What is Grace?

I remember a person once saying, "he did not like the word Grace; he thought the word Love meant the same and was much better." This is a mistake; grace goes a great deal further than love. Man loves that which he thinks is in some way worthy of love, and he thinks God is the same as himself, and therefore says he, "I must turn to God some day and try to be worthy of His love; and then He will love me." Now the grace of God is the very opposite of this human thought. I don't know anything like it in the whole world. "What is grace?" said I, the other day. "Mercy" was the reply. Well, it is true the love of God and the mercy of God are both very, very wonderful. "God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins;" and both the mercy and love of God are thus in grace; that is in pure unmerited favour. Yet this grace of God goes further, yea, far beyond the reach of all human thought.

Let us suppose a criminal, guilty of such crimes as to make him an object of the deepest abhorrence, standing condemned before the judge. Mercy would be a great thing shewn to such an one, but if it were possible in the heart of a human judge to love such an one, so utterly worthless and undeserving; that would indeed be a wonder. But what would he thought if the judge so loved the poor guilty one, as to put himself really in the place of the prisoner; bear the full penalty of all his crimes, and then take him into his own house, make him partner with himself; and say "as long as I live, all that I have is yours"? Ah! tell me where amongst the cold-hearted sons of men, where was ever grace shewn like this? No! No! The glory of this grace belongs alone to my God. Oh, how shall I tell of His wondrous grace!

My reader, you may have heard of it by the hearing of the ear, but has this grace ever reached your heart by the power of the spirit of God? That God should thus love and pity, and shew mercy to the guilty; yes, the ungodly! the guilty! the lost! as to send His own dear Son in sweetest grace, to take the very place of the lost and guilty, in purest grace to bear all their sins in His own body on the tree! Oh look at the cross! God in grace meeting man's utmost need. Ah! Do you in your very heart believe it? Then you may cast yourself before such a God, confessing all your sins, your wretchedness, your misery; spread it all before Him. Don't try to make yourself a bit better than you are before Him. He will pardon the confessing sinner in faithfulness to the blood of Jesus. Jesus died for the purpose; that God might be just, not only in pardoning but in justifying every sinner that believes. But oh, this is not all; God in pure grace takes the utterly unworthy sinner, pardoned and justified, into perfect partnership or oneness with Himself in the ever blessed Lord Jesus. In this grace He met the murderer Saul; from that moment Paul became the partner or joint-heir of Christ. What a change! From that day he could say, "Not I, but Christ lives in me." Right well did he know that nothing could ever separate him from such love as this. Yes, and God by this very little paper can in the wonders of His grace, meet a murderer, a drunkard, a harlot, or worse than all, a deceived Pharisee. Yes, and from this moment the days of my partnership with Satan may be ended. Oh, God grant it. May this be thy happy portion; pardoned, justified, for ever one with Christ. This was grace, not only to take the sinner's place, but to give the guilty worm an everlasting place with Himself in resurrection glory. This salvation is wholly of God.

C.S.