Every man by nature fights against salvation by grace. Though we have nothing good in ourselves, we all think we have; though we have all broken the law, and have lost all claim upon divine regard, yet we are all proud enough to fancy that we are not quite so bad as others; that there are some mitigating circumstances in our offenses, and that we can, in some measure, appeal to the justice as well as to the compassion of God. Hence the apostle puts it so strongly, “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The statement of the text means just this, that we all need saving — saving from our sins, and saving from the consequences of them; and that if we are saved it is not because of any works which we have already performed. Who among us, upon looking back at his past life, would dare to say that he deserves salvation?
Neither are we saved on account of any works foreseen which are yet to be performed by us. We have made no bargain with God that we will give him so much service for so much mercy; neither has he made any covenant with us of this character; he has freely saved us, and if we serve him in the future, as we trust we shall, with all our heart and soul and strength, even then we shall have no room for glorying, because our works are wrought in us of the Lord. What have we even then which we have not received?
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Salvation All Of Grace," delivered August 4, 1872. Image by under Creative Commons License.