We met again in conference form to discuss more about the biblical meaning of Grace. Nicholas, being an ex RCC, gave us an enlightening look into Rome’s view of grace, being defined by Augustine. His view was that ‘grace enables man to produce meritorious works that increases his justification’, called ‘gratia infusia’, which is the Catholic doctrine of infused grace. The resulting thought is that men can cooperate in a fashion that justifies and sanctifies them and earns them rewards. Of course we know that grace is without consideration of merit and we find that throughout scripture.
The contrast then of what Nicholas presented was Grace: Paul vs. Augustine. The object of God’s grace is His elect and it is freely given. It is the effectual power thru Christ for our justification and for our righteousness. The book of Romans tells us in many places that our election is ‘an election of grace’ and not of works. I’m working on the subject of the law/grace issue right now and spending time in Romans. Oh if we would but read that book over and over until it is clear in our minds that there is none who does good, no not one and we can merit absolutely nothing. The scriptures are quite clear on the subject of merit; to the spiritual mind only as we know the natural mind cannot receive the things of God.
Bob continued his study on The Biblical Meaning of Grace, Part 2. We reviewed a bit from the previous study and he recalled that grace is the chief doctrine and the foundation of the Gospel and all other ‘solas’. God purposed us to be unworthy so that He might show His majesty in the eternal grace of Jesus Christ. There is a definition of grace as taught by the scripture vs. as taught by the great apostasy predicted by the Apostle Paul. Grace is not merely God’s favor but is clearly and unmistakably taught in the New Testament; proposed by Bob’s definition to embrace the full scope of NT teaching.
God’s unchanging disposition of unmerited favor provided in the merits of the imputed righteousness and atonement of His Son, grounded in eternal election.
Standing in contrast to the Augustinian perspective on grace:
God’s gracious assistance to progressively live a life of changed character and thus merit eternal life.
The clear teaching on grace is that it is unchanging and grounded in eternal election through all moments of time and transcendent of time. It is complete and finished in Christ’s perfect life and His death, without works. We can rejoice that God’s disposition never changes towards His elect, it is constant.
Romans 3:24 ‘being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”
I pray that you know of this grace, this marvelous, amazing grace. It really isn’t just a word but a great and glorious doctrine.