While visiting a conference in Pittsburgh, PA, two weekends ago, I picked up a new book entitled: "Grace" by Randy Alcorn. It consists of 203 short thoughts (some just a couple of sentences long) describing the grace of God. It would make a great daily devotional, or could act as a supplement to another devotional.
Alcorn offers many of his own insights on grace, while supporting most of them with great quotes from other contemporary and antiquated authors. I offer you seven selections (a week's worth, one for each of the next seven days) to give you a taste for what the book has to offer! Enjoy.
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness
could be gained through the Law, Christ died for nothing."Galatians 2:21
"Grace never ignores the reality of sin. In fact, it emphasizes it. Paul said if men were good enough, then "Christ died for nothing." Benjamin Warfield said: "Grace is free sovereign favor for the ill-deserving." If we don't see the reality of how ill-deserving we are, God's grace won't seem amazing. If we minimize our unworthiness, we minimize God's grace." "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me..." (John Newton).
"Yet he gave a command to the skies above,
and opened the doors of the heavens; he rained
down manna for people to eat; he gave them the
grain of heaven." Psalm 78:23-24
"Louis Cassels wrote, "If God wants you to do something, he'll make it possible for you to do it, but the grace he provides comes only with the task and cannot be stockpiled beforehand. We are dependent on him from hour to hour. As God didn't allow the Israelites to store up manna, he doesn't let us store up grace. He always gives us enough, but we can't deposit it for the future. We have to get it fresh every day. "He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength when the labors increase; To added affliction he addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials His multiplied grace" (Annie Johnson Flint)."
"In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the
riches of God's grace that he lavished on us."
"Benjamin Jowett said, "Grace is the energy of the divine affection rolling in plenteousness toward the shores of human need." No matter what you've done, there is no sin beyond the reach of God's grace once you have accepted Christ's offer of forgiveness. Max Lucado says, "God answers the mess of life with one word: GRACE!" God knows everything, so no sin surprises him. He knows all our worst secrets (Psalm 69:5). No skeletons will ever fall out of our closets. Jesus will never say, "Had I known you'd done that, I'd never have let you into heaven." He's seen us at our worst and still loves us. "Are you too bad to receive grace? How could you be too bad to receive what is for the bad?""
"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all
shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins
sweep us away." Isaiah 64:6
"For some, "human depravity" (total inability to earn our way to God) may be an insulting doctrine, but grasping it is liberating. When I realize the best I can do without God is like "filthy rags" in his sight, it finally sinks in that I have nothing to offer. Salvation, therefore, hinges on his work, not mine. What a relief! "We could not take one step in the pursuit of holiness if God in his grace had not first delivered us from the dominion of sin and brought us into union with his risen Son. Salvation is by grace and sanctification is by grace" (Jerry Bridges)."
"Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks,
he gave it to them saying, "This is the blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
"No one deserves forgiveness. That's the whole point of grace. On the cross, Jesus experienced the Hell we deserve, so for all eternity we can experience the Heaven we don't deserve. The grace that is free for us was costly to God. But he offers it to us with a heart of infinite love. "I have come to know a God who has a soft spot for rebels, who recruits people like the adulterer David, the whiner Jeremiah, the traitor Peter, and the human-rights abuser Saul of Tarsus. I have come to know a God whose Son made prodigals... the trophies of his ministry" (Philip Yancey)."
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions
and sins, in which you used to live when you followed
the ways of this world." Ephesians 2:1
"You and I weren't merely sick in our sins; we were dead in our sins. That means I'm not just unworthy of salvation; I'm utterly incapable of earning it. Corpses can't raise themselves from the grave! What a relief to realize that my salvation is completely the result of God's grace. It cannot be earned by good works -- and therefore it can't be lost by bad ones. Thomas Watson wrote, "[Divine] Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out his people's sins, but not their names." "If you and sin are friends, you and God are not yet reconciled" (J. C. Ryle)."
"Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink;
do not worry about it... But seek his kingdom, and
these things will be given to you as well." Luke 12:29, 31
"When we come to Christ, God graciously puts all his resources at our disposal. That's a dramatically uneven exchange since God has so much more than we do, and all we have comes from him in the first place. "I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low for You... I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal." (John Wesley)."
I would encourage you to take one of these entries each day for a week and give it much consideration. Grace (of the biblical kind) may not line up with the persuasions of the world, but it is the essence of nearly all God says in His Word. Therefore, as Spurgeon once said, "If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it."
Many blessings upon your week's contemplation of grace!
In the Service of the Gospel, Pastor Jeff