Rev. Langerak is pastor of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Simply amazing, grace is. More glorious than the sun (Ps. 36:9), but few can see it (John 9:39). Exceedingly precious, but free (Eph. 2:7;Rom. 5:15). A gift; you cannot buy it (Rom. 5:15;Acts 8:20). More valuable than gold, but unwanted until received (Prov. 22:1; John 4:10). If you work for grace, you cannot have it; but without grace, you cannot work (Rom. 11:6; II Cor. 9:8). Most abundant, yet uncommon (II Cor. 4:15; Ex. 33:19). Gentle, yet irresistible (Acts. 4:33). It makes the dead alive, the weak strong, the blind see, the ugly beautiful, and the humble glorious.
How fitting the final Word from God in Scripture is, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen.” Grace is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). For everyone?—elect and reprobate, them that are saved and them that perish? God forbid! Show one Word from God that says so—it can’t be done. He will be gracious to whom He will be gracious (Ex. 33:19). And He is gracious to His elect (I Pet. 1:2). He bestows grace upon His church (II Cor. 8:1). He gives it to the least, the lowly and humble (Eph. 3:8; Prov. 3:34;Jam. 4:6), to all them that love Jesus Christ (Eph. 6:24). It was Noah, Abraham, Moses, Israel, Gideon, and Mary who found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Grace is not in things—it is an attitude of God toward someone in His covenant. Grace is God’s covenantal kindness (Eph. 2:7). It is to have His face shine upon you, full of compassion, slow to anger, of great mercy, ever mindful of His covenant (Num. 6:25; Ps. 145:8; Ps. 111:4-5). It is to be the friend of the king (Prov. 22:11). God is gracious to His friends, because of His covenant promise (II Kings 13:23). Grace makes sure the covenant promise that He will be their God and they shall be His people (Rom. 4:16; Jer. 31:1-2). Thus, by grace are we saved, and a remnant left to escape—the remnant according to the election of grace (Eph. 2:8; II Kings 13:23; Rom. 11:5). By grace we are accepted in the beloved, have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:6-7). By grace we are called, justified freely, and made heirs of eternal life (Gal. 1:15; Rom. 3:24; Tit. 3:7). Grace gives everlasting consolation and good hope (II Thes. 2:16). And grace makes us abound to every good work (II Cor. 9:8). By grace we speak, live in the world, labor abundantly, and serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear (Rom. 12:3; II Cor. 1:12; I Cor. 15:10; Heb. 12:28). By the grace of God, I am what I am (I Cor. 15:10)!
How could grace be for everyone? Grace comes not by rain and sunshine, but by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). It is His grace (Rom. 16:20). He is the God of all grace and the man through whom this gift abounds to many (I Pet. 5:10; Rom. 5:15). He is full of grace (John 1:14). It is poured into His lips so He is blessed forever (Ps. 45:2). And this grace proceeds from His mouth (Luke 4:22). This fullness we receive—grace for grace (John 1:16), even before the world began (II Tim. 1:9), and now to each of us according to the measure of Christ (Eph. 4:7).
The great blessing is, “Grace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:2). No real need to add “by the operation of the Holy Spirit,” for to receive grace is to receive the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of grace, who proceeds from both Father and Son (Heb. 10:29; Zec. 12:10). Thus, when the Spirit was poured out upon the church, great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:33). No wonder the church defends so vigorously the character of grace! It contends not about mere words—common or particular, hopelessly weak or comfortingly powerful—but the very nature of God the Spirit. No wonder grace is what it is! Irresistible—the sufficient strength of Christ and effectual working of His power (II Cor. 12:9; Eph. 3:7); God’s blessing—multiplied by knowledge of Jesus through means of the gospel of grace (II Pet. 1:2; II Cor. 8:19), and by coming boldly before His throne to ask for this Holy Spirit (Heb. 4:16; L.D. 45). No wonder it is so glorious, precious, beautiful, amazing, the gift of God—the unspeakable gift (II Cor. 9:15)! It really can only be experienced. What is grace? This—that God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14); that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, and that through His poverty we became rich (II Cor. 8:9); that being found in fashion as a man, He became obedient unto the death of the cross (Phil. 2:8). Grace, that saved a wretch like me (Rom. 7:24).