Grace: November 2005

Table of Contents

1. Grace – the Sweetest Sound
2. Grace
3. Grace and Mercy
4. The Grace of Christ in Daily Life
5. Grace and Government
6. Grace, Godliness and Glory
7. Don’t Forget!
8. Restoring Grace
9. Practical Grace
10. Fallen From Grace
11. Grace Be With You
12. The Dispensation of Grace

Grace – the Sweetest Sound

Grace is the sweetest sound
That ever reached our ears;
When conscience charged and justice frowned,
’Twas grace removed our fears.
’Tis freedom to the slave,
’Tis light and liberty;
It takes its terror from the grave,
From death its victory.
Grace is a mine of wealth
Laid open to the poor;
Grace is the sovereign spring of health;
’Tis life forevermore.
Of grace then let us sing!
(A joyful, wondrous theme!)
Who grace has brought, shall glory bring,
And we shall reign with Him.
Then shall we see His face
With all the saints above,
And sing forever of His grace,
Forever of His love.
Little Flock Hymnbook, #10
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him” (Psalm 34:8).


The Old Testament ends with the solemn warning, “Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse,” the New Testament ends with the blessed statement, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,” and in between we are told, “The grace of God which carries with it salvation for all men has appeared.”
God’s love flowing downwards in grace is great according to the misery and unworthiness of its object — us — and our love rising upwards in response is the affection of the soul according to the worthiness of its object — our God in Christ.
Surely we can each proclaim, “By the grace of God I am what I am,” and can believe with all our heart when our God whispers in our ear, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” And may we as Paul desired Timothy, “Be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus.”
The subject of grace overwhelms the heart, for through it God has revealed Himself in the greatness of His love toward us. He is so great and we are so small that when His grace is showered upon us and in us, it fills the vessel full to overflowing, so that the overflow rises to God as worship. As we are occupied with His grace in this issue and when we come to the concluding hymn of the issue, may we be found “singing with grace in [our] hearts to God.”

Grace and Mercy

Mercy and grace, though they may touch one another at certain points, are not the same thing, and therefore could not be used interchangeably as if they were words of equal value.
Grace simply means free gift, or free favor, and it does not necessarily raise any question as to the character of the individual to whom the gift is given or the favor shown. It excludes every idea of remuneration and of legal claim on the part of the recipient (Rom. 11:6).
When, however, we speak of mercy shown to any, we imply actual demerit in the person to whom mercy is extended. Both the one who shows mercy and the one who receives it are conscious that another kind of treatment altogether might have been justly measured out.
Now, in our soul’s blessing, both of these golden words have place. We are said to be justified freely by God’s grace, for it is certain that we never worked for it, nor can we in any wise remunerate God for so astonishing an act of favor. By grace also we are saved. Salvation is a free gift; it is too great, too grand, too priceless, too far beyond all human reach ever to visit us any other way. It is equally true that “according to His mercy He saved us,” for we who are saved were once dead in trespasses and sins, the willing servants of sin and Satan, and were by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2). Mercy alone could meet our case, and, blessed be God, He is rich in it. From Christian Truth, Vol. 7, p. 96

