Part 6 of 22 -
“Salvation by Grace, Through Faith… Not of Works”
By now the reader may have noted the many Scripture references that I’ve drawn from the epistles of the Apostle Paul; he is “THE Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul wrote; “I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles…” (Romans 11:13a, see also; 1Cor 14:37; Eph 3:1-9).
If you don’t already know me and my hermeneutic approach to study of the Bible*, you might ask; Why so much reliance upon Paul? I most often quote Paul because from the time of his conversion on the road to Damascus, several years after the cross, Paul preached a new, heretofore unheard of gospel, that he received from the ascended Lord (Gal 1:12) for the Gentile body of Christ. Paul termed it “the gospel of the grace of God “(Act 20:24). Paul distinguished the gospel he preached from that of “the Twelve” by calling it “my gospel” (Rom 2:16; 16:25; 2Tim 2:8).
Paul’s message says the members of the predominantly Gentile “body of Christ,” while ambassadors on earth (2Cor 5:20), are destined for “heaven” as their eternal abode (Philip 3:20a, 1Thes 4:17). They are not destined for “the
” on the new earth. “The Twelve,” on the other hand, were explicitly instructed by Jesus to “go not into the way of the Gentiles… go only to the lost sheep of the house of kingdomof God ” (Matt 10:5-6). They were to preach the “gospel of the kingdom”… to come “on earth.” (Matt 24:24, Matt 6:10), as was promised to Abraham’s seed, Israel . Israel
Differentiating between Old Testament “prophesy,” which always concerns Israel, and that of “the mystery,” the heretofore hidden gospel that the ascended Lord gave to Paul several years after Jesus’ of Nazareth’s earthly ministry, is the key for understanding and “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15). The vast majority in Christendom does not distinguish or see Paul’s mystery gospel as being the unique message for the “the body of Christ” today. Thus, they marginalize Paul and miss out on the full blessings of the cross, the inheritance that is ours in Christ and God’s work in this age, as seen under the terms Paul’s pure grace gospel.
The quote below is from Cornelius R. Stam concerning the loss of Paul’s most important message and gospel among the professing church.
“The professing Church has largely obscured the great Pauline message and gospel by confusing it with divine instructions for other dispensations. This has been attended with the curse instead of His blessing, and no amount of trying to restore the blessing will avail, apart from the recovery of the pure, unadulterated message and program of which God, by revelation committed to the Apostle Paul for us today.”
Having established Paul’s place in God’s plan for today, let’s now proceed to discuss the key doctrinal aspects of our “salvation” as they are found in Paul’s epistles to “the body of Christ.”
This series’ title, “Salvation by Grace, Through Faith… Without Works,” is drawn from the words of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
“For by grace (God’s unmerited favor) are ye saved (from judgment) through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
These should be very familiar verses for any genuine Christian. They declare that salvation comes by the “grace” of God and “through faith,” which faith is the “gift of God” (v8), without any “works” requirement (v9). These verses articulate a most significant core doctrinal truth of “the faith” for grace believing Christians in this age of pure grace. This truth was at the core of Martin Luther’s great revelation… that men may be “justified by faith” (Rom 3:22, 24, 28, 5:1) “apart from the works of the law” for justification, in the early 1500’s.
Paul often draws contrast in his writings so as to clarify his point and eliminate any doubt as the meaning of his words. In Eph 2:8-9, we see that “faith,” which is received as “the gift of God,” is here contrasted with “works” of man in order to receive salvation. Today, salvation is achieved exclusively “by grace (the unmerited favor of God)”… “through faith”… and that faith is “the gift from God” … “NOT OF WORKS.” The term “faith OF the son of God” is also used here below.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I LIVE by the FAITH OF the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The “faith of Jesus” and the “faith of the Son of God” are used several times in Paul’s epistles as seen in the KJV Bible. The idea of God’s freely dispensed “gift of grace” and “faith,” as the means for appropriating the salvation that is in Christ, agrees with Paul’s words concerning how Christians are to then proceed to “live” and walk in their daily lives. Eph 2:8 says we are “SAVED BY” a “faith” that is “the gift of (from) God” while Gal 2:20b (KJV) tells us “we LIVE BY the faith OF (from) the Son of God,” again, not by our own human faith.
