25 August 2001, Saturday


EPHESIANS Chapter 2, Verses 8-9 KJV

 By Dr. Ken Matto

 Welcome to the Scion Of Zion Internet Classroom. And we are going to be continuing on in our study of the Book of Ephesians after about a two-month hiatus. The last time we were here was approximately end of June. So what we’re going to do now is we’re going to continue in our study. Two months ago, we had left off in Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 7. So if you have your Bibles with you tonight, and I hope you do, I’ll be using the King James Version. Please turn with me to Ephesians Chapter 2, verses 8 and 9, which we are going to start our study tonight. And we saw in Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 7 that… we looked at verses 1 to 6 in Ephesians Chapter 2, and we saw verse 7 as the culmination of the things that God has planned for His children –that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches. And that word, ‘exceeding’ there means ‘the surpassing wealth’ of God’s Grace. It’s a wealth that you and I will never understand. And it’s a wealth beyond what we can even think of. As a matter of fact, God even tells us in Ephesians Chapter 3, verse 20 that He does above and beyond what we can even think. [“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”]. As a matter of fact, because we are finite and He is infinite, He has to speak in finite terms to us. So unfortunately, we really cannot comprehend until we get to Glory the great things that God has for His children and those exceeding riches that He is going to show us in the ages to come.

Now, turn with me to Ephesians Chapter 2, verses 8 and 9, and of course, we all basically have this memorized already because these are very, very popular verses. And these verses are used basically used by the Doctrines of Grace crowd.

Let’s continue on in Ephesians Chapter 2, verses 8 and 9. Let’s look at that passage.

“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:…”

In other words, the faith that we have does NOT come from a source within us. The faith that we have comes from an outside source. And of course, that outside source is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Then he goes on to say…

“…it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.“

Now, let’s take a look at the word ‘works’ in verse number 9, alright. And that’s the word ‘ergon’ And that particular word means ‘deeds’ or ‘actions.’ And the word ‘boast’ actually means ‘a glorying.’ Now, it’s a different Greek word than the other word ‘glory’ –like we have the glory of God (and that’s the word ‘doxa’). But this type of glory is a word, which is found many times in the New Testament, and it is defined by its context. For example, “not of works, lest any man should boast” or “not of works, lest any man should GLORY in those particular works.” Now, besides John 3:16, these are probably the two most quoted and misinterpreted verses in the Bible. Now understand grace is the bestowing of salvation on people who have done NOTHING to earn it. And you can even really add an addendum on there that not only is the bestowing of salvation on people who have done nothing to earn it, but it’s the bestowing of salvation on people who do not EXPECT it. I mean, I am sure that everyone listening today [might say] that God has intervened in [his or her] life, and they didn’t expect to be saved. They didn’t know what salvation was, until God came into their life, and He indwelled them with the Holy Spirit and gave them a hunger for God. And we began to look at God different, and we began to look at the world different, too. Once we were friends with the world, now we are at enmity with the world. Now, of course, there’s a great movement out there. And the great movement seeks to ‘accept Christ.’ And of course, you CANNOT ‘accept Christ.’ That would be a work, because that’s an ACTION. That’s an ACTION on our part. Now, it is very important to know, and to really understand something… that these people that maybe that come forth, let’s say, when they get a… when they do an altar call… or what they do, like they call somebody up… or whatever, however they do it. Now, there may be legitimate believers in those altar calls who are coming forward, and maybe God is dealing with them, and that’s fine that they come forward. But for somebody to arrogantly say, ‘Well, out of MY free will, God gives me a choice to choose.” Well, I’ll tell you something. A dead man cannot choose his coffin, and a spiritually dead man CANNOT choose salvation. Now, the salvation plan of God is void of ANY action on the part of the one that is receiving the gift of salvation.

Now, when we look at the word ‘faith’ in the New Testament –the word ‘pistis.’ That word is a noun. And when we look at the word ‘believest’ in the New Testament, ‘pisteuo’ And they’re very close, they’re related. THAT particular word is a verb. That means ‘to believe’ on the Lord Jesus Christ IS a WORK. It’s a VERB. Therefore, the only way a person can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ [is] if they have been PREDESTINED, ELECTED, and CALLED to believe. God has to qualify a person to believe. So God’s salvation plan is void of ANY action on the part of the one that is receiving the gift of salvation. After all, what can we really do? What can a sinful human being really do to impress a thrice-holy God? Because there’s two verses that we need to look at… Turn with me to Proverbs Chapter 21, verse 27. And we’re going to look at two verses, which are very, very similar. We have to understand that every work of man is sin-tainted. Because there is no work on this earth that you and I can do that is not sin-tainted.

