This is the sermon for Sunday, November 15th 2009
Faith Foundations part 6
In this sermon, we are going to be dealing with the subject of salvation. Here is what we will cover: Salvation by grace; Justification; Repentance and faith; and the daily Christian life.
Our belief in Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone goes hand in hand with the doctrine of total depravity. You see, if we could save ourselves, then salvation would not be by God’s grace alone would it? But if we are depraved and sinful in nature, then it must take God and His grace to save us.
Of all the doctrines of the Bible, the doctrine of salvation is one with which every Christian should be familiar. Not only because our salvation depends upon it, but because it is the one message which we as God’s people have been commissioned to share with the world around us and it is the only message whereby lost people can come into a personal and saving relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
But there are some questions many people have. Are we saved by saying a sinner’s prayer? Are we saved by good works? Are we saved by water baptism?
Well, we will not answer all these questions probably in this sermon, but we will hit what I believe are the central truths of Salvation. Before we do, let’s explain the word, “Regeneration.”
Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace, whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart by the Holy Spirit, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
Okay, now that we have covered what Regeneration is, let’s begin looking into the subject of Salvation and the Scripture references as well.
Salvation through Grace.
Salvation is wholly through grace; that no human righteousness or merit can contribute to our receiving God’s love and favor.
Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV – 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
These verses in Ephesians pretty much lays out our beliefs concerning Salvation by grace.
Let’s break this passage down quickly to see the truths within:
- We are saved by grace (verse 8)
- Through faith (verse 8)
- This does not come from ourselves, therefore it is not of works we do (verses 8 and 9)
- It is a gift of God (verse 8)
- God is the one doing the work (verse 10)
- We are created in Christ for the purpose of doing good works (verse 10)
- Salvation, grace, faith, and calling to do good works was prepared in advance by God for us (verse 10)
We should never add or take away from the wonderful gift of salvation that God has freely given us. Let’s look at the next point this morning.
Justification is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ and His work alone. Our view of justification is the traditional protestant view of being a judicial act by God, in which He declares sinners to be righteous in His sight. This declaration of righteousness is based solely on the merit of Christ’s obedience and satisfaction, which God imputes to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Now before we begin looking into other passages that support this let’s go back to Ephesians 2 and the phrase, “We are God’s handiwork.” Being God’s handiwork is part of the justification process. God is working in us in every aspect of salvation: from our election, to our calling, to His grace poured out upon us, to our regeneration, to our repentance and faith…it is all of God.
Now let’s look at a few passages concerning justification.
Romans 3:19-20 ESV – 19Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Here we see first off that no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law, but that the law makes us conscious of our sin.
Romans 3:21-24 ESV – 21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Here we see that God has prepared away for us to be righteous apart from the law through faith. This is for both Jew and Gentile, for all of us are sinners before God. But God has justified us sinners freely by His grace through the redemption we have in Jesus Christ.
Romans 3:26 ESV – It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
God is just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 4:5-8 ESV – 5And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Romans 5:9 ESV – Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Here we see we are justified through the blood of Christ and also saved from God’s wrath, which we deserve.
Now let’s move on to our next point concerning salvation.
Repentance and Faith.
The only means of being cleansed from sin and corruption is through repentance and faith in the precious Blood of Christ as a sacrifice for our sin. Both repentance and faith are the graciously and sovereignly bestowed gifts of God. These are generated in the human heart by the precious Holy Spirit as He works through the Word of God to effectually call sinners to Christ.
In other words, I hope to show from Scripture that not only does God provide grace for our salvation and justification, but He also provides repentance and faith as gifts for us as well.
Luke 5:32 ESV – I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Here we see Jesus own words. He calls the sinners to repentance.
Acts 5:31 ESV – God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
The Greek word for, “to give,” is didomi (did’-o-mee). It means, “to give, to bestow, to grant, to bring forth, to offer, to give.”
It clearly shows that God is the one here that was offering repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel, and of course since there is no difference since both Israel and Gentiles sin, to us as well. So repentance is a gift from God, just like all aspects of salvation.
Acts 11:18 ESV – When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
2 Timothy 2:25 ESV – correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
Let’s now look at the last aspect of salvation we will cover this morning. It really deals with the sanctification part of salvation.
Daily Christian Life.
It is the will of God that those who have been born again grow in sanctification, become partakers of His holiness, and daily grow stronger in the faith, power, prayer, love, and service.
2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
We don’t believe that it is alright for person that has been truly saved by the grace of God to continue to live according to the dictates of their old nature. We have been given a new nature.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
And having a new nature, we continue to walk in the Spirit that God has filled us with, and grow daily in the faith.
Galatians 5:16 ESV – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
As we close this morning, we really didn’t even scratch the service. It would take me weeks to preach on this one subject, but for sake of time, we will go on to the next subject next week.
Hopefully you now have a greater appreciation of God’s grace. How He saves, grants you repentance and faith, and how you and I as new creatures live the new life in the Spirit and grow in Him.