or later, I shall get to the place I want to reach," how should I walk then? Although it was dark, I should step out bravely; if I had only so much as a single star to direct me, or a light in the distance, I should steer my course by it, and I should go on, probably, till I came to the edge of the precipice, and, taking a false step, should go over. Do you not see that if we are in danger it is far better for us to know that we are in danger than to think that we are in safety? Now, I cannot help thinking that there are some of us in this double danger: first of all, we are in danger because we are sinners; and, in the second place, we are in danger because we do not think that we are sinners; or, if we think that we are sinners at all, we think so little about it that we really do not feel "the exceeding sinfulness of sin," and therefore do not tremble at the thought of what sin must bring. And what does our danger proceed from? It proceeds from the fact that sin has entered our nature. Let us look at a consumptive patient. He is walking down the lane with a brisk step, and is not so very unhealthy looking. You ask him how he is. "Oh," he says, "he is not so particularly bad; he has got a cold, but he is going to shake it off." You look at him carefully; you are a doctor, and you know about such things; you see the hectic flush on his cheek, a certain appearance in his complexion that alarms you: there is a ring in his cough that seems to tell of something fatally wrong. What is the matter with him? He is in terrible danger, he does not know it, but he is none the less in danger. What is it makes him in danger? A disease has taken hold of his body. Somewhere in the lungs there is a formation taking place; he cannot see it, but its effects begin to manifest themselves. There is a poison within the blood, so to speak, and the man is doomed; in all probability, in the course of a few months, you will see him laid on a bed of languor and wretchedness, and in a few months more he will be carried to his grave, a wasted corpse, the terrible disease having done its work! Now, sin is a disease of the soul. The question is not whether the disease has been largely developed, or whether it is only just beginning to develop itself! the point is, Is the disease there? Has it begun its fatal work? If it has, then you are in terrible danger. If I were drowning off Brighton sands, and a man came along the Parade, with a multitude of medals of the Royal Humane Society on his breast, indicating the number of lives he had saved; if I cried out to him, "Come and help me!" and he replied, "Oh! I am a saviour, I have saved lots of people," I should say, "Save me; yea are of no use to me unless you save me; I am drowning; don't talk of how many you have saved, but save me. Then suppose he said, Hope on; perhaps I will think about it by and by," and then went on and left me drowning, would that be any considerable consolation to me? Suppose he had said, "Perhaps, by and by, when you have gone under water three or four times more, and lost all consciousness, and you think you are dying, I will take it into consideration whether I will save you," would that be a comfort to me? Would you like to have such a saviour as that? Now, when I have this terrible disease of sin upon me, what I want is a Saviour who will save me now, who will bring me into a state of conscious salvation, or safety — for that is the meaning of the word in plain English. Can we get such a Saviour? We can. The Saviour revealed in the gospel is a Saviour who comes down to me, and lays hold of me as I am sinking in the jaws of death, and puts me in a position of safety, so that I tan look round triumphantly, and say as the apostle said, "Being justified by faith, I have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Now I come back to the old question. We have seen what the danger is, and we have seen what the salvation is; now we come to ask — How is a man to be saved? What is it that will save him? The apostle makes a very clear statement here — "By grace are ye saved." What does "grace" mean? There is not a child here who does not know. By favour, by God's free kindness towards us. We do not deserve any favour, do we? If you knew a man who had been robbing and injuring you, trampling on your rights, and rebelling against your will, that is not the man you would choose to do a favour to, naturally. Well, that is just how we have treated God; we have been robbing Him of all that He has most a claim to; robbing Him of our time, of our money, of our influence; rebelling against His laws, turning our back upon His love, playing the part of base ingrates against His mercy. We have no claim upon God's favour. "Now," says the apostle, "the grace of God which brings salvation to every man hath appeared." Now, I want you to know, dear friends, that that "grace" floods this sin-stricken world like a glorious tide. Wherever it reaches a human heart, it brings salvation to our very door. There is not one of you who is not included in this assertion of the apostle, "The grace of God, which bringeth salvation to every man, hath appeared." You may bring the biggest nugget of gold in the world to my door; there it may be outside on a wheelbarrow, and I may be inside dying of starvation; the nugget will do me no good if I do not take it in: if I do not turn it into money, and apply it to the satisfaction of my wants, I shall be as badly off as if the nugget had never been presented to me at all. The glorious gift of salvation is brought to our doors, and the question is, Have we taken it into our hearts? Now, my brother, God will either give you salvation, or else you shall never have it; it shall be His free gift, accepted by you for nothing, or else it shall never be yours; so if you are going to purchase it by your tears, your repentance, your good works, your good resolutions, or your faith — if you come and offer God such terms, you will simply have to go empty away. It is an insult to a man to offer him money in payment for a gift, is it not! Supposing I were to go home to Lord Chichester tonight, and he were to make me a handsome present; suppose he said, "That splendid clock, worth a couple of hundred guineas, is to be yours, if you will accept it," and suppose I put my hand into my pocket, and said, "My lord, I should like to pay something towards it, will you accept sixpence?" How would he feel? It would be a great insult to him, would it not? If I received it gratefully, and thanked him for it, I should be pleased, and he would be pleased; I should be the gainer, and he would have the pleasure of making me a handsome present; but if I insisted on paying my sixpence, it would make a mess of it all; probably he would be offended with me, and I with him, and we should part enemies instead of friends. That may serve to bring before you how ridiculous it is to try and buy God's salvation with anything. If you pay so much as a single tear for your salvation, it spoils the whole arrangement. Do I mean that you are not to shed tears? No, no. By all means, if God has given you oceans of tears, shed them, but not to purchase salvation. If God has given you all the sorrow and penitence that ever racked the human heart, there is no objection to that, but do not offer it for salvation. If God gives you the strongest faith that ever moved in the human soul, exercise it, but do not bring it in payment for salvation. That is wholly and solely the gift of God. Is it not a glorious gift?

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

I. IT IS A GREAT MATTER AND OF INFINITE CONCERNMENT TO BE SAVED AND TO GO TO HEAVEN FOREVER. For —

1. You are thereby saved from wrath to come. Yea —

2. You shall be delivered from all sorrow, both inward and outward; and if so, how blessed and happy are you, for you shall die in the Lord.

3. You shall not only be freed from these troubles, but you shall also be brought into a possession, into an "inheritance that is incorruptible, that fadeth not away."

