At Redeemed South Bay we are preaching an expository sermon series through Acts and we have arrived at chapter 15. In Acts 15 the essence of the gospel is being attacked; the stakes couldn't be any higher... is faith in Christ alone sufficient for salvation or must works of the law be added in order to be saved? This is indeed a monumental moment in the book of Acts as the church met in Jerusalem to settle the enormous issue.
So, are we really saved by grace through faith in Christ alone? YES... I encourage you to read through Acts 15 and see for yourself! Our inclination is to add works to the all-sufficient work of Christ in hopes to somehow assure ourselves that we really are saved (or at least that we are better than other Christians), but this is a mindset that we must repent of. In Ephesians 2:8-10 Paul says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this 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." When we acknowledge the spotless life, the perfect sacrifice, and the complete work of Christ by grace through faith we are justified by God; therefore He receives all the glory! To ensure you that this is indeed the truth that Scripture teaches, let us look at various passages from books of the Bible that proclaim this doctrine:
- "'But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.'" (Acts 15:11)
- "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law." (Romans 3:28)
- "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)
- "Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
- "And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—" (Philippians 3:9)
- "He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit," (Titus 3:5)
How are we to respond to such grace? How are we to live in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Some people claim to have faith in Christ, but does true faith in Christ have any outward expression or is this salvation by faith simply "easy-believism"?
In chapters one through eleven of the book of Romans Paul eloquently explains this gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ and beginning in chapter twelve he exhorts his audience to live life unto God, if they are indeed saved by grace through faith in Christ. He says,
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2)
So again, how are we to respond to such great grace? We are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, not because our sacrifices saves us, but because His sacrifice saved us! May we wake up in the morning exclaiming His goodness, may we affirm our worship of Him in all aspects of our life, and may we remember that we were bought at a price and that price is the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us be encouraged by this great truth and let us live devoted, holy, worshipful lives not because we are working for our salvation, but because we are thankful for the work of Christ that has saved us!