Free Grace 9

Nothing in man doth precede or prevent the grace of God. The light and beams of grace do dispel the clouds of our sins. Not for our sakes, but for his Name’s sake he covereth our sins. It is God’s prerogative to free us from sin by grace, and to remove them far from us. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” {Ps.103:12} He only can remove sin against whom it is committed. He only can cast sin into the depths of the sea, who hath an ocean of grace in himself, in which he swalloweth them up. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648} Obtained from
Isaiah 40:17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

Acts 9:1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,

In looking at the conversion of Saul (became Paul) we see the glory of free-grace and in doing so we see the only hope for sinners. The conversion story of Saul not only gives hope to unconverted sinners, it gives hope to converted sinners who have had their eyes opened to their sin and see themselves as so sinful that they have lost hope and mourn that they are without Christ. The conversion story of Saul should give hope to those who see nothing in themselves that would make them worthy of the least mercy of God and cannot see anything in themselves that makes them think that they are saved. Saul, who was later the apostle Paul, called himself the chief of sinners and said that he was shown mercy as the foremost of sinners so that the perfect patience of Christ would be seen in him as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life (I Timothy 1:15-16).

What merits did Saul obtain before he was converted? He was a very religious man, but in that he was persecuting Christ he was a very vile and wicked man. Saul was persecuting Christ by going after the body of Christ (the Church, the people of God) and killing some and putting others in prison. Saul was righteous in the eyes of men and in the eyes of very religious men, but in the eyes of God he was an unregenerate hater of God who was persecuting Christ. Saul had no merit in the eyes of God and there was nothing in him that would move God to save him based on himself.

But surely, some would argue, that is going too far. Saul was a very religious man and followed the law stringently. Surely there was something in Saul that would have moved God to save him. Well, by nature Saul was a child of wrath. He was born dead in trespasses and sins and he was a child of the devil. All of the intents of his heart was wicked and that continually. All of his religion, therefore, was really a way of suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness and so all of the religion of Paul was done in service of the idol of self rather than the living God. But again, what would have moved God to have saved a wretch like Paul?

As stated in the paragraph at the top, “He only can cast sin into the depths of the sea, who hath an ocean of grace in himself, in which he swalloweth them up.” God saved Paul on the only basis that a sinner can be saved and that is the basis of Himself. God covers our sins by the blood of Christ and clothes us in the perfectly white linen robes of the righteousness of Christ for His own name’s sake. Here is the ground of confidence that we have before the living God. We are not saved because of our righteousness or merit, and we are not kept in His hands by our own works or goodness. We are saved by the free-grace of God which means that God saves sinners based on Himself and His own glory rather than anything found in the sinner. Oh here is hope for poor sinners. Here is hope for sinners who find nothing in themselves to hope in. Here is hope for sinners who see no merit and no righteousness in themselves. The hope is that God does not save them or keep them saved because of anything found in themselves, but because of His own glory. Sinners, look to Christ and to Christ alone for grace and by grace.

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