Gospel of Grace Alone 36

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

The last part of this statement by Willcox gets at the real issues of the Gospel of grace alone too. Grace will not stand with works. There is no real getting around this vital, vital point. Either Christ has accomplished salvation completely and totally leaving man with nothing to do other than receive or He left something for man to do. This, however, not only means that Christ is not the complete Savior, but that man is partial savior of self and does indeed have something to boast about. The Gospel of Jesus Christ gives us the good news of what Christ has done and does not leave us with something left to do. The Gospel of grace alone leaves us with no works to do for salvation and does not leave us with one work to do in order to be declared just before God.

The least work makes grace no longer to be grace. Again, this point cannot be emphasized too much. The least work turns the Gospel of grace alone into another gospel. “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom 11:6). Grace is only grace when it is pure and unmixed with anything else. In terms of the Gospel of grace alone, it is by Christ alone that sinners are justified and He does this by grace alone. If we add one work to the Gospel of grace alone, we add one work to Christ. If we add one work to Christ, then we add one work to the Gospel of grace alone. Faith is either a work of the Spirit that Christ has purchased and given to sinners by grace alone or faith is the work of the will of man. If it is the work of the will of man, then the Gospel is not Christ alone and it is not by grace alone.

Grace will not stand with works, but the hardest thing for so many people to believe is that grace will not stand with any act of a will that is free (free-will). A will that is truly free is a will that is free of grace and so a free-will cannot stand with the Gospel of grace alone. The Gospel of grace alone does not accomplish all by grace but leave men to come up with faith on their own, but instead faith itself is a free gift of grace. This is so beautiful and so glorious that it is indeed beyond the ability of human language to describe it. This is so utterly glorious that sinners have nothing left for them to do in the realm of justification. They don’t have any works to do in order to be justified and they have no faith and no repentance to work up either. In accordance with the Gospel of Christ alone and grace alone, both faith and repentance come by grace as well. The freeness of this Gospel of grace alone demands that we not add one work to it in order to protect the freedom and freeness of God in giving grace at His pleasure rather than giving it in response to an act of man.

How impossible this is to the fallen nature of man to love the Gospel of grace alone when it strips of all hope in self and of all pride in contributing one thing. It is so attractive the fallen nature of man to at least contribute some little thing and to have salvation according to the will of man rather than totally depend on the pleasure of God (grace alone). As Willcox said, man is left with “not having a rag of duty or righteousness left to look at.” How horrible this appears to self-sufficient and proud man, but how beautiful it appears to those who see that all good things are from God and it is His glory. This is why the older writers and preachers taught that proud man must be broken and to be humbled before man could be converted. The selfish and proud heart will always hang on to some little something, though indeed it is not little in reality. The proud heart that hangs on to one thing is actually holding on faith in self rather than faith in Christ. It is really belief in self that is at the heart of this so-called “faith” regardless the name it goes under.

The Gospel of grace alone stands in the full glory of God and proud man must bow in humility before the sovereign Lord of the universe and ask for grace. There is nothing that man can do to earn it or merit it, but instead he must be stripped of all hope in self and realize that he has not the least shred or rag of righteousness in his own account or even the ability to attain it. True faith is looking to Christ alone to give faith and repentance as a gift and it comes by grace. If we think we have merited even a part, we have no idea of the nature of true grace.

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