THE GOD OF GRACE
"The God of all grace." 1 Peter 5:10
There is not, perhaps, in the Bible a word more expressive, or, to the
believing ear, one more sweet, than the word GRACE. It at once discloses the
secret of salvation, defines the underlying principle of redeeming mercy,
and indicates the golden thread which runs throughout and knits together all
the great doctrines of the gospel, emphatically designated the "gospel of
the grace of God." The definition of the word is simple as it is precious.
It means, God's good-will and free favor to man, in and through Christ
Jesus. Thus is it employed, "By grace you are saved;" "The grace of God that
brings salvation;" "It is of faith, that it might be by grace;" "By the
grace of God I am what I am;" "We believe that through the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
This principle of God's favor, or free grace, as we have just remarked,
underlies and binds together all the great truths indicated by the previous
titles of God. The whole plan of salvation is based upon free grace, or, in
other words, God's good-will and unpurchased favor to sinners. This idea, of
course, repudiates and ignores all worth and worthiness whatever on the part
of the creature, constituting man God's debtor, instead of- as the scheme of
salvation by human merit does- God being a debtor to man. Let this not be
lost sight of, that salvation by works lays God under obligation to the
creature, whereas salvation by grace lays the creature under eternal
obligation to God. Human merit, therefore, is entirely excluded as an
element entering into our salvation; the whole scheme, from first to last,
being by grace. "And if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise
grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then it is no more grace."
All the religions of men- and their name is "legion"- are based upon the
principle of human merit- all are founded upon some fancied good and power
in the creature, the effect of which is totally to set aside the Atonement
of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul. In fact, the doctrine
of creature merit is the fatal element of man's religion, the moral poison
of his soul, the remedy for which is only found in a believing reception and
heart-felt experience of the free grace salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And yet how much even the Lord's people have yet to learn of this great
truth! How dim their views, how faint their realization, how little their
enjoyment of it! How much forgetfulness of the truth that Christ died, not
for saints, but for sinners; that He receives, not the worthy, but the
unworthy; that He came to heal, not the whole, but the sick; to call, not
the righteous, but sinners, to repentance! Always looking for some good
thing in themselves, instead of looking only to Christ for that worthiness
which never can be found out of Him; ever dealing with their sins, in the
place of sin's Great Sacrifice, substituting sanctification for
justification; thus making a saving merit of their holiness, putting faith
in the place of Christ, the Object of faith, and so making a Savior of their
religious experience, it is no marvel that they realize so faintly their
completeness in Christ, and the peace and joy, the hope and holiness
springing therefrom. For this reason, "many are weak and sickly among them,"
and many travel in doubt, and fear, and tears to the brink of the river of
death, though, blessed be God, none ever go doubting, and fearing, and
weeping over it; for, at the last, grace triumphs, and the weakest faith
gets the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In considering this divine title of our God, the first and most obvious idea
it suggests is that God is the eternal and essential Source of all grace to
man. This opens up to us a great and precious truth. As the "God of all
grace," He must be the first and originating Cause of this, as of every
other blessing. But for the existence of this fact, there had been no
Savior; and no Savior, there had been no salvation; and no salvation, there
had been no heaven for sinners. This divine Fountain of grace, mercy, and
love unsealed, fallen man would have righteously shared the doom of fallen
angels, there being no difference between the darkest spirit in the world of
woe and the brightest spirit in the world of bliss, but what the sovereign
grace of God makes.
The Lord's people seriously and frequently err in sinking below this truth.
Satisfied with the sweetness of the stream of grace, they ascend not to the
source from where it flows. Not thus indifferent are the scientific men of
this world, who in their generation are wiser than the children of light.
How much valuable life has been sacrificed, and what vast wealth expended,
in attempting to trace the source of the Nile! And still the problem remains
unsolved. Content with having "tasted that the Lord is gracious," having
"drunk of the brook in the way," how few of the recipients of divine grace
explore the divine and eternal source from where their salvation has come!
"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God," and
of this River God Himself is the Eternal Head. With Him originated the great
plan of redemption. Who can study it- its character and history, its
philosophy and results- who can contemplate its fitness for God, its
adaptation to man- without a profound conviction that the Mind that
conceived, and planned, and executed the Redemption of fallen man must be
Divine, and that that Mind was God the Father's?