In Proverbs Chapter 21, verse 27, we read the following words: “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?”

Now, when we look at this particular word, ‘the sacrifice of the wicked is abomination.’ When we look at this, we’re looking at people who come to God in a very arrogant manner, as if to say, ‘Look at all the good works I’ve done. I’ve given a lot to the church, I’ve taken the sacraments, I was baptized, I went through catechism, I came to church twice a year, you know, on Easter, on Christmas. My mother had to smack me and turn my mattress over to get me out of bed, but hey, I was THERE. Exactly, I fast twice on the Sabbath.’ The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination. And the REASON it’s an abomination is that because when people try to gain salvation through WORKS, they are literally saying that the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is of non-effect. And that His Cross meant nothing. In other words, it’s the Cross, PLUS. And God knows NO salvation plan the Cross, PLUS. Because the Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross, and as a RESULT, He paid for the sins of His Elect. And because He paid for the sins of His Elect, those people are now on their way to heaven, and they need not do ANY type of works to get to heaven. And look at the second part of that verse: “when he bringeth it with a wicked mind.” Do you know, unless you are regenerated, you do NOT have the mind of Christ. If you do NOT have the mind of Christ, then you have a wicked mind. And to try to honestly believe that a person can come into the presence of a HOLY God with simple works, or even with complex works… you know, man’s mind is complex. If God told us to do something very, very hard, we would’ve done it, and where do we hear THAT statement? Remember Naaman? The little girl said that if the prophet would’ve said to you ‘Do something great, you would’ve done it. But He’s telling you to do something simple. Go bathe in the water seven times.’ That’s the way we are, because the mind of the wicked and God’s salvation plan are at enmity with each other… because the wicked mind cannot comprehend spiritual matters. That’s why God says the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination. When people come into a church and they try to say, ‘Look at me, I’ve given $100,000 to the church, I should be an elder,’ and they’re made an elder, just because by reason of their business acumen… God looks at that and says that’s a wicked mind. THAT IS A WICKED MIND! Because the wicked mind is of the Pastor, the wicked mind is of the other elders who vote him on. The sacrifice of the wicked.

Now there’s a similar verse. Six chapters before, in Proverbs 15:8. And when we look at that particular verse, we’ll see, it’s the same thing, except God adds a POSITIVE note for the believer.

He says in Proverbs 15, verse 8: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD…” [but then He puts a conjunction in there…but’] “…but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”

So here, two times, God is saying the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD. And of course, let’s define wicked. The wicked is anyone who is not saved. The wicked is anyone who has NOT been regenerated through the Cross of Christ. And of course, you have quite a number of religions out there. You have… take like the Roman [Catholic] church with all their religious regalia. They look so religious. They look so holy. And this is why when Muslims speak of Christianity, they look at them and say… well, they include the Catholics along with the Protestants. And of course, the Protestants… and they include them along with the true born-again believers. I guess there’s going to be just as many unsaved Protestants in hell, as there’s going to be unsaved Catholics. Believe me.

Now, I want us to look at a string of verses tonight concerning this subject. And let’s begin at Matthew Chapter 7, verses 21 and 23. And of course, some of these verses are familiar, but we have to be careful that we don’t put the obvious, easier verses, or the verses that are more familiar to us on a back burner, because this happens sometimes. Sometimes we go looking for the esoteric meanings in the Bible, and we forget that there [are] obvious verses staring us right in the face.

