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Is God's Love What Saves?

salvation May 21, 2021

Many today are hearing a message that sounds so good but will undermine the very foundations set to us by Christ. On many occasions, I am asked, "If God is love, how can He send anyone to hell?" A question of this importance cannot be satisfied by a one-word answer. We will spend a lifetime to understand all that God knows. His wisdom goes way beyond our comprehension. So here I will lay out what Scripture says about salvation. It will take some time to lay it all out, so read all the way through. Then prayerfully consider the depth of what Scripture says about this critical topic.

 

First, we have to understand these two truths, and then I will back them up. One is that God is love, but love did not save you. That's correct. It was not love that saves you. God is love, and it was His love for you that caused Him to have a solution for your sin.  

 

Second, it is not by grace alone that you are saved. Yes, that is right; the grace alone message is wrong. But, again, we will see what Scripture says as we go forward. I am a firm believer in the word of God. So, this is always my answer. 

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

We need to get some truths straight. First, God has always loved us. Second, the Cross of Calvary did not change the Father's mind towards you. On the contrary, it paid the price for you. If love is what saved you, then Crist would not have died. God's love for you was always there for us.   

 

The God's Love message is scary because it places its footing on the truth that God is love. But, of course, God is love, so it is hard to argue against this message. However, as we have already stated, love was crucial in God's motivation for our salvation. Yet Scripture does not declare that God's love alone solved the problem of man's sin. If so, Christ's death on the cross was the act of a brutal Father.  

 

But how about Grace? There is a part two of this message that goes something like this. God's grace is given to all men, and therefore God's salvation is applied to everyone. It states that the punishment for sin has been satisfied. If satisfied, then all men have been given the grace of salvation. But the question remains, are you saved by grace alone? Is there another component that must be applied to make grace fruitful in your life?  

 

This Apostle Paul lays out salvation to the Ephesians with such eloquence that we will start there. Paul meets the Ephesians on his journey in Acts 19. He finds twelve men who are disciples of John the Baptist. They have heard of the baptism of repentance that John taught, but not about Christ. In his letter to them, he reminds them of their journey in Christ.  

 

The first three verses of Chapter two lays out the condition of every man before one is born again. We will get to that as we move forward. I will share the Scriptures as we go through this but look it up for yourself.

 

Eph. 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

Eph. 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,

Eph. 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

 

Let's view some of these revelations. 

 

  1. Man was dead in trespasses and sin. This means that man is not good but a sinner. Today Churches speak as if all men are good, but Scripture declares that all men are sinners. All men are have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
  2. Conducting ourselves in a way that fulfills the lust of the flesh and mind is the way of the prince of the power of the air, not God.
  3. Finally, we are alive the moment we trust in Christ, as we will see going forward.  

 

Now, moving forward, Paul is going to explain the salvation journey. But, first, because God is rich in mercy, He sent Christ due to His great love for us. So let's lay out some more of the chapter.

 

Eph. 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Eph. 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

 

We see that it is with Christ and by grace that you have been saved. So we now know that it is not by love, but was the motivation. We also know that grace was made available. But we shall see that it was not grace alone as some declare.  

 

Eph. 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Eph. 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

You will note that Scripture always declares that grace is by and with Jesus Christ. He is not showing you kindness in and of yourselves, but in Christ. Now let see if there is another component that we need.

 

Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Eph. 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Eph. 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

(Boldness added)

 

The Apostle introduces a new element for our edification and humbling. First, faith is required. It is by grace through faith. Not grace alone. As faith is added, grace is activated. Also, you cannot boast of this. It is a gift. You did not earn it or even deserve God's grace. Hebrews states this:

 

Heb. 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

 

Faith and grace are like a two-part epoxy. Grace is activated when we put them together. But what is faith? Faith begins when we believe.  

 

Eph. 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

 

For this very reason, we preach the gospel.

 

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

 

Jesus told us that belief was crucial for salvation. Paul goes into this concern about salvation in Romans.

 

Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Rom. 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Rom. 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Rom. 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Rom. 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

 

There also must be repentance from sinful living. It is not enough to believe and continue in the same conduct as before.  

 

Acts 19:19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.

 

2 Cor. 7:9 "Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

2 Cor. 7:11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter."

 

Luke 24:47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

 

We must confess Christ. Confession is also part of the Salvation journey.

 

Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Rom. 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

Then wait, there is more. Baptism is also a part of the Salvation journey.  

 

Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  

 

1 Pet. 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

 

Rom. 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

Rom. 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Rom. 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Rom. 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom. 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,

Rom. 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Rom. 6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

 

We see that the road to salvation has many components. Love was God's motivation, the reason He sent Jesus. Our sin was the cause for the need for atonement. Grace (favor) comes from God when we, in faith, believe. Then as we follow the Lord in baptism, we are resurrected into a new life, the very life of Christ. We can then declare with Paul:

 

Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

 

Saying that we need faith is not diminishing God's love or grace. We are confirming those things spoken by both the Lord and His apostles. The love message is essential. I in no way desire to weaken the thought of God's love for you. Truthfully, I want you to be rooted and grounded in His love.

 

Eph. 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

 

We see again that even His love requires our faith. Faith in the New Testament is called obedience in the Old Testament. Noah saved his family when he believed in God and obeyed Him by building the ark. Abraham believed in God and obeyed Him. Gen 26:5. Again and again, we see that the saint's obedience was part of their salvation. Faith brings about the ignition to the Salvation journey. However, it was not the end of the road but the beginning.  

 

I hope that laying out His path for us helps us in our journey in Christ. Remember what Paul told us:

 

Phil. 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

 

Remember to rejoice in this truth that your name is written in the Book of Life.

 

Rev. 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Rev. 20:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

Love always,

 

Louis.

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