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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.
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