OBJECTIONS #10; Salvation by Grace ALONE, through Faith ALONE, in Christ ALONE.
This objection sounds like this; “We are saved by Grace ALONE, through Faith ALONE, in Christ ALONE. That’s what Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches. We who are chosen by God are gifted with salvation, nothing, not baptism nor faithfulness has anything to do with our salvation.”
In case you’re unfamiliar, this erroneous viewpoint has its foundation in Calvinism. Calvinism is the error that God chooses before hand each individual that will be saved and each individual that will be lost. If God hasn’t chosen you, there is zero way for you to be saved regardless how much you try to obey Him. Conversely, if He has chosen you, there is no amount of rejection you can do to prevent it. Eventually you will have your heart changed by the Holy Spirit (even if against your will) and submit to God.
HOW CAN WE RESPOND?
Grace is a GIFT; it is unmerited favor. It is God’s part of our salvation in the demonstration of His love by giving His Son. Rom 5:8-10.
When people point at Eph 2:8-9 to prove that baptism is useless, we should remind them what Paul taught the Ephesians when he first encountered them in Acts 19:1-5. He taught them to be IMMERSED in water (baptized) in the name of Jesus Christ.
Next, you can show them that FAITH is man’s part of salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “through FAITH.” Grace is God’s gift; FAITH is our response to His gift of Grace. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing.” In Romans 10:16 the Holy Spirit uses faith & obedience interchangeably. “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?””
“Through faith” is our part, it’s our trust in God’s working when we’re baptized. “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” [Colossians 2:12]
Jesus points out that belief is a work we are to do [John 6:29; cr. 1Thess 1:3; 1John 3:23]. This evidence demonstrates that man has a work to receive the grace of God, which brings us to the next point…
Verse 10 shows that we’re given a TASK to do from God. This work (Eph 2:10) is prepared by God that we should walk in them. This verse is not rejecting any work, just the work that man invents. There are two kinds of work.
1) Works that mankind invents, in which they can boast.
2) Works of God that God commands us to obey, through which God works. [Col 2:12]
“buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” [Col 2:12] (emph. mine seb)
Baptism is that kind of work. Obeying the Gospel is a work of faith on our part, fully trusting in God’s promise to save. None of us has the power to wash away our sins, God does that. None of us can die & take ourselves to heaven, God can.
Our job is to do His works, through our faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” [Heb 11:6]