He must be insensible to what is great, blind to what is grand, stupid to
what is convincing; who can rise from the study of Redemption without the
overwhelming conviction that such an expedient could have originated only
with God; that His heart conceived it, His mind planned it, His power
executed it, and that the whole resolves itself in an eternal monument of
His free and sovereign grace to sinners! Truly, "Salvation is of the Lord."
A few particulars will illustrate this precious truth. As "the God of all
grace," the grace He has so graciously revealed to sinners, is in Him AN
ESSENTIAL PROPERTY. It is not grace inspired by our sinfulness, or moved to
its display by anything on our part. No condition of ours, however abject
and miserable, originated or elicits it. It dwells in Him as essentially as
His own essence. He would not be God, if He were not the God of all grace.
He must cease to be God were He to cease to be gracious. Listen to His own
words thus portraying Himself: "The Lord God merciful and gracious." Not so
independently, and spontaneously, and freely do light and heat flow from the
sun, as does saving grace from the nature of God to poor sinners. God cannot
act but His grace displays itself in some one of its endless forms.
What is forgiveness, but God's grace remitting our sins? What is
justification, but God's grace accepting our persons? What is
sanctification, but God's grace purifying our hearts? What is adoption, but
God's grace making us sons? What is our final salvation, but God's grace
keeping us from falling, and preserving us into His eternal kingdom? Thus,
each round of the ladder that lifts us from the mouth of hell to the gate of
heaven, is an unfolding of the boundless grace of God to lost sinners, vile,
graceless, and hell-deserving.
Do you think, then, that coming to God by Jesus Christ, and casting yourself
upon His grace as a poor, lost, worthless sinner, He will cast you off?
Never! God may cast down a poor soul– and this He often does in love, to lay
it low, even to the dust, that he may learn that salvation, from first to
last, is of His free grace– but He will never cast off a poor soul that has
fled to the asylum of His mercy, that has cast himself upon His boundless
grace to sinners. He is too gracious, too divinely, essentially gracious for
this. He must cease to be God if He cease to be gracious, and He must cease
to be gracious if He refuse to receive and save a poor, broken-hearted
sinner who casts himself on that grace.
Thus we have endeavored to lead your mind up, my reader, to the
Fountain-Head of all grace. Rest not below it. Precious as is the channel,
as we shall presently see– Holy as is the object, as will ultimately appear,
and sweet as are the streams, as all who have only tasted that the Lord is
gracious will testify– it must be acknowledged that all this is infinitely
increased when we rise to the Divine, Essential, and Eternal Source from
where it all flowed down to us– even the God and Father of all grace.
That is a word of rich consolation spoken by the apostle- it has been as a
sunbeam in many a cloudy day- to God's dear, tried, needy ones– "My Lord
shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ
Jesus." Who can measure the depth and height, the length and breadth of
meaning which this assurance contains? How many a tear it has dried, how
many a fear it has removed, how many a need it has met! Our great sin is in
limiting God, the Holy One of Israel. We measure His infinity by a finite
scale. We too much resemble the insect traversing the tree leaf, and
imagining that that leaf bounds the utmost limit of creation; or, like the
child that dips its tiny shell into the sea, and fancies the ocean is
lessened by its draught. We forget that our God is divine, and therefore
all-sufficient; that He is infinite, and therefore illimitable; that, while
the universe receives its life and existence from Him each moment, and all
the Church has been living upon His all-sufficiency ever since its being,
His infinite sufficiency and grace have not sunk one hair's breadth. Oh, we
need to deal more simply and closely with the all-sufficiency of God! He
condescends to ask this at our hands. "I am God Almighty." "I am the Lord
God that brought you up out of the land of Egypt." "Is anything too hard for
me? says the Lord God."
