Grace ~ 20200511 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

05/11 Foundations: Grace and Salvation; Audio available at:

God’s Grace in Salvation

This is Foundations; the basics of what Christians believe. We have looked at what we believe about the Bible, about God, about Jesus, and about ourselves as his creation.

The Necessity of Salvation

Last time we talked about humanity, man as created by God, good, with the purpose of glorifying God by imaging out to all of his creation his invisible attributes; love and goodness, care, provision and protection. Being shepherded by God, we were meant to shepherd God’s good creation under him.

But we rebelled. We doubted his goodness, questioned his truthfulness, his wisdom and authority. We chose to step out from under his good authority and compete with him as the supreme authority. We wanted to be gods. We failed to give him the glory that is his due, and instead pursued our own glory. We committed high treason.

And we became slaves to sin. We forfeited our ability to do good, to please God. Created in God’s image, we became twisted, a grotesque distortion of God’s holy character. No part of our humanity was unaffected; our thinking, our feeling and our willing have all been skewed and distorted. Our sense of justice is out of focus. What seems right in our eyes is not necessarily what is truly just or good. We ought not to trust ourselves, but instead to submit to God’s truth in his word.

Tonight we are going to look at the glorious truth of God’s grace in salvation. Up front we ought to remember that we created the need for our rescue. Mankind rebelled against our good Creator. We inherited a sin nature from Adam, and we sin because we are sinners. Our wills are twisted so that we want to go our own way and please ourselves rather than God. We are responsible for our desperate condition.

The Freedom of God

It is important for us to start this study of grace and salvation by affirming the freedom of God. God is God. He is free to do what he wants to do. He was not obligated or compelled by any necessity outside himself to save us.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

Hebrews 2:16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

Our salvation is not necessary, in the sense that God was free to leave us under his just and holy wrath. It was not necessary for God to save any. He didn’t rescue the angels who rebelled against his authority. He didn’t have to rescue us. This is what grace means. He was under no obligation. Grace is a good gift freely given. God freely chooses to rescue us. He did not have to. But he wanted to.

This should cause us to be amazed and to worship.

The Cause of Grace

We might rightly ask ‘Why? Why did God choose to rescue us?’ That is a very good question.

To Display His Own Glory

One answer the Bible gives is to display his own glory. It was for the sake of his great name, or reputation. It was to demonstrate his awesome power.

Psalm 25:11 For your name's sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Psalm 79:8 Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. 9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name's sake!

Psalm 106:8 Yet he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make known his mighty power.

To be clear that this is not an idea restricted to the Old Testament, look at:

Romans 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.

Ephesians 1 tells us we were blessed, chosen, predestined for adoption

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

In him we have redemption, forgiveness according to the riches of his grace, an inheritance

Ephesians 1:12 so that we ...might be to the praise of his glory.

We heard the gospel, believed, and were sealed with the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 1:14 the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 2 says that God made us alive and raised us up with Christ by grace,

Ephesians 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Why? To display the greatness of his grace, to the praise of his glorious grace, for the sake of his own great name.

Out of His Great Love

Another answer the Bible gives us is because of his great love

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Romans 5:7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

It was out of his great love for us that he rescued us.

The Mystery of His Love

But why? Why did he love us? The answers we find to this question are mostly negative.

Deuteronomy 7:6 ...The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers...

Deuteronomy 10:14 Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15 Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day.

He loves you not because of some superior quality in you; rather he loves you because he loves you. Ephesians 2 and Romans 5 make it clear that there was nothing attractive about us; we were dead in sins, disobedient, children of wrath just like everyone else. We were weak, ungodly, sinners, his enemies. It was no good in us. He loved us because he loved us. Beyond this mystery we cannot push, but we can wonder and we can worship.

How Did God Save Us? The Essential Means:

His Righteousness

Although it was not necessary for God to save us, because he chose to save us, he is bound by his own character in how he must save us.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

For God to save sinners and remain who he is, he must save in a way that upholds his own righteous character. He cannot lie. He cannot declare that the wages of sin is death and then let sin slide or look the other way.


In Genesis 2, he warned:

Genesis 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

And the day they ate, death entered into the world. They became mortal, their bodies which had been taken from the dust would one day return to dust. Death is separation, and that day their sweet and intimate fellowship with God was broken. The were cast out of God’s good garden.

