THE GOD OF GRACE
"The God of all grace." 1 Peter 5:10
There is not, perhaps, in the Bible a word more expressive, or, to the believing ear, one more sweet, than the word GRACE. It at once discloses the secret of salvation, defines the underlying principle of redeeming mercy, and indicates the golden thread which runs throughout and knits together all the great doctrines of the gospel, emphatically designated the "gospel of the grace of God." The definition of the word is simple as it is precious. It means, God's good-will and free favor to man, in and through Christ Jesus. Thus is it employed, "By grace you are saved;" "The grace of God that brings salvation;" "It is of faith, that it might be by grace;" "By the grace of God I am what I am;" "We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
This principle of God's favor, or free grace, as we have just remarked, underlies and binds together all the great truths indicated by the previous titles of God. The whole plan of salvation is based upon free grace, or, in other words, God's good-will and unpurchased favor to sinners. This idea, of course, repudiates and ignores all worth and worthiness whatever on the part of the creature, constituting man God's debtor, instead of- as the scheme of salvation by human merit does- God being a debtor to man. Let this not be lost sight of, that salvation by works lays God under obligation to the creature, whereas salvation by grace lays the creature under eternal obligation to God. Human merit, therefore, is entirely excluded as an element entering into our salvation; the whole scheme, from first to last, being by grace. "And if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then it is no more grace."
All the religions of men- and their name is "legion"- are based upon the principle of human merit- all are founded upon some fancied good and power in the creature, the effect of which is totally to set aside the Atonement of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul. In fact, the doctrine of creature merit is the fatal element of man's religion, the moral poison of his soul, the remedy for which is only found in a believing reception and heart-felt experience of the free grace salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And yet how much even the Lord's people have yet to learn of this great truth! How dim their views, how faint their realization, how little their enjoyment of it! How much forgetfulness of the truth that Christ died, not for saints, but for sinners; that He receives, not the worthy, but the unworthy; that He came to heal, not the whole, but the sick; to call, not the righteous, but sinners, to repentance! Always looking for some good thing in themselves, instead of looking only to Christ for that worthiness which never can be found out of Him; ever dealing with their sins, in the place of sin's Great Sacrifice, substituting sanctification for justification; thus making a saving merit of their holiness, putting faith in the place of Christ, the Object of faith, and so making a Savior of their religious experience, it is no marvel that they realize so faintly their completeness in Christ, and the peace and joy, the hope and holiness springing therefrom. For this reason, "many are weak and sickly among them," and many travel in doubt, and fear, and tears to the brink of the river of death, though, blessed be God, none ever go doubting, and fearing, and weeping over it; for, at the last, grace triumphs, and the weakest faith gets the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In considering this divine title of our God, the first and most obvious idea it suggests is that God is the eternal and essential Source of all grace to man. This opens up to us a great and precious truth. As the "God of all grace," He must be the first and originating Cause of this, as of every other blessing. But for the existence of this fact, there had been no Savior; and no Savior, there had been no salvation; and no salvation, there had been no heaven for sinners. This divine Fountain of grace, mercy, and love unsealed, fallen man would have righteously shared the doom of fallen angels, there being no difference between the darkest spirit in the world of woe and the brightest spirit in the world of bliss, but what the sovereign grace of God makes.
The Lord's people seriously and frequently err in sinking below this truth. Satisfied with the sweetness of the stream of grace, they ascend not to the source from where it flows. Not thus indifferent are the scientific men of this world, who in their generation are wiser than the children of light. How much valuable life has been sacrificed, and what vast wealth expended, in attempting to trace the source of the Nile! And still the problem remains unsolved. Content with having "tasted that the Lord is gracious," having "drunk of the brook in the way," how few of the recipients of divine grace explore the divine and eternal source from where their salvation has come! "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God," and of this River God Himself is the Eternal Head. With Him originated the great plan of redemption. Who can study it- its character and history, its philosophy and results- who can contemplate its fitness for God, its adaptation to man- without a profound conviction that the Mind that conceived, and planned, and executed the Redemption of fallen man must be Divine, and that that Mind was God the Father's?