Now, it is from this infinite Ocean of grace that "God so loved the world as
to give His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." That must be an eternal, essential,
fathomless, boundless Ocean of grace that could, from its all-sufficiency
and freeness, provide such a Savior, and such a salvation, and such a
heaven, for poor, lost sinners! Truly is He the "God of all grace." He that
gave His only Son, well beloved and precious, to suffer and die for His
people, surely, from that same infinite sea of grace, he is prepared, as
freely and as fully, to give us all other things, from a crust of bread, to
the banquet of heaven; from a cup of cold water, to the ocean fullness of
joy that is in His presence; and to the rivers of pleasures for evermore
that are at His right hand.
Away, then, to God, even the "God of all grace", with your every need,
temporal and spiritual. Ask not, "Can He provide a table in the wilderness?
He has brought me through six trills, will He deliver me out of the seventh?
He has pardoned me ninety-nine times, will He pardon the hundredth? He has
rolled many a stone from off my buried mercy, and out of my path of
difficulty, will He, can He, remove this great mountain that covers me with
its deep, dark shadow, and make my way a plain?" Oh you of little faith! is
not our God the God of all grace? Wherefore, then, do you thus reason, and
doubt, and fear?
Bring your perplexities to God, and He will guide them. Bring your needs to
God, and He will supply them. Bring your mountains to God, and He will level
them. Bring your sins to God, and He will forgive them. Bring your sorrows,
trials, and temptations to God, and He will sustain you under, and will
bring you through them, to the praise and glory of His great Name, as the
"God of all grace." Your supplies may be exhausted, but not His fullness.
Your need may press, but there is no pressure on His sufficiency. Your power
may be limited, but His is illimitable. Your grace may be shallow, but His
is fathomless. And you may ask, "From where will my next supply come?"
while, at the moment that the anxious question is trembling upon your lip,
the supply that is to silence it is laid up in the inexhaustible treasures
of His grace, and will be sent just at the moment that will awaken in you
the sweetest song, and yield to Him the richest glory.
An important and interesting part of out subject now invites our attention.
We refer to THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AS THE OFFICIAL AND RESPONSIBLE HEAD IN
THE COVENANT OF GRACE, OF ALL HIS GRACE TO SINNERS. Every reservoir has its
conduits, every fountain its channels, every spring its rivulets. The
infinite and eternal fullness of grace in God would have availed us nothing,
had not a suitable channel been provided for its conveyance. The Father
would, in the impressive language of the sacred song, have existed as "a
Fountain sealed," secluded, eternally sealed, but for Jesus. There would
have been no channel of grace from God to the sinner, no possible avenue of
the sinner's approach to God, but for the "One Mediator between God and man,
the man Christ Jesus."
This channel through which His grace was to flow, this medium by which the
sinner was to approach, was of the Father's own providing. It must, in all
respects, be worthy of the Being with whom it originated, whose honor it was
to vindicate, whose glory it was to secure; and it must be in all respects
suitable to the sinner, whose grace and glory, whose salvation and heaven it
was to accomplish. All this Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, was.
Our Arbitrator, laying His right hand on the Father, and His left hand upon
us- the right hand of His Godhead upon God, and the left hand of His manhood
upon man- so making peace by the blood of His cross; so opening a medium
through which God, consistent with His holiness, and man, despite our
sinfulness, could meet in a state of at-one-ment. This matter of
reconciliation on the part of God has been one of some perplexity to many
pious minds, giving rise to much obscurity, if not unsoundness of idea on
The chief difficulty has been the harmony of the two ideas of everlasting
love and reconciliation. If God's love to the Church were, as He affirms it
to be, "from everlasting," the question arises, where exists the necessity
of mediatorship and reconciliation? Perhaps the following remarks, not
before published, of an eminent and deeply-taught saint of God (Mary
Winslow), may in some degree elucidate this important and interesting point-
"If the holiness of God were never incensed against the Church fallen in
Adam, then there had been no need of the death of Christ. Christ died to
reconcile God to us and us to God. From where sprung the wrath of God which
