All of Grace

All of Grace

“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace.”(Galatians 1:15 )

Saved sinners find the thought and experience of grace so overwhelmingly wonderful that they never get over it. Grace is the constant theme of their talk and their prayers. In times past men have written hymns about it. They have fought for it, accepting ridicule and loss of privilege, if need be, as the price of their stand. As Paul fought these Judaizers at Galatia, so Augustine fought the Pelagians, and the Reformers fought scholasticism, and the descendants of Paul, Augustine, and the saints of God have been fighting Romanizing, Pelagianizing, Arminian, legalistic, and humanistic doctrines ever since. With Paul their testimony is, “By the grace of God I am what I am,” and their rule of life is, “I do not frustrate the grace of God.”

Yet, there appear to be very few who profess to be Christians who believe what the Word of God teaches about grace. Why do so few people believe in God’s free and sovereign grace? (1.) They fail to see the moral ill dessert of man. (2.) They have a wrong view of God’s justice. (3.) They have a weak and unscriptural view of the merits of Christ’s sacrifice. (4.) They fail to recognize man’s spiritual impotence. And (5.) They refuse to recognize the sovereign freedom of God.


Before God called him by his grace, Paul had been a persecutor of Christ and his people, and went armed with letters to Damascus to hail men and women and drag them to prison. But on his road to Damascus he saw a light, exceeding in brightness the light of the sun, and a voice spoke to him out of heaven saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” By this miraculous interposition of God, this man Saul was converted. He became a saved man. He spent three days in darkness; but when Ananian came to tell him the gospel of Jesus Christ, scales fell off his eyes. He was baptized and became an instrument of great usefulness in the kingdom of God.

We generally consider Paul’s conversion very remarkable in its suddenness and distinctness, and truly it is. Yet, at the same time it is no exception to the general rule of conversions, but is rather a type, or model, or pattern of the way in which God shows forth his longsuffering and grace to his elect. The Holy Spirit tells us distinctly that Paul was a pattern of God’s method of grace (1 Tim. 1:16). That simply means that the grace of God Paul experienced shows us exactly how it is that God saves sinners.

Though he was suddenly converted on the Damascus road at God’s appointed time of love (Ezek. 16:8), the Lord God had had thoughts of grace toward Saul of Tarsus long before he was born. God did not begin to work in Paul on his road to Damascus. That was not the first occasion on which the eyes of divine love and grace had been fixed on this chief of sinners. He declares that God had separated him, and set him apart, even from his mother’s womb, that he might reveal his Son in him.

Salvation is all of grace. We are not saved by our works, or our wills, our obedience, or our faith; but by the grace of God we are what we are;” so that “no flesh may glory in his presence.” That great work whereby sinners are made righteous and brought to heaven is entirely a work of God’s free and sovereign grace, acting in love towards hell deserving sinners.

Commonly, when we think of the word “salvation,” we tend to think only of the time when the chosen sinner, being born of God, first believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. But that is a great mistake. Salvation includes the whole work of God’s free grace in Christ: everything required to bring hell-bent, hell-deserving sinners into heaven’s everlasting glory in perfect conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ. From beginning to end, the whole work is wrought of God. “Salvation is of the Lord.” It is altogether by grace and by grace alone. It is not determined by and does not depend upon the will, work, or worth of man to any degree.


The grace of God planned our salvation (Eph. 1:3-14). The whole work began with God’s determination to save the people of his choice in eternal, electing love. He chose whom he would save. He predestined them unto the everlasting glory of the sons of God. He arranged all things from eternity, “according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). And looking upon his elect in the person of his Son, our Mediator and Surety, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, he made them “accepted in the Beloved,” and blessed them with all the blessings of grace and salvation in Christ before the world began, “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” In divine providence our God constantly works all things according to the purpose of his all-wise decree for the eternal salvation of his elect (Rom. 8:28-31).

The cost of our salvation was born by our God alone (Eph. 1:7-12). The price demanded by his own holy law and justice was the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-20). He found a way, by his own “wisdom and prudence,” to redeem and save the people of his love; and that way is Christ. The Lord God graciously trusted his chosen into the hands of Christ as our Surety, the same Surety we now trust “to the praise of his glory.”

God the Father planned our salvation (Eph. 1:3-6). God the Son purchased our salvation (Eph. 1:7-12). And God the Holy Spirit performs the work of grace in us by the power of his omnipotent, irresistible grace (Eph. 1:13-14). He brings the word of truth, “the gospel of your salvation,” to every chosen sinner at the appointed time of love, creates life and faith in the chosen, seals to the believer all the promises and blessings of the everlasting covenant, and seals the believer in the grace of God, keeping him by infallible grace, until the resurrection day, “to the praise of his glory.”


The grace of God preserves our salvation, too (John 10:27-29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:12). This thing called “salvation” is God’s work. He will carry it through. Christ’s sheep shall never perish. Here is a divine promise. —“I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.” That is a blanket, unconditional promise of the Son of God concerning his people. It takes into consideration all times, all circumstances, all contingencies, all events, and all possibilities. Our Lord says, concerning all his sheep, “I give unto them eternal life,” and because they are my sheep and I give eternal life to them, “they shall never perish.”

“Salvation is of the Lord!” Christ’s sheep shall never perish.

“Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” We are preserved in the heart of his love. And we are preserved in the hands of his power. “All thy saints are in thy hands.” We are in the hands of Christ our God and Savior. We are always in his hands. What a blessed place to be! This is the place of our security. These are the hands that were pierced to redeem us. These are the hands of omnipotent power. These are the hands that hold the reins of universal dominion. These are the hands that hold us in life. These are the hands of God himself. — “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:29-30). God’s elect are preserved in Christ forever, forever, infallibly secure in him (Zech. 4:6-7; Jude 24-25), because this blessed work called “salvation” is all of grace!

Don Fortner.

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