NOTE: One must use a King James Authorized 1611 Version of the Bible, the Greek Interlinear Bible, or Darby Bible, in order to see the phrase “faith OF the Son of God.” These agree with the oldest Greek text. According to the Louw & Nida Greek Lexicon, the word “of” here is the Greek word “ek,” essentially means faith that is both “FROM and WITH” the Son of God” (see also Rom 3:22; Gal 2:16, 3:22; Eph 3:12, Philip 3:9).
Louw & Nida Greek Lexicon- “of,” “ek,” 89.142 markers of the substance of which something consists or out of which it is made - ‘of, consisting of, out of, made of.’
This “faith” is both a gift sent “from God” and also the gift comes to us “with God,” with the very sender Himself – the Lord Jesus. In other words, this faith is from God, via and with the person of the Spirit of Christ, who indwells every believer. Thus, “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” within the believer… is the believer’s faith (Gal 2:20b). Thus, believer’s are “saved by” a faith that is not their own, and then also they are to “live by” the faith of Christ. Thus, every believer is truly God’s handiwork from the moment of their salvation. Philippians 2:13 (AMP) [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
Most modern Bible translations, since 1881, actually distort the Bible and Paul’s words and meaning; misleading their readers; i.e., NIV, NASB, NKJV, Living Bible, etc. Virtually all the modern Bible translations have altered the word of God, departing from the oldest Greek manuscripts; now using the term “faith IN the son of God” in place of “the FAITH OF the son of God” (KJV). The translators of the modern translations have all used a “new Greek text” produced by Westcott & Hort+; they’ve abandoned the oldest Greek text and thereby corrupted the word of God.
These Bible translators no doubt did not see or believe the unique “revelation of the mystery” of Paul’s “my gospel” so they try to make their translation fit their unbelief. The core of Paul’s mystery gospel was that Christ was crucified, died, and rose to become “the life-giving Spirit” (1Cor 15:45), to indwell the human spirit of each member of “the body of Christ,” to be their all-sufficient savior, new life, faith, and power for living.
Sadly, most teachers in the professing church neglect and some even oppose the truth of Paul’s unique ministry. They erroneously confound this precious God-given blessing with quotes taken from the other Bible books written to and concerning
. Israel ’s “Law” contradicts Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24, Rom 6:14). They quote the Old Testament and epistles written to and concerning Israel (i.e., four gospels, and Epistles of John, James, Peter), as though their words are for instruction of “the body of Christ.” This is a hermeneutic error. While Paul says these other books are “for our learning” (Rom 15:4), they are not written to “the body of Christ.” Only the Apostle Paul’s words are expressly written to and for the members of “the body of Christ” today. Here is an example of a seeming contradiction. “The body of Christ” is a term used only by its revelator, the Apostle Paul. Israel
E.g. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20, 26), is the exact opposite of Paul’s pure grace gospel. But, we can see that there actually is no contradiction here when we note to whom James addressed his epistle. It is addressed not to “the body of Christ,” but “to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel” (James 1:1) for instruction of the remnant of ’s in the “last days.” Is James’ epistle for the Gentile “body of Christ”? No! All one needs to do is read to whom the epistle is written. This is what Paul means when he commends us to “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15). Israel
Most of the church today makes a believer’s relationship with God contingent upon the believer’s own pathetic good-works (at least to some degree) and their effort to be righteous. Man’s works and faith are insufficient for salvation and for living the Christian life. This false gospel is why we have so many impotent, unsure, and insecure so-called believers in the pews of the churches at large.
