What else can be said of God’s grace that hasn’t been said yet? But again, God’s grace can’t be spoken of too much or exhausted, if spoken of rightly. That is what makes grace. So undeserved yet so amazing, because we are vile sinners and God so holy, thrice holy (Rev 4:8 Isaiah 6:3), free from defects of sin and evil. Not only is He pure as the heavenly hosts are, but also set apart.
To understand grace, we need to know what we deserved but didn’t get and what we have received but didn’t deserve- mercy and grace. They are fraternal twins in the new birth of a saint, their beauty clearly perceived when we gaze at the Giver.
In understanding what we truly deserved we need to look at God and His holiness, and then look at ourselves and our sinfulness. God is holy, so holy that He lets no sin go unpunished (Numbers 14:18, Proverbs 11:21.) You can’t go against the Almighty and walk scot free. He is a just God and His justice and righteousness are the foundation of His throne (Psalms 89:14). Since He is the only Sovereign God, then what He says is what is. He is the standard of all that is, and will be. All life and following action therein flows from Him. Any creature, living or otherwise, that goes against His decree deserves extermination and His full wrath, since it is not working as it ought to or as its Creator commands and directs.
We can therefore answer the skeptics that dismiss and mock the ‘Christian God’ who demands we follow Him or else He throws us in Hell. They violently express this to dismiss His loveliness and grace. As Francis Chan clearly notes, “We don’t get to choose who God is”. God is who He is. Remember how He described Himself to the Israelites?, “I AM WHOM I AM!” (Exodus 3:14) He made us and everything seen and unseen. We are to operate according to His decrees and when we go against Him, He has the volition to do as He wishes and as His character holiness dictates (Psalms 110:3).
The point is not to present an undesirable awful God to make much of Grace, but to present a clear picture of His character and in turn see our sins and His glory as displayed. Man is the creature who went against this Almighty Creator. Nothing condemns us more than when we see God as we ought to. Consider Isaiah and weep with him “Woe is me for I am ruined!” (Isaiah 6:5). Our sin begs for judgment and His justice and wrath will accomplish that, soon.
Soon, because although God is infinite but grace isn’t. Infinite grace negates justice. R.C Sproul in his book Holiness of God explains this well and says “God’s grace is not infinite. God is infinite, and God is gracious. We experience the grace of an infinite God, but grace is not infinite. God sets limits to His patience and forbearance. He warns us over and over again that someday the ax will fall and His judgment will be poured out.” We can’t be comfortable in our
rebellious sinful state because the offer of ‘Grace amazing’ still stands. The end is near and wrath is nearer.
But grace doesn’t end with the law and wrath, as justice does. God is both just and gracious. Is it, therefore, contradictory? Does He act against his justice when being gracious? If yes how does He reconcile that? If no, how then am I alive? How can His just wrath and gracious love, dwell in unity? Why hasn’t he exterminated all mankind since all have sinned? What hope do I have? None! This is the bad news.
Thank God there is the good news. He has accomplished both his justice and loving kindness for His people. In His love He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him does not perish in sin but lives forever, for an eternity knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ. He was spent for us (Gal 1:4). We were supposed to hang on that tree where He died. It is what everyone deserves. We can’t think even for a split second that we deserved salvation. We can’t talk of entitlement and grace in same breath. Therefore, whether he chooses to save some, one or none its grace that any is saved.
That’s the point – no one in heaven will say that they deserve to be there. The saints there will have nothing to hold on but the precious blood of Jesus that redeemed them (1 st Peter 18-20), yet the sinner in hell will know they are entitled to the last whim of His wrath there. The answer to the question raised in heaven as to why you are not in hell is simply God’s Grace. Consider for a moment the grace of God that calls sinners from their deadness and sin, and makes them children of this God (Eph 2:4-9). What manner of love is this? We sin (1 John 1:8), deserve wrath (Eph 2:3) but instead He crushes His Son for our sin (2 Cor 5:21), draws us to Himself (John 6:44), adopts us (Eph 1:5) and keeps us as His sons for all eternity (1 Thess 4:17).
This is what we so undeservingly get. Therefore, we can look at this new life in Christ in the lens of grace. We wouldn’t dare take the grace of God lightly by sinning (Romans 6:1-2). We would be more content, thankful and joyful singing ceaseless praises to Him for His mercy and grace. Maybe even borrow the word of John Newton;
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
It’s true we are wretches, it’s a fact judgment awaits, but it marvelous His grace is still amazing.
PS. This post was written by John Thiauri and first published on the website afrocalvinist.co.ke A few edits have been made.