THE WORK OF GOD
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Our salvation is alone in the redemption of Christ. He is the author of eternal life. His is the atonement, and the work and fulfillment of salvation belong only to him. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The gift of God is full and free, without money and without price, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” To this salvation which is wrought in Christ, none can add unto it, and nothing can be taken away from it. For the salvation of God has been settled, established, and sealed in heaven with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
The work of salvation is so completely God’s in Christ, that from the first awakening, unto the receiving of grace, and a crown of life, God is the author, the sustainer, and the finisher of the work of grace within man. Christ speaks of this in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” God has called and chosen, elected and predestinated unto salvation those who are saved (Eph. 1:4-5, and 1:11-12, Acts 13:48, Romans 8:29, and II Timothy 1:9). God calls through His word in “the foolishness of preaching,” and chooses through Christ in the forgiveness of sins. Of itself the will and the mind of man is bound, being the servant of sin, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). The will of God comes with a new mind and life in Christ, which new life is God’s work. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). As Jesus also makes known in the parable of the vine and the branches, saying, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
If the work therefore be of God, then it cannot be of man. We cannot draw men to Christ and salvation by the human agents of fanfare and new things. For God calls and draws. It is His Work. As God calls by His grace, so likewise, whether we be young or old, we are kept in faith alone by the grace of God; and not by man’s dreams and labors. This is the promise of Christ, “Those that thou gavest I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition” (John 17:12); who also prays, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil” (John 17:15). Paul testifies to this same end, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
To deny that the grace of God is sufficient unto all our needs (“My grace is sufficient for thee” II Cor. 12:9) is to make the will of man free, to destroy the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, and to bring ourselves into the bondage of work’s righteousness and self-righteousness. May God preserve us from the wrath to come, and grant to one and all “blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
In God’s Peace!
Carl KullaMay, 1949 CM