4. If you go to heaven and be saved, you shall then be filled with glory. If you have but a little taste of glory here, you are ready to break under it, under a little glory; but the time will come when you shall be filled with glory, and your hearts shall bear up under it; your bodies shall be changed; you shall be filled with glory, soul and body both.

5. If you be saved, your graces shall be always in act, always in exercise; your understandings shall be fully enlightened, your difficulties shall be removed, and your wills, hearts, and affections shall be drawn out to God with infinite satisfaction and infinite delight.

6. If you be saved, you shall have the knowledge of the continuance of this condition.

II. But in what way does a man come to this attainment? HOW AND IN WHAT WAY IS A MAN SAVED? Why, in a way of free love and grace; for, if God bestow anything in a way of gift, it is free, for what is more free than gift? Now do but consider what these things are which are called in Scripture, salvation; and you may observe that they all come in a way of gift. Sometimes salvation is put for the Author of salvation, Jesus Christ (Luke 2:29, 30). Sometimes salvation is put for eternal glory. "Who would have all men to be saved, both Jew and Gentile.'" And this salvation is the gift of God too. "But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Now salvation, as to the Author of it, as to the means of it, and as to the salvation itself; it is all of free grace.

III. But you will say, If it be so, that by free grace we are saved, THEN WHY NEED WE USE THE MEANS OF SALVATION; you say we are saved by grace, by free grace, wherefore then need we endeavour? Yes, we are to endeavour: do you not use your endeavour to get your daily bread? and yet that is the gift of God.

IV. WHEREIN DOTH THE FREENESS OF THE GRACE OF GOD APPEAR IN THE MATTER OF OUR SALVATION? There is a great deal of free grace in this, that God should ordain us to eternal life and salvation (2 Timothy 1:9). Yet, further, it is in the matter of our salvation, as it is in the matter of our consolation and comfort; and as I said of that, so I say also of this: That the greater and the more glorious any mercy is, and the more worthy and great the person is that giveth it, and the more unworthy the person is that receives it, the more doth the grace of him appear who giveth it; now what greater mercy, what more glorious mercy, than heaven and salvation? It is called the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven; it is called the kingdom of glory, and eternal glory; it is called joy, enter into the joy of our Lord: and great is the joy of our Lord; that joy which was set before Christ, that is the joy of the saints in heaven. Now, what are the arches and pillars of free grace and love, upon which our salvation under Christ is laid? I shall name some of them. The absoluteness of the covenant. That God justifies the ungodly. Thus our righteousness is not in us, but in Christ. That the guilt of our sins by which we lay liable to condemnation is removed. That a little sincerity covers a great deal of infirmity. That what God calls ours is not indeed ours, but God's, as our graces, our duties, which are not indeed ours but God's. That God will in due time glorify us and honour us. Sin doth provoke God and cause Him to be angry with us, but grace doth provoke Him to love us; and, therefore, the pillars of our salvation are laid under Christ upon grace, upon free grace and love: and thereby the freeness of the grace of God doth the more appear in the matter of our salvation.

V. Salvation is a work of grace; and seeing we are saved by grace alone, WHY THEN DOTH GOD CHOOSE TO SAVE MEN IN THIS WAY OF FREE GRACE? I answer, It is because this is the most honourable way unto God. If there was somewhat of the good pleasure of God in the world's condemnation, all the reason in the world then that there should be free grace in the way of salvation. Pray, how came Adam to stand for the whole world? He was not chosen by us, why it was the good pleasure of God that he should stand for the whole world, and that he sinning, we should be all guilty of sin by, and through him: so, I say, if there was, as I may speak with reverence, somewhat of the good pleasure of God in the old world's condemnation, why then should there not be free grace in the soul's salvation. God would have heaven and salvation to be of one piece; He would have the work of heaven to be the same; now there were many angels that fell, and many thousands that stood, why how came they to stand that did stand, more than the others that fell? it was only by free grace, they were elect angels. Now men and angels in heaven are of the same choir and sing the same song; and therefore those men that are saved, oh, who are they? why they are the elect, and they have great cause to glorify the grace, the free grace of God. God saves men in a way of free love and grace, because none shall miss of salvation. As God will punish and condemn all the proud, all the wicked, that none shall escape; so He will also save all that He hath a mind to save, by free grace because they shall not miss of salvation. God will save men in such a way as whereby He may be glorified to all eternity, and therefore He saves them in a way of free grace and love; for what have we to praise God for in heaven, but only for free grace, free grace, to glorify His name for that; therefore, I say, God will save men in this way of free love and grace, that He may be thereby glorified hereafter to all eternity.

(W. Bridge.)

We see a golden thread of grace running through the whole of the Christian's history, from his election before all worlds, even to his admission to the heaven of rest. Grace, all along, "reigns through righteousness unto eternal life," and "where sin aboundeth, grace doth much more abound."

I. THIS DOCTRINE SHOULD INSPIRE EVERY SINNER WITH HOPE.

1. If salvation be of mercy only, it is clear that our sin is by no means an impediment to our salvation.(1) This prevents the despair which might arise in any heart on account of some one especial sin. Undeserved mercy can pardon one sin as well as another, if the soul confess it. The great sinner is so much the fitter object for great mercy — a black foil to set forth the brilliant diamond of the Master's grace.(2) If the sinner's despair should arise from the long continuance, multitude, and great aggravation of his sins, there is no ground for it. For if salvation be of pure mercy only, why should not God forgive ten thousand sins as well as one? "Oh," sayest thou, "I see why He should not." Then thou seest more than is true; for once come to grace, you have done with bounds and limits.

2. Remember, too, that any spiritual unfitness which may exist in a man should not shut him out from a hope, since God deals with us in mercy. I hear you say, "I believe God can save me, but I am so impenitent." Yes, and I say it again, if thou wert to stand on terms of debt with God, thy hard heart would shut thee out of hope. How could He bless such a wretch as thou art, whose heart is a heart of stone? But if He deal with thee entirely upon another ground, namely, His mercy, why I think I hear Him say, "Poor hard-hearted sinner, I will pity thee, and take away thy heart of stone, and give thee a heart of flesh." Do I hear thee confess that thou canst not believe? Now, the absence of faith from thee is a great evil, yea a horrible evil; but then the Lord is dealing with thee on terms of grace, and does not say, "I will not smite thee because thou dost net believe," but He saith, "I will give thee faith," for faith is "not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."

