Summary: A very simple message about how we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus
By Grace Through Faith are You Saved
Primary Purpose: To emphasize that salvation is a work of God and is by grace through faith in Him.
I heard about a sermon that O.S. Hawkins preached at a pastor’s conference in Jacksonville, Florida. He told about the first time when he saw the word “redemption”. He said that every afternoon his mother would go to the store to buy groceries for their supper because they did not have a refrigerator. He said that when she would walk in the door, it didn’t matter what he was doing, he made a beeline for the grocery bags. He would dig through them looking for a treasure that most folks today have no concept of what I am to say. He looked in those bags for S & H Greenstamps. He had been collecting those stamps for months. He had an S & H Greenstamp catalog and in that catalog was a ball glove he could get if he could collect enough stamps.
Well finally one day he collected the final stamp that he needed. He took the catalog to his father and showed him the ball glove he had been saving stamps for and asked his father if they could go down to the S & H Greenstamp store and get the glove. His father agreed to take him and off they went. Dr.Hawkins said that when they walked into the store, on the back wall was a huge sign that said, “Redemption”. He opened the catalog and showed the lady at the counter the glove and he handed her the needed books of stamps. She opned each book and examined their pages carefully making sure that all of the stamps were there. Without a word she turned and went to a storage room and returned with a box that held that glove. She sat the box on the counter and pushed it his way. And he left. . . having redeemed that ball glove. He purchased it and made it his own. (Taken from a sermon by Tom Dooley).
In a similar way, God has redeemed us. He redeemed us not by our works, but by the gift that He gave. That gift was Himself. He did this because He loves you and me, not because you deserved it. There are three important words here that emphasize the work God has done for us: saved, grace and faith. They all emphasize that it was God who redeemed us.
First, we need to realize that salvation is first and foremost a work of God. The Bible emphasizes that God has taken the initiative to reach out to us by His grace. In our passage today, grace is called a gift of God. You see the word grace used here.
When I was teaching youth Sunday School several years ago, I asked the youth in my class what “grace” meant. All of these kids were church kids. They had all grown up in church. But, they did not know the basic meaning of the word “grace”. Grace is where the emphasis of these verses is. Grace means “unmerited favor”. It means that God decided to have mercy on us and love us when we were completely undeserving of receiving that mercy. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” A man named Manford Gutzke once said about this that “We often fall into the trap of thinking that the Christian life is some big effort on our part, something we do. No! It is something God has done and is doing, and will do in and through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (pg.45, Plain Talk on Ephesians, Gutzke)
The word here in these verses that I want you to notice is “saved”. This word has the implications of someone being rescued in it. It suggests that you were in danger and that God did something for you that you could not do for yourself. Ephesians 2:1 says that our state before we get saved is one of transgression and sin and spiritual death. This chapter goes on to use phrases like “God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead” vs.5. If you notice there the emphasis is on what God did. He quickened you, you didn’t just wake up on your own. Colossians 1:13 says it this way, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” Where is the emphasis there? Is it on God’s activity, not yours. This is something we should be forever grateful for, forever wanting to express love to God for. We can never thank God enough for quickening us for salvation. We can never thank Him enough for His love.