Free Grace 27

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}

Luke 23:32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left…38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

When examining certain beliefs or practical teachings, it is necessary to look at the theology that drives those beliefs or teachings. If we think in terms of cause and effect, every belief has a basis for it whether the person is conscious of it or not and every practice is the same way. It may be that the underlying cause is just that the person thinks that or that is what a person has come to believe, but that can be shown to the person. But when we begin to ask what the cause of faith in the criminal who was on the cross beside Christ, we have no real explanation other than free-grace. God found that man dead in his sins and trespasses and made Him alive because of His own desire to glorify His grace. God knew that the man was by nature a child of wrath but God made Him alive and a child of His own, a child of God. The man had a dead and unbelieving heart, but God made Him alive and gave him a heart that believed. This faith came from being united to Christ.

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

A person dead in sin cannot have faith in Christ while still in that sin because there is not faith apart from being united to Christ and Christ will not be united to a person dead in the filth and stench of sin. We can know, therefore, that a person must be cleansed and washed by the blood of Christ before a person can have faith. In Titus 3:5 above we see that it is in regeneration that a person is washed. This should cause the hearts of all who love Christ to leap and rejoice in His free-grace. There was nothing in them that would move God to save them, but God gave them Christ quite apart from anything they did or could do.

It is in regeneration that a soul has life and so such a soul can be a believing soul and have a true faith that flows from a union with Christ. Until a person is brought from the spiritual death of nature and given new life in Christ, there can be no living faith. Until a person is united to Christ who is life, there will be no true faith and no true life. The thief on the cross, therefore, was made alive in regeneration and his soul was washed and cleansed so that he would have faith. The thief on the cross was illuminated and the content of the words and Person of Christ were illuminated. He did not come up with a true faith in order to be saved, but instead He was regenerated and renewed I order that he might have true faith.

Can the will be free from its deadness without being made alive by free-grace? Can the will be free from its utter bondage to sin without being cleansed by Christ and in regeneration? The answers to these questions are all rather obvious when you look at it like that. What can be the cause of union with Christ and regeneration? It can only be God who does this and He can only be moved to do this by free-grace. As we look to the theology that must be true for a person to have true faith, we can only look to God and free-grace to give us those. As we look to a solid foundation on which our faith must rest, our faith either rests upon our free-will (so-called) or our faith rests upon the free-grace of our sovereign and omnipotent God. Only a faith that rests upon Him has a solid foundation.

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