II. THIS DOCTRINE AFFORDS DIRECTION TO THE SINNER, as to how to act before his God in seeking mercy. Clearly, O soul, if salvation he of grace alone, it would be a very wrong course of action to plead that thou art not guilty, or to extenuate thy faults before God. Take care that all your pleas with God are consistent with the fact that He saves by His grace. Never bring a legal plea, or a plea that is based upon self, for it will be an offence to God; whereas, if thine argument be based on grace, it will have a sweet savour to Him. Let me teach thee, seeking sinner, for a moment how to pray. Plead with God thy miserable and undone condition; tell Him that thou art utterly lost if He do not save thee. Show Him the imminence of thy danger. Then argue with Him the plenteousness of His grace, Say to Him, "Lord, Thy mercy is very great, I know it is."

III. A FULL CONVICTION OF THIS TRUTH WILL RECONCILE. OUR HEARTS TO ALL DIVINE ORDINANCES WITH REGARD TO SALVATION. I feel in my own heart, and I think every believer here does, that if salvation be of grace, God must do as He wills with His own. None of us can say to Him, "What doest Thou?" If there were anything of debt, or justice, or obligation, in the matter, then we might begin to question God; but as there is none, and the thing is quite out of court as to law, and far away from rights and claims, as it is all God's free favour, we will henceforth stop our mouths and never question Him. As to the instrument by whom He saves, let Him save by the coarsest speaker, or by the most eloquent; let Him do what seemeth Him good.

IV. A MOST POWERFUL MOTIVE FOR FUTURE HOLINESS. A man who feels that he is saved by grace says, "Did God of His free favour blot out my sins? Then, oh, how I love Him. Was it nothing but His love that saved an undeserving wretch. Then my soul is knit to Him forever."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. DEFINITION OF GRACE. Grace has been too often represented in forms which dishonoured the righteousness of God, and were unfriendly to the righteousness of man. In our modern religious language it occurs less frequently than in the language of our fathers. But the word is too precious to be surrendered. Among the Greeks it stood for all that is most winning in personal loveliness, for the nameless fascination of a beauty which is not cold and remote but irresistibly attractive and charming. It was also used for that warm, free handed, and spontaneous generosity which is kind where there is no claim or merit, and kind without hope of return; a disposition lovely in itself, and winning the admiration and affection of all who witness it. This beautiful word, with all its beautiful associations, has been exalted and transfigured in its Christian uses.

1. Grace transcends love. Love may be nothing more than the fulfilment of the law. We love God, who deserves our love. We are required to love our neighbour, and we cannot refuse to love him without guilt. But grace is love which passes beyond all claims to love. It is love which, after fulfilling the obligations imposed by law, has an unexhausted wealth of kindness.

2. Grace transcends mercy. Mercy forgives sin, and rescues the sinner from eternal darkness and death. But grace floods with affection the sinner who has deserved anger and resentment, trusts penitent treachery with a confidence which could not have been merited by ages of incorruptible fidelity, confers on a race which had been in revolt honours which no loyalty could have purchased, on the sinful joy beyond the deserts of saintliness.

3. Grace transcends majesty. The eternal righteousness of God is that which constitutes His dignity and majesty, makes Him venerable and august; but His grace adds to His dignity an infinite loveliness, to His majesty an ineffable charm, blends with the awe and devout fear with which we worship Him a happy confidence, and with our veneration a passionate affection.

II. ACHIEVEMENT OF GRACE. Our salvation is the achievement of God's grace: this is the central thought of the Epistle to the Ephesians. God's free, spontaneous love for us, resolved that we who sprang from the dust, and might have passed away and perished like the falling leaves after a frail and brief existence, should share through a glorious immortality the sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ. God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. This was the wonderful idea of human greatness and destiny which was formed by the grace of God. The race declined from the lofty path designed for it by the Divine goodness. But as by the grace of God Christ was to be the root of our righteousness and blessedness, and as the ground and reason of our ethical and spiritual greatness were in Him, so in Christ God has revealed the root, the ground, the reason of our redemption. We have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of God's grace. There is nothing abnormal in the forgiveness of our sin being the result of Christ's death; all our possible righteousness was to be the fruit of the perfection and energy of His eternal life. The original idea of the Divine grace, according to which we were to find all things in Christ, and Christ was to be the root of a perfection and glory surpassing all hope and all thought, was tragically asserted in the death of Christ for human salvation. Our fortunes — shall I say it? — were identified with the fortunes of Christ; in the Divine thought and purpose we were inseparable from Him. Had we been true and loyal to the Divine idea, the energy of Christ's righteousness would have drawn us upwards to height after height of goodness and joy, until we ascended from this earthly life to the larger powers and loftier services and richer delights of other and diviner worlds; and still, through one golden age of intellectual and ethical and spiritual growth after another, we should have continued to rise towards Christ's transcendent and infinite perfection. But we sinned; and as the union between Christ and us could not be broken without the final and irrevocable defeat of the Divine purpose, as separation from Christ meant for us eternal death, Christ was drawn down from the serene heavens to the shame and sorrow of the confused and troubled life of our race, to pain, to temptation, to anguish, to the cross and to the grave, and so the mystery of His atonement for our sin was consummated. In His sufferings and death, through the infinite grace of God, we find forgiveness, as in the power of His righteousness and as in His great glory we find the possibilities of all perfection. Our union with Him is not dissolved. Through His death we receive forgiveness, through His death we die to the sin which brought the death upon Him; and in His resurrection and ascension we see the visible manifestation of that eternal life which we have already received, and which will some day be manifested in us as it has been manifested in Him.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

1. The ground of all our salvation is the free favour of God. Much comfort for us in this; for if our salvation be of mere grace, and depend not on our own worth, endeavour, and holiness, why should we fear? If it were for anything in us to be procured, we might utterly despair; but since it is of God, we may boldly accept, and confidently trust in this free grace of God, although we are unworthy of it. It is not true humility, but a foolish pride, to put away, and judge ourselves unworthy of this salvation, whereof it has pleased God (in rich mercy) to deem us worthy.

2. To the full glorifying of us in heaven, all is from the free, mere grace of God. He does nothing by halves. What He has begun, He will complete (Philippians 1:6).

