6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
Verse six is the key to understanding chapters 9 to 11 and how those chapters fit into the argument of the book—everything in God’s economies is by the grace principle.
The point of verse six is to show that God always saves a remnant no matter how bad things get. This remnant did not come into existence by works but by the grace principle. Those of the remnant could not claim any merit for their survival spiritually.
6 And if [Greek: and it is] by grace, then it is no longer of works;
God did not constitute a remnant within Israel by their keeping the works of the law. They became a remnant by grace and grace alone. Israel’s faithfulness to the law had nothing to do with it.
Salvation by works is salvation by merit. That idea was fundamental to Jews of Paul’s day. If a person is saved by grace, then that excludes salvation by works.
otherwise grace is [becomes] no longer grace.
There is mutual exclusiveness between grace and works. The idea is that if we attempt to mix in salvation by works, then grace becomes something that, in its essence, it is not.
Grace is difficult for people to accept because it is an affront to their pride.
It is very difficult for people to accept grace, because it is an affront to their pride and self-sufficiency. If Jesus paid our debt to God, then there is nothing left to be paid. Jesus gave the Father a receipt designating that our sins were paid in full. God does not place us under any obligation to pay for our sins. Nothing but the blood of Christ paid for our sins. There is no further requirement such as works following salvation, baptism, or anything else.
Grace and works are mutually exclusive. Salvation cannot be by grace and works. It is either by grace or works, not both. Grace demands humility—that we accept what God has done for us and not what we do for Him. Since grace and works are mutually exclusive, if we attempt salvation by works it will nullify grace.
Ga 2:16, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
The reason salvation is all of grace and none of works is that God is the one who does all the doing. Our salvation is permanent because God is permanent.