Well, in Matthew Chapter 7, verses 21 to 23, the Bible says: “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Now, what is the Will of God? The Will of God… and the word can also be translated, ‘the purpose of God.’ Now, the will and the purpose of God towards His People is salvation. It’s salvation, because He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,…” That means there’s going to be thousands, maybe millions of people. And it’s not necessarily only in the Christian churches. You have religions out there like Buddha, Buddhism, who think they’re serving god. Hinduism, who think they’re serving their gods. And they believe that they’re on the right track. Mormons who believe in their doctrines. Jehovah’s Witnesses who believe they’re serving God. And they’re going to wake up on Judgment Day on the Last Day, and they’re going to see that the Lord is going to say to them, ‘I never knew you.’ But they’re going to say unto Him, ‘But Lord, have I not prophesied in Your Name? Have we not declared Your Word? Have we not brought the Gospel to the nations? Haven’t we done this, and haven’t we done that? And in Thy Name, cast out Devils?’ You know, that’s basically a synonym to cast out devils. That synonym that means, ‘have we not taught salvation’? Well, you know, you go into different denominations and you go into different religions, and you’re going to find out that EACH one will have their own salvation plan. And that’s why, ‘in Thy Name we cast out devils.’ So the free-willer will come and say, ‘Well, I accepted the Lord.’ The charismatic may come and say, ‘Well, you know, I spoke in tongues and this HAS to be the Holy Spirit before I have to be saved.’ “…and in thy name done many wonderful works.” I fed the poor. I went and I helped. I helped build a house for Habitat For Humanity. You mean that didn’t count? I did these wonderful works.

[Matthew 7: 22“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”]

You know, I was a little disappointed the other day, I was listening to Family Radio. And I forget which program it was on, and somebody was reading an article about Mother Theresa. And they were literally GLORIFYING Mother Theresa. Mother Theresa believed in many, many religions. She believed that it was okay to make a Hindu a better Hindu, or to make a Catholic a better Catholic. And you know something, that poor woman was deceived all her life. Now she’s awaiting the judgment. And she’s going to stand there before the Lord, and she’s going to say, ‘But look at how many bandages I changed in Calcutta.’ And the Lord’s going to say, ‘You didn’t come through the Cross.’ ‘But look at the works I did pulling people out of the stench of Calcutta.’ ‘You didn’t come through the Cross.’ ‘But Lord, look at the works I’ve done.’ ‘YOU did NOT come through the Cross. Therefore, YOUR name is NOT written. Depart from me, you cursed into everlasting damnation, prepared for the devil and his angels.’ It’s a shame, but we see a lot of this out there today. Everybody is taking their salvation plans, and they’re embellishing them, they’re adding to them… to the point that the Bible is in the background, and now we obey a pack of psychologists, the psychiatrists, or whatever. And we obey cultists, and we obey New Agers. And we think that because we have some type of New Age understanding of the Bible, or we’ve got a brand new version of the Bible, or something else is written, we’ve got this idea that, ‘Hey, I’ve got a handle on it now!’ No one has a handle on it, unless you’re in the good ole’ Book of books.

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, the Bible says go neither to the left, neither to the right. You meditate on that good old Book every single day. You read that Book. If you can’t read it, you listen to it, because it’s important that you and I saturate ourselves with the Word of God, so WE MAY KNOW when someone is selling us a spiritual bill of goods, and that’s important. That’s very important in this day and age, because there are a lot of teachings out there that sound good, and they’re going to cause us to stray. And there’s one thing we DON’T want to do is to stray, because once we get off the highway of holiness, there may not be an entrance back on to it. So we have to be very, VERY careful… by being on a highway… you gotta watch it…

Let’s take another verse. Let’s take a look at Romans Chapter 3, verse 20. Romans Chapter 3, verse 20, we read this: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Now, there are movements out there. One that comes to mind is Christian Reconstructionism… [who] are living by the law of God. Well, God gave us the law to show us that we could not live by the law of God, he says here that, “Therefore by the deeds of the law…” And when we look back in the Old Testament, and we look at the… in Leviticus, the atoning sacrifices that were attempted with animals. And when we look at the oblations, and when we look at the amount of animals that were killed to cover the sins. God says that the deeds of the law cannot save a person. That CANNOT save a person. You can have ALL the sacrifices, all the cattle, all the sheep, all the doves, and the pigeons for the poorer people… it’s NOT going to save you. You can keep the Ten Commandments, it’s NOT going to save you. Because the law came for one purpose: To show us that we could not keep the law. It showed us our sinfulness. How many times when we’re on the highway, we see a sign that says 55, and we’re going along at 65. I know, I do it all the time. It’s hard to keep a 55. Just think how hard it is to keep the other 600 and some laws that God has given in His Word. And you have to keep them perfectly. And you have to be absolutely holy to be accepted before the LORD.

