Musings 99

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 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! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

The doctrine of free-grace has seemingly been lost in the modern day. While virtually all who take the name of Christian in any way will adhere to some form of grace, the doctrine behind the teaching of the older writers on free-grace has been virtually lost. When listening to modern preaching the focus is almost always on the ability of man rather than the ability of Christ. Modern preaching wants to speak of man’s responsibility and by that imply (at the very least) that there is ability. The doctrine of free-grace and the ability of man (taught explicitly or implied) are direct contradictions to each other and both cannot be held at the same time with any degree of consistency. One cannot teach both.

However, that does not keep men from saying that while God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility cannot be understood in this life, we must take them both and teach both of them firmly as true. There is a sense where man is responsible to God in the sense that man has many obligations to God, but man has no ability before God to do one good thing apart from God working this in the soul of man. Man receives all from Christ the vine and all fruit that man will bear comes from Christ. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (spiritual or out of love). Man is to walk by grace or live by grace which is to say that all man is supposed to do is to live by free-grace.

What is so common in the modern day is to hear that man must do something in order to obtain something from God. Man must believe, we are told, so that God will save him or give him what he asks for as long as he can come up with the necessary faith. Man must understand, we are told, that he must live a holy life so that God will bless him. We are told that man must keep his part of the covenant with God in order for God to bless him. We are told that we must repent in order for God to bless us. While the list is far longer than that, the point is surely clear. We are told to do something in order to get something back from God. What we must understand, however, is that this is nothing more than a system of works or a system to get things from God based on human effort and works. Romans 11:6 is quite clear that if it is of works it is no longer of grace. The two cannot be mixed in terms of what moves God to save and sanctify sinners.

Jesus Christ Himself is our justification and our sanctification. Jesus the Christ is not given on the basis of works, but that of grace. If our works come from the strength of self, then they are not from Christ and His grace and as such they are nothing but the works of the flesh. Yet we constantly have to endure a system of works taught from the pulpits in the land. If grace is truly grace which is sovereign grace or free-grace, then it cannot be earned or merited in any way. There is nothing we can do to move God to show us any favor or good, so there is nothing we can do to move God to show us grace. If we could move God to give us grace, then it would no longer be free-grace which is the only kind of grace there is. Sinners either look to themselves to do something to receive grace or they look to Christ alone to give grace at His mere pleasure. The latter is biblical and all other views regarding grace cannot be biblical. Is this to say that so many today understand that they are teaching works? No, this is not to say that men do know that. However, it is to say that they are doing so. Oh to hear the glories of free-grace!!

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