THE BASIS OF SALVATIONEdit
When Adam sinned by disobeying God in the Garden, he incurred the death penalty for his sin which Yahweh had warned him would be the result if he should disobey (Genesis 2:16). He died on a spiritual level immediately even though he did not die physically. He had actually broken the first commandment to not have any other gods before Yahweh God. The temptation was put to them, "You shall be as gods", but in that elevation of themselves above God Himself, they came under the dominion of the god of this world, Satan.
Yahweh wasn't obligated to intervene in any way, but in His great love toward the man He had created, He extended undeserved mercy and favour toward them and brought forth the plan of salvation to redeem them. He could have left them to the results of their rebellion against Him, but He chose to implement the plan which He had ordained before the foundation of the world, to save them and us, their descendants, through the sacrifice of His own Son on our behalf (Hebrews 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20).
By initiating this act of supreme self-sacrificial love, He was providing a practical demonstration of their dependency upon Him and the fallacy of the deception they had embraced, that they could be self-determined and self-sufficient "as god". It also taught them the extreme cost of their rebellion, that another life had to be used as a substitute, to pay the penalty for their sin.
They were given the promise of the Messiah, and animal sacrifices began as an expression of faith in the atonement which He would provide as the Lamb of God, for their sins (Genesis 3: 15, 21; John 1:29).
THE MEANING OF GRACEEdit
The word 'grace' (CHEN in Hebrew, CHARIS in Greek), as it is used in the scriptures, literally means 'favour', to bend or stoop in kindness to another as a superior to an inferior. It has the idea of graciousness in manner or action. When used in reference to God, it is the benevolent action of Him stooping down to us in His kindness to reach us in our need, and convey upon us a benefit. His grace has been termed 'Unearned kindness' but it is more than an attitude of favour or mercy. His mercy is an expression of His compassion toward us, but His grace is an extension of benevolence translated into action that releases His enabling power into our lives.
Seeing that we never merit His favour, we are always indebted to Him to extend to us His mercy and bestow upon us His grace whereby we may respond to Him in an acceptable manner. From beginning to end we are dependent upon Him, for life itself, for all sustenance by which we continue to live and have our existence, and most importantly for our spiritual life without which we are but the "living dead".
THE MEANS OF SALVATIONEdit
The means of salvation has always been upon the basis of grace through the exercise of man's faith in the promise of God in the redemption through the Messiah "By grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2: 5b).
For those who lived before His advent, it was a faith exercised in that which was to come, for those who have lived afterward, it is a faith exercised looking back at the records of His life and His works.
"By grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift (charis) of God" (Ephesians 2: 8)
He extended Himself to us to enable us to respond in an acceptable manner through faith toward His provision for us, so that we might be recipients of His salvation. The faith itself was an impartation of His grace, His 'charis' - gift to us. It is all of His grace - His enabling power. If it was by any merit on our behalf, then there would be room for self-exaltation, but everyone lacks the moral integrity to stand in His presence, for "there is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). And so, it is "Not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2: 9)
"Therefore it is of faith that it might be through grace" (Romans 4:16) There has never been any other way to be saved!
THE WAY OF SALVATIONEdit
"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Y'shua the Messiah, whom God set forth as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed over the sins previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be the justifier of the one who has faith in Y'shua" (Romans 3:24-26)
We are justified (made righteous with God), through His forbearance toward us by means of His grace, by which He has made salvation available in Yeshua the Messiah. He has passed over our sins on the basis of us believing in the One whom He sent to redeem us. Paul says that through Yeshua, God is reconciling the world to himself not imputing their sins (violation of His law) to them (2 Corinthians 5:19). This reconciliation covers all our past sins which we have confessed, repented of and turned away from (Psalm 32:5; Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9).
The plan of salvation accorded with His own righteousness and holiness, and yet made provision for man to be reconciled and restored to righteousness in His sight. It is the process by which sinful humans beings are made acceptable to a holy God. The word justify means "to show to be just, right; to free from blame or guilt".
In the process of our justification, He charges our sins to Yeshua, our Savior and Redeemer (2 Corinthians 5:21). Justification is based on the righteous, Torah-obedient life of Yeshua and is a free gift to men which results in eternal life (Romans 3:21-22). With the extension of His grace, it is then man's responsibility to act upon His provision in believing faith and receive it as a free gift.
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Y'shua the Messiah, through whom also we have access into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5: 1, 2, 21)
We now have peace restored to our relationship with God,where there was previously enmity because of our sins, and it is all based on the unmerited grace which He extended toward us. Justification saves us from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9) against sin which is the violation of His Law/Torah (1 John 3:4).
The purpose of His grace is not just to save us from wrath and damnation, but to fulfil His original purpose which He had in creating us in His image and likeness. That original purpose was to have sons who had proven themselves faithful under testing, come to a maturity of character in which He could share as co-heirs, the responsibilities of administering His creation (Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 8:14, 17, 19, 29).
Grace is God meeting man where he is, in order to bring man to where He is. It is the active demonstration of the unconditional love of God, but it does not meet us where we are to just leave us in that condition and merely overlook our deficiencies and shortcomings. God meets us where we are, in our sin and our weakness, and our immaturity, in order to transform us and conform us to His image and stature (Romans 8:29-30). So, although Yahweh is long-suffering and patient with us in the extension of His grace toward us, there is an ultimate expectation in the ministry of His grace toward us for the fulfillment of our ultimate restoration.
This grace in which we now stand, enables us to live the Torah-obedient lifestyle of Yeshua who is our example to follow (1 Corinthians 4:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:21). He empowers us to obey Him so that we are able to fulfil His eternal purposes for us, through the indwelling presence of his Holy Spirit.
It is possible to abuse the grace of God by continuing to live according to our own desires and our own will.
But, as Paul said, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" (Romans 6:1). The manifestation of God's Presence in our lives at any time is not a validation of our present state, of our personality or of our present lifestyle. It is an extension of unmerited grace toward us in the interim, while He suffers-long with us in the process of bearing with us as little children who need to go through the stages of growth to reach maturity, and need the constant re-assurance of parental love in the process. But while He will not withdraw His Presence while we act out our childish ways, we frustrate the grace of God and become transgressors when we build again the former things, instead of going on to maturity (Galatians 2:18:21; Hebrews 6:1, 4-6)