Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 11, 2019

“we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 15:1-11.

“Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”  And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.  Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.  When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.  But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.  After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.  And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us;  and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.  Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”  Acts 15:1-11.

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Other doctrine believe that we are saved through our works or at least through our alleged free-will choice of Christ a/k/a our own faith.

But, Reformed Doctrine believes that we are saved through grace alone as simply stated in today’s Scripture:  “we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus”.  Verse 11.

Yes, we do have faith.  But, it is a God-given faith.  “He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.”  Verse 9.  We did not give God our own faith and then He used our own faith to cleanse our hearts.  But rather, so to speak, God has His own cleaning supplies including a God-given faith to cleanse our hearts.

The grace of the Lord Jesus in His death on the cross produced this faith.

“Article 8.  For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:  …”  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

Article 22:  Of Faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him.  For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him.  Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphemy: for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Savior.  …”  Belgic Confession.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9.

Thus, not even faith is “of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

“For who regards you as superior?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”  1 Corinthians 4:7.

This point that we received faith as a gift of God is also consistent with the fact of our “Total Depravity”, the first point of Calvinism, summarized by “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

If we are dead in our sins, hostile to God, and enslaved to sin and Satan as taught by “Total Depravity”, then we can not produce our own faith through our own alleged free-will.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-12.

And, if somehow we could produce our own faith, then our own faith would be sinful, frail, and faulty.  We could and would lose whatever faith that we produced.  In any event, even if we somehow could keep our own faith, our own sinful faith would not be sufficient to save us.

Only a God-given faith can save us.  “we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus”.  To God Alone be all the glory for our salvation! 

All those who have faith have received faith as a gift of God through the grace of the Lord Jesus.

In the following Scripture, we read that even Peter received faith.  Peter specifically confessed (“To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours”), and Peter generally confessed (“seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness”) which would generally include faith.

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  2 Peter 1:1-3.


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