When the Arminian claims that grace makes salvation possible, he is denying the grace that actually saves God’s chosen people from their sins (Mt 1:21; 1 Pet 2:9; Titus 3:5). In his effort to wrest sole glory from God, he must also usurp some of God’s work from Him. This is detected by the shift from Christ-centeredness to man. There is often a bodacious sales pitch that accompanies this temptation, “You will leave your little life behind and become a part of something utterly bigger than yourself.”
“Bigger” is always the trigger for men of flesh. They are enticed by the prospect of doing something for Jesus, as if the all-sufficient God of the universe needed His creatures to provide something for Him.
Grace is misconstrued as enablement. In the man-centered view of grace, God offers to enable every man to be all he can be. Man, of course, chooses to accept or reject God, which God has empowered each man to do. Burger King offers this, too, “Have it your way.”
Grace also becomes the fourth person of the Trinity when the Arminian says, “Grace not only forgives you, but enables you to live for something hugely bigger than yourself.” Even the scribes knew that only God can forgive sins (Mk 2:7), and last time I checked, grace was not God.
God saves His elect people by His grace (Eph 2:8–9). Grace is what God does for the benefit of His beloved. Wherever God is working, and God’s saints are better off for it, then, we call it, “the grace of God.” It is not God enabling us to do good things for ourselves or even for Him. For from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36). To Him be the glory, forever. Amen.
God accomplishes all His good pleasure (Is 46:10). In the days of Moses, God did not hand out enablement to Moses, to do true righteous acts out of the true worship for God. Rather, Moses preached to the people, not about himself, as a God-enabled leader, but he said, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you, today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever (Ex 14:13).”
Noting the precision fulfillment of the prophetic Scriptures would be enough for us to see that His Word did not return empty. It accomplishes what God intends and for which it is sent (Is 55:11). This is vividly evidenced in God sending His only begotten Son, the incarnate Word of God (Jn 1:14; 3:16). It is the zeal of the Lord that exalted Jesus to the highest and gave Him the name above all names (Is 9:7).
When God resolves to pour out His wrath upon a people (Ezek 20:8; 21); when He exercises His fierce anger (Jer 30:24); when He saves a people (Ex 14:13); and whenever something written in prophetic Scripture has met the fullness of time, you can be assured it will be accomplished by God, for the glory of God. Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work (Jn 4:34).”
As it pertains to the Christian, the apostle Paul said it best, “For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed (Rom 15:18).” This is how we are to give credit and glory to Christ, who sent His Spirit (Jn 14:26), to accomplish all that concerns us (Ps 57:2; 138:8).
Christians should have Christ at the center of every report, every testimony, every witness, and every sermon preached. Christ has saturated His people with His Spirit; therefore, our speech, representing His work in our hearts, should be saturated with praises to Him.
It is the temptation of every Christian to put himself back in the center of existence. Misconstruing grace, as God’s power to make me be the best I can be, is idolatry. This is a problem that is remedied by God, by His gracious gifting in our lives. Foremost is the gift of Himself. With the mind of Christ and an occupied heart for God, it only makes sense to acknowledge Him in all our ways (Prv 3:5–6).
Trusting Christ is a grace given to us by His Spirit, and any other version of Christianity that makes you the subject of the sentence is not the story of grace.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 30. 2022