The Grace of Christ, or,
Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness
William S. Plumer, 1853
"We believe it is through the grace of our
Lord Jesus that we are saved." Acts 15:11
An Offer of Life Made to the Perishing.
The end of ploughing and sowing is the harvest. The end
of trial is reward. The end of this discussion should be salvation.
Respected reader, will you not flee from the wrath to come, and lay hold on
eternal life? Do you need assurance of a cordial reception from Christ? The
Scriptures give it in every variety of form. They utter no uncertain sound.
Listen to their voice.
By Moses God says: "Oh that they were wise, that
they understood this, that they would consider their latter end." Deut.
Moses was hardly dead when by Joshua, God
called again: "Fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in truth." Josh.
By that great prophet Elijah he expostulates thus:
"How long will you halt between two opinions? If the Lord is God follow him,
but if Baal, then follow him." 1 Kings 17:21.
By David he calls us saying: "Kiss the Son, lest
he be angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a
little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him." Psalm 2:12.
By David's son, Solomon, God again promises his
love, saying: "Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the
public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the
gateways of the city she makes her speech: "How long will you simple ones
love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools
hate knowledge? If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out
my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you." Proverbs 1:20-23.
By Isaiah, animated with the brightest hopes and
the most cheering truths, he says: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to
the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and
milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what
is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and
come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting
covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. Isaiah 55:1-3.
By the tenderhearted, weeping Jeremiah, God
says: "I will yet plead with you, and with your children's children will I
plead." "Will you not from this time cry unto me—My Father, you are the
guide of my youth?" Jer. 2:9, and 3:4.
By the majestic and vehement Ezekiel, Jehovah
swears: "As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of
the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his wicked way and live; turn,
turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?" Ezek.
By Hosea God lovingly says: "I will betroth you
unto me forever; yes, I will betroth you unto me in righteousness, and in
judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth you
unto me in faithfulness. O Israel, you have destroyed yourself, but in me is
your help." Hos. 2:19, 20, and 13:9.
By Zechariah God. proclaims his grace, saying,
"Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope!
I promise this very day that I will repay you two mercies for each of your
woes!" Zech. 9:12.
When Jesus Christ came he cried; "Come to me, all
of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you
will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I
give you is light." Matthew 11:28-30, John 6:37, and 7:37.
And blessed Paul says, that "For God was in
Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins
against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.
We are Christ's ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge
you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, "Be reconciled to
God!" 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.
And as if all these forms of speech were not enough, our
Lord after his ascension to heaven spoke words of the kindest invitation,
which are recorded in the very last book of Scripture. Hear them: "Behold, I
stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I
will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." "I Jesus have
sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. The Spirit
and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that
is athirst come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
Rev. 3:20, 22, 16:17.
Indeed the whole tenor of the Savior's call is, "Repent
and believe the gospel." Mark 1:15. "This is his commandment: That we should
believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 3:23. "He who believes
on the Son has everlasting life: and he who believes not the Son, shall not
see life; but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36. These divine
sentences are presented in one unbroken connection that you may see how rich
is the variety of forms, in which perishing sinners are called to light and
life. They are commanded, invited, besought, warned, threatened, wooed by
promises, allured by kindnesses, and pointed to the coming wrath—and all for
the purpose of bringing them to Christ. There has been much said about the
warrant for believing in Christ. But sinners need no warrant for their faith
beyond what God's word has given.
Traill says: "This is the call of the gospel, he who
dares trust Christ with his soul upon the warrant of the gospel shall be
saved forever. The Lord tries people this way. We have no more to do but to
take pen in hand, and say, Amen, O Lord: it is a good bargain and a true
word, and I will trust my soul on it." No man requires any other authority
than that of his Maker for doing anything. What was Abraham's authority for
offering up Isaac? The command of God and nothing else. We have the same
command for believing in the Lord Jesus. What warrant has any man for going
to an entertainment? If he has the invitation of him, who makes the feast,
that is enough. It is folly to seek any other. Well, God says, "Come, for
all things are now ready." When a wife beseeches her husband not to herd
with the worthless and drunken, can he be at any loss to know what conduct
will please her? When a government connects the heaviest penalties with a
course of behavior—do we need any other helps to know its will?
Now God has heaped offer upon offer. He has pledged his
word before the universe. He has bound himself by his oath. He is the God of
truth and cannot lie. Yes, he spared not his own Son, but delivered him up
for us all. That Son has suffered all and done all that was necessary for
our complete restoration; and the Spirit of Christ has gone forth calling
men to repentance. Messengers, who themselves were once condemned and
afterwards obtained mercy without any merit of their own, have been sent
abroad all over the earth, and commanded to make an urgent and
indiscriminate offer of grace to all the rebellious, who will throw down
their weapons, and receive a pardon bought with blood.
Many millions of our race have sought and found
salvation. Indeed from the days of our first parents to this hour, there has
been a long line of sinners redeemed and saved by the blood of Jesus and the
grace of God; Each one of these is a monument of the rich, free, saving
mercy of Jehovah. Each one testifies how freely Jesus will forgive. Does any
one wish to know how God will treat returning, penitent sinners? Let him
behold the loving-kindness of the Lord to the thousands and ten thousands of
his murderers in Jerusalem, who soon after his ascension to glory sought and
obtained full pardon. Not one of all our race has ever been recovered from
the ruins of the apostasy, who does not stand to tell how rich are the drops
of atoning blood, how ample is the robe of Christ's righteousness, how kind
is the Father of mercies, how loving is the Holy Spirit, how free and
abundant is the grace of God. Authority for laying hold of salvation is
found in every call, command and exhortation to turn and live. Come, come to
Jesus Christ! Come all! Come now!
With John Brown of Whitburn we boldly say that "the
vilest of men have, just the same right to Christ and his merits, as the
best of men; a right founded not in their awakened desires, nor on anything
in themselves, but purely, solely, entirely on the free grace of the Savior.
We are all sinners, though in a greater or less degree; and we all flee to
Christ, not as deserving, but as guilty creatures." The Lord justifies the
ungodly, who believe in Jesus. O come to Christ before it is too late, lest
like the Emperor Adrian when dying you should exclaim: 'O my poor wandering
soul! alas! where are you going? where must you lodge this night? You shall
never jest any more, never be merry any more."
Will you believe? Will you be saved by Jesus Christ? WILL
"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the
eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great
Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will,
and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom
be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21