Now, let’s take a look another passage of Scripture. Right across the page, Romans Chapter 4, verses 1 to 10. He says this: “1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?”

It’s very important, whenever you read the Scriptures. Always watch the wording very, VERY carefully. When I had taught a course on Homiletics in the local Zarephath Bible Institute years ago, I stressed to the students, ‘Don’t glean over an entire passage.’ Read it carefully, word for word for word. God places words in certain ways so that we can get to understand what He is speaking about. One of the biggest problems in hermeneutics today is Revelation Chapter 20, verses 1 to 8. You have an entire camp that says that’s a literal thousand years. But when you look at those passages and you investigate them carefully, you see that there’s no way that there could be a physical thousand years.

Okay, back to Romans Chapter 4: “1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [he’s not talking about the Spirit now]… 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”

Even if he was JUSTIFIED by his works, okay… Even if he was justified by his works, he had nothing to glory about before God. Oh, he may glory before men. ‘Hey, look at me, look at me.. I’ve got it all. I’ve got 318 servants, many camels, I have wealth, I have prestige, people know me near and far.’ --What does that mean, what does that mean? Everybody knows about me. Like all this Hollywood stuff. So what, you know the name of an actor or an actress. And what does that mean? That, and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee. Not anymore, though. It’s a dollar thirty-five at Dunkin’ Donuts in New Jersey. Now go on to verse 3, which is an extremely important verse. If you don’t have the first part of this underlined, then underline it. For what saith the Scripture.” And by the way, it’s not pronounced ‘sayeth.’ It’s pronounced ‘seth.’ “For what saith the Scripture.” THAT is one of the most important lines in the entire Bible, because if somebody comes to you with a teaching, the first thought in your mind is not, ‘Oh, that sounds good.’ Or ‘No, that sounds bad.’ It’s ‘What saith the Scripture.’

Then it says: “3 …Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

Well, why did Abraham believe God? Out of the goodness of his heart? Out of his own free will? Out of his intellectual understanding? No, God qualified him to understand.

Now, he goes on to verse 4 to say: “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.”

So if I did twenty-five thousand good works in my life, and if I was going for a ‘pay-by-the-way’ plan, that means God would have to reward me for all those good works. But what did we see a little while ago in Proverbs 21? The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination. If I’m unsaved, and I’m trying to work, that’s abomination. You know, even a Christian that tries to work and burn out for the LORD is an abomination, because there’s no such thing as ‘burning out’ for God… because Deuteronomy 33:25 says, “…as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Psalm 29:11 speaks about “The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.” --NOT anxiety! NOT craziness. NOT confusion. He’s going to bless His people with PEACE. That’s our God. That’s God doing that.

Then he says: ”4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.”

So we see, once we begin to get to that works arena, we’re outside the parameters or the realms of grace, and it becomes death. And God owes NOTHING to no one. It’s bad grammar, but the point gets across.

Okay, verse 5: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

How much work did you and I do for our salvation? When God came to us in the middle of some part of our life, and all of a sudden, we started thinking about God. All of a sudden, we wanted to go to church. All of a sudden, we wanted to read the Bible. We grew thirsty for God. We wanted to know this God every day. And all of a sudden you’re realizing, ‘Hey, wait a minute, something’s happened to me… something has happened to me. I didn’t work for it, I didn’t even ask for it. I was surprised. I didn’t expect salvation.’ But you know what, His faith is counted for righteousness. And only a righteous person will inherit the Kingdom of God. NOT unrighteousness. Only a RIGHTEOUS person can inherit the Kingdom of God.

Verse 6: “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,”

That’s salvation. Righteousness WITHOUT works. WHO did the work for us? The Lord Jesus Christ. WHO took the pain for us? The Lord Jesus Christ. WHO shed His blood for us? The Lord Jesus Christ. WHO was separated from His Father for the first time in eternity when God the Father had to look away? …from His Son who became SIN for us. How can anyone read these passages and honestly think that they can DO something to go around the Cross of Christ and earn their salvation their way?

Verse 7: “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

Blessed. God doesn’t bless the unbeliever with salvation. He doesn’t bless them with forgiven iniquities. He doesn’t bless them with atonement. He only blesses His People. ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.’ He REMOVES our sins. He takes them out of the way. That body of death is NO LONGER on our back. It’s gone. It’s done. Finished. God looks at His children as if they’ve never sinned. And that’s why we can stand with great confidence before the LORD when we pray, knowing that the burden of sin is gone. The guilt of sin is gone. ALL taken to Calvary. ALL nailed and taken out of the way.

