What Grace Does

He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory” (1 Samuel 2:8).

Such a stroke of grace is charming. And what but grace could act after such a fashion?

The extremes are enormous! We have the dust and the dunghill placed in vivid contrast to the throne; and we find that the poor and the beggar are transposed from the one to the other, from a point of veritable degradation to one of exceeding dignity and honour. Yet this is how grace deigns to act. The prospect would dazzle and bewilder; it would baffle and surpass conception were the height to be reached by personal effort, or be the result of merit and desert. A poor man might perchance become opulent, but he dare hardly dream of entering princely estate; and a beggar might expect his petition to be even handsomely granted, but never presume to contemplate the inheritance of a throne.

And yet it is just here that the hand of grace, in its total unexpectedness, stretches itself forth, and proves how the throne of glory becomes the seat of the poor and the beggar.

Observe only that it is the poor and the beggar, and such alone, who are thus ennobled. Indeed, the conditions are incumbent. Grace has no voice for any but the poor and the beggar. She seeks for those who know themselves to be spiritually destitute. She has nothing for the proud.

The Law of Moses may captivate those who deem themselves meritorious, but it will demonstrate to them, like a mirror, their guilt; but Grace, though she may teach lessons of godliness to her children, yet goes in quest of the lost. She seeks the poor and the beggar.

Has my reader placed himself there? Alas that pride should hinder so many from taking that place and fulfilling that condition!

And yet none shall reach the throne but those whom Grace finds in the dust. To go into the dust is repentance, and repentance is at once the pre-requisite and the stepping-stone to blessing. Happy the soul that is thus in the dust!

Then, how does Grace exalt the beggar to the throne? Is it effected by power alone? Nay! it would never do to open the prison door by force, and let the prisoner escape. Justice would cry aloud!

Grace may not act till justice is satisfied.

But how can God’s justice be satisfied? That is a grand question, and should be raised in every thoughtful mind.

The answer is given perfectly in Romans 3. There we see the poor and the beggar—we see “the whole world guilty before God”—exposed to His judgments, “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Their case is hopeless! The Law! It only gives the knowledge of sin. By its deeds shall no man living be justified.

All true! but we also see God’s righteousness. We see how God can be just and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.

How can an act so extraordinary be accomplished? Where can we find anything sufficient to meet the claims of the throne of God, or expiate the sins of men?

We find it in the blood of Christ. There God has both provided and found the satisfaction that His throne demanded. We read: “Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood.”

Connect three words of this passage: “God”… “Blood” … “Propitiation,” for in them we have, first, the blessed source, then the ground, and then the result. What a provision!

So much for God’s side.

On ours there is faith in Jesus. God “justifies him who believes in Jesus,” and He is just in doing it. On this ground of righteousness, Grace can now act freely and justly in the way she loves; she has a free and unimpeded hand. The keen sword of Justice is sheathed. Every claim is met. Grace can stoop down to the very dung. hill and freely pluck thence the poor and the beggar, nor arrest her benefactions, toward them until she place them, all fit and worthy, on the throne of glory and amid princes.

Was not this all true of the “dying thief”—who passed away to be with his Lord in paradise on the very day when he paid the penalty of his misdeeds before man—on the ground and by the merit of the expiation wrought for man by the sinless Redeemer at his side? To Him he turned in faith and was there and then taken on high.

Wonderful redemption indeed!

But has Grace no voice or power today? Does she not enrich myriads of such? She does; and wherefore such mercy? It is “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Here we may pause and adore. Such a wealth of grace! Such an eternal display of kindness to the poor and the beggar—the dead in sins! Such a stroke of grace that should place children of wrath in heavenly heights in association with Christ Himself for ever.

Ah! It is worth while, a thousand times over, to go for such a result deep down into the dust of repentance, and to own poverty and beggar-hood to the very full, so that grace may raise, even thence, to the throne of glory.

Dear reader, what do you know of the grace of God?