Free Grace 36

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}

What a poor despicable creature is man—the best of men! What a wonder the great God should think of saving him! His rise was from the earth. He is but at best dust and ashes, a poor piece of clay. He dwells in houses of clay. His foundation is in the dust, and is crushed by the moth (Job 4:19). A stately thing sure which the very moth can crush, and crumble into his first principle, dust! The most victorious king that ever Israel had, put a worm among his titles (Psalm 22:6). The great man in the East derives his pedigree no higher; “I have said to corruption, Thou art my father; and to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister,” (Job 17:14). And if the greatest men on earth, who best understood themselves, were no greater in their own account; what do we think men are in God’s account? The numerous posterity of Jacob have no greater title, “Fear not, worm Jacob;” (Isaiah 41:14) and if that vast multitude, which was like the stars of heavens, and the sands of the sea-shore which cannot be numbered, be but as one worm to His eye, what do we think is one man? [David Clarkson, A Discourse of Free Grace]

Why must grace be free-grace or it is no true grace at all? It is because of who man is according to his nature, his basic foundation, and that of the greatest men. In the modern day men will fight and feud over these thoughts concerning man, but the concern is to be faithful to Scripture and bow in humble submission to it, God willing. Oh how the pride of man blinds him to who he really is. Oh how man blocks out the clear teaching of Scripture as to what man is in the eyes of God. When man in pride looks at himself, he sees the glitter of self-love rather than reality. Again, this does not say that God does not love His children, but this is to say that God loves His children by free-grace and is not moved by anything within man. Man must learn to see himself in some likeness as God sees him, though this is hard on the flesh.

Men can spend hours a day on exercise and what they think of as healthy living, but that is simply an effort to get their clay formed in a way that they like. Mankind can spend hours in front of the mirror trying to look like an image in the mind, but that is simply trying to get a piece of clay to conform to something that society thinks that it is. Scripture says that bodily exercise is of little profit, but men fight that and continue on as if they can become immortal and as if their bodies are more important than their souls. If men look good in the mirror, they are pumped up in their view of self and feel quite proud of themselves. However, they forget that they are but clay and that is all their efforts are focused on. When these people become religious, it is either for eternal insurance (as they think) or to help them with their worldly things.

The best of men have nothing to commend the very core of their physical body as it is nothing but dust and clay. Regardless of what man does to his body, it is nothing but dressing up dust and clay and is an effort to make it appear better or perhaps be on earth a little longer. Men will go to great lengths by spending vast amounts of money on their wrinkles and hair and even plastic surgeons, but they are still dust and clay. What can dust and clay do to commend self to God? How hard it is for man to face reality concerning himself. There is nothing to commend him to God and many things that would be repulsive to a thrice holy God. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in man that would move God to save such a creature!

Man must see himself for who he really is (to some degree) or he will never understand the utter freeness of the grace of God. Man is but a small creature, even but a speck of dust, that God has brought into being and holds him into being at His good pleasure. During the whole of man’s existence he sins against that great God and in his pride thinks that God owes him something. In the great pride of man who is but dust and clay he thinks that he can move God to show mercy on him for something that he is or does. How deceived a human being must be to think that s/he can be or do something to move God to show mercy. How utterly beyond conception it is to think that God would find something other than Himself to move Him to show grace. Grace is free-grace or it is not grace at all.

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