The God Who Saves

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Study 1

God the Saviour

The big idea of this first study is that God saves graciously—when people don't deserve it and without their help.

The word ‘grace’ is frequently misunderstood by religious people. Many understand grace to be something you get as a reward for being good—a reward for good works. However, in the Protestant church, God's grace is understood to be a free gift—unmerited favour. Because of this, people can use the same words and mean completely different things. For example, Christians understand the phrase, “We are saved by grace” to mean that everything to do with us being saved is God's work, whereas a religious person could understand it to mean that we are saved by God's generous response to our good works.

The aim of this first study is to show that God's grace in saving people is not a reward, but rather a free gift given to people when they don't deserve it, given without their help.

The word ‘grace’ is deliberately not used in the study, so as to avoid this confusion. Rather, the phrase, “God saves people when they don't deserve it, without their help” is repeated to emphasize the point. Don't be afraid to say this phrase a number of times, as this fact is the foundation for the rest of the studies and, indeed, the gospel.

1. What examples can you think of, from the Bible, where God saves people?

There are many examples but, where possible, it's best for the individual or group to think of them for themselves. This study starts with the example of Israel's rescue from Egypt by God, and then moves to the New Testament to consider the cross of Christ.

If people get stuck when thinking of examples, consider:

There's no need to spend a lot of time on this question. The aim is to remind people—or help them to recognize—that God is a God who is known for saving people. That he does so when they are not only helpless but actively disobedient heightens how gracious he is.

2. Choose one of these Bible passages about someone being saved, and note down how God did it:

This question reinforces the point of question 1 by looking at three incidents in detail. However, as the study is ultimately about the work of God in saving us through Jesus, it's not necessary to look at all three examples. Each example is a clear demonstration of God's grace. However, focusing on the first example may help you to avoid some tangents about why these people needed saving in the first place, or about whether God's justice is reasonable.

Exodus 1:15-2:10

How did God save Moses?

He made sure that Moses wasn't killed at birth, and then ensured that Moses was found in the river by an Egyptian princess. The fact that Moses' mother was then employed to look after him adds to our enjoyment and appreciation of what God has done.

What did Moses do to deserve being saved?

Absolutely nothing. He was saved as a newborn baby.

What contribution did Moses make to the salvation?

None at all. Even his crying plays no part in his rescue; it is not even mentioned until he is found by Pharaoh's daughter.

Genesis 22:9-14

How did God save Isaac?

By providing an alternative sacrifice for Abraham to offer.

What did Isaac do to deserve being saved?

Nothing. He was not even aware that he needed saving!

What contribution did Isaac make to the salvation?

None. The alternative sacrifice is provided by God.

Exodus 12:21-30

How did God save the firstborn children of the Israelites?

He saved them by providing a means of protecting them through the sacrifice of a lamb.

What did they do to deserve being saved?

Nothing. They just happened to be born into the right family.

What contribution did they make to the salvation?

None at all.

Read Romans 5:6-10.

3. What did the people Paul was writing this letter to do to deserve being saved?


4. What contribution did they make towards being saved?

None. In fact, any contribution they made was negative: they were “powerless” and “ungodly” (v. 6), “sinners” (v. 8) and “enemies” (v. 10).

5. Why did God save these people?

It was because of his love for them (v. 8).

Read Ephesians 2:1-10.

6. What did the Ephesians do in order to deserve being saved?


7. What contribution did they make towards being saved?

None. As in questions 3-5, their contribution was, if anything, negative. They were “dead” (v. 1), following the world (v. 2), following “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Satan) (v. 2), “gratifying the cravings of [their] sinful nature” (v. 3), and so on.

8. Why did God save these people?

“Because of his great love for us” (v. 4). Verses 8-9 also emphasize that we make no contribution whatsoever; this is entirely a work of God's grace—his generosity and mercy.