The worse we realize we are, the greater we realize God’s grace is.
Living by grace means affirming daily our unworthiness. We are never thankful for what we think we deserve. We are deeply thankful for what we know we don’t deserve.
We all want grace, but we cannot enjoy grace when there is an attitude of comparing.
Saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his lusts as a slave is willing to leave his galley, or a prisoner his dungeon, or a thief his bolts, or a beggar his rags.
Scripture’s denial that our best works are sufficient in themselves to please God or to compensate for our weaknesses makes our spiritual desperation more acute and, thus, our appreciation of grace becomes more emphatic. Overwhelming gratitude for the spiritual deliverance our Savior alone provides will engender a humble and glad willingness to dedicate the strength of our lives to our Savior’s glory.
Christian maturity requires that we ask whether we are more motivated by gratitude for God’s mercy or by a futile attempt to earn it.
Some are greatly troubled by the fact that grace is bestowed sovereignly, but what other basis is there for its distribution? In Romans 9:14 Paul asks the question: Can God be just when grace is given to some but not to others? He answers his own question by reminding the reader that justice can only condemn all men, for all have sinned. We dare not plead for justice with God, for justice can only be satisfied by our condemnation. Grace operates on a totally different basis. Grace does not give men what they deserve, but what God delights to give, in spite of their sin. God is only unjust if He withholds from men benefits which they rightfully deserve, but He is gracious in bestowing upon men salvation and blessings which they could never merit.
Grace may be free to us, but it is so only because God has borne all the cost Himself in Jesus.
Grace is reward, or favor, given to those who deserve judgment. If a judge found a serial rapist guilty, and then stepped down from his bench, agreed to take the death penalty in the criminal’s place, and sent the rapist on an all-expense-paid vacation to Hawaii for thirty years, that would be grace. The severity of the criminal’s crimes would be the measure of the judge’s grace. In the same way, the knowledge of what we deserve, and what it cost God to be gracious, is the measure of His fatherly grace. When it is said and done, the cross is the tape that measures the length and breadth of God’s grace. Like God’s wrath, His grace is holy. It transcends all human conceptions.
For [the common] acronym to work, we must figure the ugliness of sin into the equation. If the definition read, “G.R.A.C.E. is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense extended to men and women who deserve wrath,” we would have a complete definition of grace.
The very center and core of the whole Bible is the doctrine of the grace of God — the grace of God which depends not one whit upon anything that is in man, but is absolutely undeserved, resistless and sovereign. The theologians of the Church can be placed in an ascending scale according as they have grasped that one great central doctrine, that doctrine that gives consistency to all the rest; and Christian experience also depends for its depth and for its power upon the way in which that blessed doctrine is cherished in the depths of the heart. The center of the Bible, and the center of Christianity, is found in the grace of God; and the necessary corollary of the grace of God is salvation through faith alone.
I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
And when I face reality and see the utter awfulness of my sin contrasted with beauty of His holiness, my never-ending refrain will be that He is a God of amazing grace and that He has given me amazing grace.
For the Christian, it’s all about understanding God’s amazing grace and then responding with an eternal attitude of gratitude. It’s God’s grace that motivates us and it’s God’s grace that empowers us to obey Him – obedience not to earn His grace, but obedience that flows from His grace and demonstrates His grace to ourselves and others.
You see, doing good in dependence on God does just the opposite of paying Him back. All Christian labor for Him is a gift from Him. Good deeds when done as a pure act of His grace do not pay back grace, but borrow more grace from Him. Without God’s grace we would not and could not serve Him. Therefore, even our service does not put Him in debt to us, but rather puts us deeper in debt to His grace. And that is where God wants us to be throughout eternity.
If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it.
Grace has meaning only when men are seen as fallen, unworthy of salvation, and liable to eternal wrath. It is precisely because people today have lost sight of the depths of human depravity that they think so little of divine grace. What makes Paul’s declaration that we are saved “by grace” so significant is his earlier declaration that we were “dead” in trespasses and sins, “gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature,” “following its desires and thoughts,” and were by nature the children of divine wrath (Eph. 2:1-10).
The friends of free-will are the enemies of free-grace.
[T]here is nothing in us or done by us at any stage of our earthly development because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only “when we believe,” it is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live… It is always, on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest. There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place or that take a place along with Him. We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace.