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Authentic Christianity
Salvation by Grace Alone

 


Salvation by Grace –
In the Old Testament and Early Church History

…the whole church confesses that eternal life comes through mercy.  Speaking of the works that saints perform after justification, Augustine [354-430 A.D.] says in Grace and Free Will, “God leads us to eternal life, not by our merits, but according to his mercy.” [5 Augustchains of sinine, Grace and Free Will, 9:21.] …  Scripture often stresses the same thing.  Ps. 143:2, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for no man living is righteous before thee.” … Similarly, in Ps. 130:3,  he says that no one can stand the judgment of God if he observes our sins, “If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? … Prov. 20:9, “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?’”  1 John 1:8, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” … Therefore Daniel prays (9:18...), “For we do not present our supplications before thee on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of thy great mercy. Tappert, The Book of Concord, Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1530), Article IV: Justification, paragraphs 322, 326-329, 331, p. 157-158.

Accordingly, Ambrose [of Milan, 339-397 A.D.] speaks brilliantly about repentance: “Therefore it is proper to believe both that we are to repent and that we are to be pardoned, but in such a way as to expect pardon from faith just as faith obtains it from the written agreement.” [330 Ambrose, Concerning Repentence II, 980 (MPL 16:538; NPNF, ser. 2, 10:355).] Again, “It is faith that covers up our sins.” [331 Ambrose, De Apologia Prophetae David 13, 3 (MPL 14:918), where the text reads “Therefore faith diminishes sin.”] Kolb & Wengert The Book of Concord, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, (1530) Art. XII: Repentance, par. 96, p. 203.

For Bernard [of Clairvaux, 1090-1153 A.D.] says the same thing in words that are not at all obscure: “For it is necessary, in the first place, for everyone to believe that you cannot have forgiveness of sins except through the forbearance of God; but add further that you also believe that through him your sins are forgiven.  This is the testimony that the Holy Spirit gives in your heart [cf. Rom. 8:16], saying ‘your sins are forgiven to you.’  For in this way the apostle concludes that a person is justified freely through faith.” [324 Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary I, i. (MPL 183:383).] Kolb & Wengert The Book of Concord, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, (1530) Art. XII: Repentance, par. 5, 10, p. 188, 189


The Rediscovery of
Salvation by Grace Alone through Faith in Christ Alone

We do not merit salvation (and are not considered righteous by God) by what we do, instead salvation is by Grace Alone (by what God has already done).

"I stumbled over the words (Romans 1:17) concerning 'the righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel.'  For the concept 'God's righteousness' was repulsive to me, as I was accustomed to interpret it...as the ...righteousness, in which God...punishes the sinner as an unrighteous person...until, after days and nights of wrestling with the problem, God finally took pity on me, so that I was able to comprehend the inner connection between the two expressions, 'The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel' and 'The just shall live by faith.' Then I began to comprehend the

'righteousness of God' through which the righteous are saved by God's grace, namely, through faith;...Now I felt exactly as though I had been born again, and I believed that I had entered Paradise through widely opened doors.” Schwiebert, E. G., Luther and His Times, (Martin Luther’s discovery of salvation by grace, 1513) p. 285-286.

Jesus has paid for (atoned) for the sins of all people:

1 John 2:2   He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the
whole world.

 

easter cross

 

If we could merit salvation (and be considered righteous by God) by what we do, then why did Jesus die on the cross?

Galatians 2:21   I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” 

The Source of (cause of, reason for) our Salvation is Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 5:9 he became the source [cause, reason] of eternal salvation …


What is
“Justification” by Grace Alone through Faith in Christ Alone?

Furthermore it is taught that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God through our merit, work, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become
paid in full crossrighteous before God out of grace for Christ’s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us and that for his sake our sins are forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.  For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness in his sight, as St. Paul says in Romans 3[:21-26] and 4[:5]. Kolb & Wengert, The Book of Concord, Augsburg Confession (1530), Article IV: Concerning Justification, p. 38, 40.

Justification a judicial act of God – Justification is not a moral transformation, effected within by virtue of some infused grace; but it is a judicial act of God, taking place outside of the sinner, by which God in mercy for Christ’s sake absolves him from all sins, pronounces and declares him righteous, who has no righteousness of his own, but who trusts in the righteousness of his Savior (Rom. 4:5-8). ... “The word ‘justify’ means in this article, to absolve, that is, to declare free from sin” (F. C., Epit. [Formula of Concord, Epitome (1577)], Art. III, 7, Triglot [Book of Concord], p. 793). Edward Koehler A Summary of Christian Doctrine 146. 

The Most Important Topic of Christian Teaching -
which consoles consciences

…they condemn us for teaching that people receive the forgiveness of sins not on account of their own merits but freely on account of Christ, by faith in Him.  They condemn us both for denying that people receive the forgiveness of sins on account of their own merits and for affirming that people receive the forgiveness of sins by faith and are justified by faith in Christ.  But … this controversy deals with the most important topic of Christian teaching which, rightly understood, illumines and magnifies the honor of Christ and brings the abundant consolation that devout consciences need…. Kolb & Wengert, The Book of Concord, “Apology of the Augsburg Confession,” (1530) Article IV: Justification, par. 1-2, p. 120-121. (bold added)



Salvation by Grace
Scriptural Support

We are justified (considered righteous) by grace (undeserved gift) alone:

Romans 3:23-24  (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

salvation by grace through faith


Salvation by Grace Alone
(Not Grace + Works)

Apart from obedience to God’s Law

Romans 3:21,28  (21) But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. …( 28) For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Galatians 2:16, 21  (16) Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. … 21: I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.
(also see: Romans 3:21, 4:9-13, Romans 10:4, Galatians 3:2-3, 11-12, 21-22)

Apart from anything we do

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Ephesians 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, [i.e., baptism
(see 1 Peter 3:20-21)]  (also see Romans 4:4-8, 9:12, 2 Timothy 1:9)

Apart from any righteousness we might claim

Daniel 9:18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

Philippians 3:8-9   What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

salvation through faith

 

A “Gospel” that promises salvation by works or a combination of grace and works – is really no gospel at all:

Galatians 1:6-9    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

 

gift of salvation present

Salvation is not earned through Good Works

A gift that is earned is no longer a gift (is no  longer grace):

Ephesians 2:8
  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Romans 4:4  Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.

 



 

Salvation by Grace
Old Testament

Salvation by Grace Alone

Justificaton by Grace Alone

Salvation by Grace Scriptural support

Salvation by Grace
(not grace plus works)

Salvation not earned
through good works