Gospel of Grace Alone 40

Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

The glorious Gospel is full of glory because it is all about the beauty and glory of God. The Gospel is said to be the Gospel of the glory of God and the Gospel of the glory of Christ. While human beings want to make the Gospel focus on men and men will see a glory in the Gospel as long as it is about them, the true Gospel of grace alone will have no glory for the unregenerate person to see. The unregenerate person does not have spiritual eyes to see the true glory of Christ but instead will only think of that as glorious which has to do with self. The unregenerate person does not have spiritual ears and so cannot hear the voice of God speaking forth His glory, but instead man only has ears for things that do not destroy his pride and self-sufficiency.

The glory of the Gospel is that God has mercy rather than salvation depending on men to will or run. The glory of Gospel is not that God provides men salvation by grace and then leaves it to them to choose it or not, but instead the glory of the Gospel is all about the grace of God in overcoming the obstinate will of man and making him willing in the day of His power. The Gospel is not about man becoming religious or moral in his own strength or even with some help, but about God changing the heart of man and by grace changing man where he will grow to become more and more like Christ by His grace. It is the glory of His grace that is on display rather than the salvation of men depending on their own wills or their own running. This is so hard for the proud heart of men and the focus of themselves on self. Instead of man looking to self and his worth, works, and will for salvation, he must look to the mercy and grace of God alone. This is why in older days men taught that men must be humbled and broken in order to be saved. God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

The Scriptures specifically and undeniably teach in this place that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and that He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. The Scriptures specifically and undeniably teach in this place that salvation does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs (the efforts of man), but instead it rests upon God to have mercy. The contrast is quite clear. On the one side we have many today who focus on the will of man as the issue in salvation. On another side we have many today who focus on the efforts (effort in works and morality) of man. The third side, it seems, is quite small and perhaps even very small. These are the ones who look to the grace of God alone in all things rather than their own will and works or morality. But what we must see is that these are the ones who think of grace as sovereign rather than something man can will or act in order to get God to do something. These are the ones who stand for a Gospel of grace alone looking to the hand of God alone to give grace and nothing else.

Yes, it is true, that sinners must repent and believe. But once again, do sinners repent and believe because of their own wills and their own efforts or because of the mercy and compassion of God? Are those sinners taught to repent and believe from their own strength and their own wills and efforts? If so, those sinners are not hearing the truth of the Gospel of grace alone. Their real hope and their real trust will still be in self as long as their hope and trust are in their own wills and efforts. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, though exceedingly and abundantly free, requires the whole person and all of that person. It requires people to give up all efforts of self and hope in self because when grace comes it gives a person an entire and whole hope in Christ alone. Yes, it requires death to self and death to pride, but it is still the Gospel of grace alone and it will work that death to self in the person by grace so that the whole of the Gospel may be by grace and grace alone.

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