Ephesians 4:3-6; One Faith – Assurance of eternal life and confusion over Jam 2.

Class Outline:

Thursday, April 1, 2021


We must know that we are truly saved and have eternal life.


1JO 2:25

And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.


1JO 5:13

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.


Paul did not hold the view that works were the inevitable outcome of regeneration, though no writer insists more strongly than he that Christians ought to do them.


Every one of his letters are addressed to those who have already come to saving faith. His many direct affirmations show that he was not at all concerned about the eternal destiny of his readers.


EPH 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.


Then the insistence:


EPH 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


To say that Paul writes vs. 10 in order for us to measure whether we are believers or not is adding to the text what is not there. The saved are God’s workmanship. That is a declaration of fact. Created in Christ Jesus for good works reveals the purpose of God’s new creation.


TIT 3:4-7

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


1CO 6:20

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.


Paul never has in mind a test for believers to find assurance.


ROM 8:14

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.


If this was a test, how would you determine your passing or failing? But it is not meant as a test. It is a testament to all believers. They are the only people led by the Holy Spirit. It’s like saying “For all who drive cars, these have licenses.” That doesn’t imply that they are always driving cars.


Paul does not question that he is writing to saved people.


ROM 1:8

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.


ROM 5:1-2

Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.


Now continue after ROM 8:14


ROM 8:14-17

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.


The scripture assures us of our salvation. It passionately motivates the saved and yet does not threaten them. When it warns them, it comforts them with what they eternally possess.


The key word associated with the Apostle John’s doctrine of salvation is “life,” specifically “eternal life.” For Paul, the key word is justification. Neither writer associates his idea with anything other than faith. Over the years we have seen many passages that challenge us to be like Christ in this life. Our calling to holiness and blamelessness are not watered down, but maintain the quality of the divine. “Be imitators of God and walk in love just as Christ also loved you.” “Walk as children of light, proving what is pleasing to the Lord.”


One prominent theologian said that he went with his family to see Billy Graham when he was fifteen as a part of his church group. This was in the 1950s. He said that he considered himself a Christian as a 15 year-old boy, but when he heard Billy Graham teaching the scripture so powerfully and with authority as it was from God, he then heard the preacher ask the crowd, “Now what are you going to do about it?” Graham’s gospel was accurate. He would have never asked, “What are you going to do for it?” What he meant is that now you have been the recipient of the grace of God, what are you going to do about it? That young man knew then and there that he had to give his life to the obedience of Christ. He eventually would become the Australian Anglican Archbishop.


Yet, we do not see these challenges accompanied by threats. Discipline and loss of reward are warnings, but even in them they are surrounded by comfort.


One of the popular additions to faith for salvation is water baptism, the subject which will come up next in EPH 4:4-6. Neither John nor Paul associate life or justification with water baptism.


We will pursue water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit in our next section of study.


“Faith without works is dead.”


The most used verse in the scripture to teach that either salvation is by works or that salvation can only be confidently asserted by works is in Jam 2 - “faith without works is dead.”


If you are learned on this epistle then a reminder is always useful. If you are not, the odds are not small that you will encounter it and find yourself confused.


James believed that eternal life was a free gift from God.


JAM 1:16-17

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.