Believe Chapter 3 -- Salvation and the Penalty of Sin

     The book Believe does a dandy summation of how salvation was achieved: From our fall in the garden, the foreshadow in the Passover, the prophecy of Christ’s coming in Isaiah, to the fulfillment in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and then Paul’s explanation in Romans.

     (By the way, when was the last time you heard the word dandy in casual conversation?)

          Our salvation comes by God’s blessing, God’s favor, His undeserved kindness and gift to us. That comes by God’s Grace. Grace and salvation is at its foundation the good news that we have been delivered from the penalty our sins and that penalty is eternal death and separation from God.

      So today, let us look at the foundation, saving grace. First, know that it is God who initiates salvation, not us. God is the author of our salvation and thus he is the author of grace. In Ephesians 2: 4-9, we see that grace works in our salvation. It is through grace, God’s gift to us, that salvation begins.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

     Grace in Greek is charis. That’s right, the same word used in the word charismatic. It’s also used in the word charm, charity and charitable. It literally means gift or gifted. Those who have some inbred charisma are naturally gifted and people are naturally drawn to them.

    So Grace is a gift and therefore we do not purchase, buy, deserve or earn a gift. It is based on the Giver! There are no “takebacks” with God.

     “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” that is number one part of the gospel (see 1 Cor. 15:3). But notice that it is a done deal. We have been saved from our sins. If we “have been saved” with the emphasis of the past tense, then we do not need to worry that somehow God is going to “unsave” us. If salvation is a gift by His grace so that we would not boast, how then could our salvation be kept by us and by our works which would only lead us to boast?

    The gospel or good news is that God’s grace, His riches, His blessings do not end at the sinner’s prayer. That’s just the beginning. His Amazing Grace does not cease or even diminish once salvation is imparted. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense is not terminated at our regeneration. Grace is initialized at our salvation, but it is also realized in our sanctification. 

     We will see that tomorrow.


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