But something else happened that day.

Genesis 3:21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Something else died that day. God promised that the head of the serpent would one day be crushed by one of their own descendants, but he would himself be crushed. God gave them a picture. They had attempted to cover their own shame with leaves. God himself clothed them with skins. Skins come from animals. And for the skin of an animal to be used for clothing, the animal has give up its life. God was showing how he would cover our sin and shame – through sacrifice.


John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Jesus was God’s long promised Lamb who would die to take away our sin and clothe us in his own perfect righteousness. Jesus was the one who would finally crush the head of the serpent, but who would himself be crushed in our place.

The Incarnation

As we saw when we looked at who Jesus is, for him to save us he had to be both fully God and fully man. A savior not quite God is a bridge broken at the far end; a savior not quite man is a bridge broken at the near end.

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 10:4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;

Jesus had to be fully God for his sacrifice to be sufficient to save. And he had to be fully human for his sacrifice to count as a legitimate substitute for mankind. This is why Jesus came.

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Luke 24:25-26 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

He must suffer. It was necessary that the Christ should suffer these things, be killed, and on the third day be raised. There was no other way. When Jesus prayed out of his agony in the garden:

Matthew 26:39 ...“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 42 ...“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

The silence of his Father and the angel sent to strengthen him for what lay ahead was answer enough. There was no other way.


How does Jesus’ death save? There is a concept we need to understand called imputation. We might think of it in terms of a balance transfer. If I have a huge debt, I could pay off that debt with a credit card. Now the one I paid is no longer after me to pay my debt, but my debt has been transferred to a different company or a different card. But if someone else assumed that debt, if someone else paid off my debt with their card, now I am free and the debt belongs to them. In Isaiah 53, it says

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; ... 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 ...and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He took our debt on himself. The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us––for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”––

But a balance transfer can work both ways. It can be negative or positive. Someone could transfer their positive balance into my account.

Isaiah 53:11 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. 12 ...because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

We see both sides of this exchange in 2 Corinthians 5:21

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Father made Jesus the sinless one to be sin; my sin was placed on him. And I become the righteousness of God; Christ’s perfect righteousness is transferred to my account.

Romans 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

God counts or credits me as righteous, even though I haven’t been righteous a day in my life. He no longer counts my sin against me, because it has been transferred to Jesus and he paid my debt in full.

Philippians 3:7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—

Metaphors Describing our Salvation

The New Testament uses several different metaphors to describe the salvation that Jesus secures. It uses a legal metaphor, a sacrificial metaphor, a relational metaphor, a slavery metaphor, and a birth metaphor. Each of these emphasizes a different aspect of our salvation and give us a different perspective to deepen our appreciation for the amazing grace of God.

The Legal Picture: Justification

The law establishes legal demands. Justice must be satisfied. As lawbreakers we deserve to die as the penalty for our sin. Justice will not be served until the penalty is paid. Justification is the legal verdict of not guilty. We are legally declared to be righteous.

Romans 3:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

The Sacrificial Picture: Propitiation

We have angered and offended a holy God, and the full fury of his wrath must be poured out. Propitiation is a sacrifice that turns away or absorbs the wrath of God and thereby makes God propitious (favorable) toward us.

Romans 3:25-26 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

I John 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

I John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God’s righteous wrath was poured out on Jesus. Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath and fury in our place on the cross.

The Relational Picture: Reconciliation

We are separated from God by our sins

Isaiah 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

Our relationship with God has been torn apart by our sin. There is hostility, enmity and separation.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

The Slavery Picture: Redemption

We sold ourselves into slavery and are in bondage to sin. We belong to the kingdom of Satan.

I John 5:19 the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Romans 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

...14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. ...17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

The Birth Picture: Regeneration

We were the living dead, walking around in our sins. We need a total transformation, a new heart, new life, new desires. The Old Testament or Covenant pointed to a New Covenant where God promised

Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

This is why Jesus said:

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” ...7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, ...23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.


God is mighty to save! What an amazing thing God has done, to save the likes of us. He didn’t have to. It was infinitely costly to him. But he so loved that he gave that which was most precious to him. He is rich in grace and loves to give freely what we do not deserve and could never earn. He took what we deserve so that we could have what he deserves. We must simply take him at his word, believe him, trust him, depend on him completely. Whoever believes has eternal life!

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.


Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~