The Book of Ephesians: For by Grace…Through Faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)

“Sola Fide and Sola Gratia — have become deeply entrenched in Protestant history.  Sola Fide, or faith alone, denies that our works contribute to the ground of our justification, while Sol Gratia, or grace alone, denies that any merit or our own contributes to our justification.” R. C. Sproul  

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!” “Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.” “Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin; how shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin?” Wonderful words from several hymns on God’s grace.

One author writes, “Christians love to sing of the saving grace of God—and rightly so. John tells us that out of Jesus’ “fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Many of the New Testament letters begin and end with the writers expressing their desire that the grace of Jesus would be with His people. The very last words of the Bible read: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).”

The 16th Century Protestant Reformers grasped the importance of the grace of God to the Scriptures teaching on salvation. One of the slogans that came to define Reformation teaching was sola gratia, which is Latin for “by grace alone.” Sinners are saved by the grace of God alone.

“For by grace you have been saved.” The Apostle Paul states that it is through the instrumentality of God’s unmerited favor and kindness that sinners are saved (σῴζω; sozo) or delivered from the penalty of sin. In other words, God has delivered unworthy sinners into divine salvation.

“Through faith.” God graciousness towards sinners occurs through faith and faith alone. This is trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and worship of Jesus Christ solely originates from God. Sinners do not create their own faith in the Lord. As we shall see in the text, faith is also a sovereign gift from God. This is because to rely on oneself for faith is no different from relying upon oneself for good works.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Correctly understood, the pronoun this refers the reader back to immediately preceding noun faith. Paul is stating that the believer’s faith is not solely of them, but rather it is the gift solely from God.  

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “This” refers to the entire previous statement of salvation, not only the grace but the faith. Although men are required to believe for salvation, even that faith is part of the gift of God, which saves and cannot be exercised by one’s own power. God’s grace is preeminent in every aspect of salvation (cf. Rom. 3:20Gal. 2:16)”

Dr. R.C. Sproul comments that, “The whole complex of salvation is by grace through faith as a gift from God. Others, however, take (the word) ‘this’ as referring specifically to ‘faith.’ In either case, since faith is included in the whole complex of salvation, faith itself must be understood as a gift of God and not as a human achievement, Sinners are dependent on God’s gracious gift for their believing response to Christ from the moment of conversion. Paul makes explicit here was is implicit elsewhere in the New Testament about the ultimate source of saving faith (Acts 13:48; Philippians 1:29).”

May we all give thanks today for God’s great and amazing grace and also for the gracious gift of saving faith.   

Soli deo Gloria!

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