Among the so-called Bible believing churches today, they have largely abandoned “the faith that was once delivered” in favor of promoting the false gospel that believers should offer up to God their “good works” of their own effort and resource, while trying hard to pump up their own inadequate faith. Many preachers and teachers will say “You have to have faith. It depends upon your faith “IN” God.” They often say, “You’re not healed or successful in this or that because you don’t have enough faith – it’s your fault.” The burden is thus placed upon the believer to find faith within his own resource. It’s no wonder that Christians feel condemned, unsure, insecure, and fearful; knowing they themselves do not have enough faith to live the Christian life as its is currently presented to them.
Paul says every man has “been given a measure of faith” (see Rom 12:3) that they may be saved and that is sufficient so long as we don’t muck it up with our own self-works effort. Most persist in placing their faith in their own abilities and resources.
Grace & faith are God’s work in men. Paul says believers can be confident that God is working within.
Philippians 1:6 (AMP) And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. The truth is that we need to be patient and endure while God works within us to free the faith that is in us.
Paul says it was the ascended Lord who directly gave him his unique gospel (Gal 1:12). Yet, many today reject Paul and his message totally or in part. “That I (Paul) should be THE MINISTER of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified (made holy) by the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:16)
Paul here clearly tells us grace and works are mutually exclusive.
“IF BY GRACE, then is it NO MORE OF WORKS: otherwise grace is no more grace. But IF IT BE OF WORKS, THEN IS IT NO MORE GRACE: otherwise work is no more work.” (Rom 11:6)
“… God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3b). But substituting our “works” negates both the grace of God and God’s free gift of “faith.” Yet, religion continues to promote “works” to merit salvation. I believe many who are assumed to be saved may not really be saved. Many have thereby missed out on salvation from perdition (judgment). Paul says reliance upon the works requirements of the former divinely inspired dispensation of “the Law” actually now serves to prevent one from being “justified” before God today.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a MAN IS NOT JUSTIFIED BY the WORKS OF THE LAW, but by the faith of (ek, from and with) Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be JUSTIFIED BY THE FAITH OF CHRIST, and NOT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW: for BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED.
Many pastors and whole liberal denominations of the apostate church (the fallen away church) have abandoned “the faith” that is able to save men. Many segments of Christendom have now turned to the “social justice” message of Marxism in place of Paul’s gospel. They deceitfully draw upon some of the words of Jesus of Nazareth that were spoken about the coming
, as though man can bring this to pass. In 2Thes 2:3, and 10, Paul declares that “….there shall come a falling away” among “them that perish because they received not the love of the truth, that they may be saved.” 2 Timothy 3:13 (KJV) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. This is something worth considering very seriously. Kingdomof God
But also, many of the so-called Bible believing Christian churches erroneously proclaim a gospel that includes a requirement of human faith and some form of “works” to merit salvation or to keep one saved (i.e., repentance, water baptism, tongues, etc., which belong to Israel). Thus, they violate Paul’s pure “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) that works only by faith.
Most of so-called Bible preaching Christianity today preaches and teaches a mixture, the half truth of grace mixed with Law. Generally, most so-called Bible believing people still hold to the key elements of grace and faith necessary for salvation, but… then they mix grace and faith with the works of keeping the law and principles that Jesus of Nazareth taught ISRAEL (Mat 5:18). They fail to see that Jesus of Nazareth’s earthly ministry was not address to the Gentiles (Matt 15:24); not to establish “the body of Christ” at that time. Later, via Jesus’ ascended ministry, He did present “the gospel of the grace of God” for the Gentiles via Paul (Eph 3:1-5). Attempting to keep “The Law” will not save men today under the “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2). God’s paradigm has changed for this age.
Paul’s “my gospel” (Rom 16:25) is the simple good news for today, as we live under “the dispensation of the grace of God.” All men shall be judged according to Paul’s words as “the commandments of the Lord” (1Cor 14:37). Rom 2:16 … God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my (Paul’s) gospel.
* Request the writer’s series “How to Approach the Bible.+ Page 39, “New Age Bible Versions,” by GA Riplinger, AV Publications,