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Salvation by Grace.

Salvation by Grace.

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Published by glennpease
REV. WILLIAM McK. HESTER, D. D.,



"For by grace are ye saved through faith." — Eph.
ii, 8.
REV. WILLIAM McK. HESTER, D. D.,



"For by grace are ye saved through faith." — Eph.
ii, 8.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 04, 2014
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SALVATIO BY GRACE. REV. WILLIAM McK. HESTER, D. D., "For by grace are ye saved through faith." — Eph. ii, 8. The constant theme of the Apostle Paul was Christ and Him crucified as the Savior of sinners. This theme engaged his most earnest thought and meditation. It was the text of all of his sermons. Whenever he preached, whether to Jews or Gen- tiles, he presented Christ and Him crucified as the Savior of sinners. It formed the central idea of all of his Epistles. While he failed not to present and enforce the duties of practical Christian life, he especially held up the cross as man's only hope, and pointed to Christ and Him crucified as the Savior of men. This was the great theme of his thoughts, his sermons, and his letters, and to make it known to the world was the mission of his life. It is no won- der, then, that in his Epistle to the Ephesians he dwells upon this theme. While speaking to them of their blessed experience in religious things, he re- minds them that Christ crucified was the source of all their joys; that it was the love of God mani- fested in the gift of His Son that had enabled them 82 Salvation by Grace. 83 to obtain pardon and peace and hope of heaven; for, says he, "By grace are ye saved through faith." If this theme could constantly engross the mind
 
of Paul — a man who possessed large intellectual powers ; a man who was learned in the law ; a man who was zealous in standing up for the truth; if it could form the chief subject of his thoughts, of his conversations, and of his Epistles — should it not arrest our attention, should it not engage our minds, and should it not be the inspiration of our lives? It comes to us as the great theme of the ages, the wonder of the angels, the sheet-anchor of the world's hopes. The text affords us an important lesson in re- gard to the ruin wrought upon men by sin and the full and complete deliverance provided in the Gospel. I. There Was eed of Divine Grace that man might obtain salvation. The text implies this fact. Without Divine favor, without God's merciful provisions and loving help, there was no possible es- cape from the ruinous consequences of sin. By no efforts of his own, by no merits that he possessed, could man have been saved. His only hope was in the grace of God afforded in the gift of His Son; his only means of deliverance was in the atoning merits of the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to give proof of this fact and to forci- 84 The Li£e otf Faith. bly impress its importance upon the mind, the apos- tle describes the state of man as ruined by sin. He draws a picture of the moral condition of the Ephe- sians before their conversion, and points out the
 
fearful danger from which they had been rescued by the Gospel. In this picture of the Ephesians before they experienced salvation he shows the nat- ural condition of every human being - ; it is the por- trait of every heart while without God's saving grace. I. They were morally dead. Before they were "quickened" or brought to life they were "dead in trespasses and sins." Paul does not here refer to the death of the body. He speaks of their moral or spiritual death, and states that this death had been brought about by "trespasses and sins." They were dead, and yet alive. While the members of their bodies were alive and active, the functions of their spiritual being were paralyzed by sin. They could see, and hear, and walk, yet morally they were dead. As were the Ephesians, so is every man with- out salvation. But you may ask, "What is it to be morally or spiritually dead? What is spiritual death ?" The answer may be found by solving the problem of temporal death which Paul uses fig- uratively. When sight fails, and the breath ceases, and the heart stands still in your friend, you say he is dead. But what is that death? You do not mean that he has been annihilated. His body lies before you. His hands are cold, his eyes are closed, his heart-throbs have ceased, but his body still ex- Salvation by Grace:. 85 ists. And because the body, which you see, still exists, you may rightly infer that his soul, which you can not see, also exists. In the act of death there was not an end of his being, but certainly a separation, — the spirit, the living principle, had been separated from the body, the material form. Hence temporal death is a separation of soul and

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