Five Eternal Gifts from God - Faith 3
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)
The Gospel is the message that God is holy and man is sinful. God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ in order to live a sinless life, die a substitutionary death on the cross, be buried and rise from the dead. He ascended to the right hand of God the Father, will return in power might and glory and salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.
When God-given saving faith is exercised by the regenerated sinner in the person and atoning work of Jesus Christ, the sinner becomes a child of God. The result of this act of faith, or believing, is as follows:
- Justification. God declares the guilty sinner righteous. The sinner’s guilt is removed by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Romans 3:21-26; Philippians 3:1-9; Romans 8:28-33. From the positive viewpoint, the basis of justification is God’s grace as manifested in our Lord’s perfect life of obedience and His sacrificial, substitutionary death. See also Romans 4:1-6; I Corinthians 1:30 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. God has accomplished what man was unable to do for himself and what God has done is quite unmerited, unprompted and unsought. Justification brings about assurance for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 4:16) and glorification of God rather than self (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1:6-7).
- Adoption. This is a present reality. See Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:1-5; Ephesians 1:5. Fallen sinners are strangers to the family of God and are indeed enemies of God (Romans 5:10). They are their father the devil (John 8:44). They are slaves to sin (Romans 6). From this condition, the sinner is gracious invited to become God’s child, given the ability to receive this invitation as their own and to joined with not only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but with other members of the family God: other believers. They are called children of God and may refer to address God as Father.
- Sanctification. A life of holiness. This has to do with our present existence rather than just a future heavenly existence. When anyone is converted from death unto new life in Christ, the result is now a life and lifestyle that reflects the holiness of God and obedience to God’s commands.
These importance aspects of salvation are explained in the latter part of Ephesians 2. We have previously noted the gift of God’s grace in vs. 1-7 as the basis or motivation by God to save sinners. In vs. 8-9 we not only see God’s grace as the sole motivation unto salvation but God given faith as the sole or only means by which God’s saving grace, and its corresponding results, are applied to the sinner.