Free Grace 16

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 Supralapsarian.com

The Divine music is that of the glory of free-grace in saving sinners. God saves sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph 1:5-7) and that is the only hope of any awakened sinner. Those whose hearts have not been the object of the convicting work of the Spirit may indeed believe that grace saves, but only those whose hearts have been worked on by the Spirit and delivered from any hope in self and self-righteousness (including the self-righteousness of a self-wrought faith) truly look to Christ alone by free-grace alone. The words of Scripture are that God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy and He will be gracious to whom He will be gracious. This is the Divine music to the ears of those who have seen the light and have no hope in self.

The so-called “Gospel” that is proclaimed today in conservative and Reformed circles is one that is contingent upon faith. That is important to note. What should be proclaimed in accordance with Scripture and the Reformation teaching is that faith is contingent upon the grace of God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and of a true message of grace alone is not contingent upon anything in man or worked up by man. Man comes to God utterly undone and without anything in him or about him to commend himself to God. Man should seek the Lord for the gift of faith knowing that his seeking the Lord has no merit and will not make God more likely to save him, but it is fitting that man would seek the Lord and it is also one way the Lord uses to break man from his stubborn pride and hope in his own self-righteousness.

While the Scripture does teach the importance of faith, it never attributes salvation to men because they believe. The present preaching of the Gospel is all about what the Father has decided from eternity, what the Son has accomplished in time past, and what the Spirit applies in the present time. The Gospel is about the working of the triune God and must never focus on men and what he is to do in order to be saved. The sovereign work of the Spirit in regenerating sinners does not depend on the faith of men, but the faith of men can only come by the work of the Spirit in regenerating them and giving them believing (faithing) hearts. When we reverse the two things, faith and regeneration, we end up with something other than a free-grace and have a message where the salvation of men is contingent upon their own faith.

In the previous BLOG (Free Grace 15) I said that “Christ saves sinners quite apart from any faith they have in themselves or any faith they can place in Him.” What I meant by that statement is that sinners are not saved because of their faith and that they have no faith to put in Him. Instead of that, Christ saves sinners from their unbelieving hearts and gives them new hearts that are believing hearts. The Lord Jesus does not wait until sinners come up with a believing heart, but instead He gives them believing hearts and dwells in those hearts. Romans 4:16 is so clear that the reason we are saved by faith is in order that it may be by grace. This is an enormously important statement verse to grapple with. First, the word “by” must be understood. It can mean “because of” or it can mean “by means of” or “through.” If we say sinners are saved because of their faith, then obviously sinners are saved because of a work of faith that they have come up with. If we say that sinners are saved through faith, then even then we can mean at least a couple of different things.

What we must understand, however, is that God saves sinners and uses faith to save them in order that salvation would be by free-grace alone. Romans 4:5 puts it this way: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” It is only to those who do not work for salvation or try to work up something to be saved on account of that who really believe in Him who justifies the ungodly. It is only those who have a type of faith that does not work or trust in itself in any way that have a faith that is credited as righteousness. Why is that faith credited as righteousness? It is not because the person worked up faith by himself, but it is because a person with true faith that comes as a gift of God has Christ as his righteousness. The person with true faith does not look to himself for that faith, but instead that faith comes to him as a gift and once a person has true faith that person has Christ. A true faith, which is given as a gift, cannot be separated from Christ. Therefore, a person with true faith will always have Christ. The Gospel, then, is always by free-grace alone and can never come because a person has faith, but instead a person has faith given by free-grace and that person looks to no one but Christ alone as his righteousness and for all things.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: