Free Grace 32

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]

Ephesians 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us.

Grace is so beautiful when viewed in the context of the nature of God rather than just from man’s perspective. It seems that the primary way of viewing God, man, and salvation in the modern day is from the perspective of what is good for man and that in a materialistic way for the most part. Both statements (Simpson and Clarkson) start with and end with God, which clearly is what Ephesians 1 does. If we take out all the constraint, the merit, and motives moved by man, we can see that grace is totally and only from God. This means that the Gospel is all about God even when man benefits from the Gospel, but the primary benefit of man from the Gospel is that man receives God and is given a taste of His glory and is enabled to share in His life. There are reasons that the Gospel is the Gospel of God, the Gospel of the glory of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of the kingdom of God.

If we simply ask questions from the text we can see the thorough God-centeredness of the text, which is to say the very God–centeredness of God. It was God who predestined sinners as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself. It was God who did this according to the good pleasure of His will. There is nothing said about merit or any motive God would find in man, but instead God saves sinners according to Himself and His own glory. The text tells us that God’s motive in saving sinners is to the praise of the glory of His grace. Again, nothing in man is given as what moved God, but instead it is something of God that moves God. When Scripture speaks this way, men should speak this way and men are to find encouragement and assurance in the things of God as revealed by God.

It is in Christ that sinners have redemption in His blood, not by the so-called free-will of man or the choice or prayer of man. Scripture is so clear that sinners have redemption in Christ according to the riches of His grace. In no place do we see that men have redemption according to their choice or according to their prayer. We also don’t see that men are saved according to their faith. Men are saved according to the riches of His grace. If men would only think of this for even a moment, they would see that they could not possibly be saved because of their faith or anything about them because there is nothing about them that would save them and all that they have in truth is given to them by grace.

The hearts of men must be broken from hanging on to self in some way and they must come with nothing in their hands asking for free-grace. In truth, however, it is free-grace that will break them and bring them to the foot of the cross as broken and naked and utterly impoverished of righteousness. On the power of a proud heart that will hang on to self in some way at all times. Even when we think self has been broken, self will hang on to that brokenness as a shred of hope. It is the grace of God that must work in us to deliver us from all vestiges of hope in self and find no reasons for hope but in the grace of God. Then the soul will find comfort in Christ and His free-grace alone and look upon self as nothing but what must be repented of.

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