Gospel of Grace Alone 35

You say you cannot believe, you cannot repent. Fitter for Christ if you have nothing but sin and misery. God to Christ with all our impenitence and unbelief, to get faith and repentance from Him; that is glorious. Tell Christ, “Lord, I have brought no righteousness, no grace to be accepted in, or justified by; I am come for Thine, and must have it.” We would be bringing to Christ, and that must not be. Not a penny of nature’s highest improvements will pass in heaven. Grace will not stand with works (Titus 3:5; Rom 11:6). That is a terrible point to nature, which cannot think of being stripped of all, not having a rag of duty or righteousness left to look at. Thomas Willcox

It is such a glorious truth for those that God by grace alone has given eyes to see and ears to hear. It is a far better (and “fitter”) thing for sinners to come to God with their unbelief and impenitence to seek faith and repentance from Him by grace alone. Sinners have no righteousness, so they should know this from the heart and make no pretence before God as if they had any. They should cry out to Him because they don’t have any. Unbelieving sinners have no grace to be accepted in and as such they should know that and make no pretence that way. Sinners have nothing in themselves to justify them and nothing in themselves to move God to justify them. The grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ frees sinners from the burden (and sin) of coming to Him with anything from themselves or of themselves. They must come with Christ or they will not come at all in terms of coming in reality.

What will a sinner bring to Christ? What will a sinner think that he can do or merit that he can bring to Christ who is the righteousness of God and the only propitiation for sin? It is far “fitter” to come to Christ as we are and look to Him alone for grace and grace alone. What is it that the sinner can bring to Christ that can move Christ to save him? Will coming up with faith, as if a dead sinner can do that, move Christ to save the sinner? Of course not as all things that come from a dead sinner are dead works. All things that are from the flesh are flesh. The only thing that can move the living God to bring life into the dead sinner is His love for Himself (as triune) and His own glory. It is that love with which He loved sinners and brings them to life (Eph 2:4-5).

The sinner must not come to Christ with any righteousness of his or her own and that includes any faith which the sinner thinks that he can come up with. The sinner have no grace or graces to commend them by and nothing that can possibly contribute to justification or move God to justification. This is so important that I have repeated this in the same post. We don’t bring anything to Christ, but instead they must have all from Him. Sinners, as a result of their proud hearts, always want to bring something to Christ instead of bowing low and confessing that they have nothing to bring Him, but instead they have nothing but ill-merit and demerit on their part. Sinners must receive all from Christ or they will perish. Faith is not what people can do in and of themselves, but instead faith is looking to Christ and receiving grace alone because of Christ alone.

There is nothing of nature (man’s nature) that man can bring to God that is acceptable because man is totally depraved. There is no improvement that man can make to his own nature that will make him more acceptable to God. It should also be pointed out that while there are many improvements that man can make in the outward sense, it is even a greater wickedness to trust in those as righteousness to make one acceptable before God. The Pharisees, who attempted to make moral improvements and think of them as righteousness, were those that Jesus spoke to and of the harshest. Religion will not help a person move closer to God based on the works of nature, of the flesh, and of a person’s own righteousness. Only the grace of God in Christ Jesus can do that.

The Gospel of grace alone, though indeed not thought highly of in the modern world, is still the only Gospel that there is. The Gospel of grace alone should teach us to look for grace at all points and in all ways, but instead many (in the Reformed community as well) want to believe it in terms of words but are always trying to find ways to bring a work or works into it. If faith and repentance are not of grace alone, then the Gospel is not of grace alone. If the sinner looks to self for faith and repentance in order to be saved, then the Gospel is not about the sinner looking to Christ alone and grace alone. Perhaps I am spending too much time on this issue, but it is so neglected in our day that it needs to be stressed over and over again. The issue is not a minor one, but instead it gets at the heart of the Gospel of grace alone. The Gospel is all of free-grace and has nothing of free-will in it. When ministers do not turn sinners from their own wills to grace, they are not teaching a Gospel of grace alone.

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