Summary: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: "—Ephesians 2:8
"BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH"
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: "—Ephesians 2:8
I PREFER the rendering in the Revised Version. As slight as the change is, it is of very great moment, as a little reflection will show.
"For by grace HAVE YE BEEN SAVED through faith, and that
not of yourselves; it is the gift of God:"—Ephessians 2:8 .
There is a vast significance in this change of tense. The Ephesian saints were not being saved, nor to be saved, but they were saved. That was the great
message they got in this letter; and if there had been nothing else to give joy to their hearts, that alone should have filled them to overflowing. You see this, I am sure. Suppose you were sailing from one of our eastern seaports, that your destination was the other side of the stormy ocean, and you could be assured upon authority beyond question that your vessel should come into port. What a comfort it would be to you when you encountered the storms! When your ship, tossed here and there and beaten upon by the resistless waves, seemed as if it must surely go to the bottom, you would stay your hearts upon the promise that notwithstanding the storm, you should come safely into port.
The apostle did not say what trials they should pass through, nor from what trials they should be spared; he did not say what tears should come to
their eyes, nor what joy to their hearts, but he said they were saved. These things might rend them asunder at times, might almost overwhelm them, but
they were saved, and, being saved, knew that after the storm of life was over, they were sure to anchor in the port of heaven.
Let us look at the passage itself. We have here, as you see, two wonderful things. First, a wonderful result; secondly, the wonderful means by which that result is accomplished. The wonderful result is salvation.
"By grace have ye been saved."—Ephesians 2:8
My friends, we have grown so familiar with that thought, that all wonder, strangeness and joy have gone out of it. I stand in amazement at my own apathy, at my own lack of emotion, at my own ability to speak in calm and measured words about so great a thing as salvation, accomplished for a
doomed soul. Familiarity has done this for us. We count it a common thing. We are scarcely interested in it. Now and again people wonder why one who
preaches does not choose the deeper things of God, why he is always talking about so familiar a thing as salvation.
Talking some time ago with a bank teller, and asking him how it seemed to him to be handling vast sums of money all of the time. "Why," he said, "I never think of this coin and these notes as money, but only as so many figures upon a
piece of paper." So, familiarity with salvation may make it seem to us as but a plan—words upon a piece of paper.
A friend was telling me, that when visiting the home of a very wealthy man, he saw in one of the most beautiful rooms of the house, displayed among costly things from over the sea—rare pictures and works of art—a common life preserver. "It seems to me," he ventured to say to his host, "a strange fancy of yours to hang up that ordinary life preserver among all these rare and beautiful things." "That," was the reply, "is where you make a mistake. That is not an ordinary life preserver, it is a very extraordinary life preserver; it kept me alive four days at sea." Dear friends, when we think of salvation not as a place, but as that mighty transaction which gave us life, which keeps us alive and is to keep us alive, we shall get back the joy of it, and the wonder of it, and it will never become a common thing to us.
The fact is, that to many of you, salvation never seemed a very wonderful or joyful thing. Your conversion perhaps was a very listless affair; so much so, that it has hardly left a trace in your memory; you do not know just when you were converted. It was a sort of sauntering out of darkness into light, and done in a very listless kind of way. May God send conviction in these days! David said:
"The pains of hell gat hold upon me:"—Psalms II6:3
And we should not wonder, therefore, when David came out of the pains of hell, that he began to talk about the joy of his salvation. Some one has said that the reason Mr. Moody preached the gospel with such power was that God had permitted him to look into hell and up into heaven.