ESV - 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
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In Eph 2:8 the gift is salvation, by grace and through faith. The process of salvation is taken as a whole in regards to source, reason, and mechanism. Paul contrasts salvation by grace and through faith with 'works', for man cannot achieve salvation by his own merit. ('Faith' and 'grace' are in the feminine gender, but the gift of God is in the neuter gender. In Greek, this then applies the 'gift' to the entire clause.) It's a similar train of thought to Rom 5:18-21. While we were all condemned by the law and sin reigned, the death of Christ brought justification by His own blood. In this grace reigns (the 'by'), through righteousness and through Jesus (the process), to bring eternal life (the 'what'). The process is given in even more detail in Rom 3:22-26: Righteousness is given through faith to all who believe. We are justified by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God displayed Christ publicly (grace) as a propitiation (atoning sacrifice) whose blood is applied to us through faith. These and other similar passages are summaries of the gospel; that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We receive Him by faith and are justified, receiving the righteousness of Christ in place of our own sins, and will never perish but will have eternal life. (Tit 3:3-8, Heb 10:22, II Tim 1:9-11, 2 Corinthians 5:21) We only have the offer of salvation because of grace. Because we could not save ourselves, God the Father in his mercy and grace sent His only begotten Son to die for the ungodly as propitiation, an atoning sacrifice, on behalf of our sins. (Rom 3:25, Rom 5:6-8, Rom 5:15-17, John 12:32, John 3:14-17). Salvation is by grace (Rom 11:6), not works, so that man can never boast. (Rom 6:19-23, Eph 2:8-9, Is 63:4-5, Rom 8:1-4, Acts 13:39, Phil 3:7-9, etc.) How great a salvation is this! It does not come by our merit, but by God's grace. It does not come through our dead works, but through our belief in the Messiah (John 6:28-29, John 3:16). It is a salvation beyond the capacity of man to achieve or offer. "But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!" Rom 5:15 "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Tit 3:4-7 Salvation is through faith; more specifically, through faith in the person and work of Christ who died for our sins. It is through faith that we are justified (Rom 5:1, Rom 3:24-30); through faith that we enter the covenant with Christ; through faith we are reconciled to God and may approach Him (Rom 5:1-11, Eph 3:12); through faith that we have access into the peculiar grace a believer stands in (Rom 5:2); through faith we are raised with Christ and receive the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Col 2:11-13, Rom 6:4, Rom 3:22, Phil 3:9, Acts 13:39); through faith we are shielded by God's power until the coming of salvation (I Pet 1:5); through faith we inherit what has been promised (Heb 6:12); through faith Christ dwells in our hearts (Eph 3:17), through faith we hold eternal life (John 3:16). "...In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time....for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." -I Pet 1:3-9
I would like to explain this verse by showing the contrasts between "What God does to bring us his salvation" and "What we do to receive that salvation". I also would like us to understand that Salvation is both an event and a process. At the moment we accept what Jesus has done for us, we are saved from the penalty of sin. But our salvation began the moment we were created and will continue until the day Jesus returns again. You see, we must also remember that God's salvation includes delivering us from the power of sin as Jesus becomes the Lord of our lives. When Jesus returns again, we will forever be delivered from the presence of sin, when we receive our brand new glorious bodies at the resurrection of the dead. So let's take a look at "What does God do to bring us his salvation"? 1. He gives us his general revelation through his creation The bible says we know that God exists when we look at his creation 2. He writes his laws on our hearts and gives us a conscience to help us know right from wrong. When we experience guilt and shame we know we have violated God's laws 3. He gives us the written record of the Old Testament as an example - choosing a people, saving them and giving them an eternal inheritance 4. He sent Jesus into our world as a man while retaining his nature as God; to reveal what God is like, to deliver the gospel message & show us the way to salvation, to die & pay the penalty for our sin, to rise and ascend to heaven, to restore the gift of eternal life and relationship with God 5. He sent out his believers (the church) to preach this gospel message to all of creation 6. The bible says that because of sin we are: spiritually blind, spiritually deaf, hard-hearted, and stiff-necked. So the Holy Spirit works through the gospel message to open our eyes and ears, soften our hearts and humble us (bow our heads). 7. Because of our sinful nature we try to hide our sin before God and others. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel message to convict us of our sin so we are willing to acknowledge / confess it before God 8. Even after confessing our sin, our nature still "wants what I want" not "wants what God wants". So the Holy Spirit gives to us a spirit of repentance. This is the ability / capacity to forsake our old way of life, to turn around and begin moving toward God. 9. Once we begin moving toward God, the Holy Spirit gives us the assurance that what we are hearing in the gospel message is TRUE, that we can BELIEVE IT! In the New Testament record, people demonstrated their belief in the message by being baptized. 10. As we continue to hear the gospel, the Holy Spirit gives us faith (ability to trust) in what we have believed 11. Once we have confessed with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in our heart that he rose from the dead - WE ARE SAVED - from the penalty of sin 12. At the moment of our salvation, Jesus is pleased to send us his Holy Spirit, who breathes life into our dead spirits and we are born again. 13. The Holy Spirit also becomes our teacher. Initially feeding us with spiritual milk to strengthen our faith in the promises of God 14. Then the Holy Spirit begins feeding us with solid food, the teaching about righteous living, that enables us to have victory after victory over the powers of temptation and sin that used to wreck havoc in our lives 15. Through our life experiences the Holy Spirit builds the character of God into our souls and trains and equips us to complete the good works that God prepared in advance for us to do 16. Then Jesus comes again to, 1) give us glorious new bodies, 2) reward our faithfulness,and 3) live with us for eternity on the perfect new earth Now, What is Our Part in Receiving God's Salvation? 1) SEEK God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength 2) BELIEVE in the gospel message as an act of our will 3) ACCEPT Jesus as our personal saviour 4) INVITE Jesus every day to be the Lord of our life 5) WALK with the Holy Spirit every day Easy!
By grace ye are saved, (what Jesus did for us) through faith,(believe He did it just for us) and that not of yourselves, (we did nothing for it) it is the gift of God, (it is free) not of works, (we can do nothing for it) lest any man should boast. As Abraham said in Romans 4:2 He had nothing to glory in. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, (the free gift of salvation by grace) to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name. We become a child of God, when we believe the gospel. First Corinthians 15:1-4 So everyone who has ever received the free gift by believing the gospel is saved and has eternal life. Since it is a free gift, we can do nothing for it. Jesus paid it all and we paid 0. Jesus is the free gift. Romans 11:6 It is all grace,(what He did for us,) not works, (what we do or do not do), it can not be both. So any one who has ever accepted the free gift of salvation by grace, has the promised Holy Spirit in them and can never be lost. John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, and ALL that come to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:39 Jesus has never lost one. It is the free gift to all that believe. John 6:47 Verily verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. That is for ever and ever. John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life, (He is the one that gives us eternal life when we believe the gospel) and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. Nobody can take our salvation from us because it was given to us by God. There is only one gospel and it is a free gift of God when we believe it we have eternal life. Any one who says there is any other way to be saved than what Jesus did for us on the cross is a false teacher. Salvation is a free gift of God by faith alone. Those that have received the free gift can never be lost because we did nothing for it. Jesus paid it all and we paid 0.
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