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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Saved By Grace Alone?

Upon accepting an award, the late Jack Benny once remarked, "I don't really deserve this, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either." All who enjoy salvation from sin through Jesus Christ have received something they don't deserve. Titus 3:5-7 informs us that salvation from sin is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Salvation from sin is not a human achievement! We can never read enough Bible, say enough prayers, sing enough songs, give enough money, feed enough poor, preach enough gospel, or do enough good deeds to merit salvation from sin. God is not in our debt no matter how much good we do. If I can accomplish on my own steam what Jesus died to accomplish for me, then the question becomes, "Why did He have to die?" We must not allow those who teach error concerning salvation by grace to hijack this most sublime and divine doctrine-we are saved and justified by God's grace!

But wait a minute. We are not saying all God says about grace if we stop at saying grace saves us. Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Salvation is by grace (God's grace) through faith (our faith)! Salvation is not by grace alone. That we are saved by grace is taught everywhere in the Holy Scriptures, and so we affirm. That we are saved by grace alone is taught nowhere in the Holy Scriptures, and this idea we strongly deny! We have no authority from God to teach that we are saved by grace alone, separate and apart from a faith response to His grace that includes repentance, confession, baptism into Christ. Hebrews 5:9 speaks to the subject of salvation- "He (Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." I am standing on solid scriptural ground when I affirm that God will save and justify by His grace any and all who place their faith in Jesus Christ and obey His gospel. A grand old gospel song reminds us of the mercy and grace God extended to us through Christ and His cross: "Mercy there was great and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary" (At Calvary  by William  R. Newell, 1895). We are saved by grace through faith! This God says, and this we proclaim!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