Let’s Revisit Grace

I still can’t get out of “Lois Peterson” mode (see the blog right after this one–be sure to read the comments). In her honor, I’ve put together some quotes about grace. I hope you enjoy….

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Now, let’s revisit grace.

Lance Latham launched a revolution in kids ministry, when he created AWANA clubs at the old North Side Gospel Center in Chicago. He was an ambassador for the gospel of grace. It was my privilege to know him, to work with him, and to call him by his nickname: “Doc.”

There is something within the heart of a man which constantly presses to make a perverse addition to the sole basis of our salvation, the work of Christ on the cross. Constantly pressed by the sin of pride, the mind of the natural man is ever reluctant to admit its sinful, helpless condition. . . .

Religious leaders try to add baptism, church membership, faithful living, personal sacrifice or some other human work to the work of Christ to the hope of salvation for the believer.

[Note from maxgrace: Doc lists the following Christian cliche’s as “human works:” Give your heart to Christ, Give your heart to Jesus, Surrendur all, Turn the direction of your life over to God, Make Jesus the Lord of your life, forsake your sins, Ask Jesus to come into your heart, and FOLLOW JESUS. Every one of these, he identifies (correctly) as human works contrary to the gospel of grace. Now, back to Doc.]

One who discovers the gospel will instantly realize that the sole basis of his salvation is the work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. Saving faith depends alone on the value of Calvary. All other possible sources for the assurance of salvation are counterfeit.

The gospel is the good news. It is not a new set of obligations or duties to be performed—new strivings—more agonizings—but rather an announcement of what has been done for us. We do not present the claims of the gospel. We present a wonderful free offer by God Himself to the sinner who believes.

[Note from maxgrace: Several months ago, Wikipedia threatened to remove the article on Lance Latham, because his life did not rise up to their standards of notoriety. I quickly signed up as an editor, and listed a handful of the facts that I knew about him. But I didn’t footnote those facts… and now, the article requires “cleanup” or it will be removed. So, if you have Dave Breese’s book on Lance Latham, would you kindly add footnotes, and other documentation, so this man’s legacy can continue on the internet?]

Charles H. Spurgeon, August 19, 1883 in a sermon on why grace doesn’t lead to sin.

. . .If you take away the grace of God from the gospel you have extracted from it its very life-blood, and there is nothing left worth preaching, worth believing, or worth contending for. Grace is the soul of the gospel: without it the gospel is dead. Grace is the music of the gospel: without it the gospel is silent as to all comfort. I endeavoured also to set forth the doctrine of grace in brief terms, teaching that God deals with sinful men upon the footing of pure mercy: finding them guilty and condemned, he gives free pardons, altogether irrespective of past character, or of any good works which may be foreseen. Moved only by pity he devises a plan for their rescue from sin and its consequences—a plan in which grace is the leading feature. Out of free favour he has provided, in the death of his dear Son, an atonement by means of which his mercy can be justly bestowed. He accepts all those who place their trust in this atonement, selecting faith as the way of salvation, that it may be all of grace. In this he acts, from a motive found within himself, and not because of any reason found in the sinner’s conduct, past, present, or future. I tried to show that this grace of God flows towards the sinner from of old, and begins its operations upon him when there is nothing good in him: it works in him that which is good and acceptable, and continues so to work in him till the deed of grace is complete, and the believer is received up into the glory for which he is made meet. Grace commences to save, and it perseveres till all is done. From first to last, from the “A” to the “Z” of the heavenly alphabet, everything in salvation is of grace, and grace alone; all is of free favour, nothing of merit.

Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary. From an out of print book called Grace, first printed in 1933. A later book, Grace the Glorious Theme, is still in print, and is a MASTERPIECE.

It may be concluded that the word grace, as used in the Bible in relation to divine salvation, represents the uncompromised, unrestricted, unrecompensed, loving favor of God toward sinners. It is an unearned blessing. It is a gratuity. God is absolutely untrammeled and unshackled in expressing His infinite love by His infinite grace (1) through the death of His Lamb by whom every limitation which human sin could impose has been dispelled, (2) through the provision which offers salvation as a gift by which human obligation has been forever dismissed, and (3) through the divine decree by which human merit has been forever deposed. Grace is the limitless, unrestrained love of God for the lost, acting in full compliance with the exact and unchangeable demands of His own righteousness through the sacrificial death of Christ. Grace is more than love; it is love set absolutely free and made to be a triumphant victor over the righteous judgment of God against the sinner.

