2012-07-15 The “Why?” of Salvation OR God’s Purpose in Salvation| Ephesians 2:7,10
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:1-10)
Last time we spoke of HOW God accomplishes salvation in us from vv 8-9 – By GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.
This week we will speak of WHY God accomplishes salvation in us from vv 7,10. God’s purpose in salvation is two-fold in this passage: he has saved us by grace through faith in Christ: 1) to prove or demonstrate the exceeding riches of his kindness toward us in Christ; and 2) to enable us to live the new manner of life for which we were created in Christ before the foundation of the world.
So the first purpose of God is his glory and the second is good works.
God’s glory: exhibiting to others his super-abundant kindness in Christ
7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing (overthrowing) riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Eph. 2:4-5 (ESV) 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– RICH IN MERCY
Rom 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? –RICHES OF HIS KINDNESS
Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace –RICHES OF HIS GRACE
Tit. 3:4-7 (ESV) But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 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, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. –NOT BECAUSE OF WORKS, BUT HIS MERCY
Purpose # 2
Good works: enabling and exhorting us to live a new manner of life in Christ
10 For we are His workmanship (poiema) created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Frequently cited refs (sorted by frequency)
Tit 2:14 He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. – EAGER TO DO GOOD
2Co 5:17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come! — A NEW CREATION
Eph 4:24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. – NEW MAN, CREATED IN GODS’ IMAGE: RIGHTEOUS/HOLY
Col 3:10 and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. – CLOTHED WITH THE NEW MAN ACC TO IMAGE OF CREATOR
Gal 6:15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! -NOT WORKS BUT A NEW CREATION
Eph 1:4 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. –CHOSEN BEFORE FOUNDATION TO BE HOLY/ BLAMELESS
Col 1:10 so that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects – bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, TO LIVE WORTHILY, BEARING FRUIT IN GOOD DEEDS
WCF Chapter 16
- Good works are only those works identified as good by God and commanded by him in his
holy word. 1 They do not include other works, no matter how well-intentioned in design or
zealously promoted by men.2
- Mi 6.8, Rom 12.2, Heb 13.21, Dt 12.32, Ps 119.9, Mt 28.20, Lk 10.25-26, 2 Pt 1.19.
- Mt 15.9, Is 29.13, 1 Pt 1.18, Rom 10.2, Jn 16.2, 1 Sm 15.21-23, Col 2.16-17,20-23, Dt 10.12-13.
- 2. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruit and evidence of a true and living faith.3 By them believers show their thankfulness,4 strengthen their assurance of salvation,5 edify their brothers in the Lord,6 and become ornaments of all those who profess the gospel.7 Good works in believers silence the criticism of the enemies of the gospel.8 They also glorify God9 by showing that believers are the workmanship and creation of Jesus Christ,10because their aim is that holiness of living which leads to eternal life.11
- Jas 2.18,22.
- Ps 116.12-13, 1 Pt 2.9, Col 3.17, 1 Chr 29.6-9.
- 1 Jn 2.3,5, 2 Pt 1.5-10.
- 2 Cor 9.2, Mt 5.16, 1 Tm 4.12.
- Ti 2.5,9-12, 1 Tm 6.1.
- 1 Pt 2.15.
- 1 Pt 2.12, Phil 1.11, Jn 15.8.
- Eph 2.10.
- Rom 6.22.
- 3. Believers get the ability to do good works entirely from the Spiritof Christ.12 In addition to the other particular effects of God’s grace already received, believers must be directed by the Holy Spirit in order to will and to do what pleases God.13 However, they are not therefore to grow spiritually lazy, waiting for some special guidance from the Spirit before doing anything commanded by God. Rather, they should diligently attempt to identify what good works God has commanded in his word and then try their best to do all of them, praying earnestlyand daily for the empowering and enabling of the Holy Spirit, who lives in them. 14
- Jn 15.4-6, Ez 36.26-27, Lk 11.13.
- Phil 2.13, 4.13, 2 Cor 3.5, Eph 3.16.
- Phil 2.12, Heb 6.11-12, 2 Pt 1.3,5,10-11, Is 64.7, 2 Tm 1.6, Acts 26.6-7, Jude 20-21.
- Those believers who do the best that can be done in obeying God in this life can never do more or even as much as he requires. Indeed they fall shortof much which they are bound to do. 15
- Lk 17.10, Neh 13.22, Jb 9.2-3, Gal 5.17.
- 5. We cannot, of course, by our best works deserve to be forgiven for our sins and to receive eternal lifefrom God. There is that great disproportionbetween our best works in this life and the glory which is going to be revealed in us, and there is the infinite distance between us and God, who does not profit from our best works and is not satisfied by them for the debt of our previous sins.16 When we have done all we can, we have only done our duty and are unprofitable servants.17 Since the goodness of our best works in fact proceeds from his Spirit18 and since, insofar as they are done by us, our best works are defiled and mixed with our weakness and imperfection, they cannot therefore even stand the scrutiny of God’s judgment.19
- Rom 3.20, 4.2,4,6, Eph 2.8-9, Ti 3.5-7, Rom 8.18,22-24, Ps 16.2, Jb 22.2-3, 35.7-8.
- Lk 17.10; see citations under 15 above.
- Gal 5.22-23.
- Is 64.6, Gal 5.17, Rom 7.15,18, Ps 143.2, 130.3.
On Good Works
An extract from Martin Luther’s treatise on Good Works
The first, the noblest, the sublimest of all works, is faith in Jesus Christ. It is from this work that all other works must proceed: they are but the vassals [servants] of faith, and receive their efficacy from it alone.
A Christian who possesses faith in God does everything with liberty and joy; while the man who is not at one with God is full of care and kept in bondage; he asks himself with anguish how many works he should perform; he runs to and fro; he questions this man and that; he nowhere finds peace, and does everything with sorrow and fear.
Consequently, I have always extolled faith. But in the world it is otherwise. There, the essential thing is to have many works – works high and great, and of every dimension, without caring whether they are quickened by faith. Thus, men build their peace, not on God’s good pleasure, but on their own merits, that is to say, on sand. (Matthew 7:27.)
To preach faith (it has been said) is to prevent good works; but if a man should posses[s] the strength of all men united, or even of all creatures, this sole obligation of living in faith would be a task too great for him ever to accomplish. If I say to a sick man: ‘Be well, and thou shalt have the use of thy limbs,’ will any one say that I forbid him to use his limbs? Must not health precede labour? It is the same when we preach faith: it should go before works, in order that the works themselves should exist.
Where then, you will say, can we find this faith, and how can we receive it? This is in truth what it is most important to know. Faith comes solely from Jesus, who was promised and given freely.
O man! figure Jesus Christ to yourself, and contemplate how God in him has shown thee his mercy, without any merit on thy part going before. Draw from this image of his grace the faith and assurance that all thy sins are forgiven thee. Works cannot produce it. It flows from the blood, and wounds, and death of Christ; thence it wells forth into our hearts. Christ is the rock whence flow milk and honey. (Deut. 32.)
Tit. 3:4-7 (ESV) But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 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, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.