The Grace of Christ in Daily Life

The brief epistle to Philemon furnishes us with a lovely picture of the way in which the grace of Christ operates in the relationships and circumstances of everyday life. The Apostle pleads with his brother in the Lord for Onesimus, who, being the property of Philemon, had run away (perhaps robbing him first), but who had been brought to Christ through contact with Paul himself, while a prisoner in Rome. By Roman law the master had ample authority to punish him severely for such conduct. His behavior, too, was more aggravating, in that he served an excellent master, not a tyrannical man of the world. Paul pleads for him, that in Philemon’s heart divine grace and love might triumph over any feelings of annoyance and anger.
Generally the inspired epistles of Paul are occupied with the great doctrines of Christianity. He was the privileged vessel for the unfolding of the wondrous counsels of God concerning Christ which had been kept secret since the world began. Now he gives an example of the way Christianity occupies itself with all the practical details of daily life, that in these the grace of Christ may be expressed by those who believe. We are thus preserved through the operation of the Holy Spirit from being mere theorists.
The Uniting Power of Grace
The uniting power of divine grace is much to be observed in this epistle to Philemon. After the Apostle’s usual greeting of grace and peace, his heart bursts forth in thanksgiving to God. He gratefully recognizes all the good in his dear brother. He blesses God for his love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints. The bowels of the saints were refreshed by him. We may always observe this gracious way in the epistles of Paul. In cases where there was much to blame, if anything of Christ was to be seen, he gladly owned it and gave thanks — an important lesson for our souls to learn in the school of God in this day. There is so much to grieve the spirit and to draw forth our remonstrances and rebukes that we are apt to overlook the measure of the Spirit’s fruit that is really there. Philemon’s love to all the saints was about to be severely tested. Onesimus was now a saint; would he love him? It is not easy to love those who have done us a positive injury, yet nothing less is according to Christ. This loving recognition of grace in Philemon is the basis of this epistle. Paul proceeds on the ground of it and appeals to his fellow-laborer’s heart.
How to Plead for Another
He looked for reciprocation. Having owned Christ in him, he expected Philemon to do the same towards himself and to recognize the claim grace had given him. The poor prisoner would have great joy and consolation by reason of the love of this excellent Colossian.
Having cleared the way, having struck chords to which he was sure Philemon’s heart would respond, the Apostle proceeds to plead the cause of the erring one. He would not use authority. “Though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee.”
He would not stand on the position of authority that the Lord had given him in the assembly, intending this to act on Philemon, in order that Philemon might not stand on his position over the one who served him. Suppose he had sent back Onesimus with an apostolic mandate. Doubtless it would have been obeyed, and the runaway pardoned and reinstated. But would this have satisfied his heart? Where then would have been the precious display of the grace of Christ which rises above all, even the deepest evil, and not only forgives but welcomes the transgressor to its bosom forever? Nothing less than this would meet the desire of that heart which longed above all to see Christ displayed in all His members below.
He then presents two other considerations.
A Manner Worthy of God
First, Onesimus was his own child in the faith, one for whom he had great affection. He also added, “Whom I have begotten in my bonds.” In time past he was unprofitable to Philemon, but now profitable to him and to Paul in every way. The Apostle desired greatly to retain him, that on his master’s part he might minister to him in the bonds of the gospel, but he would not ignore Philemon’s rights. Let none suppose that this affords any sanction to slavery. The case rather opens the way for Philemon to allow Onesimus to serve in the relationship of a brother. The Spirit does not, in this epistle, pronounce at all as to the right or wrong of the matter. The day has not come to set the world right. When glory bursts and the Lord Jesus reigns, God’s order will be carried out through the universe, but until that day, divine instructions are given to the saints of how grace overcomes disorder in earthly relationships. Paul would have Onesimus received in a manner worthy of God, not now as a mere slave, but as a brother in the Lord. Onesimus could be a help to Philemon now, in contrast with his behavior in the past. It would appear he had shown an aptitude in the Lord’s service as well. Being Paul’s child through grace, he must be received as himself, and if he owed his master anything, Paul would repay. Mighty fruit of divine grace and love! Where had Paul learned this, if not from Him who in deepest grace undertook His people’s cause and paid their mighty dues? “I will repay” was our Saviour’s language, as it were, as He went to the cross for us. The cold, selfish heart of man can never produce such sentiments, but they are natural to those born of God.
Freely Received, Freely Give
Second, he reminds his brother Philemon that he owed all to himself: “Thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.” Here we reach, as it were, the top of the scale. Philemon was himself a monument of saving grace. Paul had brought Christ to him. Having freely received, Philemon must now freely give. Having been forgiven ten thousand talents, he must now willingly forgive the hundred pence. As Paul said to Titus, we are to be gentle and meek and are to act in the spirit of grace towards men, because we ourselves were once foolish, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another, but are now recipients of the kindness and love of our Saviour God.
Paul desired that Philemon would give him joy, that he would refresh his bowels in the Lord (vs. 20). If it so refreshed God’s servant Paul to gaze upon this display of divine grace, how much more the Lord! He loves to see Himself reproduced practically in His own that are in the world. Paul now leaves the matter, having confidence in his beloved brother that he would do even more than he had said. He looked for the superabundance of divine grace. He counted upon him that thus it would be.
May the Spirit of God write these things in our hearts! This is Christianity indeed. It is a mighty power, forming the heart and permeating all our circumstances, lifting us entirely above every human consideration and giving us, practically, days of heaven upon the earth.
Adapted from W. W. Fereday