Christ endured? The proper answer to this question will give us a loving
view of God as a reconciled Father in Christ Jesus. A mediator supposes the
parties between whole he mediates at variance the one with the other, else
there had been no necessity of mediatorship. The reconciliation which Christ
effected was not to the love of God towards His people- for that was never
lost- but to the justice of God offended by sin. Christ is the Peacemaker-
'He is our peace.' Justice, Holiness, and Truth are all reconciled and
harmonized towards His people in Jesus, so that it is proper, as it is
sweet, unspeakably sweet, to speak to and of Him as a reconciled God in
Christ Jesus." 'All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by
We think the point is fully met in these few observations by the remark
that, Christ died, not to reconcile the love, but the Justice of God towards
His people. The love of God never was alienated or affected by Adam's fall,
but His Justice and His Holiness were. Christ's atoning death met their
every requirement, and now both are on the side of the sinner, so that we
are as much saved on the footing of justice as of love, of holiness as of
grace. How sure is the Foundation God has laid for the salvation of a poor
sinner! How tried the Corner-stone upon which this hope reposes! To be saved
on the basis of justice would seem to place the salvation of the soul upon a
higher, and surer footing, than even of love, since God can now be just to
Himself in saving us; and not to save the sinner believing in Christ were to
be unjust to us. If saved thus, you stand on the broad foundation of
justice, and you can justly claim, through Christ, a mansion in the house of
your Father in heaven. God is therefore bound, on the principle of
righteousness, to save your soul, cast in simple faith upon Jesus. Thus,
"Grace reigns unto righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our
But we return to the truth, that the Lord Jesus is the Covenant Head, the
official and responsible Administrator of this grace. It was once entrusted
to Adam, the federal head of the human race. But the responsibility was too
great, the treasure too costly, for a mere creature to sustain and hold. We
know how soon the vessel of clay which the Divine Potter had made, and in
which the grace of our salvation was deposited, was marred and destroyed by
the Fall. Foreknowing this catastrophe, and bent on the salvation of His
Church, God amply provided for the case, by placing the grace that was to
bring it to glory in the hands of His beloved Son. And so He, the divine
Artist, seeing the destruction of the first vessel of grace, "made it again
another vessel, as seemed good to the Potter to make it."
If the first vessel- Adam, in his sinlessness reflecting the pure and
perfect image of God, was beautiful, it yet had no beauty by reason of the
beauty that excelled and eclipsed it in the mysteriously and wondrously
constituted Person of the Son of God. The incarnation of God is the greatest
wonder in the countless wonders which crowd the universe. It will be the
study of angels, the theme of saints, the song of heaven, the marvel of
eternity. It is the central truth of Christianity, the divine sun of the
system, around which all other truths of our gospel circle. It gives to all
their character, glory, and place. It gives to atoning blood its
all-sovereign virtue; to imputed righteousness its all-justifying efficacy;
to the cross of Calvary its power, attraction, and glory. In a word, "God
manifest in the flesh," is the key that unlocks the pavilion of every other
mystery of the gospel, while it remains itself, and will forever remain, the
greatest and most sublime mystery of all.
Such is the Head in which it pleased the Father that all fullness of grace
should dwell. For what purpose could this delegated fullness of grace thus
deposited in Jesus be, but to furnish Him, as the Head over all things to
His Church, with supplies of "all grace" for His people. There are two
fullnesses described as being in Christ- the "fullness of the Godhead,"
which is His Deity, or His essential fullness; and then the "fullness" which
it pleased the Father should dwell in Him, which describes the fullness of
grace treasured up in Him for all the needs of a most needy Church.
Let us, then, look at some of the particulars of this grace dwelling thus
essentially in the Father, the administration of which was placed in the
hands of the Lord Jesus. The title of our God under consideration is as
comprehensive as it is precious. "The God of ALL grace." "ALL grace."
Marvelous declaration this! Precious announcement! It chimes with every
circumstance; it meets every trial; it confronts every temptation; it
supplies every need; it is so worthy of God, so like Jesus, so suitable in
all respects to the saints. "ALL grace."