3. God's grace and man's faith ever stand together (Galatians 3:22; John 3:16). To this it may be objected that the grace of God cannot stand with anything in man. How then (you will ask) can it stand with faith? Answer: It is true, that the grace of God does not brook anything inherent in man, and of man; and yet, notwithstanding, it may well agree with faith. For(1) Faith is not of man, no, not in man by nature; but it is in man renewed, and as a gift of mere grace.(2) Faith does not justify, as it is an inherent quality in us, but as it apprehends Christ Jesus the Redeemer.(3) Faith receives only, and shows to God the righteousness and merit of Christ.(4) It is therefore the Lord's grace that accepts faith for the righteousness of the believer.

4. No power in man can quicken him; and no virtue, quality, or dignity, when he is quickened, can merit his salvation.

(Paul Bayne.)

I. SALVATION.

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.

(R. Montgomery.)

Bishop Ryle, of Liverpool, was converted, when an undergraduate in Oxford, by the eighth verse of the second chapter of Ephesians, which was read in his hearing in church in the second lesson, with a pause between each clause by a stranger whose name he never knew.

Mr. Maclaren and Mr. Gustart were both ministers at the Tolbooth Church, Edinburgh. When Mr. Maclaren was dying, Mr. Gustart paid him a visit, and put the question to him, "What are you doing, brother?" His answer was, "I'll tell you what I'm doing, brother: I am gathering together all my prayers, all my sermons, all my good deeds, all my evil deeds; and I am going to throw them all overboard, and swim to glory on the plank of free grace."

It is not what I do that I trust in, but what Christ has done for me. You've been down the shaft into the mine, sir. This will help me to tell you what I mean. For a long time I was trying to do what was right — to live as I ought to; and so was trusting to my own works for salvation. But all the while I felt as if I was still down at the bottom of the shaft. All I could do didn't get me out of the pit. Then God showed me that all my righteousness was but filthy rags, as the Bible says. But how was I to get out of the shaft? Why, at last I found that the only way out of the deep mine into which sin had brought us was to do just as I do when I want to get out of the coal mine. To do this, I have only to get into the bucket when it comes down, and trust to the men at the windlass to draw me out. And so I find it is about my soul. I can't draw myself out of the pit; but I trust in Jesus, and leave it all to Him.

(D. L. Moody.)

There was, some years ago, a shipwreck on the Cornish coast. The wind was blowing an awful gale; no lifeboat was near, but a pilot boat, with a brave crew, put out to rescue the perishing. The ship was on a sand bank, and the pilot boat got alongside her, and as the waves ran higher and higher, the sailors, one after another, sprang from the ship on to the deck of the boat, till there was but one left on the sinking vessel, and just as he was in the act of springing, a tremendous billow struck the ship on her broadside; she heeled over, and the returning wave swept the pilot boat back to a considerable distance. At that moment a scream was heard from the stern of the pilot boat. A hoary-headed man, with tears starting from his eyes, and agony depicted on his countenance, was heard to cry out, "Captain, for God's sake, save my boy I save my boy!" It was his only son who was in the sinking ship. And as his cry rose, there was another voice to meet it; from the sinking vessel there came back a shout clear and strong amidst the tumult of the tempest, "Never mind, father; thank God, I am saved." They were the last words he ever spoke. Another moment the mighty billows swept him away, and his soul was in eternity, in the very bosom of its God. Could you have said what that young man said? Could you have said, "Thank God, I am saved"? Perhaps you say, "No, I could not." Then don't sleep tonight until you can. What! may you have it tonight? Yes, the gift is at your door. "How am I to have it?" Trust Jesus for it. Take that poor weary soul of yours, and lay it in His hand.

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

I. SET FORTH MAN'S STATE BY NATURE, AND SHOW THAT THERE COULD BE NOTHING IN HIM TO MOVE GOD TO BESTOW SO GREAT A GIFT UPON HIM.

II. SUCH BEING MAN'S STARE BY NATURE, IT IS MANIFEST THAT SALVATION MUST BE ENTIRELY OF FREE GRACE.

(R. Shutte, M. A.)

Once there was a poor woman who greatly desired a bunch of grapes from the king's greenhouse for her sick child; so she took half a crown, and went to the king's gardener, and tried to purchase the grapes, but was rudely sent away. A second effort with more money met with a similar repulse. It so happened that the king's daughter heard the angry words of the gardener, and the crying of the poor woman, and inquired into the matter. When she had related her story, the princess said, "My good woman, you were mistaken. My father is not a merchant, but a king: his business is not to sell, but to give"; whereupon she plucked a fine bunch from the vine, and gently dropped it into the woman's apron. So the poor woman obtained as a free gift what the labour of many days and nights had been unable to procure for her.

As the earth engendereth not rain, nor is able, by its own strength, labour, or travail, to procure the same, but receiveth it of the mere gift of God from above, even so faith, grace, forgiveness of sins, and Christian righteousness, are given us of God without our works or deservings.

(Cawdray.)

It is evident that the first intention of these words is to show what a very, very easy thing it is to be saved if we would only take it rightly. And secondly, to take away all the honour and all the desert from those who are saved, and to place it where all belongs — on God only. But now I come to a very important part. Let us be careful, very careful, here to discriminate and see clearly the distinction. Remember what we are speaking about. We are not speaking about holiness! We are not speaking about going to heaven; we are speaking only of being saved. We are speaking of the initiatory step, of the becoming a Christian; of the entrance into a life of holiness, and of safety. Remember that is what the word "salvation" means. It means no less, and it means no more. Being safe! Still it is only safety, only safety! There is a great deal to be done after that. Conflict; love; prayer; penitence; conversion of heart; sanctification; a useful life; a brightness in death; a brightness in heaven. In all these, indeed, it is still God who "works in you" to do it; but still you do it, you do it. You work out the grace of the salvation which God has given you; but for your pardon, for your safety, you do nothing at all, but simply accept it. You accept it. More than that — the power to accept it, the will to accept it — they are given you. The triple chain of salvation has three links, and no more — "grace," "faith," "safety." Then come afterwards — love, holiness, heaven.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE OF FAITH. Faith, in ordinary language, means the assent of the understanding to some statement as true — propounded upon the authority of another. It seems, however, in Scripture to be most commonly used in a somewhat more extensive sense, as comprehending what in strictness (metaphysical correctness) might be regarded rather as consequences of faith than as faith itself. Saving faith, according to the views of it given in Scripture, may be described as such an assent to the doctrines of the gospel as leads men to receive and rest upon Christ alone for salvation, and to submit themselves entirely to His authority.