He must be insensible to what is great, blind to what is grand, stupid to what is convincing; who can rise from the study of Redemption without the overwhelming conviction that such an expedient could have originated only with God; that His heart conceived it, His mind planned it, His power executed it, and that the whole resolves itself in an eternal monument of His free and sovereign grace to sinners! Truly, "Salvation is of the Lord."
A few particulars will illustrate this precious truth. As "the God of all grace," the grace He has so graciously revealed to sinners, is in Him AN ESSENTIAL PROPERTY. It is not grace inspired by our sinfulness, or moved to its display by anything on our part. No condition of ours, however abject and miserable, originated or elicits it. It dwells in Him as essentially as His own essence. He would not be God, if He were not the God of all grace. He must cease to be God were He to cease to be gracious. Listen to His own words thus portraying Himself: "The Lord God merciful and gracious." Not so independently, and spontaneously, and freely do light and heat flow from the sun, as does saving grace from the nature of God to poor sinners. God cannot act but His grace displays itself in some one of its endless forms.
What is forgiveness, but God's grace remitting our sins? What is justification, but God's grace accepting our persons? What is sanctification, but God's grace purifying our hearts? What is adoption, but God's grace making us sons? What is our final salvation, but God's grace keeping us from falling, and preserving us into His eternal kingdom? Thus, each round of the ladder that lifts us from the mouth of hell to the gate of heaven, is an unfolding of the boundless grace of God to lost sinners, vile, graceless, and hell-deserving.
Do you think, then, that coming to God by Jesus Christ, and casting yourself upon His grace as a poor, lost, worthless sinner, He will cast you off? Never! God may cast down a poor soul– and this He often does in love, to lay it low, even to the dust, that he may learn that salvation, from first to last, is of His free grace– but He will never cast off a poor soul that has fled to the asylum of His mercy, that has cast himself upon His boundless grace to sinners. He is too gracious, too divinely, essentially gracious for this. He must cease to be God if He cease to be gracious, and He must cease to be gracious if He refuse to receive and save a poor, broken-hearted sinner who casts himself on that grace.
Thus we have endeavored to lead your mind up, my reader, to the Fountain-Head of all grace. Rest not below it. Precious as is the channel, as we shall presently see– Holy as is the object, as will ultimately appear, and sweet as are the streams, as all who have only tasted that the Lord is gracious will testify– it must be acknowledged that all this is infinitely increased when we rise to the Divine, Essential, and Eternal Source from where it all flowed down to us– even the God and Father of all grace.
That is a word of rich consolation spoken by the apostle- it has been as a sunbeam in many a cloudy day- to God's dear, tried, needy ones– "My Lord shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Who can measure the depth and height, the length and breadth of meaning which this assurance contains? How many a tear it has dried, how many a fear it has removed, how many a need it has met! Our great sin is in limiting God, the Holy One of Israel. We measure His infinity by a finite scale. We too much resemble the insect traversing the tree leaf, and imagining that that leaf bounds the utmost limit of creation; or, like the child that dips its tiny shell into the sea, and fancies the ocean is lessened by its draught. We forget that our God is divine, and therefore all-sufficient; that He is infinite, and therefore illimitable; that, while the universe receives its life and existence from Him each moment, and all the Church has been living upon His all-sufficiency ever since its being, His infinite sufficiency and grace have not sunk one hair's breadth. Oh, we need to deal more simply and closely with the all-sufficiency of God! He condescends to ask this at our hands. "I am God Almighty." "I am the Lord God that brought you up out of the land of Egypt." "Is anything too hard for me? says the Lord God."
