Free Grace 28

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}

Acts 8:26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him…35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

From the beginning of this passage until the end we see nothing but the sovereign grace of God (free-grace) working in and through the people. Did the angel of the Lord direct Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch because of a choice of the man’s will or because of sovereign grace? What was there about the man that would have him worthy or what does the text say that the man did to earn the angel of the Lord to send Philip to meet with the man? In other words, there was nothing in the man from the evidence presented that could be thought of a something that preceded the grace of God. Yet, we can also see that nothing was able to prevent the grace of God as well. God had decided to set His grace upon this man and He did so. His grace was free of conditions and it was freely set upon the Ethiopian eunuch. The man was converted by the grace of God and that alone.

What we see from the teaching of Scripture is the work of God and nothing as far as the work of the eunuch. The man did come to Jerusalem to worship, but there is nothing meritorious about that. We see the sovereign Lord directing Philip to a specific location in order to meet this man. When Philip came to the chariot, the man was reading the Bible (Old Testament). Philip preached Christ to the man. He did not preach morality and he did not preach churchianity, but instead he preached Christ. Jesus Christ does not save anyone but by grace alone and this eunuch did not move the Lord Jesus to die for him and purchase salvation for him because he was going to go to Jerusalem, but he went to Jerusalem because Christ was sent to die for the man and. The eunuch did not earn one thing, but instead God worked it in his heart to go because there was a Divine appointment that the man needed to be at. God saved this man to the glory of His grace and He saved this man on behalf of the name of Christ.

God did not save this man because he was baptized, but instead he was told that if he believed in Christ with all of his heart he could be baptized. If the man believed in Christ, then the man was already converted. But again, behold the freeness of the grace of God. It was by His sovereign order that this man was where he was when Philip “found” him and then preached Christ to him. It was by His sovereign hand that this man had been reading Isaiah and so in some way was prepared to hear the Gospel preached to him by Philip. It was by the sovereign and free-grace of God that the man’s heart was opened so that he might hear this Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was only on account of Jesus Christ that this man’s sin could be forgiven.

Here we see an encouragement to speak to others as God may indeed open their hearts. Here we see the glory of free grace in God seeking this man out, not the man coming to God on account of his free-will. God ordained this to happen; the man did not ordain this to happen. God chose to give this man grace; the man did not choose to give himself grace. God forgave this man’s sin on behalf of Christ rather than on behalf of the will of the man. The man who was in charge of the treasure of Ethiopia now became the recipient of the riches of Christ by grace alone.

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