II. HOW FAITH IS PRODUCED. Faith implies certain objects presented to our minds — a capacity to perceive, and a disposition to attend to them, and to act under their influence. Now, in regard to the faith of the gospel, God both given us the objects, and enables us to perceive them. Faith, therefore, is His gift, not merely in the sense in which any other ordinary exercise of our faculties is His gift, but in a higher and more peculiar manner. It is God who sets before us those objects which faith embraces, and without which it could never have existence. We had known nothing of God unless He had chosen to reveal Himself to us. We have no certain knowledge of His character except what He is pleased to acquaint us with. We could have known absolutely nothing of Jesus Christ, who is the great Object of Faith — of all that He has done and suffered for us — of the whole scheme of redemption that is founded upon His work, and of the covenant of grace that is sealed with His blood — of the authority which He now exercises, and of the great and glorious purposes to which the exercise of that authority is directed — unless God had seen fit, not only to bring all these important results into existence, but to transmit them to us in His Word. We could have learned nothing of the future and unseen world, unless God had undertaken to remove the veil that conceals it, and open it up to our view. Thus there would have been no objects for our faith; and of course faith could never have existed unless God had made revelation of Himself, of His character, and ways — unless He had brought certain events to pass, and then made them known to us. But faith appears still further to be God's gift, from this, that men are naturally indisposed to attend to the objects set before them in the sacred Scriptures, and, according to the principles of our natural constitution, there can be no clear knowledge of anything without some degree of attention being directed towards it; whilst without clear knowledge there can be no sound and rational faith.

III. THE EFFECT OF FAITH AS UNITING US TO CHRIST, AND THUS SAVING THE SOUL. Now, when a man believes in Christ, he is, according to God's appointment, united to Him. There is a union formed between them. God regards him as if he were Christ, and treats him as if he had suffered the full punishment for his sins which Christ endured in his room — as if he had in his own person performed that full and perfect obedience to the Divine law which our Saviour's conduct exhibited. It is this imputation of Christ's sufferings and of His righteousness — or, as it is often called, of His active and passive obedience — it is this communion of suffering and of merit, in which the union of believers with Christ mainly consists; and this union and communion with Him is the foundation of their salvation, in all its parts and in all its aspects. Viewing them thus, as united to Christ, as one with Him — God bestows upon them the blessings which Christ purchased for all who should believe on His name; they obtain through faith the forgiveness of their sins, acceptance with God as righteous persons, the renovation and sanctification of their natures, and, finally, an inheritance among them that are sanctified. Christ is the great Head of Influence; all spiritual blessings are the fruits of His purchase; it is only by abiding in Him that we are enabled to bring forth fruits unto eternal life: as it is written (John 15:5), "I am the Vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." You see now the great importance of faith in the salvation of sinners. It is the instrument by means of which we receive everything necessary to our peace. None can be saved without it, and every one who has it will assuredly be saved.

(W. Cunningham, D. D.)

? Faith occupies the position of a channel or conduit pipe. Grace is the fountain and the stream: faith is the acqueduct along which the flood of mercy flows down to refresh the thirsty sons of men. It is a great pity when the acqueduct is broken. It is a sad sight to see around Rome the many noble acqueducts which no longer convey water into the city, because the arches are broken and the marvellous structures are in ruins. The acqueduct must be kept entire to convey the current; and, even so, faith must be true and sound, leading right up to God, and coming right down to ourselves, that it may become a serviceable channel of ,mercy to our souls. Still, I again remind you that faith is the channel or acqueduct, and not the fountain head, and we must not look so much to it as to exalt it above the Divine source of all blessing which lies in the grace of God. Never make a Christ out of your faith, nor think of it as if it were the independent source of your salvation.

I. FAITH: WHAT IS IT? What is this faith concerning which it is said," By grace are ye saved through faith"? What is faith? It is made up of three things — knowledge, belief, and trust.

1. Knowledge comes first. Know God, know His gospel, and know especially Christ Jesus, the Son of God and Saviour of men. Endeavour to know the doctrine of the sacrifice of Christ, for that is the point upon which saving faith mainly fixes itself.

2. Then the mind goes on to believe that these things are true. The soul believes that God is, and that He hears the cries of sincere hearts; that the gospel is from God; that justification by faith is the grand truth that God hath revealed in these last days by His Spirit more clearly than before. Then the heart believes that Jesus is verily and in truth our God and Saviour, the Redeemer of men, the prophet, priest, and king unto His people.

3. So far you have made an advance towards faith, and one more ingredient is needed to complete it, which is trust. Trust is the life blood of faith: there is no saving faith without it. The Puritans were accustomed to explain faith by the word "recumbency." You know what it means. You see me leaning upon this rail, leaning with all my weight upon it; even thus lean upon Christ. It would be a better illustration still if I were to stretch myself at full length and rest my whole person upon a rock, lying fiat upon it. Fall flat upon Christ. Cast yourself upon Him, rest in Him, commit yourself to Him. That done, you have exercised saving faith. Faith is not a blind thing; for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing; for faith trusts, and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation.

II. Let us inquire, WHY FAITH IS SELECTED AS THE CHANNEL OF SALVATION?

1. There is a natural adaptation in faith to be used as the receiver. Suppose that I am about to give a poor man an alms: I put it into his hand — why? Well, it would hardly be fitting to put it into his ear, or to lay it under his foot; the hand seems made on purpose to receive. So faith in the mental body is created on purpose to be a receiver: it is the hand of the man, and there is a fitness in bestowing grace by its means.

2. Faith, again, is doubtless selected because it gives all the glory to God. It is of faith that it might be of grace, and it is of grace that there may be no boasting; for God cannot endure pride.

3. It is a sure method, linking man with God. When man confides in God there is a point of union between them, and that union guarantees blessing. Faith saves us, because it makes us cling to God, and so brings us into connection with Him. I am told that years ago, above the Falls of Niagara, a boat was upset, and two men were being carried down the current, when persons on the shore managed to float a rope out to them, which rope was seized by them both. One of them held fast to it, and was safely drawn to the bank; but the other, seeing a great log come floating by, unwisely let go the rope, and clung to the log, for it was the bigger thing of the two, and apparently better to cling to. Alas, the log, with the man on it, went right over the vast abyss, because there was no union between the log and the shore. The size of the log was no benefit to him who grasped it; it needed a connection with the shore to produce safety. So when a man trusts to his works, or to sacraments, or to anything of that sort, he will not be saved, because there is no junction between him and Christ; but faith, though it may seem to be like a slender cord, is in the hand of the great God on the shore side; Infinite Power pulls in the connecting line, and thus draws the man from destruction. Oh, the blessedness of faith, because it unites us to God!

