Were you looking for us? We believe in Salvation by Grace Alone!
By Steve Simmons
We are looking for two groups of people here at Fifth Street Presbyterian Church. We are looking for those who are looking for us and we are looking for those that are not looking for us. We look for those not looking for us by outreach such as evangelism and mercy ministry. And we look for those who are looking for us by trying to put ourselves in their field of vision. These articles are intended to be a means of introducing ourselves to those looking, and if that is you, we hope you will check us out here at Fifth Street Presbyterian Church*.
This week’s little article is about our commitment to Salvation by Grace Alone. If you are looking for a church that is committed to the doctrines of Grace, sometimes referred to the “solos of the reformation” we are glad to press into your field of vision this declaration that we believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and this salvation is for God’s glory alone.
Grace is what is needed for those that are more than mostly dead.
As we understand the doctrine of salvation we understand that salvation must be by grace alone. Any other explanation of salvation falls on its theological face. The condition of man as a sinner makes grace his only hope.
You can see the problem in the illustrations often used to invite men to respond to the gospel. You fall into the water and are about to sink but someone throws you a life raft—you must grab it! Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart—you must open the door! God has taken 99 steps toward you in sending Christ for your salvation—you must take that one step toward him! Such illustrations would be reasonable except that dead people don’t grab, open, or step. If we were mostly dead or somewhat ill of soul then we might be able to do something, but we are dead in sin, unwilling, and unable to make any move toward God. Salvation must be by sovereign grace and by that grace alone.
We believe that all men and women born by ordinary generation are born sinners and by virtue of their birth have inherited depravity and therefore deserve God’s wrath.
We believe that Jesus’s first advent satisfied God’s anger and his life, death, and resurrection accomplished all that God required for the salvation of those who believe
We believe that salvation is the work of God. Before the foundation of the world God chose to save a people and those chosen are in time awakened by the work of the Holy Spirit and enabled to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We believe salvation is from first to last, a work of God. And even though we may make use from time to time of certain nicknames like “Calvinism”, “sovereign grace”, or “reformed”, we are really only trying to express the lovely doctrine of grace, amazing grace, grace that exceeds all our sin and our guilt. In grace we see the fullness of God’s love and provision. J.I. Packer got it right in his summary of Calvinism when he said Calvinism was simply a way of expressing the truth that salvation is, from beginning to end, a work of God.
This doctrine gives hope to the church. We do not rest on our skills, charisma, charm, or persuasive words but rather on the simple declaration of the truth which God takes to the heart of the lost. Salvation by grace alone speaks of a salvation that hopes in the will and power of God, such salvation will not slow down at the gates of Hell. Such a view of salvation puts the hope of victory in the hearts of the saints.
This doctrine gives us hope that the worst of sinners can be saved. There are none so hardened that God cannot turn their hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. There are none so far gone into immorality or hostilities against the Faith that God cannot grant true repentance as He invades the dead heart to give it life. There is no one who is better at sinning than God is at saving. This grace is amazing!
This doctrine is a great comfort and assurance for it does so clearly declare that that which God began in us He will continue unto the day of Christ Jesus. If salvation were of God’s work with a little help from me, I would not be able to have an ongoing assurance since my little bit might falter at any time. But a salvation that rests on grace alone is a salvation that can never fail.
If you are looking for a church that teaches and delights in the doctrines of grace you may find what you are looking for here. Visit us at www.fifthstreetpca.org and then at 1616 East Fifth Street next to TJC. Feel free to ask any questions you may have by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*We are part of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which is a conservative, Bible believing, and Jesus preaching denomination that formed in the 70s because of the continued liberalization of the main-line Presbyterians in our country.