Grace and Government

Whatever may be the almighty power of God’s grace, we need to be reminded that He always maintains His own moral principles. Whatever God’s love and mercy in embracing a soul, He never leaves that soul in its evil, nor deals lightly with ungodliness. However, the blessed truth of the gospel is that God is for us, although against our evil. Thus, in His love, He maintains His authority in our souls, His hatred of sin, and His delight in what is good. He undertakes to produce the reflection of His own holiness in every soul that He delivers from coming judgment. Because God is true, He continues the watchful work of His love in changing our souls into the image of Christ as we pass through the wilderness.
God’s Unchanging Moral Principles
It is important for us to bring our souls continually to this standard. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of grace and our knowledge of it, but the more we value it, the more we will take care not to sacrifice the moral principles of God because of the grace that He has shown us. It is in view of this that we find the following words at the end of the Epistle to the Galatians: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:7-10).
If we are not founded in grace, we may find these verses somewhat startling. If taken out of their context, they may seem at first glance to support the thought that our salvation depends on our walk. It is clear from other Scriptures that this thought is utterly false and that the only foundation on which we can stand is Christ. This foundation is not the work of the Spirit in us, but the work of Christ for us. It is entirely outside of ourselves. But there is a work of the Spirit in us — a constant and serious work. Practically it may be interrupted or even eclipsed from time to time, but God never allows His child to escape the government and discipline of His heart and hand, so as to produce a moral conformity to His own will. He would not be treating us as sons if He let us escape it.
A Mixed Crop of Good and Evil
This principle is universally true, whether of the unbeliever or the believer: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The unbeliever sows to nothing but self and reaps the judgment of God on self, where there is not a single good thing that will stand before God. But what about the believer? That is where the difficulty comes in, for the believer has a mixed crop of good and evil. Satan takes advantage of the unjudged evil of our hearts to lead us into sin. It may not always be gross sin, but the lawless evil of our nature that prefers a little present gratification of self rather than the obedience and glory of Christ. What does God do? Wherever we indulge ourselves, God deals with us in that very thing. We suffer in the thing in which we please ourselves, and the very thing for which we spare ourselves becomes the rod of our correction. Let us be thankful that this is so, for then we have the assurance that we are indeed sons of God.
If it were not so, what would the consequences be? I would have to suffer in hell for it. What is contrary to God must be judged. If God did not carry on His discipline in my soul now, it would have to be judged in hell. “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32). The world will feel God’s judgment in a coming day, but the believer feels His hand of chastening now. No matter what it is — I might think it to be only a little sin — it is impossible that God can have communion with that which is not of Christ. What a mercy that now is the time when God deals with what does not flow from His Spirit! It may have to be manifested later at the judgment seat of Christ, but now is the time when the rod is upon us. If it does not appear, for the moment, that God is taking notice of our ways, He is only waiting to deal with us in a more effective way.
God’s Dealings With Our Practical State
Let us not think our Father hard. Can anything too hard come from such a God — the One who gave His own Son to die that we might be redeemed? We know that we are sons of God forever, and nothing can alter this precious truth. But a great deal depends on our practical state and conduct as to God’s dealing with our souls at this present time. It is impossible that God can sanction what is contrary to Christ, and we should thank Him for it. It is part of the scheme of His perfect goodness towards us.
Thus we see that grace and government are parallel truths, and one does not take away from the other. Thank God, His grace never changes, whether in saving, keeping or restoring us. But a sense of that grace in our souls will make us abhor the evil that God abhors. The contrast between that grace and what it was in us that called forth that grace will draw us toward God and all His goodness. If we fail in this (and the tendency is in each of us, to a greater or lesser degree), God deals with us in His government.
May our desire be that Christ be formed in us in everything, not only that we should have life everlasting, but that our hearts should be according to His heart. This is what God has before Him, and it should be the object of our souls. Accordingly, “Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Adapted from J. N. Darby, Grace the True Source
and Support of Practical Righteousness