Verse 8: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Again, that’s us. We’re blessed. You know why our sins will not be imputed to us? Take from the moment of now until ten years from now, we’re all going to commit a lot of sins. But you know why He’s not going to impute those sins to us? Because those sins have been atoned for. In principle, before the foundations of the world, when God wrote up and He says… He created the Book of Life… [to name] who He was going to save throughout eternity. And then the Lord Jesus Christ came into time, and fulfilled the requirements and the demands of God’s Holy Law and kept that Law perfectly for those whom He planned to save. And you know something, God does not impute that sin to us anymore, because He looks at us and He says, ‘What sin? They’ve all been removed by my Son. Every one.’ His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ has taken them out of the way, and the reason He could do this is because He is God. And because He is God, SIN can have NO power over Him. And because HE is the one who is atoned, sin can have NO power over us. NO authority. NO “exousia.” NO authority over us. Do you know why we sin? Because we want to. Not because we have to. Because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we have the strength of God in us. We can WALK AWAY from sin. We can turn it off. We can look the other way. We don’t have to go through this world sin-tainted. We DON’T have to go through this world crying and weeping for our sins… because God has removed them. He has made us a joyous people! A people that can sing, a people that can go outside and look at His beautiful creation and say, ‘My, can you imagine what the new heaven and new earth is going to be like?’ Today there was such a blue sky. Could you imagine what the new heaven and new earth is going to look like? I can’t.

Verse 8: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only,… […in other words, the Jews were trying to keep the Law, according to their understanding] …or upon the uncircumcision also?…” […or upon the Gentiles?].

In other words, he’s saying… for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. Now, here he’s talking about was the blessedness because the Jews were keeping the Law, or was it blessedness on the unbeliever… because we’re saying that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

But then, God goes on to verse 10 and answers that question: “10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, [absolutely not…] or in uncircumcision?…” [No, NOT in circumcision, but in uncircumcision].

In other words, Abraham was totally outside. Totally outside of the law of God. Totally outside of the Grace of God, when He was an unbeliever. As a matter of fact, during that particular time, there was a lot of worship of the moon god, Hurki. The moon god, Hurki And that’s the main deity at the time of Abraham, and he probably was a worshipper of Hurki And so, here you have one of the most faithful men in the Bible, before he became saved, was no doubt an idolater, and maybe went along with the ways of his surrounding people. And he did this in keeping with the culture. And this is what they did back on the Fertile Crescent. This is where the gods like Baal began, because they were like fertility gods. Ashera, Ashterath, Milcom… [a] whole bunch of them They all began in that Fertile Crescent, that Mesopotamia area. And that’s where Abraham was from.

Romans Chapter 9, verses 31 and 32: “31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.”

You see, God is saying here that His law was righteous, and the reason it’s righteous is because it was given by God Himself. The law was given by God Himself. But Israel did not attain to the law of righteousness. And then God asked the question: “Wherefore?” Why didn’t they do it? Why couldn’t they do it? Why could not they attain to the law of righteousness? Why could they not attain the salvation to the law of righteousness? Why could they not attain the salvation to be in right standing before God? “…Because they sought it not by faith.” Him that cometh to God must believe that he is. You must have faith in God. And being that we’re dead…spiritually dead…we can’t have faith. God has to give us that faith. It’s a GIFT of God.

So He says: “32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;”

