Grace Bible Studies
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 Christand 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 His grace.
- 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 worth.
- 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 only.
- To be disappointed with yourself is to have believed in yourself.
- 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.