Acts 15 – The Purity of the Gospel in Salvation by Grace Alone


The Apostles did not believe in self-righteousness. The creed of the world is, “Do your best and it will be all right with you.” To question this is treason against the pride of human nature, which evermore clings to salvation by its own merits. Every man is born a Pharisee. Self-confidence is bred in the bones—and will come out in the flesh. “What?” says a man, “do you not believe that if a man does his best, he will fare well in the next world? Why, you know, we must all live as well as we can, every man according to his own light; and if every man follows out his own conscience, as near as may be, surely it will be well with us?” That is not what Peter said. Peter did not say, “We believe that through doing our best, we shall be saved like other people.” He did not even say, “We believe that if we act according to our light, God will accept that little light for what it was.” No, the Apostle strikes out quite another track, and solemnly affirms, “We believe that through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved,” not through our good works, not through anything that we do, not by the merit of anything which we feel or perform, or promise to perform, but by Grace, that is to say, by the free favor of God—

“Perish each thought of human pride,
Let God alone be magnified.”

We believe that if we are ever saved at all, we must be saved gratis—saved as the gratuitous act of a bountiful God—saved by a gift, not by wages—saved by God’s Love, not by our own doings or merits. This is the Apostle’s creed: salvation is all of Divine Grace from first to last, and the channel of that Grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved, and lived, and died, and rose again for our salvation. Those who preach mere morality, or set up any way except that of trusting in the Grace of God through Christ Jesus, preach another gospel, and they shall be accursed, even though they preach it with an angel’s eloquence. In the day when the Lord shall come to discern between the righteous and the wicked, their work, as wood, hay, and stubble, shall be burnt up; but those who preach salvation by Grace through Jesus Christ, shall find that their work, like gold, and silver, and precious stones, shall survive the fire, and great shall be their reward.

“Grace! How good, how cheap, how free,
Grace, how easy to be found!
Only let your misery
In the Savior’s blood be drowned!”

How it suits a sinner! How it cheers a poor forlorn wanderer from God! Grace! Peter was not in a fog about this; his witness is clear as crystal, decisive as the sentence of a judge. He believed that salvation was of God’s free favor, and God’s almighty power; and he speaks out like a man, “We believe that we are saved by Grace.”

Charles Spurgeon

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 15. Consider that salvation comes by grace alone. Do you think this way towards the dirty, the outcast, or the awkward around you? Do you ever forget that you are only where you are because of God’s grace?

Posted on: November 7, 2013 - 10:00PM

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