Just ONE explanation of Grace through faith alone.
We all know Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Throughout the Bible, Believers received God’s grace based on what they had SEEN, and what they did as a result of what they saw, “repentance”. I call it a “sight based belief”, whereas, the gentile does not have a “sight based belief” his belief is based on HEARING about Jesus. “faith cometh by hearing, and that by the word of God” which, if you consider the centurion, and the Samaritan woman, believing based merely on what you have heard takes much more TRUST in God being who he says he is. “blessed is he who hath not seen, yet believed”. I guess you could say the Jew in Peter’s day was saved by “grace through faith in believing what he had seen”, and repentance, or changing his ways. EITHER WAY, God honors this trust with his gift of salvation.
The difference in the Jew and the Gentile.
IS there a difference? Well, today there is not. Both the Gentile and the Jew are under the same gospel, or way of salvation until the rapture of the church. We are both on the same level now. Why? Because we all have the same level of information about God, and Jesus.
“There is neither bond nor free , Jew nor Greek”. ALL men are the same in God’s eyes during this present dispensation, or period of God dealing with man. Reason being, the Jew no longer has the advantage, or proprietary information, over the gentile that he had before Jesus came to die on the cross. “in the last days, I will pour out my spirit on the flesh of all men”.
Consider this. The Jew had the Torah, The prophets, the testimony of the Patriarchs, The earthly ministry of Jesus, his miracles, his signs, the twelve apostles and their preaching, teaching, miracles and signs. He was reminded of God at least seven times yearly at the Feast days, and Holy Day observances. Finally, as Peter preached at Pentecost, the Jew had the witness of a Dead man rising from the grave, who had said he would do so. SO, logically speaking, grace thru faith alone (without seeing) wouldn’t make any sense to a Jew in Jesus time, nor would the gospel of God’s grace that Paul preached .
Consider the centurion, and the Samaritan woman. Both gentiles, neither under the law. Neither had seen any signs or miracles, but they had HEARD about a coming Savior, and based merely on the little information they had about Jesus, they TRUSTED him as the man he said he was, and believed God. And God honored their belief, so grace through mere faith, or hearing, was always afforded to anyone who believed God.
As such, God honored that “faith of a mustard seed”, and like Abraham, their belief is accounted to them for righteousness. Note that Abraham was also a Gentile, who had no Bible, no torah. Perhaps he had heard about Jesus from the Priest of Milchezedek, but his words “the Lord will provide himself a sacrifice” makes it clear that he knew Jesus would one day come, and make atonement for all sins. Think of how hard God worked with the Jew, “a stiff necked people” in trying to convince them that He was who he said he was. For someone to come along and say, without any evidence from anything he had SEEN, “Lord, I believe that you are who you say you are, that you love me more than I can love you, and that all I can do is trust you, I cannot justify myself to you in this mortal body, but I know, because you love me, you made a way through the blood of Jesus for my salvation, and I thank you for that, and I now rest in your mercy and your grace Lord, thank you” THAT is pleasing to God!
The difference in acts 2;38 and Eph 2;8. Essentially? The difference is SEEING, and HEARING. The Jews faith comes from SEEING, the gentiles faith comes from HEARING.
Anyone can see there is a clear difference between “repent, and be baptized” and “not of works, lest any boast”. Reason being, the Jew didn’t need blind faith in what he had heard, his faith was based on what he had seen. The Jew always had a works based salvation because he had hard evidence. God had always worked with them face to face (for lack of a better term). Because of this, blind faith was not even remotely associated with salvation for a Jew. He had the benefit of Jesus ministry, and a heritage of God dealing with Israel directly, something the gentile had never had the benefit of. But God made provision for the gentile, and he had kept it a secret, a mystery from the foundation of the world, and this is why the gospel of the Grace of God is never mentioned in the scriptures until Paul began his ministry, and shared this doctrine with the other apostles. Had Satan known what God’s plan was, he would have never led the men to crucify Jesus. Satan was tricked at Calvary. He had always been led to believe that God had to deal with man directly or you had to go through Israel, or a Jew to reach God the father. No doubt he felt that by subverting the Jews through the Pharisees, he had won a victory, but God was setting him up for his final defeat.
Different Apostles, different Ministries. The twelve were apostles to the Jews, and Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul’s gospel was Jesus provision for those who didn’t have the benefit of Jesus earthly ministry, and the proprietary information the Jew had about God. That’s about the simplest way I know how to put it. Consider this in your reading and your study. Start in Acts, and progress through the Epistles of Paul in order from Romans through Philemon. Paul wrote Hebrews also.
The essence of righteousness: As sin was imputed to Jesus for our sakes, righteousness (spiritual) is imputed unto the believer as God’s way of honoring His son’s sacrifice for our sins, and his obedience unto death at the cross. Not for our sakes, but His sons sake. Therefore, it is impossible NOT to please God through faith in his son Jesus based merely on what you have heard, and believing it. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness” . We don’t have to do a thing but accept the fact that God loves us that much. Very simple, but very profound to religious people.
A study help. As you read the New Testament, take note of the different gospels mentioned throughout. John Preached a gospel of Baptism unto repentance, and preparing for the coming kingdom. Jesus preached “the Gospel of the Kingdom”, Peter preached “the gospel of repentance, and belief unto baptism to receive the Holy Spirit”. Paul preached t he Gospel of the grace of God, (Eph 2;8), and if you look at revelation , during the tribulation, “the everlasting gospel” will be preached worldwide before Jesus returns. WHEN Jesus arrives, he will judge the world by Paul’s gospel Rom 2;16, and begin the millennial reign. During this time, salvation will still be needed. The tribulation survivors will repopulate the earth, and Jesus “gospel of the Kingdom” will be the “good news” . Logically, Grace thru faith alone won’t make much sense, because Jesus will be here in the flesh. Which is the major difference in the different gospels of the New Testament, Jesus physical presence, and firsthand, or proprietary information vs. belief based on merely hearing, and not seeing .
That being said, Eph 2;8 is the ONLY gospel that would make any sense in today’s dispensation of the Grace of God. It is the salvation Gospel for all men Till the Rapture. I often call Paul’s gospel a provisional, or parenthetical gospel, sandwiched between Acts and Hebrews, that will be our instructions until Jesus returns, and we return with him. .
So, once you get into the correct gospel for our time, Eph 2;8, you can read Paul’s epistles to fully understand God’s plan for us in this present dispensation. All of the Bible is written TO us, but all of it is FOR us. But we must “rightly divide”. For example, Adam’s covenant wouldn’t make much sense in today’s world. More on the covenants later.
As you study , you will see a clear difference in the doctrines contained in Matthew thru John, and Paul’s Epistles. THEN Hebrews through revelation resume the same ‘Works based grace” doctrine found in the first four books of the NT, and will apply doctrinally during the period of intense persecution and “Jacobs Trouble” during the tribulation period. Why? Because during the tribulation, The two prophets will show great signs and wonders as evidence of who they are and why they are here. To merit grace one will have to believe, and be obedient unto death (martyrdom, or starvation for Christ’s sake (refusing the mark of the beast). A “works based grace” doctrine. “rightly divide the word of truth” I hope this helps you in your