Free Grace 31

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}

So that mercy is love to those who are miserable. Grace is love in him that is unobliged. Unobliged, I say, either by necessity, merit, or motive. Grace then, in God, is nothing but free love. 1. Free in respect of constraint; when there is no necessity he should fix his love upon this object at all, or upon this rather than another, this is spontaneum. 2. Free in respect of merit; when there is nothing in the object that deserves love, either absolutely or comparatively, this is gratuitum. 3. Free in respect of motive; when there is nothing in the object to move this affection to pitch upon it at all, or upon it rather than another, this is liberum, though it expresses it not fully. [David Clarkson, A Discourse of Free Grace]

Within these two statements is the very heart of who God is and as such the very heart of the Gospel of grace alone. Eternal life is to know God (John 17:3) and as such the Gospel is the good news of the glory of God. The Gospel is all about Jesus Christ and how He is the shining forth of the glory of God and only in Him and through Him can we know God. The Gospel is all about the free-grace of God which Christ has purchased for all of His people. The Gospel teaches us that God saves sinners by Christ alone and it is for His sake that sinners are saved. This glorious Gospel is from eternity free-grace and will be free-grace for all eternity. At no point can our works suffice even the smallest to save us or keep us saved. It is free-grace from eternity past to eternity future and everything in between.

Men are taught in our day to repent and believe in order to be saved, but that is not a Gospel of free-grace. What we should be teaching men is to seek the Lord who has to grant repentance and give them new hearts that are hearts of faith. Repentance and faith are not before sinners receive saving grace, but saving grace gives sinners true repentance and true faith. Repentance and faith are not qualifications in order to be saved, but those things are what sinners who have grace do. This does not deny the necessity of repentance and faith, but it removes them from being works of the flesh and puts them right where they belong as coming from the free-grace of God. Let us behold the glory of God in the face of Christ and the Gospel of the glory of His grace in Christ.

In both of the statements above (one by Simpson and one by Clarkson) one can see the point if they will replace the word “grace” with the word “Christ.” This is to say that all free-grace is in Christ and it is also saying that Christ Himself is grace to us. This is also saying that the Gospel is freely given to us by Christ who had no obligation on His part to sinners to save them. He freely came to take the wrath of the Father upon Himself and He freely satisfied the wrath of the Father. There was nothing in sinners themselves that would move Christ to do this, but this was from eternity and in the bosom of the Godhead this was planned in order to glorify God.

Nothing in man doth precede or prevent the Christ of God. The light and beams of Christ do dispel the clouds of our sins. Not for our sakes, but for his Name’s sake he covers our sins. It is God’s prerogative to free us from sin by Christ, and to remove them far from us. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has 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 Christ in himself, in which he swallows them up.

Let us behold the glory of God and His free-grace in Christ. Let us never think that it is our works or our humility or our repentance or faith that moves God to save us. Oh no, instead of that it is God who works to break our proud hearts and our selfish hearts in order to humble us at His hand. It is God who brings us low and delivers us from pride that He may give us humility in Christ. The hand of God may bring pain and affliction as He brings us low, but until we don’t trust in self for faith and repentance we will not look to Christ for faith and repentance. If we do not look to Christ for them, we are looking to self for them. Behold the glory of free-grace in Christ!

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