Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Faith Alone’

The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 2

by D. G. Miles McKee

Ephesians 2: 8-10.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast…..”

Matthew Henry’s commentary on our text says: “Every converted sinner is a saved sinner. Such are delivered from sin and wrath; they are brought into a state of salvation and have a right given them by grace to eternal happiness.

“The grace that saves them is the free, underserved, goodness and favour of God; and He saves them, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, by means of which they come to partake of the great blessings of the gospel; and both that faith and that salvation on which it has so great an influence are the gift of God.”

Salvation is entirely by Grace. Paul says in Ephesians 2:1: “You has he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins.” We were spiritually dead. We had no spiritual understanding. What did we deserve but a good burial? …If even!

In Ephesians 2:2-3 however, as we read on, we learn the strangest thing, we discover we were dead but walking .. literally we were “walking dead men”…. We were zombies-like walking according to the world system, which is against God, and following “the prince of the power of the air,” which is Satan.

There’s a story about a graveyard in an area in Ayrshire, Scotland, where once a stranger was buried. It greatly distressed the people of that particular parish, so much so that they put a notice up on the outside of the graveyard that read, “This graveyard is reserved exclusively for the dead who are living in this parish.” Funny!

But we were living dead people. We were alive, just like Adam was physically alive after he had sinned, but nevertheless spiritually dead. We were living and were dead, but God made us alive. Grace! Grace ! Grace!

Here’s a good way of looking at grace… Notice in Ephesians 1:1 the apostle calls believers saints. However, look at what we once were. Ephesians 2:1-3..

Dead,

Walking in the devil’s path,

Children of disobedience,

Children of wrath.

And what made the difference? It was grace.

In addition, 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us we are chosen by grace;

In Ephesians 1:7 we learn that we have redemption by grace;

We are adopted by grace Ephesians 1:5.

By that same grace we are accepted Ephesians 1:6.

By grace we have the forgiveness of sins Ephesians 1:7.

By that same grace we have been made alive together with Christ Ephesians 2:5.

He has glorified us by grace Ephesians 2:6.

Nowhere in the Bible is credit given to man regarding his salvation. It is all of grace! The making alive, the undeserved favour, the faith, the union with Christ, the good works that follow after salvation are all the gifts of Almighty God!

Is it any wonder then that Paul would write in Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

To “glory” is “to boast”. Paul is saying that we cannot boast in anything except the cross of the Lord Jesus. That’s another way of saying that we are saved by grace. All our prosperity, all our accomplishments, all our doctrinal understanding, and even all the accumulated knowledge over our lifetime is nothing to glory about. We can boast only in the grace of God as seen in the cross, the cross of Christ! Glory to His name!

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Grace! Grace! Grace! Part 1

Ephesians 2: 8-10.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Ephesians has been called the Alps of the New Testament because some of the things taught in it are amazingly glorious. Here are but two of them …

1) We are saved by grace plus nothing, and

2) We are saved by grace minus nothing.”

The Greek word for grace is “Charis.” It means, ‘unmerited and undeserved favour.’ It is, ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’

Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “There is no more wonderful word than ‘grace.’ It means unmerited favour or kindness shown to one who is utterly undeserving. It is a free gift to those who deserve the exact opposite, and it is given to us while we are ‘without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

We are saved by grace!

We are delivered from the wrath to come by grace (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

We are given eternal life by grace (Romans 5:21).

Religion knows nothing of grace. Religion seeks to find favour with God by doing something (Romans 10:3). In religion, good works are a premium. But under grace, the sinner is freely declared not guilty. Have you grasped that for yourself?

But there’s more. The believer is not only forgiven he is also acquitted. And how is this done? It is done simply on the merits of another person, the Lord Jesus Christ (Leviticus 16; 1 Peter 3:18). Now that’s grace!

In Ephesians 2:6-9, Notice what grace isn’t!

‘It is not of ourselves.’

There was and is nothing we could do to deserve salvation. We may say, “What about faith? Isn’t that something I do?” No! Faith is a gift of God. It is not of works lest anyone should boast.

Have we then no work to do in this great matter of our justification? In a nutshell, NONE!

What work can we work to obtain personal salvation? NONE! What work of ours can buy forgiveness or make us worthy of Divine favour? NONE!

Has the Lord commanded that we crawl around the earth on our hands and knees? NO!

Has He decreed that we should whip ourselves and deprive ourselves of everything good? NO!

So, what work has God commanded us to do to obtain salvation?

Once more …NONE!