Now, it is from this infinite Ocean of grace that "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." That must be an eternal, essential, fathomless, boundless Ocean of grace that could, from its all-sufficiency and freeness, provide such a Savior, and such a salvation, and such a heaven, for poor, lost sinners! Truly is He the "God of all grace." He that gave His only Son, well beloved and precious, to suffer and die for His people, surely, from that same infinite sea of grace, he is prepared, as freely and as fully, to give us all other things, from a crust of bread, to the banquet of heaven; from a cup of cold water, to the ocean fullness of joy that is in His presence; and to the rivers of pleasures for evermore that are at His right hand.
Away, then, to God, even the "God of all grace", with your every need, temporal and spiritual. Ask not, "Can He provide a table in the wilderness? He has brought me through six trills, will He deliver me out of the seventh? He has pardoned me ninety-nine times, will He pardon the hundredth? He has rolled many a stone from off my buried mercy, and out of my path of difficulty, will He, can He, remove this great mountain that covers me with its deep, dark shadow, and make my way a plain?" Oh you of little faith! is not our God the God of all grace? Wherefore, then, do you thus reason, and doubt, and fear?
Bring your perplexities to God, and He will guide them. Bring your needs to God, and He will supply them. Bring your mountains to God, and He will level them. Bring your sins to God, and He will forgive them. Bring your sorrows, trials, and temptations to God, and He will sustain you under, and will bring you through them, to the praise and glory of His great Name, as the "God of all grace." Your supplies may be exhausted, but not His fullness. Your need may press, but there is no pressure on His sufficiency. Your power may be limited, but His is illimitable. Your grace may be shallow, but His is fathomless. And you may ask, "From where will my next supply come?" while, at the moment that the anxious question is trembling upon your lip, the supply that is to silence it is laid up in the inexhaustible treasures of His grace, and will be sent just at the moment that will awaken in you the sweetest song, and yield to Him the richest glory.
An important and interesting part of out subject now invites our attention. We refer to THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AS THE OFFICIAL AND RESPONSIBLE HEAD IN THE COVENANT OF GRACE, OF ALL HIS GRACE TO SINNERS. Every reservoir has its conduits, every fountain its channels, every spring its rivulets. The infinite and eternal fullness of grace in God would have availed us nothing, had not a suitable channel been provided for its conveyance. The Father would, in the impressive language of the sacred song, have existed as "a Fountain sealed," secluded, eternally sealed, but for Jesus. There would have been no channel of grace from God to the sinner, no possible avenue of the sinner's approach to God, but for the "One Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus."
This channel through which His grace was to flow, this medium by which the sinner was to approach, was of the Father's own providing. It must, in all respects, be worthy of the Being with whom it originated, whose honor it was to vindicate, whose glory it was to secure; and it must be in all respects suitable to the sinner, whose grace and glory, whose salvation and heaven it was to accomplish. All this Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, was. Our Arbitrator, laying His right hand on the Father, and His left hand upon us- the right hand of His Godhead upon God, and the left hand of His manhood upon man- so making peace by the blood of His cross; so opening a medium through which God, consistent with His holiness, and man, despite our sinfulness, could meet in a state of at-one-ment. This matter of reconciliation on the part of God has been one of some perplexity to many pious minds, giving rise to much obscurity, if not unsoundness of idea on the subject.
The chief difficulty has been the harmony of the two ideas of everlasting love and reconciliation. If God's love to the Church were, as He affirms it to be, "from everlasting," the question arises, where exists the necessity of mediatorship and reconciliation? Perhaps the following remarks, not before published, of an eminent and deeply-taught saint of God (Mary Winslow), may in some degree elucidate this important and interesting point- "If the holiness of God were never incensed against the Church fallen in Adam, then there had been no need of the death of Christ. Christ died to reconcile God to us and us to God. From where sprung the wrath of God which Christ endured? The proper answer to this question will give us a loving view of God as a reconciled Father in Christ Jesus. A mediator supposes the parties between whole he mediates at variance the one with the other, else there had been no necessity of mediatorship. The reconciliation which Christ effected was not to the love of God towards His people- for that was never lost- but to the justice of God offended by sin. Christ is the Peacemaker- 'He is our peace.' Justice, Holiness, and Truth are all reconciled and harmonized towards His people in Jesus, so that it is proper, as it is sweet, unspeakably sweet, to speak to and of Him as a reconciled God in Christ Jesus." 'All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Christ Jesus.'
