Monday, October 25, 2010

Salvation Series: Faith in Christ Alone vs. Works Pt. 4

Where does our hope come from? I was listening to this song the other day. It is called, "Saving One" by: Starfield. This song portrays the overwhelming grace of God that is found strictly in Jesus alone. If you have never heard of the song before, the beginning stanza of this song's lyrics say this:

What mercy was revealed
What selflessness and peace
My fate was surely sealed
Until He rescued me

His pardon for my sin
His bounty for my need
From slavery and shame
I am redeemed.

Just ponder the words, the lyrics to this song. Last time, we made our way through the first three verses of Ephesians 2. These verses captured the intense moment of my (our) fate was surely sealed. We were dead in our transgressions and sins; without God, without hope in this world. Our fate was surely sealed. Edmund's fate was surely sealed in the Chronicles of Narnia movie. But, where does our hope come from? In whom does our hope and peace rest in? Let's dig into verses 4-10 of the Ephesians 2 passage (click here to read it).

When I read these verses beginning in Ephesians 2:4, I am completely overwhelmed. The first two words of Ephesians 2:4 read as "But God". These two words magnificently turn the tables on the description of our hopelessness in verses 1-3. Like a baseball team beginning a ninth inning rally down ten runs in an elimination playoff game, these words are uttered to inspire hope. My ESV Study Bible footnote says this on these two words, "No hopeless fate looks grimmer than that which awaits the forlorn company of mankind marching behind the 'prince of the power of the air' (v. 2) to their destruction under divine wrath. Just when things look the most desolate, Paul utters the greatest short phrase in the history of human speech: 'But God!'" 1 This is no doubt the greatest short phrase uttered in the history of human speech. We were completely enslaved to sin. We were behind overwhelming odds. We were desolately in replete condemnation, because of our sin. Then, out of nowhere, Paul utters the sweetest phrase ever, "But God". Amazing.

We have the words, "But God", however, what do the next words say? Ephesians 2:4-5 says, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ---- by grace you have been saved----". Because He was merciful, He saved us; because He was loving, He saved us; because He was gracious, He saved us. It is nothing we have done to earn His mercy or grace. It is exclusively, because He is merciful towards guilty sinners. We deserve His wrath and judgment, but He sacrificially offered Himself to die upon a cruel cross that we have no right spurning. He absorbed the wrath of God that was pounded on top of Him, and He drank every last drop of the cup that ultimately destroyed Him. He is worthy of our praise and worship alone. Works is not worthy of anything. Good works is nothing to worship about. KING JESUS IS AND HIM ALONE. We have been saved from so much audience. Why not just give Him your everything, because He is worthy of worship?

As Aslan was talking with the White Witch about what was to become of Edmund, Edmund was only praying and hoping that Aslan would come through for him in some way. Aslan was Edmund's only hope. You know the rest of the story. Similarly, Jesus is our ONLY HOPE. Good works will leave us with nothing in the end, if we hold fast to that as our sole hope. Ephesians 2:5b says that we have been saved by grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 repeats what 2:5b said earlier, but with added emphasis, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." As I said earlier, works will accomplish nothing for you in the overall scheme of being saved from an eternal hell. Only Jesus can, not works plus Christ. Please trust in Christ as your Lord and Personal Savior if you have not done so already. He will save you and you can be fully assured you will see Him one day, reigning, as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Trust in Him.

We are not finished with this series yet. I will conclude with Ephesians 2:10 on the evidence that you have been saved.

Sola Deo Gloria!!!

1- ESV footnote from my English Standard Version Study Bible, pg. 2264 on behalf of Ephesians 2:4.


May Amelia said...

Wow, this is great! You have a really unique way of writing that is really easy to read and comprehend.
I know you quoted the ESV Bible and I'm wondering if that's your usual translation? Of course, the whole Bible translation issue is a controversy in itself (haha) but I'm curious to see what you think. I really only use NASB and KJV based on Kent Hovind's recommendations from the site that compares most, if not all, Bible translations.
If you have time, I'd be interested to know what you think.

Joshua said...

Yes, it is May. I use the ESV as my primary reading of Scripture and studying. It is a good version to use. Many King James only proponents would say no, but what do they know? However to be honest, I really have not studied the logistics of the Bible controversy, but I am well aware of it. All I know is that the KJV was printed based off the correct manuscripts. The NASB was printed from the KJV and NKJV. The ESV is a flavor of the KJV and the Geneva Bible. The reason why I chose the ESV as my primary version of Scripture to use was because it is biblically sound like the KJV is. When you read the KJV and the ESV side by side, they are very similar in textual content. The NASB is too. Reading different Scriptures side by side has been a rather huge help to me in determining what version to use. You can add the NKJV into that mix as well. The NKJV, NASB, ESV, and KJV are all excellent versions to use based upon the textual content of Scripture as a whole. What I mean by textual content is this: Is the version true to the original text? If it is not, throw it out. The KJV is very close to the original text as we can get. Because of that fact, I line up the versions together to see if they are rather close to the KJV. If a specific version does not line up, I completely disregard that particular version. A version that I have disregarded in the past is the NIV. No surprise there. So anyways, I hope that helps. If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask May.

In Christ,
Joshua :)

May Amelia said...

Very interesting, thanks for replying back! I mainly chose the KJV because I like the language and I know it's accurate. I didn't know that ESV was taken from the Geneva Bible, however. Very interesting... :)
And thanks for commenting on my post and about posting it four times. That's what happens when I write late at night! And, I accidentally deleted the post you commented on. I just wanted to let you know so you didn't think I didn't moderate your comment or something!

Squeaks said...

Awesomeness! I love Starfield...that song is one of my favourites...but my absolute favourite from that album is "Absolutely" (such a beautiful worship song).


Adam said...

Hi Mr. Joshua

Will you be a co author on my new blog Knights of the Redeemer.Check it out tell me what you think comment on my blog let me know if you want to or not.

Signed a Brother in the Lord
Adam from OneTexansView

Adam said...

I'll send you a Email envite. :)

Homeschool on the Croft said...

But God.....what precious words. Were we left to ourselves, we would still be the children of wrath even as others. Praise God that He planned our salvation; that He carried it out; and that He applied it at the time of His choosing. (Although I can't but regret the 'years the locusts have eaten - so many wasted years before my salvation. Yet God is all wise.)
The words 'in Christ' in Ephesians - again and again! - are my favourite words ever.
Thanks for posting
Anne, (in Scotland, but whose heart spends most of its time in the US!)

Toyin O. said...

Great song, thank Jesus for salvation.

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