Is man saved by grace only?
Topic(s): Denominationalism, Salvation
In spite of denominational claims that the church of Christ doesn't believe in the grace of God, every preacher and faithful Christian I know believes all who are saved will be saved by God's grace, just as the Bible affirms in Acts 15:11, Ephesians 2:5, 8, and many other passages. But we deny men are saved by grace only. I have in my possession a newspaper article by a denominational preacher who claims men are "saved by grace only through faith only." Such is a contradiction. If man is saved by anything "only," any and all other things are necessarily excluded. It cannot be two (or more) things only. Only means just one. The Bible says nothing of being saved by anything "only." The truth is, the Bible speaks of numerous things involved in salvation:
- Matthew 10:22 we are saved by enduring to the end (i.e., being faithful unto death - Revelation 2:10);
- Mark 16:15-16 - we are saved by believing the gospel and being baptized;
- John 3:16 and Acts 16:31 - we are saved by faith;
- Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 - we are saved by calling on the name of the Lord; (many do not understand what this means. The answer can be found by reading Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; and Acts 22:16);
- Acts 4:12 - we are saved by the name of Christ;
- Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 - we are saved by the Gospel;
- Romans 5:9 - we are saved by Jesus' blood;
- Romans 5:10 - we are saved by Jesus' life;
- Romans 8:24 - we are saved by hope;
- Romans 10:9 - we are saved by confession and faith;
- 1 Corinthians 1:21 - we are saved by preaching;
- 2 Thessalonians 2:10 - we are saved by loving the truth;
- 1 Timothy 4:16 - we are saved by taking heed to the doctrine and continuing in it;
- Titus 3:5 - we are saved by the mercy of God;
- James 1:21 - we are saved by the engrafted word;
- 1 Peter 3:21 - we are saved by baptism.
Thus, we see the folly of claiming to be saved by any one thing.
Consider; a man is drowning and someone takes a boat toward the man while a second boater throws to the man in distress a flotation device tied to a rope. The man is pulled into the boat and taken ashore. Shall he thank only the second boater for saving his life? Was he saved by the flotation device? The rope? The man who threw the device and pulled him to the boat? The man who drove the boat? Or did the man save himself by taking hold of the device and holding on until he was brought to safety? It is easy to see how he was saved not by one thing only, but by a multiplicity of factors.
Similarly, we are saved by God's grace when we obey the gospel. This includes believing in the deity of Jesus, repenting of sins, confession, baptism (immersion), and faithful living unto death. This is the plan through which God has promised to save all men by His grace (Titus 2:11-14; 3:5-7).