We think the point is fully met in these few observations by the remark that, Christ died, not to reconcile the love, but the Justice of God towards His people. The love of God never was alienated or affected by Adam's fall, but His Justice and His Holiness were. Christ's atoning death met their every requirement, and now both are on the side of the sinner, so that we are as much saved on the footing of justice as of love, of holiness as of grace. How sure is the Foundation God has laid for the salvation of a poor sinner! How tried the Corner-stone upon which this hope reposes! To be saved on the basis of justice would seem to place the salvation of the soul upon a higher, and surer footing, than even of love, since God can now be just to Himself in saving us; and not to save the sinner believing in Christ were to be unjust to us. If saved thus, you stand on the broad foundation of justice, and you can justly claim, through Christ, a mansion in the house of your Father in heaven. God is therefore bound, on the principle of righteousness, to save your soul, cast in simple faith upon Jesus. Thus, "Grace reigns unto righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
But we return to the truth, that the Lord Jesus is the Covenant Head, the official and responsible Administrator of this grace. It was once entrusted to Adam, the federal head of the human race. But the responsibility was too great, the treasure too costly, for a mere creature to sustain and hold. We know how soon the vessel of clay which the Divine Potter had made, and in which the grace of our salvation was deposited, was marred and destroyed by the Fall. Foreknowing this catastrophe, and bent on the salvation of His Church, God amply provided for the case, by placing the grace that was to bring it to glory in the hands of His beloved Son. And so He, the divine Artist, seeing the destruction of the first vessel of grace, "made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the Potter to make it."
If the first vessel- Adam, in his sinlessness reflecting the pure and perfect image of God, was beautiful, it yet had no beauty by reason of the beauty that excelled and eclipsed it in the mysteriously and wondrously constituted Person of the Son of God. The incarnation of God is the greatest wonder in the countless wonders which crowd the universe. It will be the study of angels, the theme of saints, the song of heaven, the marvel of eternity. It is the central truth of Christianity, the divine sun of the system, around which all other truths of our gospel circle. It gives to all their character, glory, and place. It gives to atoning blood its all-sovereign virtue; to imputed righteousness its all-justifying efficacy; to the cross of Calvary its power, attraction, and glory. In a word, "God manifest in the flesh," is the key that unlocks the pavilion of every other mystery of the gospel, while it remains itself, and will forever remain, the greatest and most sublime mystery of all.
Such is the Head in which it pleased the Father that all fullness of grace should dwell. For what purpose could this delegated fullness of grace thus deposited in Jesus be, but to furnish Him, as the Head over all things to His Church, with supplies of "all grace" for His people. There are two fullnesses described as being in Christ- the "fullness of the Godhead," which is His Deity, or His essential fullness; and then the "fullness" which it pleased the Father should dwell in Him, which describes the fullness of grace treasured up in Him for all the needs of a most needy Church.
Let us, then, look at some of the particulars of this grace dwelling thus essentially in the Father, the administration of which was placed in the hands of the Lord Jesus. The title of our God under consideration is as comprehensive as it is precious. "The God of ALL grace." "ALL grace." Marvelous declaration this! Precious announcement! It chimes with every circumstance; it meets every trial; it confronts every temptation; it supplies every need; it is so worthy of God, so like Jesus, so suitable in all respects to the saints. "ALL grace."
