"By Grace Ye Are Saved"          

Ephesians 2:5


     Salvation is accomplished by the work of God for us (election, the covenant of grace, and redemption) and by the work of God in us (regeneration, faith, perseverance, etc.). Both are works of grace alone. The work of God in us is the experimental part of salvation. And it is as essential to salvation as the work of God for us in eternity and at Calvary. "Ye must be born again!" Regeneration is the work of grace alone (Eph. 2:1-4). "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profitteth nothing. Conviction is a work of grace alone (John 16:8-11). Faith in Christ is the work of grace alone (Eph. 1:19; 2:8; Col. 1:12). Good works are the work of God's grace (Gal. 5:23-24; Eph. 2:10). "It is God which worketh in you." Perseverance is the work of God's grace (John 10:27-28; Phil. 1:6). Even sanctification is the work of grace alone.

     Sanctification is holiness. To be sanctified is to be made holy. And this is never once ascribed to the will or work of man, but always to the grace of God. Grace alone makes unholy men and women to be holy. We are made holy by the imputed righteousness of Christ in justification and by the imparted righteousness of Christ in regeneration. To be sanctified is to be made a saint. It is not the pope or the church that makes sinners saints. And sinners do not make themselves saints. God alone makes sinners saints!

     The word "sanctify" is used six times in the New Testament, "sanctification" five times, and "sanctified" sixteen times. But never once is sanctification ascribed to the will or works of men. We are said to be sanctified "through the truth" (John 17:19), "by faith" in Christ (Acts 26:18), "by the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 15:16), "in Christ" (I Cor. 1:2), "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (I Cor. 6:11), "by the will of God, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ" (Heb. 10:10), "by one offering" (Heb. 10:14) and "by God the Father" (Jude 1). But never once in the New Testament is sanctification, or any other aspect of salvation, said to be the result of any man's will or work. "Salvation is of the Lord," from start to finish! Looking over the whole work of salvation, every believing heart cries, "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake!"


Don Fortner