Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Saved by Grace

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:8-10
 

As Christians we live in the assurance that our sins have been forgiven and we have been saved. In the course of the years following our salvation we experience new things – from the viewpoint of a Christian. We have, through the new birth, received a changed perspective. We should continue to work on this. The prerequisite to true faith is, as written in Acts 3:19-21 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” God's Son was predestined as the Redeemer, to pay the penalty for our sins that we may be converted. As it is God who leads us to conversion, through His goodness and His mercy (Romans 2:4), it must also be clear to us that something must have pointed us to repentance and conversion, for it to happen. That is God's doing, the election as well as the new birth – all of it is God's sovereign doing. Jesus declared this in John 6:44: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” And to Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, He said: ''Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'' (John 3:3)! We can only do that which is of God, after God in His free and sovereign will enabled us to do it.

Charles Hodge (1797-1878) wrote that there is hardly a doctrine as devastating to the soul as that which states that sinners can bring about their own salvation, pay their own penance and have faith when it suits them. How and when believers receive this new birth from Above is a mystery and something which rather occurs in an unspectacular way in private – in God's thoughts. In any event, we read in the Bible, that this occurred before the creation of the earth (Ephesians 1:4-5: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”) The Bible teaches, on numerous occasions, that no man can earn his own salvation through deeds (i.e. Galatians 2:16). This includes such works done through self-imposed faith. Yet no-one who perseveres in their faith, is self-elected (John 15,16) or was prompted to salvation through his own doing. God is the Doer and whomever seeks or suspects the glory and honor of the saving faith to have come directly or indirectly from himself, errs greatly. Such a person cannot be driven by the Holy Spirit, because such a presumption is unbiblical (John 16:13-15). It is written in Jeremiah 31:18 “Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God.”

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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