The Grace of God-Part One
The Wondrous Covenant
I have been reading a book by Charles Spurgeon. He was a preacher in the 1800's. The book is titled "God's Grace to You". The book was republished by Whitaker House in 1997. In the next few nuggets I am going to share some of the powerful concepts, along with my comments, that are in this book. If we truly understood God's grace, we would have more victories over sin and would not walk in condemnation. God (represented by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) really is on our side.
THE OLD COVENANT
Under the Old Covenant of the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was to live according to the law of God. A covenant of works. If they obeyed God's law they won His favor, if they disobeyed, they received his punishment. This covenant was between man and God. It was a covenant of doing right and being rewarded for it. The problem is it is a hopeless covenant for mankind. The Israelites failed, and we fail to keep all the laws and commandments of God. "...It is hopeless, therefore, to expect to win divine favor by anything that we can do or to merit divine blessing by way of reward." p8.
THE NEW COVENANT
The second, or new covenant was made between Jesus Christ (the second Adam), as the representative of man, and God the Father. "As far as Christ was concerned, the second covenant was quite as much a covenant of works as the first one was. The plan went something like this: Christ was to come into the world and perfectly obey the divine law. Inasmuch as the first Adam had broken the law, He was also to suffer the penalty of sin. If He would do both of these, then all whom He represented would be blessed in His blessedness and saved because of His merit. Do you see that, until our Lord lived and died on this earth, it was a covenant of works on His part? He had certain works to perform; upon condition of His performance, certain blessings would be given to us." p9.
The Good News is that Jesus kept the covenant. He lived perfectly and He paid the penalty of sin. So, the Second Covenant is no longer a covenant of works because Jesus has completed all the work. There is no work that we must do to fulfill the demands of the Second Covenant. So what remains to be fulfilled of the covenant? "On His part, God has solemnly pledged Himself to give undeserved favor to everyone whom Jesus represented on the cross. For all whom the Savior died, there are stored up bountiful blessings that will be given to them, not through their works, but as the sovereign gift of the grace of God, according to His covenant promise by which they are saved." "All the blessings that belong to the covenant of grace through the work of Christ will belong to every soul who believes in Jesus." p10.
PRIVILEGES OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE
Illuminating of our Minds
"He will come upon their minds and shed light instead of darkness, illuminating them as to what the will of God is". p11.
Write the law of God into our hearts
The Holy Spirit creates a love of God's will. We delight in what delights God, and abhor what God abhors. He puts a desire to love holiness and to follow after righteousness.
He will be our God
A Father, shepherd, friend, a solid rock to stand on, a hedge of protection, comforter, provider-everything we need. This "...encompasses all gracious titles, all blessed promises, and all divine privileges." "Every attribute of God belongs to His people who are in covenant with Him. All that God is or can be (and what is not included in that?); all that you can imagine; all that the angels have; all that heaven is; all that is in Christ, even the boundless fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9)ľall this belongs to you, if you are in covenant with God through Jesus Christ." p16.
THE WORK OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE
This marvelous covenant of grace for all who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior. "The work of the covenant of grace is not to wash the outside, not to cleanse the flesh, not to impose rites and ceremonies and the laying on of hands. Instead, it is to wash the inside, to purge the heart, to cleanse the inner being, to renew the soul. This is the only salvation that will ever enable a man to enter heaven" p22.
Jesus has completed the work. There is nothing for us to do, but to receive the promises that come with the New Covenant. Some would call this cheap grace. Jesus' obedience to the law of God and dying on the cross was not cheap. It costs Him everything. He gave His life to mankind that denied Him.
As can be seen in this study, grace is more than unmerited favor, it is the receiving all the blessings of God. If we are asking for true grace from God, we will receive the illumination of our minds, more of the law of God in our hearts, and all the promises of God. This will not cause us to want to sin more and walk in "cheap grace". It will do just the opposite. It will give us the ability to have victory over sin. Praise God for the New Covenant!
In the next nugget we will talk about "God in the Covenant".
Copyright @ 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NAS)