Romans 4:5 “To him that works not, but believes in Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” There is only one work which can save us, and that work is not ours, but the work of the God/Man. And that work is finished (John 19:30). It can never be repeated. Salvation is all Grace, Grace, Grace!

SAVED!

‘Saved’ is another great Bible word from our verse. It means deliverance. It means life in contrast to the death. It must be remembered that God is obliged to save no one. All of us have sinned and rebelled. All of us deserve death, not salvation. God was not and is not bound to come and rescue a defiant humanity….that’s why we love GRACE!

In Ephesians 2:1 the Word says, “You has he (God), quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sin.”

He is speaking of spiritual death here and in the past tense. We were dead! But, things are different now. We have been made alive. We are saved. We are no longer under wrath…..we are saved. And how did we get saved? … Grace! Grace! Grace!

John Stott puts it this way: “You were saved through faith, and even this faith by which you are saved is God’s gift.” This is an essential truth. We must never think of salvation as a kind of a transaction between God and us in which He contributes grace, and we contribute faith. For we were dead and had to be brought alive before we could believe.”

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word…What does that Mean? (Part 3) Faith alone

February 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Romans 3:21-22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 10:3

.

Faith Alone (Sola Fide) was the battle cry of the Reformation. It’s a radical truth that will deliver us from self-absorption and legalism.

It is a vital truth, therefore, we must get it straight. We receive our salvation by faith + nothing. Neither ceremonies nor rituals need apply for the job. Faith alone grasps that all which is necessary for our acceptance with God has already been done by God Himself in His great redemptive act in Jesus Christ.

To paraphrase the Australian Forum, “Faith receives that the God/Man, Jesus Christ, in our name and our behalf, met all our obligations before the bar of eternal justice.”

Faith understands that our salvation was secured by a complete and perfect work. Faith alone apprehends that we cannot add or contribute anything to Christ’s accomplishments.

This, however, does not mean that faith is our Saviour. Faith was not led as a lamb to the slaughter. Nevertheless, faith causes us to look to our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, as our only hope. Faith never looks at itself. It provides no foundation of safety for the believer.

Gospel faith is the opposite of having a vague faith in some God out there. Having a general sort of faith is not saving faith.

Some people may actually believe that for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows! But, that’s not saving faith.

Someone says, “I believe that everything will turn out for good in the end.” Good for you, but that is not saving faith.

Others say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe sincerely.” That’s not saving faith, and besides, it is nonsense. It’s like saying, “It doesn’t matter what medicine I take, as long as I’m sincere.” Welcome to the funeral parlour.

Faith, Gospel Faith, on the other hand, grasps that God’s saving work has been done completely outside of our own experience. Indeed, gospel faith comprehends that the Finished Work was in no way accomplished inside the believer. As John Bunyan pertinently says, “……., this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world; namely, that a righteousness that resides in heaven should justify me, a sinner on earth!” (Bunyan: Justified by and Imputed Righteousness).

Faith embraces that God is righteous, holy, just, and loving. Faith recognizes that we have sinned against this same God. Faith perceives that, outside of grace, we stand guilty and condemned. But, faith also embraces that Jesus is God clothed in a human body. Faith sees Him and His perfection as the substitute for sinners.

Gospel Faith sees that all our sins have been paid for. Not one of them has been left to damn us.

Faith receives this and makes it our own.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by confession.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by fasting.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by prayer.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by popes, prelates or priests.

Faith, however, sees that, at the cross,

Sin was condemned,

Justice was satisfied,

The Law was magnified,

God was glorified,

The sinner was saved and our adversary, Satan, was utterly confounded!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Fake News!

I recently spoke to a gentleman who told me he didn’t know which news reports to believe because there is so much Fake News being put out there. Yes indeed, it seems that we are inundated with the stuff. But even in Christian circles, we are being attacked by Fake News. Here are some items for your consideration.

Fake News 1: We can be good enough to earn Eternal Life.

This piece of Fake News was dealt the death blow when the disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?”(Matthew 19:26) Jesus responded, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

How then can any of us be good enough to save ourselves? We can’t! It’s fake news.

God does not accept us because we are good. Our salvation was settled by the blood of the Lord Jesus at Calvary. Although we are helplessly sinful, God in grace has forgiven His children completely. He bought us and paid for us. It’s by His infinite grace that we are saved, not by our moral character. Salvation is not accomplished by our works of righteousness, commandment-keeping, or churchgoing. It is because of the doing dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus Christ that we receive the guarantee of eternal life (Titus 3:7).

