Archive for the ‘Free Grace’ Category

Free Grace 36

April 11, 2016

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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Free Grace 35

April 10, 2016

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 doctrines and teachings of free-grace (real free-grace, not just the name) are rare in our day. There are many teaching something they think of as grace, but it is quite far from free-grace. The fallen human heart loves the modern view of grace, but it will hate free-grace from beginning to end. The fallen human heart is at enmity with God and hates the sovereignty of God, and since all grace is sovereign the human heart will hate true grace which is free-grace. As long as man is not required to repent of all of his free-will and all of his own righteousness and goodness, man may like grace since it helps what he cannot do.

While there are various teachings on the issue, it is not until man is awakened to his impotency, deformity, and enmity against God that he will really understand the Gospel of free-grace. Until man understands and feels his own impotency which is his lack of any power at all in the spiritual realm and the lack of any power to change his own heart or standing before God, man does not understand from the depths of his soul his need of free-grace. Men are blind to the nature of true grace until God opens their eyes to see the lack of all power in the soul. Men are utterly blind to the truths of free-grace until God teaches them in the inner man that they have nothing that they can do. Oh the despair that will enter the soul who does not understand that God saves sinners by free-grace when God opens eyes to see how impoverished the soul is. Oh the despair of the believer as God turns that believer over to a sinful heart to teach that man or woman that it is only by the Spirit and by grace that we can die to sin.

We must teach the doctrines of Scripture regarding the depravity of man because they are necessary if people are to come to grips with free-grace. Scripture does not just teach how bad man is, but how helpless man is and how much men are opposed to God. It is not just that man’s heart is set on evil and is against God, but man has no power to do good and no power to change his own heart. Men must come to grips with this and they must come to grips with this in the depths of their souls. It is one thing to give a discourse on grace and set out the intellectual properties of it, but it is quite another thing for a man or a woman to know that s/he has no power and no ability to please God and move God in any way to save his or her soul. Preachers must know that they are not just there to inform people of the propositions of these great truths, but they are to strive for people to know these great truths in the depths of their souls and they will only know them when the truth sinks to the depths of their souls.

The wonders of free-grace are not simply truths to be held in the mind, but they are great truths for the whole soul. As such, grace is not just an intellectual truth about something, but grace is a truth of God Himself. When God shows grace, He is really showing and manifesting Himself. When God gives grace, He is really giving Himself in Christ. Oh how sinners must see that grace is not just a word, but it is the reality of God giving Himself to sinners in Christ. Christ will not dwell with proud and unbroken sinners, but instead He will dwell with the humble and the contrite. As always, we must be careful at this point. No one can earn anything but striving to humble himself. True humility is the work of God in the soul, though man should seek it from God. True humility is when God prepares the soul as a dwelling place for Himself. Oh the wonders of free-grace!

Free Grace 34

April 9, 2016

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.

Free Grace 33

March 31, 2016

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.

In the two statements above and the Ephesians passage we have the very heart of the Gospel. This is not to say that the heart of the cross and the imputed righteousness of Christ are set out as such, but the motives of those things and why God did those things are set out. The heart of God is set forth in these things and we can see His glory in them. There is an old hymn where the writer wonders how it could be that God would save him or her. It is true that if God saved us on account of ourselves we would wonder that, but God saves sinners on account of His name and to the praise of the glory of His grace.

All the constraint of God is found within Himself as triune. All the merit that God beholds is found in Christ and only in Christ. All the motives that moved God are found in God Himself and nothing outside of Him. Yes, this may be redundant in some ways but our hearts are so deceived by so many things that they will not receive the nature of free-grace apart from repetition. The glory of free-grace is that it is the whole character of God displayed in the salvation of sinners, but not just that the whole of His attributes and His desire to glorify His own name and do all out of love for Himself and His glory and in full display in Christ and free-grace. Jesus Christ came to save sinners and not because they were worth it in any way, but because the glory of God was and is worth it.

