Ten Points of Grace
Grace is God’s work for the benefit of His chosen people (Rom 11:5; 1 Pet 2:9). Grace reigns (Rom 5:20–21); therefore, it is all wise and powerful to accomplish its purpose. The purpose of grace is to save God’s people from their sins and glorify God in the process (Ps 79:9; Mt 1:21; Eph 2:8–9; Rev 19:1). Grace begins this work, and it finishes this work (Rom 11:36; Phil 1:6; Heb 12:2).
Because the term, “grace” is overarching, we can benefit by considering some characteristics and accomplishments achieved by grace.
First, election is a pre-Creation work of grace (Eph 1:4–5). If God had not chosen His people in eternity past (Rom 11:5; 1 Pet 2:9), there would be uncertainty about other aspects of salvation. As it is, the salvation of God’s elect is anchored in eternity. Grace was at work saving God’s people long before each one appeared in space and time.
Second, grace overcomes our spiritual deadness. We inherited sin from Adam (Rom 5:12), being conceived in sin (Ps 51:5). We are born with a sin nature, being children of wrath (Eph 2:3). We are dead in sin, being dead to God (Eph 2:1). Sin separates us from God, and it ruins any inclination we have toward God (Gen 6:5). From conception, all people are without God and without hope in this world (Eph 2:12).
Without the intervention of grace, the natural man’s dead soul will soon be accompanied by his dead body (Eph 2:1; Rom 6:23; 2 Cor 4:16). Death is the consequence of sin (Gen 2:17; Rom 6:23), and it is sin that kills us. Death has powerfully taken down humanity throughout history. Only God’s grace has the power to overcome death. This is the significance and necessity of the doctrine of resurrection (1 Cor 15).
Third, while natural man is living in his body of death, he remains at enmity with God (Rom 8:7). Sinful man is hostile toward God, even suppressing the truth of God (Rom 1:18). The sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2), being children of the devil (1 Jn 3:10), must do the works of their father, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning (Jn 8:44).
Only God’s grace can set a man free from bondage to sin (Is 61:1; Jn 8:32; Rom 6:16–20). In doing so, it is the truth of God’s Word, illumined by the Spirit of truth that removes the darkness (Ps 119:105, 130; Hos 6:5; Jn 9). The converted sinner sees what kind of love God has for her (1 Jn 3:1), and she is humbled by the grace shown to her (Jas 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5).
Fourth, the most familiar point of grace is its irresistibility (Jn 6:44, 65). Irresistible grace is the all-powerful allure of God’s transfer of a saint from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13). This happens when grace approaches an unregenerate, elect soul and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the Spirit (1 Cor 2:2, 4). The Spirit of grace effectually calls one to come to Christ (Mt 11:28), and that soul is sure to respond because that person has heard the voice of Christ (Jn 10:3–4), who has opened her heart to respond (Acts 16:14).
Because preaching the Gospel and receiving the Gospel are all works of the Holy Spirit, they are works of grace (Is 26:12; Eph 2:8–9). God wills and does the work to accomplish what concerns His beloved, adopted children (Ps 57:2; 138:8; Rom 8:15, 23; Phil 2:13).
Fifth, after the Holy Spirit enters the elect soul (Mt 3:11; Acts 2:38; 10:45), He immediately regenerates or quickens the soul (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). This is the new life of God in the soul of man, and it is all by grace (Rom 6:4; 11:36; 2 Cor 5:17).
The grace of regeneration brings the granting of repentance and faith to the object of God’s love (Acts 5:31; 11:18; Phil 1:29). Here is the manifestation of new life for those born again of God (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13).
Sixth, grace justifies the converted sinner (Rom 3:24). This means that God, by His grace, declares the guilty sinner “not guilty.” This is only realized by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, as a substitutionary sacrifice to pay His church’s debt of sin (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25; Col 2:14; 1 Pet 2:24). The bride of Christ has received forgiveness from God by His grace (Mt 26:28; Eph 1:7). Christians are justified by Jesus’ precious blood (Rom 5:9; 1 Pet 1:19), God’s grace (Rom 3:24; Titus 3:7), and the faith God grants to us (Rom 3:28; Phil 1:29).
Seventh, there is grace in God’s sanctification of His justified people, who He intends to make holy by His grace (Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 4:3, 7; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2, 15–16). In this, grace powerfully restrains sin/evil. The futile mind set on the world is renewed by grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 12:2; Eph 4:17; Pet 3:18). In the same grace, the corrupt heart is removed and replaced by a pure heart that must be kept clean by the washing of the water by the Word (Ps 24:4; Ezek 36:26; Mt 5:8; Eph 5:26). This is why the Gospel of grace must be preached to believers, as much as it is preached to unbelievers (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15; 2 Tim 4:2). Hearing of God’s grace brings God’s grace, and this is also how grace gifts faith (Rom 10:17; Eph 2:8–9).
Eighth, the Christian needs God’s grace to be sufficient for her sojourn through this troubled world (Jn 16:33; 2 Cor 12:9). Grace works all things together for good because grace is always intentional to use the means of grace to accomplish a gracious end (Rom 8:28). In other words, grace is always supporting and sustaining the graced people of God.
Ninth, this leads us to preserving grace. Grace is never weak, never late, and never fails during its reign over its subjects. Grace finishes the work it began (Phil 1:6), and it never leaves nor forsakes (Heb 13:5). Grace, by revealing the truth about itself, gives blessed assurance to the recipients of grace (Jn 10:28–29; Rom 8:31–39; 1 Jn 5:11–13). This is the comfort of grace. Grace never gives up on the Christian, even during sad seasons of excessive sinning.
Finally, grace glorifies the saints. This future work of grace is assured in Scripture (Rom 8:30). The Christian has the hope of glory in him (Col 1:27), and it is above and beyond what he can think or imagine, to speculate about the glory to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18).
In conclusion, we have briefly described just ten points of grace. God is working grace into our Christian lives, moment by moment. Even to give thanks and to praise God for His grace is itself a grace (1 Thess 5:17–18), for we would never do these things apart from His grace (Jn 15:5).
Spokane Valley, Washington
June 2, 2022