In the first place, there dwells in the Lord Jesus, as the Father's
Depository, all SIN-FORGIVING GRACE. Pardon is the highest prerogative of
sovereignty, as it is the richest boon of the subject. So great is this
exercise of divine favor, so rich and free a blessing of His grace, God not
only has not, but could not, delegate the power to any created being. He
reserves, and justly so, the right of forgiveness in His own hands. Imagine,
then, what an insult to His divine Majesty, what an invasion of His
sovereign prerogative, the daring and blasphemous assumption of the court of
Rome- call it not Church, for Church it is not- in claiming and professing
to exercise a right which God has never entrusted to any authority of man,
still less to a sinful mortal! O sinner! bound to the judgment, there is
forgiveness with God, and with God only, and to Him hesitate not to repair,
in the spirit of a humble penitent, with the petition breathing from your
heart, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"
But this sin-pardoning grace is lodged in the hands of Jesus. The grace that
remits the greatest sin, that pardons the vilest sinner, is with Christ. How
often did the wondrous words breathe from His lips, "Your sins are forgiven
you!" The Scribes and Pharisees charged Him with blasphemy because He
assumed a divine function, and exclaimed, "Who can forgive sins, but God
only?"- thus, indirectly and undesignedly, blending with the indictment an
acknowledgment of the fact that Christ was God.
Oh, yes! child of God, there is in Christ the grace of forgiveness- grace
that can remit every transgression, pardon every crime, blot out every sin;
grace that, where sin has abounded, much more, yes, infinitely more,
abounds. "Through Him," says the apostle, "is preached unto you the
forgiveness of sins." "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace." What
encouragement for you who feel yourself to be a sinner, your sins so great,
even the greatest, that the "remembrance of them is an intolerable burden,"
to repair to Jesus for the grace that will entirely pardon and cancel all!
Bear in mind that the forgiveness of sin, for which God has provided at a
cost so immense to Himself, is His free gift to sinners. It is entirely an
act of grace. We read, "And when they had nothing to pay, He frankly forgave
them both." The pardon of sin, while it is not too, great a blessing for God
to give, is too great a blessing for man to purchase. And were it not free,
entirely free, not the least worthiness on the part of the sinner claiming,
and not his greatest unworthiness disclaiming it, it never could personally
be ours. Approach, then, the sin-cleansing Fountain of Christ's own atoning
blood- blood possessing all the sovereign efficacy of His Deity, wash, and
be clean. And thus washing by faith in this precious, sin-atoning,
guilt-effacing blood, God declares, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they
shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as
All JUSTIFYING GRACE is in Christ Jesus. The two conditions of the saved
soul- the forgiveness of sin and the justification of the sinner- though
inseparable in its salvation, are yet to be kept distinct as defining the
two essential parts of Christ's mediatorial work- His obedience and
suffering- and as describing the two essential conditions of the believer.
The sinner is pardoned through the blood of Christ, and he is justified by
the righteousness of Christ. By the disobedience of the first Adam, we are
plunged into condemnation; by the obedience of the Second Adam, the Lord
from heaven, we are delivered from condemnation; by the one we are made
sinners, and by the other we are made righteous. (See Romans 5:17-19.)
Study these passages, my reader, in prayer for the illumination of the
Spirit on a matter of such vital moment, especially important in the present
day, when the doctrine of imputed righteousness, as taught by Paul, as held
by the Reformers, as bled for by Ridley and Wycliffe and Huss, and others of
the "noble army of martyrs," and so distinctly embodied in the doctrinal
articles of the English Church, has come to be disputed and denied by many.
But this grace of justification the "God of all grace," by whom the
believing sinner is justified- for "it is God who justifies "- is deposited
in Christ Jesus, who is emphatically the "Lord our Righteousness." Believing
in Him, we are now freely and forever justified. His righteousness becomes,
by the imputation of the Spirit, and through the receiving faith of the
believing soul, our righteousness; so that, in the strong language of
Scripture, "we are made the righteousness of God in Him."
Oh, what a glorious and precious truth is this! How it exalts and ennobles
the soul! "In Your righteousness shall they be exalted." Equally free with
the grace of pardon is the grace of justification. Both are the gratuitous
blessings of God. Thus the apostle proves it. "Being justified by faith (and
"faith is the gift of God"), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ." Again, "Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus."