That’s important. They stumbled at that stumblingstone, because the stumblingstone was: God gave the law, He told them: ‘Here’s what you have to do. You take this particular animal for this sacrifice. You take this particular animal for that sacrifice. What you do then, is you sacrifice it this way. You take these end trails, you take these guts, you put them on this side of the altar, put them on that side of the altar.’ So when the High Priest would enter once a year, and they would kill one goat and send the scapegoat out into the desert. They thought they were ‘IN’ with God… that they had an ‘IN’: ‘Hey look, we’re obeying God. He gave us the law. Those others… those people out there, those uncircumcised, those Gentiles… they don’t have the law.’ But all of a sudden, a new gospel comes to town, and it’s being preached in Jerusalem. Right in the heart of where the law is kept: ‘You don’t NEED to keep the law anymore. It’s by Grace.’ And that’s a stumblingstone to someone that’s steeped in fifteen hundred years of law-keeping. And it’s just like when… and this verse should always come to mind whenever we’re witnessing to somebody in a cult. Whenever you witness to somebody in a cult, they look at verse 32, because “For they stumbled at that stumblingstone…” They’re stumbling at the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ went to the Cross, the Lord Jesus Christ paid all the sins, and you DON’T have to do anything. You don’t have to keep the law, you don’t have to sacrifice anything, you don’t have to do a certain work, you don’t have to walk up on your knees up 28 steps in Rome. You don’t have to do ANY type of work, because God accepts NO work for salvation. NONE at all, except one: The work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Will of God is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that’s found in John 6:40, I don’t recall off hand right now, where it says, ‘What is the will of God… this is the will of God that you believe on Him whom God has sent…’ So when anytime you witness to somebody, and they don’t understand, they’re stumbling at that stumblingstone. And that stumblingstone is their patterned system of beliefs. You take any cult, any church, it’s like trying to explain to someone who’s steeped in heavy Arminianism. That you DON’T have to do anything. That person will tell you, ‘Yes you do, you got to reach out.’ Ask them to find that in Scripture. They can’t. But they’ll tell you they have to reach out. They HAVE to do something. Some will say, ‘Well, you got to speak in tongues. It’s evidence of the Holy Spirit.’ Well, it’s NOT evidence of the Holy Spirit… That’s evidence that you’re speaking gibberish.

Okay, turn with me to Romans Chapter 11, verse 6. And I’m trying to tonight work in into Ephesians 2:8 and 9, the difference between God’s grace and the works. Even the works that God gives us to do… [for] those under the law, could not attain salvation. When you look at the first five books of the Bible, whether they be Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Exodus… when things have to be done in a certain way, a certain pattern, boards have to be silver… You know, one thing about the tabernacle that’s interesting. It was overlaid with porpoise skins and everything. And the inside of the tabernacle was adorned beautifully. But you know, the outside was boring. It was porpoise skins, like dull gray and these different colors that were very drab. You know what lesson God is teaching us there? Those on the outside of Christianity are looking at us as dull, long-faced people. Dull, long-faced people. But from the inside, you see the BEAUTY of God. You see the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. The gold, the silver. You see the different colors of the drapes, and everything. You see the real beauty of God from the inside. This is what He’s showing us, that you have to be on the inside… you’ve got to be saved to appreciate who God is.

In Romans Chapter 11, verse 6, the Bible says: “6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace… [You see, you can’t mix water with oil, and homogenize the two of them. They don’t go together. They will not homogenize.] …But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

In other words, it can’t be mixed. Either you keep the law perfectly, or you keep it in Christ perfectly. That’s what you do. You keep it in Christ perfectly. But you CAN’T do that. We’re sin tainted. What did Proverbs say? The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination… so UNTIL Christ saves us, our works are an abomination unto the Lord.

Okay, let’s take a look at Galatians 2:16. We only have a couple more verses. About three more, and then we’re going to end it up here tonight.

In Galatians Chapter 2, verse 16, we read… a very popular verse: “16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,…”

Now notice that’s said TWICE… the faith OF Christ. And that’s His Faith. That’s possessive; it’s genitive. In the newer versions, it’ll say we are… where does it say that… “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith IN Christ…” --It’s totally different, it’s a dative. It’s showing a faith TOWARDS something, whereas the faith OF Christ shows us that it’s the faith OF Christ. It belongs to HIM… that He’s imputing to US. Not faith IN Christ, but the faith OF Christ…

“…and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

God is driving that point home. No flesh shall be justified. NO ONE can come in. Galatians 2:16. No one can come into the Kingdom of God unless it is through the faith OF Christ… unless it is through the faith OF Christ. Not faith IN Christ. That if you have to have faith IN Christ, you’ll never do it. But He has to impute to you His faith, the faith OF Christ. That’s when you can come into the Kingdom of God. And no flesh shall justified.

Okay, turn with me to 2 Timothy Chapter 1, verse 9. And this is also a very good verse, and it gives us another insight into the body of Christ when it was really formed.

