Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Five Solas part 2

As we move into our study of the next sola, "sola gratia" (grace alone), we should first take note that grace is initiated by God, not by ourselves. It is God who changes the believer’s heart and gives him the ability to believe or have faith. We have nothing to do with it and yet we want to. The Reformed faith holds fast to the fact that our salvation, every step of the way, is and can only be attributed to God. As man is dead in his sins, it is God who must work in him to bring him to saving faith. We know this from the book of Ephesians where we read in verse one, "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins" and in verses 8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." So we see that salvation cannot be achieved by anything that we do, it is a gift from God.

It is a common misconception that if a man takes the first step in faith, so to speak, and prays a prayer of some kind that he is saved and a new life has begun. This is sometimes called "percentage theology’ or "percentage salvation" meaning that, even though very small, man has a part in his salvation. But this passage in Ephesians makes it clear that that is just impossible. God initiates it – it is a gift. And, left to himself in his sin, man would never choose God. Verse one above states that man is dead - dead men cannot make decisions. Hence, it is the work of God, regeneration precedes faith.

Moreover, we see how just how special and the great import of this doctrine. God chose his people before the foundations of the earth (Eph. 1:4). We should not take this lightly.

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