If we could at any moment understand fully that the glory of free-grace is that it is up to God to show it or not, we would bow in utter wonder. There is nothing about the cross and the work of Christ that would pump up our self-esteem, but instead all those things should humble us in the dust and to behold the glory of free-grace as fully and wonderfully free. God covers our sins by the blood of Christ for His name’s sake and nothing else. The love of God is freely given in Christ and in no other place. The love of God is given apart from anything and as such it is free-grace to those who receive it.

The soul of man cannot truly conceive of free-grace as long as it is unregenerate. It is the Lord alone who can teach this truth to the soul, though man strives with men to get them to understand it in the mind. The Lord will not just give any unbroken heart Himself in His free-love and free-grace, but His love and grace are such that He breaks the hearts of people and humbles them into the dust that they may behold such a wonderful attribute in Him as self-sufficient grace. Man must be turned from His pride and self by the grace of God in order to behold and rest in free-grace alone. The heart of man is at enmity with God and as such is opposed to free-grace, so the heart of man must be broken, humbled, and assuredly regenerated. Men argue when this humbling takes place, as to whether before or after regeneration, but I would argue that it happens on both sides of regeneration. God humbles man by the Law before regeneration and then by the glory of His grace after regeneration. Indeed men are made willing in the day of His power, but part of that is His sovereign work of humbling souls. After all, only the humble receive grace and yet it is His great mercy that He humbles the soul that it may receive grace.

Free Grace 32

March 30, 2016

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.

Free Grace 31

March 25, 2016

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!

Free Grace 30

March 24, 2016

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]

Sin makes people miserable and they suffer for it in hell with the fullness of misery. If we could only see the misery of sin we would flee from it rather than drink iniquity like water. Mankind are born in that misery and they fill themselves full until the day of God’s choice when He removes them from this world. The only way to escape eternal misery is from God who alone understands that misery and who alone can remove men from misery. When it is said that God alone can remove men from misery, the idea that man cannot remove himself from that misery is purposefully included. Man is utterly helpless in sin and there is nothing he can do to remove himself from sin. Man cannot move God to save him and man can do nothing to extricate himself even in the slightest way from sin.

God can only be moved by Himself and with a love for Himself and within Himself. This points us to the greatness and glory of free-grace. While the common thought of grace is that man is just unworthy of it, though man has great worth, the common thought of grace is that there is something in man that moves God or that man can do something that moves God. If so, then grace is not free. But grace is free. There is nothing in or about man that can constrain God to save man. What would constrain God to fix His love upon man when man is a despicable creature worthy of nothing but divine wrath? What would constrain God to fix His love upon man when man is a hateful creature who hates God and is at enmity with Him? Nothing, absolutely nothing can constrain God to set His love on sinful man. Only God could and can freely, of Himself, and for His own glory set His love in sinful men. Nothing can overpower God and move Him to save men. Nothing can be greater than God’s love for Himself and His own glory. Therefore, nothing can constrain God to set His love on men. Grace is free or it is not grace at all.

Grace is always free in respect of merit. While we may agree with this theologically, it is impossible for us to divest ourselves of merit in our hearts. It is God alone who can save people who have no merit and yet in the secret places of their hearts rely on some merit in some way. Grace is either free of merit or no one would ever be saved. Romans 3:1-19 sets out how we have no righteousness and no merit before God, but instead we are full of demerit. There is nothing in us that can in the slightest way merit the love of God and as such God must set His love on sinners by free-grace alone. There is nothing in us that we have by nature that can possibly obtain merit and there is nothing we can do to obtain merit. We have no hope and no possible way of meriting in the slightest way the love of God. Not only, then, can anything possibly constrain God to set His love on men, but there is no way we can do anything but have demerit rather than merit. Grace is free of constraint and merit or it is not grace at all.

Grace must also be free of motives as found in man or it is not grace at all. God’s motive for setting His love on man cannot be because He has motives for man that is moved by men, but God’s motives must be found within Himself in order for His love to be by free-grace. For grace to be grace it must be free of all things within man (whether good or evil, though there is no good to be found in fallen sinners) and all the motives of God toward man to be found in God Himself. God is free to show grace to whom He pleases or it is not free-grace. God is free not to show grace to whom He is pleased not to show grace or grace is not free. We must fight for the Gospel of grace alone and the only kind of grace is free-grace or a true sovereign grace. There is utterly nothing that man can do to move God to show mercy to him. What we must see is that God saves sinners to the glory of His grace and as such it is free from all constraint, merit, or motives as found in man. God cannot be constrained by anyone, man cannot obtain merit before God, and God is moved by Himself and His love for His own glory rather than anything found in man. Grace is utterly free of all causation as found in man and is moved by God alone.