What joyful news, what glad tidings are here for you who, after laboring and
striving, have happily come to the end of all your own doings, and can do no
more! You have traveled to the "end of the law," and find you have, if not
in the letter, yet in the spirit, broken its every commandment, and so are
conscious of being guilty of all. And now your cry is, "Wretched one that I
am! who will deliver me from this condemnation?" Lo! Jesus appears! He has
seen you 'toiling in rowing,' He has watched all your well-meant strivings
and sincere attempts to keep the law, and has marked all your inability and
failure. And now He presents Himself before you wearing that splendid and
significant title, 'The Lord our Righteousness,' and He says to you, "I am
the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes; I am your
righteousness without a work of your own; I have kept the law, have obeyed
every command, and have honored every precept; believe only in me and you
shall be justified from all things from which you could not be justified by
the law of Moses, or by the most perfect obedience of your own."
And now methinks I see the poor toiling soul cast overboard its oars, and
ceasing any longer to stem the tide of its sins, infirmities, and failures,
spread its sails to the gale of God's free grace, wafting its long
tempest-tossed barque into the calm waters of perfect peace through Jesus
Christ our Lord.
"The God of all grace" has also deposited in Christ Jesus the fullness of
ADOPTING GRACE. "You are all," says the apostle, "the children of God by
faith in Christ Jesus." And in another place he says, "Because you are sons,
God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba,
Father." Into what a dignified position does this adoption of grace place
the believing soul! A rebel made a son, a foe made a child, an alien made an
heir, "an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ Jesus." What divine,
what marvelous, what free grace is this! Believer in Jesus, know your
adoption. Child of God, realize your sonship. Son of God, claim your
heirship, and live in anticipation of your inheritance.
So divine, so loving, so free is the grace flowing from the "God of all
grace," and welled in the humanity of Christ, as the Head of all grace to
His Church, that "now are we the sons of God; and it does not yet appear
what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him
for we shall see Him as He is." Go to this God of grace, then, through
Jesus, in the filial spirit of a loved child, and disclose to Him your every
need, unveil to Him your every grief; acknowledge to Him your every sin;
make known to Him your every temptation, and assault, and difficulty,
keeping back nothing which a loving, dutiful child, should pour into the
heart of a fond, faithful, and all-powerful Father. Oh that the grace of
adoption might so fill our souls as to dislodge all servile fear, dissolve
all legal bonds, and enable us to walk in the holy, happy liberty of the
children of God!
The God of all grace has equally deposited all fullness of SANCTIFYING GRACE
in Christ Jesus. Here is another kindred yet distinct condition of the
believing soul. It may be regarded, perhaps, as the effect and fruit of all
the other related doctrines of grace. If, for example, I am a, pardoned
sinner, I am justified; and if I am a justified sinner, I am an adopted
child; and if I am all these, then I am holy, sanctified, separated, and set
apart wholly for God. "Holiness to God" is inscribed on my brow.
Similar to this was the apocalyptic vision which John beheld, and thus
graphically describes: "Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with
him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their
foreheads." Do we thus personally possess the seal, and are we thus visibly
wearing the sign, of our adoption? Do the saints, (for "the world knows us
not'') see our Father's image, and read the Father's name, in our holy walk,
in our filial devotion, in our loving spirit? That this may be so, do not
forget that all grace is treasured up in Christ to promote our personal
holiness. We are as much to live upon Christ for sanctification as for
pardon and justification. The grace that delivers us from hell fits us for
heaven; that grace which cancels our guilt, subdues also our corruption;
that grace which emancipates us from our servitude, equally dethrones the
tyrant. O wondrous, precious grace that, by its divine sanctity and power,
brings first one, and then another indwelling corrupt principle, passion,
and desire of our hearts into subjection to itself, and all in obedience to
Christ; that moulds and fashions us into the image of Jesus!