In the first place, there dwells in the Lord Jesus, as the Father's Depository, all SIN-FORGIVING GRACE. Pardon is the highest prerogative of sovereignty, as it is the richest boon of the subject. So great is this exercise of divine favor, so rich and free a blessing of His grace, God not only has not, but could not, delegate the power to any created being. He reserves, and justly so, the right of forgiveness in His own hands. Imagine, then, what an insult to His divine Majesty, what an invasion of His sovereign prerogative, the daring and blasphemous assumption of the court of Rome- call it not Church, for Church it is not- in claiming and professing to exercise a right which God has never entrusted to any authority of man, still less to a sinful mortal! O sinner! bound to the judgment, there is forgiveness with God, and with God only, and to Him hesitate not to repair, in the spirit of a humble penitent, with the petition breathing from your heart, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"
But this sin-pardoning grace is lodged in the hands of Jesus. The grace that remits the greatest sin, that pardons the vilest sinner, is with Christ. How often did the wondrous words breathe from His lips, "Your sins are forgiven you!" The Scribes and Pharisees charged Him with blasphemy because He assumed a divine function, and exclaimed, "Who can forgive sins, but God only?"- thus, indirectly and undesignedly, blending with the indictment an acknowledgment of the fact that Christ was God.
Oh, yes! child of God, there is in Christ the grace of forgiveness- grace that can remit every transgression, pardon every crime, blot out every sin; grace that, where sin has abounded, much more, yes, infinitely more, abounds. "Through Him," says the apostle, "is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace." What encouragement for you who feel yourself to be a sinner, your sins so great, even the greatest, that the "remembrance of them is an intolerable burden," to repair to Jesus for the grace that will entirely pardon and cancel all!
Bear in mind that the forgiveness of sin, for which God has provided at a cost so immense to Himself, is His free gift to sinners. It is entirely an act of grace. We read, "And when they had nothing to pay, He frankly forgave them both." The pardon of sin, while it is not too, great a blessing for God to give, is too great a blessing for man to purchase. And were it not free, entirely free, not the least worthiness on the part of the sinner claiming, and not his greatest unworthiness disclaiming it, it never could personally be ours. Approach, then, the sin-cleansing Fountain of Christ's own atoning blood- blood possessing all the sovereign efficacy of His Deity, wash, and be clean. And thus washing by faith in this precious, sin-atoning, guilt-effacing blood, God declares, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
All JUSTIFYING GRACE is in Christ Jesus. The two conditions of the saved soul- the forgiveness of sin and the justification of the sinner- though inseparable in its salvation, are yet to be kept distinct as defining the two essential parts of Christ's mediatorial work- His obedience and suffering- and as describing the two essential conditions of the believer. The sinner is pardoned through the blood of Christ, and he is justified by the righteousness of Christ. By the disobedience of the first Adam, we are plunged into condemnation; by the obedience of the Second Adam, the Lord from heaven, we are delivered from condemnation; by the one we are made sinners, and by the other we are made righteous. (See Romans 5:17-19.)
Study these passages, my reader, in prayer for the illumination of the Spirit on a matter of such vital moment, especially important in the present day, when the doctrine of imputed righteousness, as taught by Paul, as held by the Reformers, as bled for by Ridley and Wycliffe and Huss, and others of the "noble army of martyrs," and so distinctly embodied in the doctrinal articles of the English Church, has come to be disputed and denied by many. But this grace of justification the "God of all grace," by whom the believing sinner is justified- for "it is God who justifies "- is deposited in Christ Jesus, who is emphatically the "Lord our Righteousness." Believing in Him, we are now freely and forever justified. His righteousness becomes, by the imputation of the Spirit, and through the receiving faith of the believing soul, our righteousness; so that, in the strong language of Scripture, "we are made the righteousness of God in Him."
