The True Nature of Amazing Grace!
By I Gordon
Grace – it’s probably the greatest, and
hardest topic for the natural mind to truly understand. Everyone can grasp and
understand the law. It tells you to ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’! Simple.
Memorise the commandments and you are away. In fact, you don’t even have to be
a Christian to grasp it as many ‘good, law abiding, unsaved religious people’
would testify to. We can understand it easily. We just can’t keep it! But God’s
grace – now that’s another matter. It takes far more than the natural mind to
understanding this incredible aspect of God’s character. It takes revelation
from the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 2:12 ‘We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit
who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us’
That which has ‘been freely given to us’ is
the abundance of God’s grace in it’s various forms. It takes the Spirit to
comprehend such things. The law was given to Moses through angels. (Gal 3:19,
Heb 2:2) Angels can understand ‘living by the law’ for they live in a
hierarchical environment where they are obedient to the commands of those above
them. And yet, concerning grace, we read
1 Pet 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who
spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the
greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to
which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the
sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow... Even angels
long to look into these things.
Angels, like men, easily grasp living by
commandments. Yet they long to look into the things of grace! How much more
should we, as the recipients of this grace, be aware of all that it means for
us! And further more, how much more
should we be careful that we are relying upon, and thankful for, all that God
has done for us by grace! Let me say it again… grace is the greatest of topics,
yet the hardest to comprehend for it goes against what the proud natural mind
of man tells us. Yet even in the ages to come, God is still trying to teach and
show people His grace as we read
Eph 2:6-7 ‘And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in
the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to
come He might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his
kindness to us in Christ Jesus.’
So with this in mind, please read the
following, taken from William R. Newell’s book ‘Romans verse by verse’ pages
245-247. It is found under the title – ‘A few words about grace.’ A few words
they may be, but what great words they are! Please read each point slowly and
think about what it actually means for your Christian life. Mediate on them!
Some of these points can seem quite radical, yet they cut straight to the heart
of what grace truly means and in doing so shows up much of the legalistic and
religious teaching that passes as the gospel today.
The Nature of Grace
- Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature
as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfil; and acting of course,
righteously in view of the cross
- Grace therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause
lies wholly in the giver, in God.
- Grace also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or
fulfilled conditions on man’s part to wait for, it can act toward whom,
and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in
the highest favours.
- Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability:
Grace does not help – it is absolute, it does all.
- There being no cause in the creature why grace should be shown,
the creature must be brought off trying to give cause to God for
- The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of
Divine grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace
is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete
inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed – on
another principle outside of himself!
- Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This
is the great reason why grace is hated by the proud natural mind of
man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows
that “in him, that is in his flesh, dwells no good thing”; and yet he
finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!
The Place of Man under Grace
- He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!
- He is not “on probation.”
- As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died
at the Cross, and Christ is his life.
- Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all
human exigencies beforehand: His action was independent of them, not
dependant upon them
- The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of
bestowed grace (as it would under law). For example the main in 1 Cor
5:1-5 and those in 11:30-32 who did not “judge” themselves, and so were
“judged by the Lord, that they would not be condemned with the world”!
The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace
- To believe, and consent to be loved while unworthy,
is the great secret.
- To refuse to make “resolutions” and “vows”; for that is to
trust in the flesh.
- To expect to be blessed, though realising more and more lack of
- To testify of God’s goodness, at all times.
- To be certain of God’s future favour: yet to be ever more
tender in conscience toward Him.
- To rely on God’s chastening hand as a mark of His kindness.
- A man under grace, if like Paul, has no burdens regarding
himself; but many about others.
Things Which Gracious Souls Discover
- To “hope to be better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ
- To be disappointed with yourself is to have believed
- To be discouraged is unbelief – as to God’s purpose and
plan of blessing for you.
- To be proud is to be blind! For we have no standing
before God in ourselves.
- The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief,
and not from failure of devotion.
- Real devotion to God arises, not from man’s will to show it but
from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were
yet unworthy and undevoted.
- To preach devotion first and blessing second, is to reverse
God’s order, and preach law, not grace. The Law made man’s blessing
dependant on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing:
our devotion may follow, but does not always do so , in proper measure.