4. Faith is chosen, again, because it touches the springs of action. I wonder whether I shall be wrong if I say that we never do anything except through faith of some sort. If I walk across this platform, it is because I believe my legs will carry me. A man eats because he believes in the necessity of food. Columbus discovered America because he believed that there was another continent beyond the ocean: many another grand deed has also been born of faith, for faith works wonders. Commoner things are done on the same principle; faith in its natural form is an all-prevailing force. God gives salvation to our faith, because He has thus touched the secret spring of all our emotions and actions. He has, so to speak, taken possession of the battery, and now He can send the sacred current to every part of our nature.

5. Faith, again, has the power of working by love; it touches the secret spring of the affections, and draws the heart towards God. Faith is an act of the understanding; but it also proceeds from the heart. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness;" and hence God gives salvation to faith because it resides next door to the affections, and is near akin to love, and love, you know, is that which purifies the soul. Love to God is obedience, love is holiness; to love God and to love man is to be conformed to the image of Christ, and this is salvation.

6. Moreover, faith creates peace and joy; he that hath it rests, and is tranquil, is glad, and joyous; and this is a preparation for heaven. God gives all the heavenly gifts to faith, because faith worketh in us the very life and spirit which are to be eternally manifested in the upper and better world. I have hastened over these points that I might not weary you on a day when, however willing the spirit may be, the flesh is weak.

III. How can WE OBTAIN AND INCREASE OUR FAITH? A very earnest question this to many. They say they want to believe but cannot. "What am I to do in order to believe?"

1. The shortest way is to believe, and if the Holy Spirit has made you honest and candid, you will believe as soon as the truth is set before you.

2. But still, if you have a difficulty, take it before God in prayer. The Lord is willing to make Himself known; go to Him, and see if it be not so.

3. Furthermore, if faith seem difficult, it is possible that God the Holy Spirit will enable you to believe, if you hear very frequently and earnestly that which you are commanded to believe.

4. Consider the testimony of others. I believe there is a country called Japan, although I never have been there. I believe I shall die: I have never died, but a great many have done so whom I once knew, and I have a conviction that I shall die also; the testimony of many convinces me of this fact. Listen, then, to those who tell you how they were saved, how they were pardoned, how they have been changed in character: if you will but listen you will find that somebody just like yourself has been saved. As you listen to one after another of those who have tried the word of God, and proved it, the Divine Spirit will lead you to believe. Have you not heard of the African who was told by the missionary that water sometimes became so hard that a man could walk on it? He declared that he believed a great many things the missionary had told him; but he never would believe that. When he came to England it came to pass that one frosty day he saw the river frozen, but he would not venture on it. He knew that it was a river, and he was certain that he would be drowned if he ventured upon it. He could not be induced to walk on the ice till his friend went upon it; then he was persuaded, and trusted himself where others had ventured. So, mayhap, while you see others believe, and notice their joy and peace, you will yourself be gently led to believe. It is one of God's ways of helping us to faith. A better plan still is this — note the authority upon which you are commanded to believe, and this will greatly help you. He bids you believe in Jesus Christ, and you must not refuse to obey your Maker. The foreman of a certain works in the north had often heard the gospel, but he was troubled with the fear that he might not come to Christ. His good master one day sent a card round to the works — "Come to my house immediately after work." The foreman appeared at his master's door, and the master came out, and said somewhat roughly, "What do you want, John, troubling me at this time? Work is done, what right have you here?" "Sir," said he, "I had a card from you saying that I was to come after work." "Do you mean to say that merely because you had a card from me you are to come up to my house and call me out after business hours?" "Well, sir," replied the foreman, "I do not understand you, but it seems to me that, as you sent for me, I had a right to come." "Come in, John," said his master, "I have another message that I want to read to you," and he sat down and read these words — "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Do you think after such a message from Christ that you can be wrong in going to Him?" The poor man saw it all at once, and believed, because he saw that he had good warrant and authority for believing. So have you, poor soul; you have good authority for coming to Christ, for the Lord Himself bids you trust Him. If that does not settle you, think over what it is that you have to believe — that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered in the room and place and stead of men, and is able to save all who trust Him. Why, this is the most blessed fact that ever men were told to believe: the most suitable, the most comforting, the most Divine truth that ever was set before men. If none of these things avail, then there is something Wrong about you altogether, and my last word is, submit yourself to God. May the Spirit of God take away your enmity and make you yield. You are a rebel, a proud rebel, and that is why you do not believe your God. Give up your rebellion; throw down your weapons; yield at discretion; surrender to your King.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

