Occasionally I go to used book stores (ok, maybe I should say frequently!) and find an old, out-of-print book written by someone of no particular renown, that proves to be an absolute gem. This weeks "thought" comes from such a book. It was published in London, England in 1866 (I had to decipher the Roman numerals to figure it out!), by, "The Rev. William Reid." It is titled "The Blood of Jesus."
This quote has to do with God's free grace. And he emphasizes the word free, not simply because grace that is not free is not truly grace (Romans 11:6), but because many preachers in his day (just like our own) spoke of grace as if it were conditioned, merited or purchased by our striving to manufacture of some attitude, work ourselves into a certain emotional or spiritual state, or perform some duty which God required as 'payment' given in exchange for His favor.
For some this thought will be an opportunity to relish once again "the old, old story" we love and need to hear repeatedly. For others it may seem too good to be true. Yet believe it, it's simply the gospel. * Enjoy.
"We proclaim the market of grace to be free (Isaiah 55:1-3). If there is any price or money spoken of, it is 'no price, no money'.... And if there are any terms or conditions in the Gospel bargain, they are, God's free giving, and our free taking and receiving.
It is quite natural for us, born, as we are, under the law, and brought up under the restraining influences of religion and civilization, to suppose that we can be saved only by conforming to certain rules and implementing certain conditions. It is difficult to lay aside the performing of all duties as a means of being accepted graciously by God, and to submit to be sought and saved simply as lost sinners, by a loving Redeemer, who delivers us from guilt, corruption, and perdition, 'without money and without price' (Isaiah 55:1)...
The Gospel is often clouded by legal terms, conditions and qualifications. If my doctrine were, 'Upon the condition that you do so and so -- that you believe, and repent, and mourn, and pray, and obey, and the like -- then you shall have the grace of God, I dare not say that is the Gospel. For the Gospel I desire to preach to you is, "Will you have a Christ to work faith, repentance, love and all good in you, and to stand between you and the sword of divine wrath?'
With the Gospel there is no room for you to object that you are not qualified because you are a hardened, unhumbled sinner. For the question is not, 'Will you remove these evils and then come to Christ?' But, 'Will you have Christ to remove them for you?' Are you guilty? I offer Christ to you for your righteousness. Are you polluted? I offer Christ to you for your sanctification. Are you miserable and forlorn? I offer Christ as made unto you your complete redemption (I Cor. 1:30-31). Are you hardhearted? I offer Him in the promise, 'I will take away your heart of stone' (Ezek. 36:26)...
Cast yourself in childlike faith upon Christ dying for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6) and you are saved. Justification is a poor, law-condemned, self-destroyed sinner, wrapping himself by faith in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is justified, and he alone, who casts away the garment of his own righteousness, and runs into this blessed 'City of Refuge' - the Lord Jesus - and hides himself there from 'the avenger of blood,' exclaiming in the the language of triumphant faith, 'There is NOW NO CONDEMNATION to them that are in Christ Jesus' (Rom. 8:1).
Look to Jesus, then, for a contrite heart. Look to Jesus for a loving heart. Look to Jesus and He will give you all. The dimmest, most distant glance of faith, turning its tired eye upon Christ, will heal and save the soul. God is prepared to accept you in His Son, and for His sake will cast all your sins behind His back and take you to glory when you die. Never was Jesus known to reject a poor sinner that came to Him empty and with nothing to pay. God will glorify His free grace in your salvation and will therefore save you just as you are -- 'without money and without price.' I close with Paul's reply to the anxious jailer, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved' (Acts 16:31). No matter what you have been, or what you are, plunge into the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness (Zech. 13:1) and you shall be 'washed whiter than snow' (Ps. 51:7). His blessed invitation is 'Come unto ME,' (Matt. 11:28). Let your reply be, 'Lord, I come! I come! I wrap my feeble, trembling arms of faith around Your cross, around yourself.' May we, through rich, free and sovereign grace, meet in heaven, and unite in exclaiming, 'Worthy is the Lamb slain for us.' "
Yours in the Gospel of Free Grace,