Grace, Godliness and Glory

Grace, the pure grace of God, is the only power of a holy, godly walk in this world. As the Lord said to one who was passing through deep trial, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). It is only by grace that we can “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:1014). The law demands perfect obedience and will not yield one point, but gives no power to obey. The divine favor which is our only strength flows to us through the channel of our gracious, blessed Saviour. He is the rule of the believer’s life, and the grace of God is his power to follow Him. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). From this portion in Titus we learn the three following things:
One: GRACE brings salvation — complete deliverance. The moment that the grace of God, in Christ Jesus, is received by faith, there is complete salvation to the soul — a full deliverance from sin and all its consequences. The condition of the sinner in God’s sight is immediately changed. He has “passed from death unto life” — from a condition of death unto one of eternal life. This is also the source and power of holiness. The believer, being vitally connected with Christ — a partaker of the divine nature and indwelt by the Holy Spirit — brings forth fruit unto God.
Two: The same grace that brings salvation leads to true, practical GODLINESS. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” That is, grace teaches us to deny everything that is unlike God and displeasing to Him, and also to deny the tendencies of our own hearts to go out after the world. But grace teaches us to do what is good and right, as well as to deny what is evil and wrong. “We should live soberly” — great sobriety, moderation, evenness of mind, temper and conduct should characterize every believer. Also, we should live “righteously” — justly and honestly towards men — and “godly” — in all holiness of heart and life towards God. This is true sanctification, namely, separation from the world — set apart for God. Such are the happy fruits of the sovereign, boundless grace of God to lost, ruined sinners in this present evil world.
Three: Grace teaches the believer to look for GLORY. He may be a dull scholar, but the lesson is plain enough. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Here we have set before us Christ Himself, the hope of our hearts, and coming glory — the full display of the millennial glory of our Saviour God. The grace that brings salvation and leads to godliness sets us in the position of waiting, watching and looking for the Lord from heaven. Alas! that this blessed hope should be so little understood and have so little hold of our hearts. What can be plainer? The grace that brings our salvation sets it before us. It is fitted and intended to govern our affections and form our character for the blessed Lord. His first appearing was in grace. His second appearing will be in glory. In this passage our salvation and walk are sweetly connected with both.
May we be led to a deeper knowledge of GRACE, to a higher character of GODLINESS, and to a more transforming hope of GLORY.
Adapted from Things New and Old,
Vol. 1, p. 177

Don’t Forget!

Now these two principles of grace and government find an exhibition in the family of God, and it is most important for us to remember that God acts toward us as His people on both these principles.
If I forget His grace when I have failed, I might get into despair. If I forget His government, I may grow careless, not remembering that “if ye live according to the flesh ye are about to die” (Rom. 8:13 JND), and our reaping depends upon our sowing.
C. D. Maynard

