Free Grace 23

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}

In our daily trials and in the greater trials that He brings to us in His great mercy, He makes us share in the sufferings of Christ. One of the sufferings of Christ was in the Father withdrawing from Him, though there could never be a complete withdraw since they are united in the Trinity. For believers every physical trial is really a spiritual trial. The evil one fires his darts of doubt and unbelief toward those who are in physical discomfort and they may begin to doubt that God can really have grace and love for them.

The grace of God is always based on God and not on our worth or merit. When we seem to be set aside and can do nothing for anyone else, we will be attacked with doubts of many kinds. How we need to hear that the grace of God is not for the worthy and is not for those who can obtain just a bit by their doing for others. There is nothing in us and there is nothing we can do that will move God to show grace to us. God shows grace to us because of who He is and for the glory of His name. Not only, however, can nothing in us precede His grace and so He is always free to be gracious to whom He will be gracious, but nothing can prevent His grace either. The soul must come to the knowledge that God will be gracious to whom He will be gracious. The body that is weak and has no strength may think that it is to be set aside by God and all others, but God shows grace to such because of who He is. Nothing can precede grace and nothing can prevent it. The poor sinner and fainting soul needs to hear that.

Behold His utter and absolutely free-grace in Christ. It is free in the sense that there are no conditions on our part that we must fulfill. If there is something that we need for Him to show us grace, then He must work that in us. But what we really must have is an utter insufficiency on our part and look to Christ and His glory as totally sufficient to show grace to us. That, after all, is truly grace. Poor fainting souls need to look to grace for all that is needed and forget trying to be worthy of the slightest amount. Forget trying to be this or that and simply look to the free-grace of God in Christ Jesus. Knowing that despite the greatness of their physical trials they (trials) have all been sent by the hand of God and most likely to teach them the wonders of His free-grace in Christ in a deeper way. All grace is given to us in Christ and it is only and completely for the sake of Christ that we receive grace. How we need to look to Christ and Him alone for the grace of faith and the grace to keep us going each moment. We are not sustained by grace because we have faith, but because of grace we have faith and so are sustained by grace. If our faith weakens, we must not look to ourselves as failures in faith, but instead look to Christ for more faith and more grace. If He shows us pride in our hearts and the devil tells us that He opposes us, we must look to Christ for humility and then the grace He gives to the humble. If we find ourselves so tired that we cannot look to Christ, then we are simply to collapse in the arms of His grace as a baby does in the arms of its mother. Looking to grace is not a work, but instead it is the work of grace as well.

Collapse and give up all rights to self and all the anxieties and even tiredness that goes with physical problems and the spiritual battles that do come. Give yourself up to His hand of providence and to the greatness of His grace. Nothing can befall you but what He has planned from eternity to bring grace to you. All our physical problems, our spiritual battles, and even the fiery darts of the evil one have been planned for our good. It matters not how mature we think we are or really are in spiritual matters, we will always have a lot of room for growth. As our every breath comes from Him in the ultimate sense, so our every spiritual impulse is from Him as well. When we are weak, He is strong. When we cannot go any longer, underneath are the everlasting arms. As Paul said in pointing us all to the reality of life and eternity, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Every breath we breathe we are to breathe Christ, but we can only do that by grace alone. Oh look to that Divine hand which gives grace as He pleases and when He pleases. If He keeps our tears in a bottle, how precious it is to Him to behold Himself and His glory shining in us as our bodies weaken. However, the inward person is getting stronger and stronger despite how weak it appears to us. It is, after all, in our weakness and our nothingness that His strength and grace shine forth. Shine, shine, and shine some more as the Lord shows us more of His grace and glory in our inward persons.

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