A walk through A.W. Pink's Attributes of God. Feel free to read along and comment.
Ch. 13: The Grace of God-
Grace is a perfection of the Divine character which is exercised only toward the elect. Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New is the grace of God ever mentioned in connection with mankind generally, still less with the lower orders of His creatures. In this it is distinguished from mercy, for the mercy of God is "over all His works" (Ps. 145-9). Grace is the alone source from which flows the goodwill, love, and salvation of God unto His chosen people. This attribute of the Divine character was defined by Abraham Booth in his helpful book, The Reign of Grace thus, "It is the eternal and absolute free favour of God, manifested in the vouchsafement of spiritual and eternal blessings to the guilty and the unworthy."
So if Pink is correct, (and I'd have to see the next chapter, the mercy of God, to see), there is a distinction between mercy and grace, that being that grace is a specific, saving grace. The source of God's love, goodwill, and salvation for God's chosen people. Sounds good. But how is this different from mercy? Mercy is “over all His works.” Ok, I need to read the next chapter.
But anyways, taking Pink's premise. He continues to point out that grace is unearned, unmerited, unbought, and undeserved. That's what makes it grace! Comes as pure charity, at first unasked and undesired.
Grace is given before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9), free and sovereign.
Interesting that grace is pictured as “sovereign” because it reigns and has a throne. What exactly does grace being sovereign mean? It means that the Lord gives grace as the Lord gives grace. Of His own free will.
As a side note, I'm reading Bondage of the Will (still!) and I've greatly enjoyed the points that Luther makes on this very same topic. He rightfully chastises Erasmus for claiming that we “prepare ourselves for grace.” (And there's a distinction here from “utilizing means of grace” which I will not get into).
Grace distinguishes. Some get it, some do not. Simple enough, but so hard for today to understand. “But that's not fair.” But if we got what was fair, we'd all get hell. Nobody really wants fair except in the sense that it works in their favor. But then it's not fair at all!
Father is the Fountain of grace, for He purposed in Himself the everlasting covenant of redemption. God the Son is the only Channel of grace. The Gospel is the Publisher of grace. The Spirit is the Bestower. He applies the Gospel in saving power to the soul.
Good old Trinity. I love the Trinity. It makes me happy.
Thus we may say with the late G. S. Bishop,
Grace is a provision for men who are so fallen that they cannot lift the axe of justice, so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures, so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him, so blind that they cannot see Him, so deaf that they cannot hear Him, and so dead that He Himself must open their graves and lift them into resurrection.
Labels: Attributes of God