The gospel preaching is this:- “Thou art a lost sinner, and thou canst deserve nothing of God but his displeasure; if thou art to be saved, it must be by an act of sovereign grace
3. When a speaker desires to strengthen his point and to make himself clear, he generally puts in a negative as to the other side. So the apostle adds a negative:- “Not according to our works.” The world’s great preaching is, “Do as well as you can, live a moral life, and God will save you.” The gospel preaching is this:- “Thou art a lost sinner, and thou canst deserve nothing of God but his displeasure; if thou art to be saved, it must be by an act of sovereign grace. God must freely extend the silver scepter of his love to thee, for thou art a guilty wretch who deserves to be sent to the lowest hell. Thy best works are so full of sin that they can in no degree save thee; to the free mercy of God thou must owe all things.” “Oh,” saith one, “are good works of no use?” God’s works are of use when a man is saved, they are the evidences of his being saved; but good works do not save a man, good works do not influence the mind of God to save a man, for if so, salvation would be a matter of debt and not of grace. The Lord has declared over and over in his Word, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” “By the works of the law there shall no flesh living be justified.” The apostle in the epistle to the Galatians is very strong indeed upon this point; indeed he thunders it out again, and again, and again. He denies that salvation is even so much as in part due to our works, for if it be by work then he declares it is not of grace, otherwise grace is no more grace; and if it be of grace it is not of works, otherwise work is no more work. Paul assures us that the two principles of grace and merit can no more mix together than fire and water; that if man is to be saved by the mercy of God, it must be by the mercy of God and not by works; but if man is to be saved by works, it must be by works entirely and not by mercy mixed therewith, for mercy and work will not go together. Jesus saves, but he does all the work or none. He is Author and Finisher, and works must not rob him of his due. Sinner, you must either receive salvation freely from the hand of Divine Bounty, or else you must earn it by your own unassisted merits, which last is utterly impossible. Oh that you would yield to the first! My brethren, this is the truth, which still needs to be preached. This is the truth, which shook all Europe from end to end when Luther first proclaimed it. Is not this the old thunderbolt which the great reformer hurled at Rome- “Justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”? But why did God make salvation to be by faith? Scripture tells us- “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” If it had been by works it must have been by debt; but since it is by faith, we can clearly see that there can be no merit, in faith. It must be therefore by grace.
Charles H. Spurgeon- Salvation Altogether by Grace (2 Timothy 1:9)- Delivered on Sunday Morning July 29th, 1866