. . . we are Christians entirely and solely as the result of the grace of God. Let us remind ourselves once more that ‘grace’ means unmerited, undeserved favour. It is an action which arises entirely from the gracious character of God. So the fundamental proposition is that salvation is something that comes to us entirely from God’s side. What is still more important is this, that it not only comes from God’s side, it comes to us in spite of ourselves—‘unmerited’ favour. In other words, it is not God’s response to anything in us. Now there are many people who seem to think that it is—that salvation is God’s response to something in us. But the word ‘grace’ excludes that. It is in spite of us. . . .
Salvation is not in any sense God’s response to anything in us. It is not something that we in any sense deserve or merit. The whole essence of the teaching at this point, and everywhere in all the New Testament, is that we have no sort or kind of right whatsoever to salvation, that the whole glory of salvation is, that though we deserved nothing but punishment and hell and banishment out of the sight of God to all eternity, yet God, of His own love and grace and wondrous mercy, has granted us this salvation. Now that is the entire meaning of this term ‘grace’. . . .Creatures who were spiritually dead are now alive—how has it happened? Can a dead man raise himself? It is impossible. There is only one answer, ‘By grace ye are saved’. . . .
I must confess it passes my comprehension to understand how any Christian looking at himself or herself can say anything different. If when you get on your knees before God you do not realise that you are a ‘debtor to mercy alone’, I confess I do not understand you. There is something tragically defective, either in your sense of sin or in your realisation of the greatness of God’s love.
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. God’s Way of Reconciliation—An Exposition of Ephesians 2, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1972, p. 130.
For more information on Lloyd-Jones, his sermons, books, etc. see the MLJ Recordings Trust.