Restoring Grace

Perhaps at no other time is the grace of God more evident than in cleansing us from defilements in the path of faith or restoring us if we fail. It is indeed a sad thing when we fail in faithfulness to our blessed Master, for we have no excuse, after receiving the grace that has been shown to us in saving us from our sins. But if we are susceptible to defilement and sin, His grace is able to meet us and restore us to fellowship with Him.
We have a beautiful illustration of restoring grace in the red heifer of Numbers 19 — a provision distinctly for the defilements which are met with as we journey through this world. On the one hand, it is impossible to exaggerate the value of the shedding of Christ’s blood for our sins. Through it we have “no more conscience of sins” (Heb. 10:2). On the other hand, such grace is the strongest motive why we cannot tamper with what is defiled. If we are already cleansed perfectly before God, we must not allow a blot on our lives before men.
The red heifer was to be “without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke” (Num. 19:2). Surely this is a striking picture of Christ, for the requirement was not only perfection in the absence of any blemish, but also it must never have known the yoke, that is, the pressure of sin. How this speaks of Christ as always perfectly acceptable to God!
Restoring Communion
The blood was to be taken and sprinkled seven times before the tabernacle, for the grand truth of atonement by blood must be maintained. Whenever the thought of sin occurs, the blood vindicates God. It is important to notice that this sprinkling of blood was never repeated. Then the heifer was to be taken and totally burned, along with cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop. The cedar wood and hyssop would perhaps refer to the whole extent of man in his nature, whether in greatness or weakness, while scarlet brings before us the pride of the world. These, no doubt, speak of the means or source of the defilement. The ashes of all these, together with those of the heifer, were to be laid up in a clean place without the camp. They were to be kept for a “water of separation: it is a purification for sin” (Num. 19:9). Here it is not a question of establishing relationships (that was already done), but it is on the ground of the relationship that already existed that the Israelite must allow nothing to spoil the holiness that suited the sanctuary of the Lord. So it is for the believer today. Such purification for sin is clearly with a sense of restoring communion when broken.
The Magnitude of Sin and Grace
Touching a dead body is brought in here as typifying defilement in its various forms and degrees. If one touched the dead body of a man, he was to be unclean seven days. God provided for cleansing, but several points must be noted.
First of all, God does not make light of sin. He gives the soul the profit of being exercised about it. There must be purifying on both the third day and the seventh day. The one who was defiled could not say, “I am already sprinkled with the blood — I am clean: Why should I trouble more about the sin?” Likewise, he could not begin to purify himself on the first day — he must wait until the third day. When there is defilement in our lives and communion with God is interrupted, it is important that we thoroughly realize our offense. For the Israelite there was no sudden restoration, but rather the pain of remaining for two days under the sense of his sin. There must be the realization and sense of sin in the presence of grace that provides against it. Thus, the third day is the realization of the magnitude of sin in the presence of grace. In Christianity it is not a question of days, but rather of the necessary time needed to gain a real sense of the sin in the sight of God. A hasty expression of sorrow does not prove genuine repentance of sin. Rather, the fact that we are already sprinkled with Christ’s blood is the strongest motive for shame and humiliation.
On the third day there is the sprinkling of the water of purification — water that had been mixed with the ashes of the heifer. What did they represent? The power of the Spirit of God (the water) bringing before me the memory of the sufferings of Christ (the ashes). The ashes are the full proof of judgment and the memory of the cost involved. The effect of all this is that we acquire a deeper knowledge of God’s grace than we had before and a practical acquaintance with the deceitfulness of sin and of our own hearts. The sense of sin is connected not only with the bitterness of lost communion, but with the grace that had put it away. This gives a deeper sense of sin in connection with grace.
The Magnitude of Grace and Sin
But all this, necessary though it may be, is not full restoration. The conscience must be brought into exercise and the evil judged, but this is not full communion with God. There must be a further period of time until the seventh day, when once again the man is sprinkled with the water of purification. When the full work is done and the purifying is complete, grace in respect of sin is fully entered into, and thoughts of sin are left behind. The seventh day brings before us the magnitude of grace in the presence of sin. Thus the two sprinklings are the converse of each other. If sin allowed in our lives has brought shame on grace, now we see that grace has triumphed over sin. God never occupies me with sin except to bring me to the point of judging it. Then He occupies me with Himself and His grace. The grace that has purified us, in making us judge sin according to grace, makes us now enjoy grace without any more thinking of sin — in a word, we enjoy God. Communion is fully restored, and in the full acceptance of the offering of Christ, understood and enjoyed. Sin as an object of my thoughts is left behind. This is the seventh day. How completely grace restores the soul!
Adapted from W. Kelly, The Red Heifer

