"It Is The Gift Of God"             

Ephesians 2:8


     The gospel of Christ is the declaration of who Christ is, what he did at Calvary, and why he did it. It is not the mere declaration of the fact that Christ died. It is the declaration of "HOW that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (I Cor. 15:3). According to the Scriptures Christ died voluntarily, by his own sovereign will, vicariously, in the room, place, and stead of his people, and victoriously , having fully accomplished the redemption of God's elect by the satisfaction of divine justice.

     The gospel calls upon all people to repent of their sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, promising salvation and eternal life to all who believe (Mk. 16:15-16; John 3:14, 15, 18, 36; Rom. 10:9-13).

     These things cannot be disputed. Christ accomplished redemption for all his people. If you trust Christ, salvation is yours. You have been chosen of God, redeemed by Christ, and called by the Spirit.

     However, there is a problem that must be faced. Man, by nature, is dead in trespasses and sins, spiritually dead (Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1). Being spiritually dead, he has no life toward God, no ability to improve his condition, and no desire to do so. His spiritual death is so thorough and complete that he is not even aware of his lost condition before God and has no will or desire to come to Christ, believe on Christ, and be saved by Christ. He will not and cannot muster faith from within himself and trust Christ by any ability of his own (John 5:40; 6:44).

     Before any sinner can or will come to Christ, he must be born again. Faith is the result, not the cause of the new birth. That faith by which we receive God's salvation in Christ is the gift of God. "Salvation is of the Lord," in its entirety! Faith in Christ is as much the gift and work of God's free grace as election, redemption, and regeneration. If you believe, it is because God has given you faith (Phil. 1:29). You "believe according to the working of his mighty power" (Eph. 2:19). Faith is not the work of the sinner's imaginary "free-will". Faith is the gift of God's sovereign grace, the result of God's operation upon the heart. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."



Don Fortner