By Oscar M. Baker
“Known therefore be it to you, that to the nations is sent the salvation of God; and they will hear” (Stevens Interlinear).
And from that point of time, people, both Jews and Gentiles, came to Paul’s hired house and heard the gospel of their salvation. Very shortly after, this salvation was expressed in a letter to the Ephesians. So then, we know what that salvation was that was sent to the Gentiles. It is thus; “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
What is the gift of God here? Faith? No, there is no agreement in gender. The word “it” is neuter, and so refers, according to the rules of Greek grammar, to the whole statement before. So it is the faith-by-grace-salvation that is the gift of God.
One has argued that it is impossible for the old nature to have this faith and be saved, hence the necessity of faith being given. But that argument falls down, for one cannot believe unto salvation with the new nature if he does not have it. In other words, the new nature is given upon believing, upon having faith.
What is forgotten is the fact that no one believes with either the old or new nature, but with the EGO, the person. This can be called the heart. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom. 10:10). Every man is given an EGO, a heart, a personality, and so given responsibility. He is saved because he wants to be saved. No other way.
There is the argument that this EGO is like a time bomb, all wound up and then given to man and that he will do whatever is wound up in this EGO, what is in his heart. But the EGO is the captain of the ship and is responsible. There is no evading a facing of the decisions made by the believer. For he is subject to vanity to see what stuff he is made from. Look at history and see what choices men of the past have made. Esau, Joseph, Joshua, Judas, Abraham, David, and many others may come to mind, especially those enumerated in Hebrews 11. If no choice, then there could be no punishment or reward, no condemnation or commendation, no censure or praise, no ruling with Him because of enduring faithfulness.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men (believers) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.... peculiar, zealous” (Titus 2:11-14).
Oscar M. Baker