Free Grace 29

March 23, 2016

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]

The thought of free-grace should never be far from the lover of God. After all, the fact that we truly love the true God is a sign of the work of free-grace in the soul. One can talk about the Greatest Commandments, but there is no keeping them apart from the grace of God working those things in the soul by free-grace. One can talk about the Ten Commandments, but again one cannot keep those in truth and love apart from the grace of God in the soul. The Israelites had the law written on stone and as a nation they were bound to keep the externals of the law, but in the New Covenant God writes the law on the hearts of His people. This is an expression, as far as I can see, of His being in the hearts of His people by the life of Christ and the Spirit of Christ. Keeping the commands of God from the heart is really the grace of God in the soul sharing His life with His people.

Preachers can pound on duty as much as they please, but until they are showing people their inability to keep any command of God and the utter and absolute necessity of grace in the soul to keep those commandments; they have not even started to truly preach Christ and Him crucified. The law was a tutor to lead people to Christ, but let us always know that Christ is the life of His people and not just One who satisfied the demands of the law. This is not a post on the law, but is an effort to set out free-grace in all things. The only holiness that a person has is by free-grace and not the keeping of duties. We are not blessed because we kept the law, but we keep the law from the heart of love because we are blessed with free-grace. Holiness does not come because we strive hard and keep the external laws, but it comes because God shares His holiness with us in Christ by free-grace.

The statements above should show us the true nature (at least some of it) of free-grace. There is utterly and absolutely nothing in man that can possibly precede or prevent the grace of God. The true and living God will show mercy to whom He will show mercy and He will be gracious to whom He will be gracious. Grace is not grace unless it is free of causation and is sovereign, which is to say that God will show grace as He is pleased to show grace. It may be the case that it is impossible to stress this point to people who need to hear it over and over. Our fallen minds and hearts keep leaning to legalism to some degree and we are always thinking we can please God in some way by something we do. It is only Christ who pleases God and we only have Christ and share in the life of Christ by free-grace. If we ever think that we can do one thing that pleases God in our own strength, we are operating contrary to the Gospel of free-grace and the Christ of free-grace who is the life of His people.

In our day it seems that preachers (Reformed in name or not) are heaping duties on sinners as if they had the strength to do them. Christ must be preached and His free-grace must be preached in the midst of all other instructions, commands, duties or any other word that people use. Yes, souls must be humbled and broken, but it is grace that does the work of humbling. If a man can work humility in his own strength, then the humility he has worked up is the strength of his flesh. If a man can work humility as he pleases, then we can know that grace is by works since God gives grace to the humble. It is not just any humility that will please God, but it is only the humility of Christ that pleases God and it is His humility that He works in and shares with His people. People should seek the Lord and pray for Him to break their hearts and grant them humility, but they do not deserve humility and it will only come at His sovereign pleasure. There is nothing in man that could possibly move God to show us His love, but it comes to us by free-grace and free-grace alone. We seek these things for His name’s sake or we are not seeking it in truth at all.

Free Grace 28

September 1, 2015

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}

Acts 8:26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him…35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.

From the beginning of this passage until the end we see nothing but the sovereign grace of God (free-grace) working in and through the people. Did the angel of the Lord direct Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch because of a choice of the man’s will or because of sovereign grace? What was there about the man that would have him worthy or what does the text say that the man did to earn the angel of the Lord to send Philip to meet with the man? In other words, there was nothing in the man from the evidence presented that could be thought of a something that preceded the grace of God. Yet, we can also see that nothing was able to prevent the grace of God as well. God had decided to set His grace upon this man and He did so. His grace was free of conditions and it was freely set upon the Ethiopian eunuch. The man was converted by the grace of God and that alone.

