Summary: This sermon was part of a series on the Protestant Reformation
Title: “Sola Gratia” Script: Eph. 2:1-9
Type: 5 Solas Series Where: GNBC 10-15-17
Intro: There is a joke on the net that makes a good point about salvation by grace.
A man dies and goes to heaven. The admittance angel meets him at the pearly gates. The angel says, "Here's how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you've done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item. If you reach 100 points, you get in." "Okay," the man says, "I was faithfully married to the same woman for 50 years." "That's wonderful," says the angel, "that's worth one point!" "One point?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service." "Terrific!" says the angel, "that's certainly worth a point." "One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans." "Fantastic, that's good for one half a point more," he says. "Half a point?" the man cries, "At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!"“Now you understand!” replied the angel. Of course the problem with this joke is that you need to understand and receive God’s grace before you die. No second chances. We saw in Hebrews 9:27, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Well, today we’ll look at the third Sola in our series, Sola Gratia, or by grace alone.
Prop: Exam. Eph 2:1-9 we’ll realize the 3rd Doctrine of Reformation: Sola Gratia.
BG: 1. Today is part 3 in series on the “5 Solas” of the Protestant Reformation.
2. Sola Gratia – By or through grace alone.
3.Ephesians written by Paul in 60-61 ad.
Prop: IN Eph. 2:1-9 we’ll realize three important aspects of Sola Gratia.
I. Sola Gratia Declares Jesus Has Rescued Us from God’s Wrath and Judgment. vv. 1-3
A. Man, by His very nature was condemned to spiritual judgment and death.
1. God, however, gloriously intervened with Grace!
a. According to Dr. JI Packer, “Grace” is the key word of the entire Bible. Many think that “salvation” is the message of the New Testament, however, it is not. But the NT salvation is of grace from first to last (v.5&8); it is the grace of God that brings it (Titus 2:11), and the praise of the glory of God’s grace that is the end of it (Eph. 1:6). It thus appears that this one word, “grace” contains within itself the whole of NT theology. The message of the NT is the announcement that grace has come to men in and through Jesus Christ with a summons from God to receive this grace (Romans 5:17; II Cor. 6:1). (18 Words, pp.91-92, Packer).
b. Pinpointing a concise definition of sola gratia from the perspective of those Reformers who championed the phrase is difficult. Martin Luther never wrote, “Here is what sola gratia means…” Neither did Calvin or Zwingli. There is, however, a common thread running throughout the Reformers’ writing on salvation and grace, and I believe that the Westminster Confession of Faith has successfully captured the core of the doctrine within the following passage: “Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full satisfaction to His Father’s justice in their behalf. Yet, in as much as He was given by the Father for them; and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead; and both, freely, not for anything in them; their justification is only of free grace…”
2. Notice the Spiritual Condition of Everyone Outside of Jesus Christ.
a. v.1 we see the condition of natural man – The Bible makes it unmistakably clear that the person outside of Christ is not merely sick, he is not gravely ill, he is not even on life support, but rather he is “DEAD”. What is this spiritual death a result of? Paul states this as well: v. 1 – “trespasses and sins”. Spiritual death is alienation from God. We are all born into this world as dead men walking and remain in that condition until we experience new life in Christ.
b. I know, some of you may say, “Whoa!, that’s a bit strong Chris. Surely there is some inherent spiritual righteousness in our account.” Look at v. 3 if you please – “by nature children of wrath”. Here Paul is reminding the believers of their past condition prior to their conversion. Man is not innocent by nature, says the Apostle. He is not innocent in birth nor is he innocent in culture. (Some sociologists want you to think the “savage” is noble and innocent if left in his original environment. ( Heard a lot about protesting Columbus Day this past Monday. Speak on how horrible it was the Spanish came to new world. I suppose most of those protestors either did not know or conveniently forgot that the Aztecs weren’t exactly saints with their human sacrifices that caused the blood to run in the streets to the height of the horse’s bridles! All of mankind is fallen, primitive or “advanced”.) Paul says that is nonsense. Rather, whether born in the rain forest of Papau New Guinea, or in a housing project in Brooklyn, NY, we are born as children deserving of wrath. Now, I know that is not a pleasant or seeker-friendly message (as some may define). But it is true. Our sin nature, alienated us from a Holy God. Illust- Modern Evang. Must beware of its Pelagian leanings. Pelagius was a British monk of the late 4th century who basically denied original sin or its effects. Unfortunately, this view is gaining popularity again. Yet, not biblical. Thinks man is sick in sin but not dead.