Free Grace 19

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

Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

We must never, ever think of grace coming to sinners based on anything but grace alone. This is utterly vital to consider and think of in regarding the biblical teaching of grace and of how grace relates to the character of God. Whether we think of grace in terms of justification or sanctification, grace must never be thought of in terms of coming as a result of something we do. Grace must never be thought of in terms of conditions we fulfill. The only slight caveat to that is that God does give us grace and then more grace after the first grace, so it may appear that He gives grace on a conditional stance. However, what we must understand that is there is anything like what we might think of as a condition, that condition comes to us by grace as well. It would be more helpful to think of this as the steps of grace. For example, God requires humility in order to give grace. However, we only receive true humility by the grace of God. So the truth of the matter is that God does give grace in place of grace.

We do not receive grace because we are growing in sanctification, but we receive grace because God has given us grace by sharing His holiness with us. This is utterly vital in thinking of sanctification and how that can only come to us by grace. Apart from Me (said Jesus) you can do nothing. There is nothing good in us and there is nothing good we can do unless we receive it from God by grace alone. God does not give us grace because we are growing in sanctification, but instead He works in us this growth in sanctification by grace and then gives more grace. We only grow in sanctification when we die to the efforts of self to grow in holiness in its own strength and we give up all hope in self to obtain any degree of holiness at all. It is just as legalistic to think that we can do something to obtain holiness and sanctification (and please God by that) in our own strength as it is to think that we can do something to move God to save us. We have people denouncing legalism for salvation while the same people teach and practice virile forms of legalism in sanctification. We must die to self rather than seek holiness by self.

There is no holiness and no righteousness that we can possibly work up unless we receive it from God first. Do we have anything at all that we have not received? If we have not received it, then where did it come from? If we did not receive it from God, then it is of the works of the flesh and the works of self. There is no other option unless we want to admit that we received it from the devil. If we think we can obtain holiness by the strength of self, then we are as assuredly slighting the work of Christ as those who think they can save themselves by something they do. If we think that we can obtain holiness by our own works, then we are the ones that distinguish ourselves from others by the work of self and we are the ones that can do things to move God to show us grace.

Why is it that people think that God will give them things if they will do something for Him prior to that? The only good we can do must come from Him first and that will only come on the basis of grace. Anything less than that is a type of thinking that is nothing more and nothing less than a works based system that destroys the Gospel of grace alone. We cannot believe and we cannot love from faith unless we receive all of that by grace. The true job of faith is to receive grace (Romans 4:16) and faith comes to us as a gift of God by grace so that we may receive grace. Faith is not some power that we can come up with in order to please God, but faith is that which we receive grace and so God is pleased when His own glory shines out of Himself, comes to us through Christ, and then shines back to Him. Indeed faith is said to work by love, but love comes to us by grace as well. Only Christians can possibly love and they can only love because they are born of God and know God. This knowing God is to receive from Him all that we receive and all that we receive we receive by grace alone. There is utterly no possibility that grace can be anything but free of conditions that we can meet, but God by His grace works in us by grace what we must have to receive more grace. Indeed we live by grace in all ways.

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