Fake News 2: Asking Jesus into our heart saves us.

The expression, “Ask Jesus into your heart,” is not found in the Bible. It is Fake News! No apostle ever preached it. No one in the Bible is recorded as ever using the phrase. The New Testament preachers would find it a foreign slogan if they were here today.

We are not saved by Jesus coming into our hearts, but rather we are saved by the coming of Christ into the world in His once-for-all doing, dying and rising again.

Here’s a much better sinners prayer than that of asking Jesus into the heart,

“God of my salvation, hear, and help me to believe:

Simply would I now draw near, thy blessings to receive.

Full of guilt, alas I am, but to thy wounds for refuge flee;

Friend of sinners, spotless Lamb, thy blood was shed for me.”

George Whitefield

Fake News 3: We Are Saved by the New Birth!

Although the New Birth is scriptural and vital, it is not the Gospel. The New Birth does not save us. It does not give us right standing before God.

Although the new birth is a necessity and a reality, the new birth justifies no one. In spite of what we so commonly hear, a person is not saved by being born again! That’s Fake News! The New Birth was not the Gospel proclamation of the New Testament.

To teach that we are saved by the New Birth is to hold to the Roman Catholic notion that regeneration justifies us. To teach such is to confound the work of the Son for us with the work of the Spirit in us.

Fake News 4: Once we have eternal life, we can lose it!

To believe a man can lose salvation is to launch a bitter attack on the saving abilities of the Lord Jesus. If you think Jesus might lose you, please don’t refer to Him as the Good Shepherd…a good shepherd doesn’t lose sheep. Instead, call Him the Lousy Shepherd. He’s not to be trusted.

Think of this!

How can He possibly lose you since…..

He chose you unto salvation from the beginning … Did he make the wrong choice?

He purchased you with His saving blood. Was the purchase invalid?

If He can lose you, then you are saying He is just not powerful enough to protect and keep you.

He gave Himself as our ransom. Was the payment insufficient?

By Himself, He purged our sins. Was the purging of our sins not thorough enough?

Shun Fake News!

The believer’s standing with God can never be improved upon. This is because of the unique, holy history of Jesus of Nazareth in His doing, dying and rising again. His life and death are accepted by the Father as ours. When He was punished, we were punished. When He died, we died, When He arose, we arose. Now, because of the never to be repeated Christ event, our sins no longer come between God and us (Hebrews 10:14).

We should always shun Fake News.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Gospel Rest

November 30, 2016 Leave a comment

“Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

As usual, Mr Spurgeon nailed it when he said of this scripture, “There are mines of instruction in this verse. Superficially read, this royal promise has cheered and encouraged tens of thousands, but there is a wealth in it which the diligent digger and miner shall alone discover.”

Let’s then, go mining and see if we can scratch the surface of this marvellous truth.

Who issued the invitation to, “Come unto me?” Was it a psychiatrist? No! Was it a politician? No! It was the lovely Son of God who voiced these words. And who is He? He is the God/Man, the Eternal Word made flesh. He has come to us in our need and invited us to come to Him.

This verse wonderfully demonstrates Christ’s compassion for His people. He loves us. His love, however, is not the kind of love that wants to help but has no available resources. it’s quite the opposite. His is the love of Omnipotence. And what is the message of Omnipotent love? It is simply this, “Rest in Me.”

Are we weary? Then let us come to Jesus and rest.

Disappointment will make us weary.

A broken heart will make us weary.

Sin will make us weary.

Working to gain God’s acceptance will make us weary.

Legalistic religion will make us weary.

To be weary means to be worn down with burdens or to be exhausted. Does that describe any of us? How desperately we need to hear Him say; “Come to me.”

Listen, He’s not angry at you. He loves you! Hear His voice in the Gospel. There’s rest for you. Don’t let unbelief keep you from His rest. How could someone who has gone to the cross for us not care for us? He was wounded and butchered for us. As believers, He wants us to come to Him.

So what qualifies us to come to Him?

It’s our weariness, not our worthiness!

It’s His mercy, not our merit.

It’s our destitution, not our distinction.

It’s our hardship, not our holiness.

It’s His love, not our labour.

As believers, we have no need to drag ourselves around in abject misery. We learn to come to Him. To Him, and not to Moses! To Him, not to a favourite doctrine, an ordinance, priest or pastor. We come to Him, to Jesus Himself.

Let us come to Him for His gift of rest. Since rest is a free gift, it cannot be purchased or worked for. So then, how do we receive it! The answer is by faith alone.

Faith alone takes us to that rest. Faith alone sees that it is a rest received from the hand of the all-powerful God. It is a blood-bought rest. It is a rest bathed in love.

This rest is for the weary, for those who labour. It’s for you and me because we need it. May we all become weary enough to discover Jesus as our resting place.

To conclude, why to thirsty people drink? It’s because they are thirsty. Why do hungry people eat? It’s because they are hungry. Why do people rest? It’s because they are weary.

There is rest in knowing who Jesus is and what He has accomplished in His doing, dying and rising again. There is rest in understanding the cross. There is rest in the Gospel. There is rest because He shed His blood.

May we come to Him and enjoy Him and His rest.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon my breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary and worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place

And He has made me glad.

Horatius Bonar

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Christ Alone

The best thing that can happen to any of us is to become convinced that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.

Apart from the mercy of Jesus Christ, we are utterly and helplessly lost. There is no saving merit in anything that we can do or feel. In ourselves, we have nothing to recommend us to God.

Let me ask you, have you become convinced that Christ alone is your Saviour? Have you been persuaded that you cannot save yourself? Have you seen that the Lord needs no assistance from anyone to give you eternal life? Have you seen that from first to last, Christ alone is your hope?

I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit. One aspect of the Spirit’s work is to destroy all the vestiges of self-righteousness we harbour in our hearts (John 16:8). Self–Righteousness, that great, stubborn rebel against God, must be rooted out. The Holy Spirit continually brings us to a place where we see and confess that we are nothing and Christ is everything.

Someone says, ‘I’ve been reading about all those deep convictions that people used to get during the revivals of yesteryear. If I could experience those, then I’d be sure that I was saved.’ But, wait a minute, that is just another way of you bringing something to Christ in exchange for salvation. That is self-righteousness. It is a lack of trust in Christ alone as your only qualification for eternity.

“But I want to feel something,” says someone else. Christ Jesus doesn’t want you to bring your feelings to Him. Feelings are no part of Salvation. We are to trust in Christ alone, not in feelings.

‘’Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving
My warrant is the Word of God
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”

Martin Luther

“But I feel so spiritually unfit.”

Do you not know that the only fitness you have before Him is the fitness of being unfit?

“Oh, but I am so entirely unworthy.”

Do you think Jesus came to save the worthy? Do you ever expect to have any worthiness in yourself? Jesus saves “the ungodly” (Rom 5:6-8). Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not worthy people (1 Timothy 1:15). Spurgeon said it like this; “It is our badness, not our goodness, which drew Christ to us as a Saviour.”

‘With Pitying eye the Prince of Peace
Beheld our helpless grief;
He saw, and, O amazing love!
He ran to our relief.’

Isaac Watts.

Christ didn’t die because we were good. He died for us because we were sinful wretches. We had nothing whatsoever in ourselves that could recommend us. …and still don’t. Yet the Young Prince of Glory came from Heaven to save us. What do you think you can add to that? Is there anything with which you would care to supplement His finished work?

Be advised, don’t try to show Christ how worthy you are to be saved. He’s unimpressed. Our righteousness is sin but His righteousness is salvation. We are nothing; Christ alone is everything!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Third Way?

January 14, 2016 1 comment

By J. V. Fesko

John Barclay, professor of divinity at Durham University in England, has written a sizable contribution to New Testament studies in Paul and the Gift. His basic thesis is that gift is the proper first-century category for comprehending Paul’s term grace (2). His primary focus is examining the divine gift giving, which for the apostle Paul is God’s gift of Christ (4).

Barclay believes gift is the best way to understand Paul’s concept of grace for three chief reasons.

First, grace is a multifaceted concept that theologians frequently use but seldom define. Some stress the incongruity of grace (giving to an unworthy recipient); others the efficacy of grace. Barclay points out that these different “perfections” of grace (conceptual extensions) aren’t better or worse interpretations of the concept, just different aspects of it (6). He identifies six possible perfections of grace (70–75, 563):

•Superabundance—the size or permanence of a gift

•Singularity—the giver’s sole and exclusive desire to express benevolence and goodness

•Priority—the timing of the gift, namely, that it takes place prior to the initiative of the recipient

•Incongruity—a gift given without regard to the worthiness of the recipient

•Efficacy—the effect of the gift, namely, what the gift is designed to accomplish

•Non-circularity—the gift escapes reciprocity and a system of exchange

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.