Free Grace 11

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
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,

Phi 3:4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

The conversion of Saul (later Paul) is a great lesson to all who will think through it. In this great teaching we can easily see that there was nothing in Saul that preceded the grace of God. There was absolutely nothing in Saul that would move a thrice holy God to save a wretch like Saul and the only thing that could possibly move God to save a wretch like Saul was God Himself. Only God could move God to save Saul. There was also nothing that could prevent God from saving Saul if He so desired. The sin of Saul could not prevent God from saving Saul if Christ died for that sin and purchased a new heart for him. The unbelief of Saul was nothing that the resurrection power of Christ could not overcome.

We see in Saul absolutely nothing but a man who was proud in his own zeal and self-righteousness. We see in Saul an unbridled confidence in his flesh in terms of his bloodline and lineage. We see in Saul that all the proper rites had been done and he trusted in that as well. We see in Saul that he was a man who trusted that he was righteousness and even blameless according to the Law. We see in Saul that he was a man who persecuted the church and in doing so he was proud of his zeal for God and the orthodox religion he thought he had. This highly educated man was so zealous to keep the Law and protect his religion. This highly educated man had such zeal for the Law and the honor of God, yet in the eyes of God this man was a vile and wretched man who hated God. Saul spent his days hated and being hated by men (Titus 3:3) and his zeal was fueled and stoked by enmity toward the true God and the true Gospel.

In the conversion of Saul we can almost hear a “behold your God” to all who read about this conversion. We can see that Saul was reached with some truth in the murder of Stephen who stood firm and preached the Gospel as Saul was there. We can see that Saul was knocked to the ground by a God who had decided to convert this man for His own glory and not because of anything in Saul. God saved Saul be a free and sovereign grace because Saul was set against the Gospel with all of his will. He had no free-will in relation to the true and living God. It was the will of God that was set to save Saul by a free-grace and a sovereign grace. This conversion was indeed all to the glory of His grace and there was nothing in Saul that shared in the glory and beauty of God. The conversion of Saul was a glorious event in which grace shone brighter than the light which knocked Saul off of his donkey and make him bow to the true Lord. The living God had set His sights and intents upon Saul from all eternity and God was going to save that man and there was nothing that could prevent it, even Saul himself. God will be gracious to whom He will be gracious and He was gracious to Saul as He pleased. In other words, nothing preceded the grace of God in order to save Saul and nothing could prevent it. It was all for His glory and only His.

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