God gives to His people the propensity to cling. Look at the sweet pea which grows in your garden. Perhaps it has fallen down upon the gravel walk. Lift it up against the laurel or the trellis, or put a stick near it, and it catches hold directly, because there are little hooks ready prepared with which it grasps anything which comes in its way: it was meant to grow upwards, and so it is provided with tendrils. Every child of God has his tendrils about him — thoughts, and desires, and hopes with which he hooks on to Christ and the promise. Though this is a very simple sort of faith, it is a very complete and effectual form of it, and, in fact, it is the heart of all faith, and that to which we are often driven when we are in deep trouble, or when our mind is somewhat bemuddled by our being sickly or depressed in spirit. We can cling when we can do nothing else, and that is the very soul of faith. O poor heart, if thou dost not yet know as much about the gospel as we could wish thee to know, cling to what thou dost know. If as yet thou art only like a lamb that wades a little into the river of life, and not like leviathan who stirs the mighty deep to the bottom, yet drink; for it is drinking, and not diving, that will save thee. Cling, then I Cling to Jesus; for that is faith.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Faith also realizes the presence of the living God and Saviour, and thus it breeds in the soul a beautiful calm and quiet like that which was seen in a little child in the time of tempest. Her mother was alarmed, but the sweet girl was pleased; she clapped her hands with delight. Standing at the window when the flashes came most vividly, she cried in childish accents, "Look, mammal How beautiful! How beautiful!" Her mother said, "My dear, come away, the lightning is terrible;" but she begged to be allowed to look out and see the lovely light which God was making all over the sky, for she was sure God would not do His little child any harm. "But harken to the terrible thunder," said her mother. "Did you not say, mamma, that God was speaking in the thunder?" "Yes," said her trembling parent. "Oh," said the darling, "how nice it is to hear Him. He talks very loud, but I think it is because He wants the deaf people to hear Him. Is it not so, mamma Thus she went talking on; as merry as a bird was she, for God was real to her, and she trusted Him. To her the lightning was God's beautiful light, and the thunder was God's wonderful voice, and she was happy. I dare say her mother knew a good deal about the laws of nature and the energy of electricity; and little was the comfort which her knowledge brought her. The child's knowledge was less showy, but it was far more certain and precious. We are so conceited nowadays that we are too proud to be comforted by self-evident truth, and prefer to make ourselves wretched with questionable theories. For my own part I would rather be a child again than grow perversely wise. Faith, is to be a child towards Christ, believing in Him as a real and present person, at this very moment near us, and ready to bless us. This may seem to be a childish fancy; but it is such childishness as we must all come to if we would be happy in the Lord. "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Faith takes Christ at His word, as a child believes his father, and trusts him in all simplicity with past, present, and future. God give us such faith!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In this discourse I shall take notice of and examine the mistake of those men who appear to be induced, by some texts of the New Testament, to rely upon faith, or their believing in Jesus Christ, and confident application of His merits to themselves; and to expect salvation from this, considered as distinct and separate from obedience to the moral laws of the gospel.

I. It will be very proper to lay before you the plain meaning of St Paul in the text. The apostle's design here is to raise the gratitude of the Ephesians to Almighty God, and to inspire them with all possible regard to Him, by putting them in mind that they were formerly in a helpless and miserable condition, dead in sins, void of the true life of reasonable creatures; that they had no thought themselves of such salvation as had been offered them by the Christian religion, that they had no merit to engage God Almighty to make them such an offer, and preach such a state of reconciliation and salvation to them.

II. That no such pretence as that which makes faith alone, separated from a good life and conversation, the condition on which we shall be accepted at last; that no such pretence as this, I say, can be built upon this passage of the New Testament, which will lead us likewise to the further consideration of this mistake, and to give a true account of what St. James and St. Paul, upon other occasions, have affirmed upon this subject.

1. St. Paul saith that Abraham was justified without and before such works as circumcision. St. James saith that Abraham was not justified by an empty faith without works of obedience, and would never have been accepted of God unless he had shown the reality of his faith by obedience to the call and command of God. Here is no contradiction between them. So likewise Christians will be justified by means of believing the gospel dispensation, without any such works as circumcision, or any other works of the ceremonial law; as St. Paul argued: but they will never be justified, and finally acquitted by any belief in Christ, without bringing forth, as they have opportunity, such good fruits, and walking in any such good works, as the gospel of Christ directs, and commands them to practise; as St. James saith. Again —

2. Abraham was, for one signal act of faith and trust in God, called by Him righteous, taken for such, and reputed as a person free from the guilt of his past sins; as saith St. Paul. But it is manifest, saith St. James, that this faith of Abraham was not such an empty faith as some Christians pretend to rely upon; nay, that he would not have been justified finally by God, unless he had, when he was tried by God, shown by the obedience of his life that his faith was real and sincere. Neither in this is there any contradiction between them. St. Paul had to deal with a sort of Jewish Christians, who retained an affection for the works of the law, and circumcision particularly; and therefore found occasion to tell them that their father Abraham himself was justified without such works; that is, eminent faith was one time counted to him for righteousness, or justification; that for the sake of that faith he was esteemed by God free from all the guilt he had contracted by sin before that time; and that therefore it was nothing but what was agreeable to that great example which they pretended to love and honour, that God should accept such as believed in His Son Jesus Christ, without their adhering to such works as circumcision; and for the sake of that faith in reward, and for encouragement of it, should acquit them from the guilt of all their sins committed before that time. But St. James found that some misunderstood and perverted such doctrine as this, and that some Christians began to pretend that no works at all — not even those of piety and charity — were necessary to their justification at the great day; and that their believing in Christ would acquit them from the guilt of all their sins that they should commit after this belief, and during the time of their Christian profession. And therefore he found it necessary to tell them that Abraham showed his obedience to God's will in the highest instances, and trusted not in an empty faith.

III. St. Paul doth, in this very Epistle, as well as in many other places, sufficiently declare against any such pretence; as our blessed Lord did likewise before him in the plainest words. See Ephesians 1:10. Although in some places St. Paul doth vilify the merits of the world and their behaviour, before the coming of the gospel; and though in others he vilifies the works of the law of Moses, with which some would have burthened the evangelical profession: yet no one can show any one text, or any one single passage, in which he vilifies, and sets at nought, the works of evangelical righteousness, or obedience to the moral laws of virtue. To vilify and decry the behaviour and works both of Jew and Gentile before the faith of Christ prevailed, was not to set at nought good works, but bad ones; and only to observe the corrupt and sad estate of mankind. To vilify the ceremonial law, after the coming in of justification by faith (or the gospel) was not to vilify such works as we are speaking of: but, indeed, to take men's minds off from shadows and ceremonies; and to fix upon them good works that are more substantial. Nay, when he ever toucheth upon the moral duties; with how much vehemence doth he recommend them? When he speaks of the Ephesians, or other Christians, having improved in virtue, since their conversion to Christianity; what commendations doth he give them! And with how much joy doth he offer up his thanks to God for it? But we never find him depressing that sort of works; or setting up faith against them; or taking off the bent of men's minds from them; but pressing them into the love and practice of them with all the earnestness possible. And then, if he mentions the sins of any professed Christians; doth he do it as if he thought their faith would avail them? Or rather, doth he not do it with such a spirit and zeal against them, as if no words were bad enough for them? And yet they had an easy reply to make to him, had he taught them any such doctrine, as that a strong faith would save them at last, though separate from good works.

IV. To show you in what sense faith, or believing the gospel, is said to save Christians.

1. This may be well said of them, because it is their faith, or believing, which saves them from the guilt of all their sins committed before this faith: a privilege which peculiarly belonged to the first Christians converted, at years of discretion, from a life of sin and impurity.

