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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 45 - Romans 5:2 - The Grace, the Joy and the Glory Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


Let us note here—(1) The grace; (2) The introduction into it; (3) The abiding, or standing; (4) The rejoicing.

I. The grace.—It is here called "this grace,"—a well known, most suitable, and sufficient grace, or free love; the free love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is "the true grace of God"; free love in the heart of God to the ungodly, to the unloving and unloveable. This grace, or free love, is absolute and unconditional; considering not our deservings or qualifications, but simply our need. It looks at us not as good, but as evil; not as sensible, but insensible; not as penitent, but impenitent; not as good in any sense or degree, but as wholly evil. It is not created or awakened by our amendments, or good feelings, or love, or prayers, or regeneration. It regards us simply as sinners, ungodly, needing God's favor and help. It is this free love that begins, carries on, and consummates a sinner's deliverance. The knowledge of this divine free love is life eternal. Out of this fountain, ever full and flowing, there comes to us pardon, and joy, and health, and consolation, and light. He that knows that free love, knows that which saves him, and draws him into happy fellowship with God. He that knows it not, is still afar off; the child of darkness, and the worshipper of an unknown God. We can neither be happy nor holy till we know it. It is the good news of God's free love that we preach. This is "the ministry of the reconciliation"; this is our mission and commission, "to testify the gospel of the grace of God," and to tell that it is "by his mercy that he saves us"; to speak of "the exceeding riches of the grace of God."

II. The access, or introduction.—We do not create or awaken this free love by any goodness or qualification of our own. It exists independent of these. Nor did Christ, by His coming and death, create that love. This love existed before; it was this that sent Christ. "God so loved the world, that He gave his Son." Yet, without Christ, this hove could never have reached us. It would have been a distant and inaccessible well, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. It is through Him that this free love has found its way to us. He brings it to us, and us to it. He gives access, and entrance, and introduction; for the word implies all these, and is used elsewhere to signify the bringing or introducing one person to another (Luke 9:41; Acts 16:20); and is employed not simply in reference to the grace of God, but to God himself (1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:18, 3:12). Our outward or objective Introducer and introduction is Christ himself; our inward or subjective introduction and introducer is faith. Jesus brings us to time Father and the Father's grace, but He does so by producing faith in us. Without, or apart from Christ, the grace cannot come to us; and without faith, Christ and we are kept at a distance from each other. God has given us His true testimony, both as to His grace and as to His Son; and we, in believing that testimony, become connected with both. The grace is deposited in Christ for us; and we, in coming to Him, get the grace that is in Him. The grace that is in Him, He has received for men, even for the rebellious; and this was the grace which He manifested when here on earth, both in his words and deeds. He was the gracious One, and, as such, the representative of the Father. We go to Him to get His own and the Father's grace, the free love of Godhead.

III. The standing, or abiding.—In this grace, or free love, we have stood since we were introduced into it; and in it we are standing, and shall stand. "We stand in it!" This is a believing man's true position. He takes his stand on the free love of God. This raises him up and holds him up; keeps him from fainting, or falling, or sliding. This free love is to him—(1) abiding peace, (2) abiding strength, (3) abiding security. This free love is to him—(1) sunshine, (2) rain, (3) food, (4) water, (5) medicine, (6) wine. At this well he stands and drinks, in this sun he basks, to this storehouse he comes for everything. Have we used this free love as we ought? Are we using it constantly? Do we use it for strengthening our faith, for quickening our daily life, for increasing our holiness, for dispelling our doubts, for ministering consolation? In the constant recognition of this love, there is provision for a close walk with God, and for a useful, zealous life. Are we thus employing it? Are we using it pure and undiluted; love—true, free, unmingled, unmerited love? Or are we diluting it,—polluting it, by mingling something of our own with it; making it less pure, and heavenly, and generous ; less absolutely, and unconditionally, and entirely free? Let us remember how much our steadfastness and progress depend on our constant recognizing of, and living on, this free love. Apart from it, all is weakness, bondage, darkness, and instability. O free love of God, what a fountain of life and strength thou art to the weary, helpless sinner!

IV. The rejoicing.—This grace is not merely stability for us, but joy, and hope, and glory. Standing in this grace, we are filled with joy. This joy comes not merely from the past and present, but from the future; not merely from the knowledge that we are beloved of God, but from the knowledge of what that love is to do for us hereafter. We rejoice because our future is filled with hope,—the hope of the glory of God. Joy comes, then, from hope; hope from the God of love; hope sure and steadfast; hope that maketh not ashamed; everlasting hope. Glory is ours in prospect,—the glory of God; and so great is it, that we reckon that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed,—the "exceeding and eternal weight of glory." It is the glory of the new heavens and earth, the glory of resurrection, the glory of the kingdom, the very glory of Christ. And it is all ours, simply as those who have known and believed this free love of God. Hence the apostle's prayer, "The God of (the) hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing." Take these lessons:

1. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.—It is on this we plant our feet; it is this that makes us strong. This love is our strength.

2. Rejoice in the Lord.—Ours should be a full and constant gladness; for, both before and behind, we are compassed about with that which gladdens.

3. Abound in hope.—It is bright, blessed, and glorious. It is the hope of reigning with Christ. It will sustain and sanctify. It will animate and cheer. Thus do we glorify the God of hope.

4. Realize the glory. Keep the eye steadfastly fixed upon it, till its brightness fills our whole being.