Nor must we overlook the part the Holy Spirit takes in the conveyance of
this grace from the Father, the God of all grace, "through Jesus Christ,
full of grace and truth," to the happy recipients of this grace– poor,
needy, graceless souls. While the Father decrees this grace and provides it;
and while the Son holds the key of all this treasure and metes it out "grace
for grace" - or, as it is in the original, "wave upon wave"- the Holy Spirit
makes us to know and feel our deep need, and then conveys the blessing into
the soul. Is not this the meaning of the words of Jesus- "He shall glorify
me, for He shall take of mine and show it unto you." And how appropriate is
thus the office of the Spirit. Having implanted His own graces in the soul,
does He leave them to their self growth, does He abandon them to the unkind,
uncongenial soil in which they were implanted? Oh, no! Having begun a good
work, He carries it on to completion. He watches over, waters, and nourishes
by fresh supplies the graces He has implanted. He it is who waters the
roots, He it is who strengthens the stem, He it is who forms the blossom, He
it is who expands the bud, He it is who ripens the fruit and conducts it to
Honor the Spirit in this work, glorify Him in His person, guard against
wounding and grieving Him, and daily acknowledge your indebtedness to Him
for conveying down from God the Father, through Christ the Son, the streams
of grace which keep in bloom, fragrance, and beauty His own graces of faith,
and love, and joy, and peace, and hope in your soul.
Is He the God of all grace? Then in Christ He has made provision for all
COMFORTING GRACE. What a blank would exist in this provision- a need which
nothing ever could meet- were there no consolation, no comfort, no sympathy,
in Christ Jesus for poor, sorrowing, suffering saints! Alas! how large the
number! How many a tried, afflicted believer, will bend over this chapter,
and perhaps find nothing that meets his case until he reaches the close, and
is reminded of what he has often been told before, but which, now that he is
passing through the deep, dark waters of grief, seems like a newborn truth
to his soul, that Jesus is the "Consolation of Israel."
Yes, afflicted and sorrowing one, the God of all grace is the God of all
comfort, and has deposited in Christ all comfort for you. He knows the
nature of your sorrow- for He sent it. He marks the pressure of your cross-
for He imposed it. He is acquainted with the bitterness of your cup- for He
mixed it. All His promises of succour and support are Yes, and Amen in
Christ Jesus. All the tenderness, the compassion, the sympathy, the grace
that it pleased the Father should dwell in Christ, is designed for your
personal and present sorrow. Listen to the words of Jesus; "Let not your
heart be troubled." Oh, who knows your heart's deeply veiled anguish, its
doubts and sorrows- who can reach, fathom, and control it; who can soothe,
chasten, and sanctify it, but Jesus? His grace will support, strengthen, and
calm you now, enabling you to glorify God in the fires. Oh, it were worth
all the sorrow that ever brimmed our cup, to know what the Lord Jesus Christ
is a Brother born for adversity!
Live, then, upon this God of all grace. Remember, there is no limit to its
extent– it is "ALL grace." Take your heart to God through Christ, and He
will fill it with every blessing you ask, with every grace you need. Your
sins, your needs, your trials, your temptations, your sorrows, can never
exceed the "ALL grace" that dwells in God, and which Jesus waits to
communicate. Go with an empty hand- go with the exhausted vessel- go with
the often-told tale of grief- go with the old, old story of backsliding, and
unworthiness, and need; only go to Jesus, and sink your vessel, be it large
or small, in His fathomless ocean of grace, and you shall "find grace to
help you in every time of need."
Listen to His cheering words; "My grace is sufficient for you." You are,
perhaps, anticipating with fear the hour of death. It is, indeed, a solemn
thing, even for a Christian, to die. But do not forget that our God is the
God of all dying, as of all living grace. And that, when the hour is come
for your departure out of this world to go unto the Father, the grace that
was all-sufficient for the trials, and sorrows, and sins of life, will be
all-sufficient for the demands and solemnities of death. Do not forget that
Christ does not give us grace in hand for future difficulties, but reserves
it for the time of its requirement, and that, when death comes to you, Jesus
will come with it, and you shall not see death, but Jesus only. And then
will be experienced the last and most solemn and precious fulfillment of His
promise, "my grace is sufficient for you."
"Humble sinner, mourning soul,
Over whose bosom sorrows roll,
Tis for you the Savior says,
Mine is all-sufficient grace.
"Do you mourn an evil heart?
Or some cursed fiery dart?
Do not yield to slavish fear-
All-sufficient grace is near.
"Are you full of needs and woes?
Or does unbelief oppose?
Does Your Jesus hide His face?
Trust His all- sufficient grace.
"Can no care with your compare?
Do not yield to black despair
For the worst of Adam's race
Christ has all-sufficient grace."