Horatio Bonar was a presbyterian minister in Scotland in the mid-1800’s. His writings are gracious through and through. This is from his book, God’s Way of Peace.

There was need of a death, if we were to be saved from dying. Righteousness made the necessity. And, to meet this terrible necessity, the Son of God took flesh and died! . . .

Love led him down to the cradle; love led him up to the cross! He died as the sinner’s substitute. He died to make it a righteous thing in God to cancel the sinner’s guilt and annul the penalty of his everlasting death.

Had it not been for this dying, grace and guilt could not have looked each other in the face; God and the sinner could not have come nigh; righteousness would have forbidden reconciliation; and righteousness, we know, is as divine and real a thing as love. Without this exception, it would not have been right for God to receive the sinner nor safe for the sinner to come.

But now, mercy and truth have met together; now grace is righteousness, and righteousness is grace. This satisfies the sinner’s conscience, by showing him righteous love for the unrighteous and unlovable. It tells him, too, that the reconciliation brought about in this way shall never be disturbed, either in this life or that which is to come. It is righteous reconciliation, and will stand every test, as well as last throughout eternity. The peace of conscience thus secured will be trial-proof, sickness-proof, deathbed-proof, judgment-proof. Realizing this, the chief of sinners can say, “Who is he that condemneth?”

What peace for the stricken conscience is there in the truth that Christ died for the ungodly; and that it is of the ungodly that the righteous God is the Justifier! The righteous grace thus coming to us through the sin-bearing work of the “Word made flesh,” tells the soul, at once and forever, that there can be no condemnation for any sinner upon earth, who will only consent to be indebted to this free love of God, which, like a fountain of living water, is bursting freely forth from the foot of the Cross.

Just, yet the Justifier of the ungodly! What glad tidings are here! Here is grace; God’s free love to the sinner; divine bounty and goodwill, altogether irrespective of human worth or merit. For this is the scriptural meaning of that often misunderstood word “grace.”

This righteous free love has its origin in the bosom of the Father, where the only begotten has his dwelling. It is not produced by anything out of God himself. It was man’s evil, not his good, that called it forth. It was not the drawing to the like, but to the unlike; it was light attracted by darkness, and life by death. It does not wait for our seeking, it comes unasked as well as undeserved. It is not our faith that creates it or calls it up; our faith realizes it as already existing in its divine and manifold fullness. Whether we believe it or not, this righteous grace exists, and exists for us. Unbelief refuses it; but faith takes it, rejoices in it, and lives upon it. Yes, faith takes this righteous grace of God, and, with it, a righteous pardon, a righteous salvation, and a righteous heirship of the everlasting glory.

I could go on, and on, and on, and on… But I won’t. If you’d like to read, watch or listen to this last weekend’s sermon, click here. Sermons are posted on Wednesday, and you want the sermon dated June 9-10.

It is based in Esther, chapter 6 and goes into GRACE as both the ground of salvation, and the basis of our post-salvation life with God. The series of messages is called, Livin’ Large with OPC (Other People’s Craziness).

In honor of Lois Peterson, I gave an invitation (I do that every 4-8 weeks). At least 25 people received Jesus by grace alone through faith alone.

You can sign up for WISEGUYS, my free monthly newsletter, just click on the wiseguy on the top right column.

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9 thoughts on “Let’s Revisit Grace

  1. Sung at Lois’ funeral:

    How can it be that God should die for me????!!!

    No condemnation now I dread;
    Jesus, and all in Him, is MINE! 🙂
    Alive in Him, my living Head,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

    Like you Bill, I’m stuck, in Lois Peterson mode! But it’s a good thing as I examine my life so as to take care as to what I am building on the foundation that she laid.

  2. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!! How sweet it is when one of His goes home; we who are left rejoice not as those who have no hope. Where is thy sting, oh death? Pure victory in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen!

    What a beautiful testimony Lois leaves even in her death. What a legacy! Those are the memorials I want to attend! Spurs me on to desire the same for myself when my time comes. By faith, grace, and power – it shall be.

    I will attend yet another memorial this coming Saturday….hopefully, it will be a victory celebration.

