AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith,
in agreement with the thrust of the PC of Australia Constitution 1901
August 28, September
THE PLACE OF GRACE
in the Old and the New Testaments
Grace is neither dictatorial nor dithering,
but direct and dynamic.
In this survey, it is good to look up verses noted, and
the lead being given, as also the perspective
and the place in the progress of divine grace for our race.
Maximise its profitability therefore, by studying
what the Bible says where the verses indicate,
and if details are needed on the way,
please use the hyperlinks provided below for this purpose.
THE WAY IT CAME
The Place of Grace has an enormous scope.
The divine grace was given
To make us what we are and can be - Genesis 1-3, Psalm 8.
To give us such scope toward heaven and earth - Genesis 3-4, as has enabled vast works for good and evil, to devastate and inspire, according as man thinks in his heart.
To give us immediate attention at the Fall, meaningful only because of the prior grant of grace.
Nothing makes sense without God, and freedom is no exception, nor is responsibility. That model is blocked at every turn. Once you understand God, however (Jeremiah 9:23-24), it is irresponsibility which does not make sense, and sedition which leaves the untended graveyards of mass-killer, man (cf. Revelation 6). The model from God answers problems in mind, covering all, and supplies answers for the heart as well (Isaiah 11:10).
To show to fallen man the immediate result of sin, at first given in type, but after the Fall, then in detail, both in rebuke and hope (Genesis 3:15, the protevangelion).
Thus it was the seed of the woman which was to be chosen for the arrival of the
power of God to overcome
This divine response included the testimony to wisdom and pride,
in the initial offerings of Cain and Abel, and the opportunity for Cain to escape
(Genesis 4:7) the caning he deserved, though he did not take this opportunity
(Genesis 4:8-14). If sin lay at the door, immediate repentance and grievous sorrow
and seeking for God was in place, but not found in grace. Instead, Cain slew Abel,
who had pleased God. Even then, he appeared pre-occupied with the nature of the
punishment, instead of acting at once, to seek more grace and place in pardon.
Such has been the way for
Dulness toward sin's cure is a major malady of man, the obverse of his delicious
freedom when walking with God. Instead, he digs deeper and then complains of the
lack of light. Ignoring the invisible is easy; avoiding the results is not. This godless gaffe
To grant the simplicity of spiritual example. Thus the third son of the
first pair, Seth, was the one "appointed" to replace fallen and cursed Cain, and from this line
came in the
seventh generation from the first pair, the blessed Enoch, who not only "walked with God," the most beautiful panorama on earth, since its flow is from heaven; but "God
It is this Enoch who prophesied
(Jude 14) that the Lord is coming to come
with ten thousands of His saints "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are
ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an
ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against
Him." While judgment is horrendous, justice is beautiful, since it shows the spiritual
power from above is not inactive, though in His patience the Lord is wonderful, having
left nothing undone.
Enoch made things clear in word and spirit. Christ brought
this to the uttermost
perspicuity. Instead, then as now, however, man often imperiously, sometimes
deliriously, digs deeper.
To cover the case majestically and magisterially at length, and this merely a prelude.
This came in the universal flood on the earth, so devastating and devastatingly attested in whole continents in amassed, broken, uprooted or displaced fossils beds, planation surfaces and waves of deposition, this last as shown in a matter of days at Mt St Helens towards the end of the last century, as if mimicking it on a small scale.
This flood too, as II Peter 3:5-6 points out, attested that just as earth was amid water in the early stages of creation, so it was flooded, overthrown in judgment. This fact, linked in turn to judgment still to come, was to be, as it now is, subject to suppression by scoffers, following the lusts of their own hearts. Such was Peter's prediction: abundantly fulfilled in our oewn generation!
Thus, these things were numbered amongst God's actions in the past and through Peter's prediction, this species of pseudo-scientific distortion, which is now current, was exposed for the future. We are not without warning. If Japan's recent case appals, that is minor by comparison, but it all portends ... The godless can stiffen the neck so often that there is no remedy (Proverbs 29:1).
To give confidence (Genesis 8:21, 9:11-12) and covenant with Noah, the rainbow a celestial result of divine action in creation, as supplemented in the flood and its results, coming and going in the heavens, as man comes and goes on this earth.
To disrupt the futile building of a tower, that of Babel, intended to probe or possess the heavens, again something with conspicuous modern parallel! This asinine aerobics, this architectural loftiness, God confronted directly, with a dynamic diversification of language, so that where man's majesty was being indulged by the proud humanism of the day, so he was stripped of having one language, and in rebuke for such godless purposes, confused and dispersed. Man can be marvellously and wilfully obtuse at WRONG WAY, GO BACK signs.
This is as in Genesis 11:1-8. The lesson not only has not been learned by this, our race, but it is being reflected back in increasing rebellion by haughty mankind, as he tries in endless unities of convenience, such as the fallen UN, to connive with himself, to oust God in the glamour of government. Australia, for example, goes this way at fervid pace (cf. 10).
So it was confirmed that like ants wanting to become bees because they like honey, you need to go to your source for your gifts! There is no place for self-trust, self-belief, a self-centred humanity living as of, by and for itself. "The lie" lies right there (Romans 1:17-19,25), thereby following on from the first lie shown in Genesis 3.
