We emphatically declare what the Scriptures plainly
teach, that salvation is by the grace of God. "For by grace
you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that one should
boast." However, to add the word "alone" after
"grace," and make salvation by grace alone, teaches
something that the Bible does not teach. For those who would be
saved, God Himself injected the necessity of man's obedience to
To say that we are saved by grace alone would
necessarily eliminate all human activity from salvation. If that
were true, every human being on the face of the earth will be
saved because God's grace has been offered to all men (Titus 2:11).
This conclusion could not be the correct one because Jesus said
In Matthew 7:21, "Not every one who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will My
Father who is in heaven." There we have it. If one is to
please God and receive salvation he must do the Father's will.
If salvation is by grace alone, it would eliminate
all need for preaching the gospel since all would be saved, whether
they hear it and obey it or not. Paul declared in Romans 10:13-15
that salvation involves "calling on the name of the Lord,"
"believing in Him," and hearing the Word preached.
Salvation is by grace, but our text, Ephesians
2:8-9, indicates that it is not by grace alone, but through faith.
The grace is on God's part, and the faith is on man's part. God's
grace is freely extended to the whole world and He is certainly
capable of saving every person who has ever lived or ever will
live on the earth. However, God has chosen to save only those
who accept His grace, through faith. It is God's grace that saves,
but an obedient faith is essential in order for His grace to be
applied. Food satisfies hunger, but it takes eating to apply the
food. Water quenches thirst, but only for those who drink it.
So it is that God's grace saves, but only the person who applies
it through faith. Grace is God's gift to man but it is not an
Remember that Paul was talking to the Ephesian
Christians when he said that they were saved "by grace through
faith." What did these people do to be saved?
Eph. 1:13 says that they heard the gospel. Since
they were saved by grace through faith we conclude that the
process included hearing the gospel preached.
Eph. 1:13 also tells us that the Ephesians believed
in Christ, so, we conclude that being saved by grace through
faith includes believing in Jesus.
Acts 20:21 records Paul addressing the elders
of the church in Ephesus in this way: "Testifying both
to the Jews and also to the Greeks repentance toward God..."
The Ephesians were taught to repent, but they were saved by
grace through faith. The obvious conclusion is that repentance
is included in being saved by grace through faith.
Acts 19:18. Here it states that "many who
believed came and confessed." So, in being saved by grace
through faith men confessed Christ.
Acts 19:1-5. Here we read of the beginning of
the church at Ephesus. Verse 5 informs us they were baptized
in the name of the Lord Jesus. So, when the Ephesians were saved
by grace through faith, this included their obedience to the
Lord in baptism.
When Paul told the Ephesians that they were saved
by grace he did not mean by grace alone, without obedience to
the will of God. These Ephesians heard, believed in Christ, repented
of their sins, confessed Christ as the Son of God, and were baptized
If this is what people in New Testament times
did to receive the grace of God and be saved, can we do less today
and expect to receive the same salvation?