Practical Grace

In Hebrews 12, two mountains are spoken of —one that speaks of law, and one that speaks of grace. And it is an important question for our souls, to which one of these mounts we are brought, for in connection with one, we have to do with God as making demands upon us, while in connection with the other, we have to do with God as acting in grace.
God acts toward us in grace. On this principle only can we get on with God. This is an immense truth for our souls to grasp, for only as we lay hold of this can we realize the character of our relationships with God and with one another as Christians, and the principles that are to govern us in our ways with one another. Our sins have been purged through the blood of Christ. This is pure grace.
But is not holiness required? Without holiness no man can see the Lord, we are told in verse 14. Is this grace also? The need of holiness surely is not grace, but if God’s character and nature are such that none can be in His presence without holiness, He furnishes it to us in grace, blessed be His name! We do not have it of ourselves or in ourselves, but He makes us “partakers of His holiness,” even if He has to chasten us in order to break our wills and bring us into that exercise of soul in which we can receive all from Him. All blessing flows down from Him in perfect grace, and our place before Him is that of subject receivers.
Imitators of God’s Grace
But now if God acts toward us on the principle of grace, we are to be imitators of Him, as dear children. Grace is the principle on which we are to act toward one another. Do we sufficiently realize this in our souls, so as to act practically according to divine principles?
We all journey on together, and, as in a flock of sheep, there are the weak and the lame, not to be left behind, but to be helped on. There are “hands which hang down,” and there are “feeble knees.” How are we to act toward such? The passage is plain: “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” This is not the terrible mount that burned with fire; it is the pure grace of God.
On the one hand, grace leads us to minister help to the weak and the faint. On the other hand, it will lead us to be watchful, taking heed to our own ways, lest the lame be turned out of the way. There are lame ones in the flock, and they do not get on well, but the whip would be no remedy for such. We must not act toward them on the principle of Pharaoh’s taskmasters with the bond-slave children of Israel. This is not God’s way. He acts toward us in grace and helps us in our infirmities, or if He chastens, when needs be, it is “that we might be partakers of His holiness.” What should we think of a shepherd taking a whip to a poor, weak, lame sheep? Yet how often is this done among the flock of Christ! The whip instead of grace! Mount Sinai instead of Mount Sion! God’s word is, “But let it rather be healed.”
It is not that holiness can be dispensed with, and therefore it is written, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Only let us remember, the whip and the burning mount will neither heal nor produce holiness. Grace only can do either, and so it is added, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God.” If I lose in my soul the sense of that grace in which God is ever acting toward me, I shall fail in manifesting grace toward my brethren. And who can tell the loss and damage to the saints? Some root of bitterness springs up, and trouble arises, and many are thereby defiled. What sorrow is sometimes caused in the assembly of God, just because someone — a leader, it may be — has failed of the grace of God and acted in the spirit of the law rather than the Spirit of Christ! Or someone, through greed of gain, has driven a hard bargain or defrauded his brother! Or some word has been unadvisedly spoken, and an evil seed has been sown in some heart, which springs up as a root of bitterness, producing trouble, which passes from tongue to tongue, thereby defiling many. Surely such conduct is most sad, utterly contrary to the Spirit of Christ, and if not unsparingly judged by those who so act, will bring down the hand of the Lord in discipline.
Oh to realize in our innermost soul that we are saved by grace, that we stand in grace, and that it is grace every step of the way to the end! And to realize that we are called to live and act toward one another in the power of the same grace in which God has acted, and ever acts, toward us.
A. H. Rule, adapted from
Christian Truth, Vol. 1, p. 23

Fallen From Grace

Job had the blessing, but was working to keep it. He did not fully know grace, and he was miserable.
God sent all the trial to teach him grace so that he might know that he neither deserved the blessing, nor could he keep it. This lesson, when learned, made Job a happy man.
How many there are like Job!
If I get the blessing without deserving it, it is clear I can never lose it for want of merit. We stand in grace (Rom. 5:2). Working to keep the blessing —with that object — is to have fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4).
From Christian Truth, Vol. 7, p. 135