Oh, what a glorious and precious truth is this! How it exalts and ennobles the soul! "In Your righteousness shall they be exalted." Equally free with the grace of pardon is the grace of justification. Both are the gratuitous blessings of God. Thus the apostle proves it. "Being justified by faith (and "faith is the gift of God"), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Again, "Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
What joyful news, what glad tidings are here for you who, after laboring and striving, have happily come to the end of all your own doings, and can do no more! You have traveled to the "end of the law," and find you have, if not in the letter, yet in the spirit, broken its every commandment, and so are conscious of being guilty of all. And now your cry is, "Wretched one that I am! who will deliver me from this condemnation?" Lo! Jesus appears! He has seen you 'toiling in rowing,' He has watched all your well-meant strivings and sincere attempts to keep the law, and has marked all your inability and failure. And now He presents Himself before you wearing that splendid and significant title, 'The Lord our Righteousness,' and He says to you, "I am the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes; I am your righteousness without a work of your own; I have kept the law, have obeyed every command, and have honored every precept; believe only in me and you shall be justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses, or by the most perfect obedience of your own."
And now methinks I see the poor toiling soul cast overboard its oars, and ceasing any longer to stem the tide of its sins, infirmities, and failures, spread its sails to the gale of God's free grace, wafting its long tempest-tossed barque into the calm waters of perfect peace through Jesus Christ our Lord.
"The God of all grace" has also deposited in Christ Jesus the fullness of ADOPTING GRACE. "You are all," says the apostle, "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." And in another place he says, "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Into what a dignified position does this adoption of grace place the believing soul! A rebel made a son, a foe made a child, an alien made an heir, "an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ Jesus." What divine, what marvelous, what free grace is this! Believer in Jesus, know your adoption. Child of God, realize your sonship. Son of God, claim your heirship, and live in anticipation of your inheritance.
So divine, so loving, so free is the grace flowing from the "God of all grace," and welled in the humanity of Christ, as the Head of all grace to His Church, that "now are we the sons of God; and it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is." Go to this God of grace, then, through Jesus, in the filial spirit of a loved child, and disclose to Him your every need, unveil to Him your every grief; acknowledge to Him your every sin; make known to Him your every temptation, and assault, and difficulty, keeping back nothing which a loving, dutiful child, should pour into the heart of a fond, faithful, and all-powerful Father. Oh that the grace of adoption might so fill our souls as to dislodge all servile fear, dissolve all legal bonds, and enable us to walk in the holy, happy liberty of the children of God!
The God of all grace has equally deposited all fullness of SANCTIFYING GRACE in Christ Jesus. Here is another kindred yet distinct condition of the believing soul. It may be regarded, perhaps, as the effect and fruit of all the other related doctrines of grace. If, for example, I am a, pardoned sinner, I am justified; and if I am a justified sinner, I am an adopted child; and if I am all these, then I am holy, sanctified, separated, and set apart wholly for God. "Holiness to God" is inscribed on my brow.
Similar to this was the apocalyptic vision which John beheld, and thus graphically describes: "Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads." Do we thus personally possess the seal, and are we thus visibly wearing the sign, of our adoption? Do the saints, (for "the world knows us not'') see our Father's image, and read the Father's name, in our holy walk, in our filial devotion, in our loving spirit? That this may be so, do not forget that all grace is treasured up in Christ to promote our personal holiness. We are as much to live upon Christ for sanctification as for pardon and justification. The grace that delivers us from hell fits us for heaven; that grace which cancels our guilt, subdues also our corruption; that grace which emancipates us from our servitude, equally dethrones the tyrant. O wondrous, precious grace that, by its divine sanctity and power, brings first one, and then another indwelling corrupt principle, passion, and desire of our hearts into subjection to itself, and all in obedience to Christ; that moulds and fashions us into the image of Jesus!
Nor must we overlook the part the Holy Spirit takes in the conveyance of this grace from the Father, the God of all grace, "through Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth," to the happy recipients of this grace– poor, needy, graceless souls. While the Father decrees this grace and provides it; and while the Son holds the key of all this treasure and metes it out "grace for grace" - or, as it is in the original, "wave upon wave"- the Holy Spirit makes us to know and feel our deep need, and then conveys the blessing into the soul. Is not this the meaning of the words of Jesus- "He shall glorify me, for He shall take of mine and show it unto you." And how appropriate is thus the office of the Spirit. Having implanted His own graces in the soul, does He leave them to their self growth, does He abandon them to the unkind, uncongenial soil in which they were implanted? Oh, no! Having begun a good work, He carries it on to completion. He watches over, waters, and nourishes by fresh supplies the graces He has implanted. He it is who waters the roots, He it is who strengthens the stem, He it is who forms the blossom, He it is who expands the bud, He it is who ripens the fruit and conducts it to perfection.
