THE CHARACTER OF GOD’S GRACE
“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. . . . Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” [Rom 9:16-18]
All the religious world talks about salvation by grace. Yet, there are very few, who understand the character of God’s grace as it is revealed in Holy Scripture.
Men and women love to talk about, sing about, and hear about God’s amazing grace, as long as they imagine that God’s grace is in some way dependent upon them; but as soon as grace is defined in biblical terms, man’s opposition to it comes raging to surface.
Grace is an attribute of God which, like His love, is exercised only toward His elect.
Nowhere in the Bible do we read of universal grace, or of grace bestowed upon mankind in general. The grace of God is upon His elect. The grace of God is eternal life. The grace of God is eternal salvation.
Grace is the solitary source from which the good-will, love, and salvation of God flow to His chosen people. It is, as Abraham Booth wrote, “the eternal and absolute free favour of God, manifested in the vouchsafement (infallible promise) of spiritual and eternal blessings to the guilty and unworthy.”
Arthur Pink wrote, “Divine grace is the sovereign and saving favour of God exercised in bestowing blessings upon those who have no merit in them and for which no compensation is demanded.”
Grace is completely unmerited and unsought. It is altogether unattracted by us. Grace cannot be bought, earned, or won by anything in us or done by us. If it could, it would cease to be grace. Grace is bestowed upon sinners without attraction, without condition, without qualification. When God’s saving grace comes to a sinner, it comes as a matter of pure charity, unsought, unasked, and undesired.
In Bible terms grace is placed in direct opposition to works, worthiness, and merit in the creature (Romans 11:6; Romans 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace and works will not mix.
And any attempt by man to mix the grace of God with the works of man or the will of man is both blasphemy and a total denial of grace!
If you search the Scriptures, you will find that there are five things which always characterize the grace of God. Whenever men speak contrary to these five things they deny the grace of God.
1) The grace of God is eternal (Romans 8:28-30; 2 Timothy 1:9).
2) The grace of God is free (Romans 3:24).
3) The grace of God is sovereign (Romans 9:16).
4) The grace of God is distinguishing (1 Corinthians 4:7).
5) The grace of God is in Christ, only in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-14).
Grace is not something God offers to sinners. Grace is the operation of God in sinners, by which he effectually saves the objects of His everlasting love.