Grace Be With You

It is interesting to observe how the Apostle Paul closes his epistles with this desire of his heart: “Grace be with you.” And indeed, what can be more in keeping with the “grace and truth” that came by Jesus Christ, whose followers we are, than that we should desire this encompassment in a world like this and amid the many distractions of Christendom?
It is not standing on our rights, for what rights have we? If our just deserts are rendered to us, what can the result be but “the lake of fire”? But sovereign, unmerited grace to those who merited it not in the least has been manifested, and from first to last we are debtors to mercy. Where there is the due sense of this in the soul, we shall not be exactors but benefactors. We shall not demand, but be glad to serve, even as “the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Oh! how blessed to serve in all humility of mind, for we serve the Lord Christ and the objects of His grace here below. The Apostle could say, “I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Do we expect things to go smoothly? We are called to forbear one another in love (Eph. 4:2). And to see to it that we ourselves do not “fail of the grace of God.”
May we then consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, and beseech, when called for, “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” Our speech should be “always with grace [that is the staple], seasoned with salt.” It is not good to have too much seasoning, but love never fails and is never inconsistent with “love in the truth.”
May His grace ever rest upon us for His name’s sake. Amen.
From Christian Truth, Vol. 8, p. 309

The Dispensation of Grace

Grace is undoubtedly one of the most wonderful subjects taken up in the Word of God. It brings before us the undeserved favor of God to man and, as such, deals with all men on one common basis. Grace never passes by sin, but rather shows by contrast the horror and awfulness of it. Its very display confirms the entire ruin of man, for if man could improve himself by his own power, there would be no need of grace. On the other hand, this very ruin becomes the occasion of showing out God’s character of love. The grace of God comes in where man is utterly evil, and in such a condition, nothing but grace can meet his need. The supreme triumph of grace was seen at the cross, for where man’s sin reached its zenith in crucifying the Son of God, God’s love brought in salvation by that very act, and God’s grace provided forgiveness for that very rejection.
The Gospel of Grace
Grace especially characterizes the Christian dispensation, and the gospel now preached is aptly called by Paul “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Grace is more than a conviction through conscience. My conscience may be exercised as to sin, but a sense of sin without the heart being touched will only drive me away from God, as it did Adam in the garden. Grace makes me realize my sin in all its evil, but then it allows me to taste that the Lord is gracious. A sense of grace drew the woman at Sychar’s well closer to the Lord Jesus, even though she realized that He knew all about her sin. It made her bold to go to the men of the city, saying, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did” (John 4:29). When I could not go to God, He came to me, and this is grace.
Continuing in Grace
This, however, is only the beginning, for grace touches every aspect of our Christian life. Paul and Barnabas could exhort the new believers in Antioch in Pisidia to “continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43), for it is God’s grace in which we walk from day to day. A sense of grace will keep me happy, for in being occupied with Him, I have the enjoyment of His love in my soul. It is good to realize what I am and to be humbled by it, but if I am occupied with myself, to that extent I am off the ground of grace. Joy and peace come from knowing, not so much what we are, but what He is to us, and this is grace. However, I must remain in God’s presence, for His grace is so vast that I cannot learn it outside of Him. Grace apart from God becomes an excuse for sin.
Grace in Service
Likewise, that same grace will show itself in service, for if I have received grace, I will want to show it to others. Grace will meet me in trials, enabling me to go through difficulties that otherwise would prove overwhelming. It will keep me humble, for a sense of grace will make me realize that everything of blessing in my life is a result of grace. Paul could say, “By the grace of God I am what I am.  .  .  .  I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10). That same grace, however, will meet me if I fail. It will restore me and enable me to get up again and go on. God’s government may come in too, but grace tells me that the One who saved me knew exactly how I would turn out and chose me anyway. For these reasons and more, Paul ends a number of his epistles with the exhortation, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” When ruin was coming in and the truth was being given up, Paul could say to Timothy, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1). May it be more so with us, in these last days of the dispensation of grace!
W. J. Prost
Established in Grace
The soul that is established in grace will be found rather reasoning from what God is than from what we ourselves are. Oh, precious occupation of the heart, to be going over and over again the grace and glory we receive from Him!
J. G. Bellett