To engineer what is now called the Old Covenant, as in Genesis 12, 15, 17, 22, one with special coverage for the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob line, and general provision for this world.
Thus, in one of the descendants of this people, indeed of the woman, would come the blessing for all (Genesis 22:18), One able to assist as man, and enable fallen man to overcome both the vast power of the evil adversary and his own folly, Himself a direct Conqueror as God through woman's seed, to confront and crush the lofty tempter (Micah 7:18-19, Romans 7-8, Hebrews 2:14-18, I John 4:4) in his artful deceit.
This divine work, foretold from the first from Genesis 3:15, is shown selectively to the last through Shem, then his seed Noah, thence through Abraham, thence in Israel; and this, not only with the gift through it, of its Bethlehem child, deity in human form (Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 72, Isaiah 9-11), but sadly through its own patent fall (Isaiah 65:13-15). Thus, from One the blessing came, to One it went, singularised in just One, the Just One (Acts 3:14, Romans 5:16-18), through Him the gift by grace (Romans 5:15), Himself perfect and impervious, the only hope and unique remedy of grace, for man in his plight. It was God Himself who came to do it (Hosea 13:14, Ezekiel 34, Isaiah 48:12-19, Philippians 2).
Thus did Israel exhibit as a nation the divine prediction concerning its history as in Leviticus 26, and Deuteronomy 27-32, both to curse and to bless. For blessing came the seed of the coming New Covenant (Romans 4:16-25), singularised, in that "new thing in the earth", a woman encompassing a man (Jeremiah 31:22), in order that deity in the form of man, for man might prevail. Thus, Abraham, for his part, was found believing in God that what "He had promised, He was also able to perform."
As always, what He promised, He did.
As for the curse on Israel, gladly even this had its answer in divine grace (Romans 11:25ff.). Thus the blessing is wrought through faith; and as to that, Abraham believed that if necessary God could raise his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:19), though God vigorously removed all thought of slaying his son (Genesis 22:12-13), providing the sacrificial lamb, free and ready, entirely by His own means! So was he taught to look to the God of all grace for His place for the race, BY FAITH. Not yet had the lamb of God come; for He would be sent! (cf. John 1:29), when the time was ready (Galatians 4:4).
To show in this Old Covenant, the "exceedingly sinful" character of sin (Romans 7:13), just as to stress in the New Covenant, to demonstrate that where sin abounds, grace abounds the more! (Romans 5:20). Thus Isaiah 3:8-9 shows the showy shove of sin in spirit, deed and look.
This was also abundantly shown in the prophets, who foretold the Messiah and His death date and illustrated in such sacrifices of old, as that in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16-17), commemorating the paschal lamb of the Exodus day of divine deliverance, when each had to put the blood of the lamb on the door of his house, so that death might pass over them, and they should be spared. Thus Zechariah foretold the foundation stone to come, beyond all Old Covenant symbols, at which they would cry, "GRACE, GRACE!" - Zechariah 4:7; and Isaiah speaks of the foundation stone, precious and tried, that to come and now has come, where the faithful would find the very faithfulness of God (Isaiah 28:16). His rest is indeed glorious (Isaiah 11:10).
To manifest in Jesus Christ the features and functions of salvation, able to exterminate the judgment on sin and to institute the everlasting life which like mercy, smiles in the face of judgment (James 2:13), or triumphs over it; for He has already died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Thus faith in Him receives the eternal grant of this saving grace (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 1:11, Romans 5:1-17, I John 5:11-12, Hebrews 6:19, 9:12, 10:10-14).
With God, all acceptable relations are by faith; and without it, you CANNOT please Him (Hebrews 11:6), just as EXCEPT you forsake all that you have (sin, ambition, dream), you cannot be His disciple. God does not MIX His thoughts with those of man (Galatians 1, 3, 5, Proverbs 30:6), though He DID mix, without sin however, His format with that of man (Romans 5:1-5, 8:1-3, Hebrews 1:1- 2:3), in sending His eternal Word to be born of a virgin (Matthew 1), to bear, but not to bear with, the follies of man, This grace is applied WHEN and only when faith works, and these, being yielded up, are freely received by God and so freely resolved (Romans 5:15, Ephesians 2:1-8, 1:11).
The divine foreknowledge concerning man does not remove WHAT it is that He knows about each one of us, and there is no room for presumption with God (Psalm 8); nor yet is there loss of any of His redeemed (Romans 9:29ff., John 10:9,27-28). God is clear, sure and effectual. Sin killed; but THROUGH Christ TO faith came the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17).
Rejoice then in His grace that requires neither performance nor punishment as the WAY to be saved eternally (John 5:24, I John 5:11-12, Ephesians 2:1-12), but DOES require repentance and that trusting reception of His redemption, reality and gift, of which the prophets spoke (Isaiah 66:2, Psalm 32, 51:17).
Next week, DV, we proceed to the other phases of grace, to the days of the Lord, the last days and their phases, and THE LAST DAY! For some, this is the last day of false hope, for others the last day of struggle; for here is the end of such pathways of divine grace, when it reaches the final place amid all grace for life in eternity, or despatched, for judgment.