Tag Archives: grace

This Flower Does Not Grow in Nature’s Garden

“You who are enriched with the treasures of godliness, bless God for it. This flower does not grow in nature’s garden. You had enlisted yourselves under the devil and taken pay on his side, fighting against your own happiness, and then God came with converting grace and put forth a loving and gentle violence, causing you to espouse his quarrel against Satan. You had lain many years soaking in wickedness, as if you had been parboiled for hell, and then God laid you steeping in Christ’s blood and breathed holiness into your heart! Oh, what cause you have to write yourselves as eternal debtors to free grace!”

– Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture (p. 221)

Free Not to Be Gracious

“The God of the Bible does not depend on his human creatures for his well-being (see Psa. 50:8-13; Acts 17:25), nor, now that we have sinned, is He bound to show us favor.

“We can only claim from Him justice – and justice, for us, means certain condemnation. God does not owe it to anyone to stop justice from taking its course. He is not obligated to pity or pardon; if He does so it is an act, as we say, ‘of His own free will,’ and nobody forces His hand. ‘It does not depend on man’s will or effort, but on God’s mercy’ (Rom. 9:16, NEB). Grace is free, in the sense of being self-originated and of proceeding from One Who was free not to be gracious. Only when it is seen that what decides each individual’s destiny is whether or not God resolves to save him from his sins, and that this is a decision which God need not make in any single case, can one begin to grasp to biblical view of grace.”

~ J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Ch. 13, p. 132)

I Couldn’t Have Done It Without You… and Vice-Versa

“Another fellow – Lodowick (Lodo) Legup – has been convinced that he needs Christ as Savior and Lord, and has come to be saved and led. Lodo knows he’s a sinner, and looks to Christ to do something about that.

“But, oddly enough, Lodo thinks that sin has disabled him, hurt him, wounded him – but not killed him as dead as, say, Julius Caesar. So Lodo has this inner notion that he still brings something positive to the equation. Lodo’s Jesus holds out most of the makings of a nice big yummy Salvation Pie, but it’s not really a pie until Lodo puts the “decision cherry” on the top, or the “faith sprinkles.” Jesus is really a great help, He did a lot, all the heavy lifting and big stuff; but it’s still nothing until Lodo does his part. Jesus helps Lodo – but Lodo helps Jesus, too. In fact, without Lodo’s help, nothing happens.

“So, without in any way meaning to, Lodo has Jesus as Cosigner instead of Savior. Because the relationship is still partly based on Lodo’s performance, on his works, he has the feeling deep down that God doesn’t really like him much, or love him, unless he does his part. After all, He didn’t save him until Lodo did his part first. God responded to Lodo then, so maybe He responds now. Lodo works so that God will like him, so that Jesus will love him and keep him. If Lodo stopped, he’d lose that relationship.

“That kind of fear motivates Lodo. To Lodo, the Cross is where God did everything He could, made salvation possible and attainable, and then left it to Lodo to make it happen. The relationship started partly because of what God did, and partly because of what Lodo did. But Lodo added the decisive element. The relationship continues in the same way. Lodo may not be prepared to take up a cross himself, or do anything radical. After all, God didn’t do anything too radical to save him. Lodo wasn’t so bad off that Lodo himself couldn’t provide the essential ingredient. Lodo kept part of the salvation package, and now he’ll keep part of the Christian-life package.”

~ Dan Phillips, The World-Tilting Gospel (Ch. 1, pp. 57-58)