In these much quoted verses we learn that there are 3 elements or aspects to salvation.
1) Salvation is by grace
2) Salvation is through faith
3) Salvation is for a specific purpose
First, salvation is by grace. This aspect of salvation refers us back Jesus Christ. Salvation is by God’s unmerited and unearned favor toward sinners, like you and me. That favor is driven by His everlasting love for God for all He has set heart upon from before the foundations of the world. It is out of this everlasting unconditional love that God sent His Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, to take on Him the very nature of man, Jesus Christ, who through suffering and death on the cross and His resurrection, established the basis for the salvation of sinners, like you and me. He died to pay the penalty for our sin and atone for our iniquities against the only true and Holy God, our Creator. He was buried and then rose again proving to us that His one atoning and redeeming sacrifice on the cross was accepted by our heavenly, whose justice was fully and completely satisfied, once and for all time. Salvation can be found in no other name under heaven, except Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). So for whom did Jesus Christ die and rise again from the dead, since not all men are saved; a most evident fact? This leads us to second element or aspect of salvation.
Second, salvation is through faith. This aspect speaks of the gift that enables the sinner to embrace with a believing heart all that Christ accomplished and merited in His death and resurrection, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, salvation and everlasting life belongs, not only to others, but him or her also. This gift of faith is different from any kind of faith that any person can muster from within his inner most being; it is “not of yourselves.” If the faith that saves is of our own doing then salvation would be of works, not of grace; and we would have something to boast about. But the faith that is gift from God, the Holy Spirit, is a faith that neither fades, nor forsakes it object, which is the person and work of Jesus Christ. It endures until the day of redemption. Human faith will wither under the heat of trials and tribulations; true faith from God will persevere and even glory in tribulation (Romans 5:3). No human faith or will power can do that. The gift of faith is also evidence of a heart and life that has been regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Salvation and the hope of everlasting life belongs to all who come to Jesus Christ through the means of true faith, the gift of God, and in repentance of their sins, not because of their faith. Faith is the outward evidence of an inward transformation by the Holy Spirit, who also gives the believer a desire to serve by faith His Savior all the days of His life with good works. This leads us to the third aspect or element of salvation.
Third, salvation is for a specific purpose. We see that purpose revealed in verse 10, where we are told, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The purpose that the sinner is saved is so that he might live to Christ. Having been born again by the Holy Spirit, the sinner has been made a new creation in Christ, no longer to sin, but serve righteousness, according God’s word; not for his justification but as a part of his sanctification. Having been set a part by washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit, the sinner is now fitted for service to the Lord to do good works that are done by faith, according to God’s word and not the opinions of men. The salvation of the sinner includes this aspect or element; without this aspect of salvation the sinner will not give evidence of that mighty work of the Holy Spirit in making him or her a new creation in Christ. The believer, the new creation in Christ, will grow more and more sorrowful for his sin, hating it more and more; and will grow more and more in a heartfelt joy in God through Christ, delighting to do by faith every kind of good work that conforms to God’s law to God’s glory (Heidelberg Catechism #’s 88-91).
Therefore, salvation is three-fold: It is by grace, through faith, to create a new life in Christ for good works to the glory of God.
Herein lies our hope in the life to come and our joy in this life; let’s not forget these 3 aspects as we tell other about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
– Soli Deo Gloria!