In 2 Timothy Chapter 1, verse 9, we read this… let’s start at verse 8: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works,…”

Okay, He didn’t call us according to our works. He didn’t call Abraham when Abraham was in works. He called Abraham when he was in uncircumcision, and He called Abraham no doubt when he was in a false cult. The moon god [worship], which was prevalent at that time [when] Abraham walked the earth, about 2000 B.C. something to that effect.

“…But according to his own purpose…”

Remember, we talked about the purpose before… the purpose, or the Will, of God. They’re the same words in the Greek. The purpose or the Will.

“…and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”

Wait a minute, wait a minute. It was given to us ALREADY?… BEFORE the world began? You know, I tell people about predestination, and I say to them, ‘You know,” I said, “My father went through World War II, and he fought in many campaigns in World War II. In fact, he was a personal guard to General MacArthur. And because God had already named me before the foundations of the world, my father could have walked up to a Japanese pill box, stood in front of a machine gun and that machine gun would’ve jammed.” Why do I say that with confidence? Because I had to be born, because God named me, so I had to be born. And if my father would’ve died, I couldn’t have been born. So you know, predestination preserves families too. It’s another essence of predestination.

Alright, we’re going to Titus Chapter 3, verses 4 and 5, and we’re going to end up here.

Titus Chapter 3, verses 4 and 5: “4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done,…”

Okay, notice what he’s saying here… ”the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared” – NOT according to the works, NOT according to the works you and I were doing. NOT according to the works we wanted to do. NOT according to the works we’re going to bring before God with that wicked mind.

“…but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

Are you and I strong enough to put the Holy Ghost in us? Nah. That would be the kind of work we would have to do to sanctify ourselves. NOT put on all this religious regalia. NOT to put on all these LONG faces, like “Oh, poor me, woe is ME! Look at me, I’m religious. God is pleased with me, I walk around, and I’m so long-faced my jaw touches the ground. I can shovel snow as I walk!” Oh, that does NOT please God to have His Children walk around like they’re the ones going to hell. God wants us to be a JOYFUL people. NOT a bunch of flaming idiots running around smiling, “Oh, I’m so happy my car broke down. Oh!” NO, He wants us to have the joy that OVERCOMES every situation, whether it be on the job… and believe me, this past week with me, I was almost fired two times. But I have to have the joy in my heart, and they don’t understand that. “Oh, your job is on the line.” “Really? I’m still going to sleep tonight. “Oh, how could you do that?” “Because my job does NOT define who I am. The CROSS OF CHRIST is the one that defines who I am. The BIBLE defines who I am. GOD Himself defines who I am. --NOT my job, NOT my circumstances, NOT the people around me, NOT the people I know, NOT the people I’m going to meet ten years from now. My position in my company does NOT determine my destiny. God has already done that. So if I lost my job today, and I didn’t work for ten years… let me ask you something: Would that affect my salvation? The answer is: No. That would not affect my salvation. Salvation is OF the LORD. And that’s where we’re going to leave it tonight.

Next week, we’re going to start in Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 10. And we’re going to see that WE are workmanship in Christ. And He’s already prepared good works for us, so we don’t have to go out there and look for good works. All we have to do is just keep ourselves spiritually attuned to what God is doing in our life. Watch the way that He sends us, and looking at the different watersheds in our life and the different directions. Sometimes God takes us in a completely 90 degrees, or He takes us in a 180. Or He’ll take us at 270. But one thing… one thing He’ll never do is leave us alone. He’s ALWAYS involved in the believer’s life. Always.

We saw tonight that by Grace, we’re saved through faith, NOT of ourselves. And it’s great that it isn’t of ourselves, because if you think about it for one minute: How much works do I have to do? WHAT works do I have to do? Do I have to be consistent? [Those] are the questions that we would have to ask ourselves. And you know something? It would haunt us. Because we would never, never, NEVER be right with God, if it was OUR responsibility to be right with Him. But you know something? HE has made US responsible. He has made US His Children. And He’s made us IN salvation, according to HIS righteousness. --THAT’s the joy of the believer! THAT’s the joy. THAT’s Christianity! Christianity is not long face. OR Christianity is not looking into something or destroying a church because somebody says it. THAT’s NOT Christianity. Christianity is the joy [of] knowing WHO we serve. Knowing who GOD is in our life. Knowing that we can come to Him for anything, anytime, and any way… because He has made us QUALIFIED in His Kingdom.