2. We may be well said to be saved through faith, because it is by believing in Jesus Christ that we come to know and embrace those terms which are offered by God for our salvation and happiness.

3. Christians are saved by faith, because it is the foundation of their obedience and of all their good actions. It is the tree which bears good fruit.

(Bishop Hoadly.)

These are the properties of faith which justifies.

1. It is persevering; a shield against all the fiery darts of the devil. It cannot be lost or overcome of any creature, because it is built on the Rock, Christ.

2. It is lively, working by love. It makes that we shall neither be idle nor unprofitable. It is no dead thing which will stand us in stead. There are, indeed, many kinds of these dead faiths; some are blind presumptions, which are merely counterfeit; some are historical persuasions, touching the truth of the articles of religion, without any particular confidence; some are common illuminations in the points of the gospel with misgrounded persuasions, like that of Haman, "What shall be done to the man whom the king will honour?" He no sooner heard it was in the heart of the king to honour a man, but who should the person be except himself?

3. Saving faith is sincere and sound.

4. It is a precious faith; within itself a pearl, rare, and of greatest worth, the least grain better than a kingdom.

(Paul Bayne.)

1. No works of ours can merit salvation. Even the justified merit nothing.(1) Works even of sanctification cannot merit salvation, because they are the motions of us already saved; they are the effects of salvation already revealed in us, not the causes of that we have not.(2) Works are imperfect in us, the flesh and spirit so striving, that the action even of that which is predominant is brought forth (by reason of this strife) with great imperfection.(3) Infants are saved, but they have no merits; for the habits of holiness are not meritorious, as being freely received. Salvation, therefore, is grounded on some other thing than works, or infants could not be heirs of heaven.

2. There is not anything left in man wherein he may rejoice, as deserving salvation. Whatever he is, or can do, it must be all reckoned as loss in this business; for this is the end of the whole mystery of our salvation, that we might be all in God, out of ourselves.

3. Whatsoever we receive in Christ cannot stand in desert of salvation. The reason is plain.(1) Whatsoever must be meritorious in salvation and righteousness, must be given us in creation.(2) Whatsoever is received in Christ, must stand with grace; for, Grace, Christ, Faith, stand together. But whatsoever in us should deserve, cannot stand with grace; therefore, whatsoever we are in Christ cannot deserve; faith is not of doing; grace is not of working.(3) If this which we become in Christ should enable us to justify and save ourselves, then Christ should bring us back again to the law. But we are dead to the law.(4) If we should, by that we are in Christ, deserve our salvation, then Christ should make us our own saviours. If Christ have deserved it, we have not; if we have, He hath not.(5) It is a contradiction to say, Christ has deserved heaven for us, so that He makes us deserve it; as if it should be said, One has paid my debt for me, so I will pay it myself: One has purchased such a thing for me, but so that I must purchase it myself. But it may be said, It is no prejudice that Christ should merit in us: as God is more glorious that He does many things mediately, than if He should do them alone; as He gives light, but by the sun. Answer: Christ merited, not that we should merit, but be accepted. What we come to receive in Christ, is salvation and glory. If Christ should make us also by grace to deserve, then He should make us able to make His death in vain. Anything joined with Christ overturns Christ. Christ has not deserved, that His own desert should be in vain.

(Paul Bayne.)

I have read that Dr. Moxey once had as an inquirer an old woman, and he drew her attention to the forty-first and forty-second verses of the seventh chapter of St. Luke! "There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty." Now he said, "Which debtor will you be?" She replied, "The one that owes five hundred pence." "Now," he said, "what have you got to pay?" She replied, "I am very anxious to be saved." "Well," he said, "we will put that down to the credit side." Immediately after she said, "No, I have made a mistake, I've got nothing to pay." "Then," he said, "we will go on with the story." And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.'" He said, "That's just the way of the Lord towards us."

He (Baxter on his death bed) said, "God may justly condemn me for the best duty I ever did; and all my hopes are from the free mercy of God in Christ." He had often said before, "I can more readily believe that God will forgive me than I can forgive myself. After a slumber he waked, saying, "I shall rest from my labours." A minister present said, "And your works will follow you." He replied, "No works; I will leave out works, if God will grant me the other." When a friend comforted him with the remembrance of the good many had received from his writings, he replied, "I was but a pen in God's hand, and what praise is due to a pen?"

(Bishop Ryle.)

Remember, the ears of barley which bear the most grain always hang the lowest.

(E. Blencowe, M. A.)

The nettle mounteth on high, while the violet shrouds itself under its own leaves, and is chiefly found out by its fragrance. Let Christians be satisfied with the honour that cometh from God only.

(H. G. Salter.)

Had God given His saints a stock of grace to have set up with, and left them to the improvement of it, He had been magnified indeed, because it was more than God did owe the creature; but He had not been omnified as now, when not only the Christian's first strength to close with Christ is from God, but he is beholden still to God for the exercise of that strength, in every action of his Christian course. As a child that travels in his father's company, all is paid for, but his father carries the purse, not himself; so the Christian's shot is discharged in every condition; but he cannot say, This I did, or that I suffered; but God wrought all in me, and for me. The very comb of pride is cut here; no room for any self-exalting thoughts.

(W. Gurnall.)

Doth the Christian's strength lie in God, not in himself? This may forever keep the Christian humble, when most enlarged in duty, most assisted in his Christian course. Remember, Christian, when thou hast thy best suit on, who made it, who paid for it. Thy grace, thy comfort, is neither the work of thy own hands, nor the price of thy own desert; be not for shame proud of another's cost.

(W. Gurnall.)

If the king freely, without desert of mine, and at the mediation of another, give me a place about him, and never so much right unto it, yet I am bound, if I will enjoy it, to come unto him and do the things that the place requireth. And if he give me a tree growing in his forest, this his gift ties me to be at cost to cut it down and bring it home, if I wilt have it. And when I have done all this, I cannot brag that by my coming and service I merited this place, or by my cost in cutting down and carrying home the tree made myself worthy of the tree, as the Jesuits speak of their works. But only the deed is the way that leads to the fruition of that which is freely given. There cannot be produced a place in all the Scripture, nor a sentence in all the Fathers, which extends our works any further, or makes them exceed the latitude of a mere condition or way whereby to walk to that which not themselves, but the blood of Christ hath deserved.

(E. White.)

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