What we see from the teaching of Scripture is the work of God and nothing as far as the work of the eunuch. The man did come to Jerusalem to worship, but there is nothing meritorious about that. We see the sovereign Lord directing Philip to a specific location in order to meet this man. When Philip came to the chariot, the man was reading the Bible (Old Testament). Philip preached Christ to the man. He did not preach morality and he did not preach churchianity, but instead he preached Christ. Jesus Christ does not save anyone but by grace alone and this eunuch did not move the Lord Jesus to die for him and purchase salvation for him because he was going to go to Jerusalem, but he went to Jerusalem because Christ was sent to die for the man and. The eunuch did not earn one thing, but instead God worked it in his heart to go because there was a Divine appointment that the man needed to be at. God saved this man to the glory of His grace and He saved this man on behalf of the name of Christ.

God did not save this man because he was baptized, but instead he was told that if he believed in Christ with all of his heart he could be baptized. If the man believed in Christ, then the man was already converted. But again, behold the freeness of the grace of God. It was by His sovereign order that this man was where he was when Philip “found” him and then preached Christ to him. It was by His sovereign hand that this man had been reading Isaiah and so in some way was prepared to hear the Gospel preached to him by Philip. It was by the sovereign and free-grace of God that the man’s heart was opened so that he might hear this Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was only on account of Jesus Christ that this man’s sin could be forgiven.

Here we see an encouragement to speak to others as God may indeed open their hearts. Here we see the glory of free grace in God seeking this man out, not the man coming to God on account of his free-will. God ordained this to happen; the man did not ordain this to happen. God chose to give this man grace; the man did not choose to give himself grace. God forgave this man’s sin on behalf of Christ rather than on behalf of the will of the man. The man who was in charge of the treasure of Ethiopia now became the recipient of the riches of Christ by grace alone.

Free Grace 27

August 31, 2015

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}

Luke 23:32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left…38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

When examining certain beliefs or practical teachings, it is necessary to look at the theology that drives those beliefs or teachings. If we think in terms of cause and effect, every belief has a basis for it whether the person is conscious of it or not and every practice is the same way. It may be that the underlying cause is just that the person thinks that or that is what a person has come to believe, but that can be shown to the person. But when we begin to ask what the cause of faith in the criminal who was on the cross beside Christ, we have no real explanation other than free-grace. God found that man dead in his sins and trespasses and made Him alive because of His own desire to glorify His grace. God knew that the man was by nature a child of wrath but God made Him alive and a child of His own, a child of God. The man had a dead and unbelieving heart, but God made Him alive and gave him a heart that believed. This faith came from being united to Christ.

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

A person dead in sin cannot have faith in Christ while still in that sin because there is not faith apart from being united to Christ and Christ will not be united to a person dead in the filth and stench of sin. We can know, therefore, that a person must be cleansed and washed by the blood of Christ before a person can have faith. In Titus 3:5 above we see that it is in regeneration that a person is washed. This should cause the hearts of all who love Christ to leap and rejoice in His free-grace. There was nothing in them that would move God to save them, but God gave them Christ quite apart from anything they did or could do.

It is in regeneration that a soul has life and so such a soul can be a believing soul and have a true faith that flows from a union with Christ. Until a person is brought from the spiritual death of nature and given new life in Christ, there can be no living faith. Until a person is united to Christ who is life, there will be no true faith and no true life. The thief on the cross, therefore, was made alive in regeneration and his soul was washed and cleansed so that he would have faith. The thief on the cross was illuminated and the content of the words and Person of Christ were illuminated. He did not come up with a true faith in order to be saved, but instead He was regenerated and renewed I order that he might have true faith.

Can the will be free from its deadness without being made alive by free-grace? Can the will be free from its utter bondage to sin without being cleansed by Christ and in regeneration? The answers to these questions are all rather obvious when you look at it like that. What can be the cause of union with Christ and regeneration? It can only be God who does this and He can only be moved to do this by free-grace. As we look to the theology that must be true for a person to have true faith, we can only look to God and free-grace to give us those. As we look to a solid foundation on which our faith must rest, our faith either rests upon our free-will (so-called) or our faith rests upon the free-grace of our sovereign and omnipotent God. Only a faith that rests upon Him has a solid foundation.