by Terry Wane Benton
If one verse said it all, and we needed no more than one verse to be saved, I would choose Ephesians 2:5. "By grace you have been saved." That way I wouldn't have to believe, repent, confess, or be baptized. I would rest my case here and just tell people they have been saved by grace. But the problem is that while this was and is true, it is not true for everyone in the world. It is written to people who believed, repented, confessed faith in Jesus, and were baptized. It is these people who are saved by grace. (Acts 19:6; Ephesians 1:12-13; 2:1-6; 5:25-26; Galatians 3:26-27). So, it would be wrong to take Ephesians 2:5 out of context and apply it to people who were unlike the Ephesians who trusted and obeyed Jesus for salvation by grace.
Ephesian 2:5 is true for a certain type of person. By grace, you can be saved, but you are not saved by grace until you meet the terms or conditions of pardon. Acts 2:36-41 shows us that "remission of sins" (grace) is given at a certain point in faith. So if you do not have faith in Jesus and meet these same conditions you are not yet a person who has been saved by grace.
The 3000 moved from can be saved by grace to have been saved by grace when their faith moved them to repentance and baptism in the name of the Lord. The Ephesians operated under the same conditions. They too had the same baptism (Ephesians 4:3-4).
If we could pick one verse and dismiss all other verses on the subject of salvation, we would probably make the same mistake as I would if I took Ephesians 2:5 out of context and pretended that we are all saved by grace. No! This verse is written to people who have been saved by grace because they believed and met the terms of pardon. Others were not in the have been saved by grace category. They are all in the can be saved by grace category until they hear and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ in the same way. (Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:36-41). There is not a single verse that tells the whole truth. It tells truth within the limits of a bigger context, and the entire Bible gives the whole truth. Grace is longing and waiting to save you, but you must meet the terms or conditions of pardon.