Grace - Part 2
September 13, 2021
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (John 1:16).
“Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross.
Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!” (Julia H. Johnston)
J. I. Packer wrote, “There are four crucial truths in this realm which the doctrine of grace presupposes, and if they are not acknowledged and felt in one’s heart, clear faith in God’s grace becomes impossible. Unhappily, the spirit of our age is as directly opposed to them as it well could be. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that faith in grace is a rarity today” (Knowing God, InterVarsity Press). He wrote that in 1973 - nearly 50 years ago! If it was true then, it is certainly true now.
The four truths are these: (1) the moral ill-desert of man, (2) the retributive justice of God, (3) the spiritual impotence of man, and (4) the sovereign freedom of God.
Before we explore these crucial truths, we need to define grace as it is stated in Scripture. The Old Testament word khane means graciousness, subjective kindness or favor, objective beauty, graciousness; to be pleasant, precious, well-favored. The New Testament word charis means graciousness (as gratifying) of manner or act, especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude; acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, gracious, joy liberality, pleasure, thank-worthy.
I’m sure these definitions have you scratching your head as to what it all means. Simply put, God’s grace is His love freely shown toward guilty sinners. That’s it. But when you really think about it, it’s far deeper than God’s love freely shown toward guilty sinners. It is God’s love freely shown toward guilty sinners who are born in sin and who practice sin in defiance of God’s laws. It is His love toward guilty sinners who live contrary to what is morally right in God’s eyes. It is His love toward guilty sinners who want nothing to do with God, who deserve His justice, not His love or mercy. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one’ there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one (Romans 3:10-12).
“Father, it is already a mind-boggling thing to think about Who You are and all that You do for us that we are so undeserving of You and Your great love toward us. Because of Your love we can experience Your grace that leads us to Jesus Christ and salvation. May we cease taking these things for granted and humbly bow before You in honor and praise. Amen.”