By Pastor Steve Atwood…
Salvation is a free gift without any work whatsoever. (Eph. 2:8-9) Salvation is not dependent upon walking the aisle, joining the church, being baptized, turning over a new leaf, repenting of your sins, turning from your sins, forsaking your sins, confessing your sins, asking for forgiveness of your sins or inviting Christ into your heart.
Forgiveness is available to all who believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again and that God forgave us for Christ’s sake. (I Cor. 15:1-4) Salvation is trusting completely in what Christ did in our behalf at Calvary. (Eph. 1:13) We believe that this glorious truth has been hidden from the world in general by the religious system of this world that has substituted the traditions of men for the truth.
As you consider the following facts, please keep in mind that the words of Paul in Romans through Philemon are the Words of Christ. However, many times Paul’s words differ drastically from the words of Christ spoken during His earthly ministry.
Under the kingdom message, as under the law, works were always a part of salvation, but under grace, salvation is a free gift without works:
PETER: Acts 10:34-35 – Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
PAUL: Titus 3:5 – Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Eph. 2:8 -9 – 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.
Christ specifically taught his disciples and others to keep the law; Paul said we are not under the law:
CHRIST: Matt. 19:17 – And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Matt 23:1-3 – Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
JEWS: Acts 21:20 – And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
PAUL: Romans 7:6 – But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
The 12 disciples taught that works were necessary for salvation, while Paul taught that they were not:
JAMES: James 2:24 – Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
PAUL: Romans 4:5 – But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Baptism is a work and was necessary for Israel’s salvation but has no place in God’s program for today. We are living in the dispensation of the grace of God. (Eph. 3:1-6)
PETER: Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1 Peter 3:21 – The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filthiness of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
PAUL: Acts 16:31 – And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Rom. 11:6 – And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it
no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Peter was sent to baptize, while Paul was sent not to baptize:
PETER: Matt. 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
PAUL: 1Cor. 1:17 – For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Jesus taught that forgiveness was conditional on man forgiving others, while Paul taught that we are forgiven based solely on what Christ did for us.
JESUS: Matt. 6:15 – But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
PAUL: Col 2:13 – And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Jesus taught that there was an unpardonable sin, yet Paul said there was forgiveness for all sins.
JESUS: Matt.12:31 – Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
PAUL: Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Jesus told the 12 to preach the gospel of the kingdom, while Paul was given the gospel of the grace of God.
JESUS: Matt.24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
PAUL: Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.
Steve Atwood is pastor of
Grace Bible Church – 3827 Hixson Pike – Chattanooga, Tennessee