  3. Bill G. Paul Petschelt here. I just read where there will be another memorial service to celebrate Lois’ life this Saturday.(above article, signed Jean) Could you please let me know the location if possible? Thanks, Paul

  4. Dear Paul: The memorial this weekend isn’t for Lois. It’s for the wife of my husband’s uncle. She was a believer so I hope it, too, will be a victory service. I’m so sorry if I misled you with my words. We live on the west coast, so I’m not sure you would be close enough. Please forgive me for not being more clear. The blogging stuff goes all around the world….mind boggling!
    Again, Paul, I’m sorry to have misspoken/mistyped.
    Jean

  5. This blog entry somewhat relates to a question that I’ve been contemplating lately. In typical Donny fashion I need to set up the question a bit. Here goes:

    I learn so much from my relationship with my son, and I apply my experiences with him to a relationship with God. I’ve often wondered why God supposedly “can’t look on sin”. He is God, after all. I’ve come to a “Donny conclusion”. Such conclusions are often times shot down by Giovannetti theological studies, but here goes anyway…

    Is it possible that God can’t look on sin because it hurts him too much? What I mean is this – if my son was old enough to make all his own decisions, and he was doing something that was really self destructive, and I could do nothing to change it (as he has free will) I would rather not watch the destruction happen. I’d be heartbroken. I’d be weeping. I’d be very concerned, but I definitely couldn’t stand witnessing it with my own eyes.

    Is it possible that God can’t look on sin because he hates seeing us harm ourselves so?

  6. Thanks for the the great quotes. Two questions concerning grace: In light of salvation & grace could you please work through God striking down two believers (Acts 5)? Two, what of obedience & it’s implications on salvation & therefore grace? When doing my final paper for your class I was confronted with a great deal of information & Tozer challenged me the most. Here is a quote from “I Call it Heresy.” Do you disagree with Tozer?

    THE SCRIPTURES DO NOT TEACH that the Person of Jesus Christ nor any of the important offices which God has given Him can be divided or ignored according to the whims of men.

    Therefore, I must be frank in my feeling that a notable heresy has come into being throughout our evangelical Christian circles – the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need Him as Savior and we have the right to postpone our obedience to Him as Lord as long as we want to!

    This concept has sprung naturally from a misunderstanding of what the Bible actually says about Christian discipleship and obedience. It is now found in nearly all of our full gospel literature. I confess that I was among those who preached it before I began to pray earnestly, to study diligently and meditate with anguish over the whole matter. I think the following is a fair statement of what I was taught in my early Christian experience and it certainly needs a lot of modifying and a great many qualifiers to save us from being in error. “We are saved by accepting Christ as our Savior; we are sanctified by accepting Christ as our Lord; we may do the first without doing the second!”

    The truth is that salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures. Peter makes it plain that we are “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit for obedience” (1 Peter 1:2). What a tragedy that in our day we often hear the gospel appeal made on this kind of basis: “Come to Jesus! You do not have to obey anyone. You do not have to change anything. You do not have to give up anything, alter anything, surrender anything, give back anything – just come to Him and believe in Him as Savior!”

    Thanks for you time, I do appreciate & value your love of Jesus & opinions.
    Sean

  7. Hi Sean,
    I am going to do a full blog on this pretty soon, so I won’t go into depth right now. But I will answer your question about whether or not I agree with Tozer.
    I disagree with him, and think he not only mis-states the free-grace position, he also overstates the Lordship position.
    I know of NO reputable Bible teachers who say that we “have the right to postpone our obedience to Him as long as we want to.” Nobody I know or have ever heard teaches that. I don’t, and I wouldn’t. That is not a right.
    So i respectfully disagree with Tozer on at least some of the quotes here.
    Look for an upcoming blog where I’ll go more into depth.
    Bill

  8. I admit, I am confused?

    …on what basis do you teach obedience?

    It has seemed to me that you have been emphasizing the opposite, that obedience is not neccessary? I don’t have the privelege of hearing your sermons or attending your lectures. (Although, you have influenced a man that I have been actively discipling for a few years; his portrayal of your position may actually be influencing my understanding of what you teach, sorry if that is the case!!)

  9. This is an indirect note to both Bill and to Marianne S…I used to live in Chicago and I knew both of you…I went to Grace with Jim V and others…I remember everyone talking about Lois P and her Bible studies and I was so envious that you had such an incredible spiritual mentor….. Bill I am so happy to see that you have a thriving ministry and a wonderful family.

    Marianne I knew your brother in law Steve and your mother-in-law…a precious woman….can you email me sometime and catch me up on your family and how you all are doing. I live in Jacksonville, FL and have four wonderful kids….my husband and I have a children’s bookstore, Treehouse Books and More. You can email me at pattiwall at juno dot com (if that’s okay to leave that here).

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