Honor the Spirit in this work, glorify Him in His person, guard against wounding and grieving Him, and daily acknowledge your indebtedness to Him for conveying down from God the Father, through Christ the Son, the streams of grace which keep in bloom, fragrance, and beauty His own graces of faith, and love, and joy, and peace, and hope in your soul.
Is He the God of all grace? Then in Christ He has made provision for all COMFORTING GRACE. What a blank would exist in this provision- a need which nothing ever could meet- were there no consolation, no comfort, no sympathy, in Christ Jesus for poor, sorrowing, suffering saints! Alas! how large the number! How many a tried, afflicted believer, will bend over this chapter, and perhaps find nothing that meets his case until he reaches the close, and is reminded of what he has often been told before, but which, now that he is passing through the deep, dark waters of grief, seems like a newborn truth to his soul, that Jesus is the "Consolation of Israel."
Yes, afflicted and sorrowing one, the God of all grace is the God of all comfort, and has deposited in Christ all comfort for you. He knows the nature of your sorrow- for He sent it. He marks the pressure of your cross- for He imposed it. He is acquainted with the bitterness of your cup- for He mixed it. All His promises of succour and support are Yes, and Amen in Christ Jesus. All the tenderness, the compassion, the sympathy, the grace that it pleased the Father should dwell in Christ, is designed for your personal and present sorrow. Listen to the words of Jesus; "Let not your heart be troubled." Oh, who knows your heart's deeply veiled anguish, its doubts and sorrows- who can reach, fathom, and control it; who can soothe, chasten, and sanctify it, but Jesus? His grace will support, strengthen, and calm you now, enabling you to glorify God in the fires. Oh, it were worth all the sorrow that ever brimmed our cup, to know what the Lord Jesus Christ is a Brother born for adversity!
Live, then, upon this God of all grace. Remember, there is no limit to its extent– it is "ALL grace." Take your heart to God through Christ, and He will fill it with every blessing you ask, with every grace you need. Your sins, your needs, your trials, your temptations, your sorrows, can never exceed the "ALL grace" that dwells in God, and which Jesus waits to communicate. Go with an empty hand- go with the exhausted vessel- go with the often-told tale of grief- go with the old, old story of backsliding, and unworthiness, and need; only go to Jesus, and sink your vessel, be it large or small, in His fathomless ocean of grace, and you shall "find grace to help you in every time of need."
Listen to His cheering words; "My grace is sufficient for you." You are, perhaps, anticipating with fear the hour of death. It is, indeed, a solemn thing, even for a Christian, to die. But do not forget that our God is the God of all dying, as of all living grace. And that, when the hour is come for your departure out of this world to go unto the Father, the grace that was all-sufficient for the trials, and sorrows, and sins of life, will be all-sufficient for the demands and solemnities of death. Do not forget that Christ does not give us grace in hand for future difficulties, but reserves it for the time of its requirement, and that, when death comes to you, Jesus will come with it, and you shall not see death, but Jesus only. And then will be experienced the last and most solemn and precious fulfillment of His promise, "my grace is sufficient for you."
"Humble sinner, mourning soul,
Over whose bosom sorrows roll,
Tis for you the Savior says,
Mine is all-sufficient grace.
"Do you mourn an evil heart?
Or some cursed fiery dart?
Do not yield to slavish fear-
All-sufficient grace is near.
"Are you full of needs and woes?
Or does unbelief oppose?
Does Your Jesus hide His face?
Trust His all- sufficient grace.
"Can no care with your compare?
Do not yield to black despair
For the worst of Adam's race
Christ has all-sufficient grace."