Four elements of salvation


[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 

[9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

[10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Those verses give us the four most crucial things to understand about salvation: 

  1. The basis of salvation is grace
  2. The Instrument of salvation is faith 
  3. The result of salvation is good works 
  4. The confidence of salvation is what God started, He will finish it 

1. The basis of salvation is grace.


[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 

You may have heard salvation described something like this: 

“I was drowning in a sea of my sin, and Jesus came by in a boat and threw the life vest out to me and pulled me onboard and saved me.”

David Nasser says that sounds really good, but it’s just not the gospel. 

The gospel is that we weren’t just drowning in a sea of our sin. We were dead, floating face down in a sea of our sin, and Jesus came and pulled our lifeless bodies into the boat and breathed eternal life into our lungs.

Salvation was not a reward for good behavior. 

It was not because we were “less bad” than someone else or had a good heart or had great potential. It’s not even a reward for showing faith. 

“Grace” means that it was based on nothing good or meritorious about us; it was a gift of God.

“And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

Notice that little word “this” in verse 8. 

What does “this” point to? 

In Greek, the “this” refers back to the entire earlier phrase, including both salvation and faith. 

God didn’t just offer salvation as a gift; he also freely gave us the faith to believe in the first place.

2. The instrument of salvation is faith.


[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 

Faith is not simply a religious feeling or becoming more “Christian.” 

Faith is the hand that lays hold of Jesus. It’s the belief that Christ has accomplished it all, just like he said he did, and simply resting our hope on that.

The best picture of this is in the Old Testament—where all the best pictures are. 

When you brought a lamb to sacrifice for your sins, the priest would put it on the altar. 

Then, you would reach your hand out and put it on the head of the lamb, and you would begin to confess your sinfulness. 

As you confessed, the priest would take a knife and cut the throat of the lamb, and the blood would drain out. Your hand symbolized your sinfulness being transferred onto the innocent lamb.

ISAIAH 53:4-11:

[4] Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 

[5] But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 

[6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

[7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 

[8] By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 

[9] And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

[10] Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 

[11] Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous,

and he shall bear their iniquities.

John the Baptist said:

JOHN 1:29:

[29] The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

When you become a Christian, you reach out to the Lamb of God and say, 

“I believe you came for me. You died for me. And there is nothing I can do to save myself. I am transferring my guilt onto your head. You are my blessed assurance.”

God has already (past tense) completed the purchase of our salvation. When we claim that as our own in faith, it becomes ours.

3. The result of salvation is good works.


[9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

We’re not saved by good works; but if we are saved, we will do good works.

That’s because when God saves us, he unites us to Christ and begins to infuse his life into us. There’s no way to be hit with that kind of greatest force, to have that kind of power working in us, and not change.

JAMES 2:18-24:

[18] But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 

[19] You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 

[20] Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 

[21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 

[22] You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 

[23] and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 

[24] You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Imagine I was late to church one day and finally came running up onstage and said, “I’m so sorry I’m late. As I got in my car to come to church, a grand piano fell on my head—just like the cartoons! I got up, all accordion-like, and it took me a few minutes to collect myself. But man, did it hurt!” 

Your response would probably be to call me a liar, because there’s no way I could show up at church in one piece after a grand piano landed on my head.

Have you experienced the grace of God? 

Then how can you say you understand and believe the gospel and not love him? 

How can you say you love God while enjoying those things (sins, worldly stuff) that put him on the cross?

We’re saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.

4. The confidence of salvation is that what God started, he will finish.


[10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

“Prepared beforehand” means God has pre-planned these good works for us. He’s already created the opportunity for them and pre-supplied the power for us to do them.

Literally, in Greek, the word is poema (it’s where we get the English word “poem”). 

God has started composing our lives into a beautiful song that glorifies him. And what he has started, he will finish.

Philippians 1:6:

[6] And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

That word, poema, is used only one other place in the Greek Bible, referring to God’s creation in Genesis 1. 

At creation, God spoke something into nothing. 

He didn’t start with raw material. He started with nothing and created everything. 

He spoke a light that did not exist into absolute darkness.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ


  1. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 
  2. even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 
  3. he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 
  4. to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 
  5. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 
  6. which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 
  7. making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 
  8. as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

When God saved you, he took a righteousness that did not exist in you and spoke it into being. 

The same powers that spoke the universe into existence began to create righteousness in us.

The darkness in our souls is no more able to resist the transforming power of God than the night is able to resist the sunrise.

Which means that all we have to do is yield ourselves to Jesus to let him do his work through us. 

1 PETER 2:9-10:

[9] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

[10] Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Christianity is not about us doing anything for God but letting Christ do everything through us

John 19:30:

[30] When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

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