Sermon Outline 5 Jun 2017 – Salvation By Grace Alone
a. Meaning: Grace Alone
b. Grace is “the unmerited favor of God” for unworthy sinners.
c. In the teaching of the Roman Catholic church, the idea had developed prior to the reformation, of man earning God’s favor by what he did, so much so, that people afflicted themselves to gain the attention and favor of God.
d. The reformers returned the church to the truth of salvation as a free gift of God for unworthy sinners.
“And 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.” – Romans 11:6
Christians are used to talking about grace, but the grace of God is a radical Biblical idea. Other religions never truly believed in grace. The gods were there to reward you if you offered them some money. Even in early Judaism, many believed that God was gracious, but it was conditional on an appropriate response to grace. Even today, many Christians believe you start with grace as God’s help, but you must choose wisely if you are going to keep your salvation.
Grace Alone in Reformation Thought
The Medieval Roman Catholic church believed in grace, but grace was dependent on the Church. Grace was a thing. The church gave you baptism, which washed away original sin, but from then on you had to co-operate with God by going to church, doing penance, receiving the bread at Mass, and then finally, before death, extreme unction (oil to anoint the dying.) The Reformers were very different, they believed in salvation by God’s grace alone, without any human contribution. They saw grace not as a thing (like the Roman Church) but as God’s sovereign gift & favour upon the undeserving, which was powerful enough to change lives. That is, repentance, faith, and the good works of Christians were all gifts. The Reformation believed that the only thing we contribute to our own salvation is our own Sin!
So, the Reformation has a very serious view of Sin, and from their belief in grace, they believed that while human beings are responsible for their own actions, nevertheless, in a great mystery God chooses or predestines unconditional people for salvation by grace alone. Grace Alone meant grace at the start, grace to the end, grace in the middle, grace without fail, grace without mixture, grace without addition, grace that allows no boasting, grace that precludes all glorying but in the Lord. All false concepts of grace would seek to eliminate at least one of these clauses, but the biblical Gospel stands firm. Unless Grace alone is understood in this manner, man will always have some room for boasting.
Grace Alone in Scripture (Eph 2:1-10.)
Human beings are born spiritually dead, and so cannot choose God
Human beings are under the slavery of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil
God’s wrath is upon all human beings
But God in Christ has decided to give his grace and favour upon human beings.
The ground of grace is the work of Christ
The instrument of grace is faith, which is a gift
Grace is so powerful that it produces good works
That means that God chooses & predestines by grace alone for salvation (Eph 1:3-14.)
Living by Grace Alone Today
- Humility before God
- Assurance of Salvation
- Showing Grace to others
“Salvation, ought to be ascribed exclusively to his [God’s] election, which is of free grace.”
“For any mixture of the power of free will that men strive to mingle with God’s grace is nothing but a corruption of grace. It is just as if one were to dilute wine with muddy, bitter water.”
“Faith itself is a part of grace.”
“Whatever is praiseworthy in our works proceeds from the grace of God.”
1. Why do many people find it so difficult to believe in grace alone?
2. In what ways can we live a life of humility?
3. Because of grace alone, do we have confidence & assurance of our salvation?