Free Grace 34

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}

Salvation is by grace; because it is a gift of free love to such in whom there can be nothing to enforce it, nothing to deserve it, nor anything to move Him to bestow it. The demonstrations are drawn from God, from man. From man: The impotency, deformity, enmity, of man against God, makes it evident that salvation must be wholly, only from grace. [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.

The glories of the grace of God are indeed painted on a canvas with the background of the sin of man, but also the greatness and glories of God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for saved and unsaved alike as there is no way into the presence of God apart from the sovereign grace of God in Christ Jesus. Yes, sinners are saved from the wrath of God and made children of God by grace alone. However, each moment of the Christian life is also by this glorious free-grace. There is nothing in man to move God to show this gift of free love to man and that is from eternity past to eternity future. The whole Gospel is for the glory of God and as such is moved by the motives of God for His own glory. This is hope for sinners as nothing else can possibly be.

As sinners try to grab and hold on to the glory of free-grace, they may want to think that they know it because they have read of it. They may want to think that they know it because they have heard things about it. However, once again this is a great and grand teaching that God alone must teach the sinner in the deepest recesses of his or her heart. It is possible for sinners to think that s/he believes and trusts in free-grace while yet a distant stranger to it. It is also possible for one to be a true child of God and yet find many things that s/he has to be taught of the Lord concerning this free-grace. The hardest thing for sinners to give up is their pride and their very self, yet we are told that God is opposed to the proud and gives grace to the humble. This is a teaching that is easy to grasp in terms of the words and concept, but it is oh so hard for the heart to give up all hope in self.

In order for the heart to give up hope in self requires the hand of the Lord to work a deep humility in the soul. The soul must learn that there is nothing in it that deserves anything but the wrath of God and it must learn that in the depths of the soul and not just the information of it. While the soul will know what it means to fear and what frustration means as the Lord teaches the soul that there is nothing it can do to move the Lord to show grace to it, this is part of the dying to self that the Lord works in the soul. Men resists this work of God in the soul and they will frantically look around and search for some little something that they can rest their souls upon rather than free-grace. But what a frail nothing all things are apart from free-grace for the soul to rest upon.

When the Lord is teaching the soul how opposed it is to free-grace in the hidden recesses and the crevices of the soul, He may turn the soul over to sin in order to teach it that He alone is sovereign over sin as well. Before that the soul may be quite deceived into thinking that sin is in its own power to leave as it pleases. The surprise and yet pain of the soul as it discovers that God is really and truly sovereign and that it is by grace alone that the soul can refrain from sins that it thought it had given up a long time before. While it may go against the grain of many moralists in our day, it is nothing but pride and self that stops the vast majority of sin today. Despite Romans 8 teaching us that it is by the Spirit that we are to put sin to death, it seems that we just want to let sin sleep and remain hidden in our hearts.

The sheer terror of the soul will happen in many cases as it finds itself worthy of nothing but eternal hell and completely and totally without anything it can do to stop it. How wonderful free-grace sounds, and indeed it is, but those taught of the Lord in the inner man learn that the heart of man stands in opposition to free-grace at all points and in all ways. The soul will allow mostly grace and mostly mercy, but it will not stand to have God save it according to His good pleasure and for the sake of His name. Man wants some control and some way of moving God to save him, but the glorious teaching of Scripture is that man has no control and no way of moving God to save him. God saves by free-grace alone and coming to the realization of that in the depths of the soul is quite painful. However, it is painful for a brief time (though it may seem like a long time) and leads to great joy.

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