GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #405
OUR STANDING BEFORE GOD IS NOT
BASED UPON WHAT WE DESERVE
Pastor Don Fortner
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road
Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
The Apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that our standing before God is not based upon what we deserve. He stresses this fact over and over. In Romans 5:8-10 he says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Paul’s argument is this: Since God saved us and gave us spiritual life in Christ by his sovereign grace “when we were enemies”, he will surely keep us in salvation by that same sovereign grace. He who has done the greater will surely do the lesser. In Hebrews, Paul assures us that it is impossible for one of God’s elect to be lost, because Christ is both “the Author and the Finisher of our faith.” My friends, the whole course of our salvation is divinely planned and divinely guided. Our salvation is not according to our merits in its commencement, in its continuance, or in its consummation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The sovereign love and unmerited grace of God is the cause of our salvation. Since his love and grace is unchangeable, the effect of it must be unchangeable. That is to say, God constantly communicates his love and grace to every believer. Once his love is revealed and his grace bestowed upon the heart, he never takes it away: “for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” God was not moved to bestow his grace upon us by anything which he saw meritorious or attractive in us. And the absence of everything good in us will not cause God to withdraw the grace he has bestowed. When he first bestowed grace upon us, the Lord knew that we were totally depraved and sinful. He knew that we were full of evil and void of good. And though, since our conversion, we have all been guilty of ingratitude, unfaithfulness, and sin of every kind, these things do not provoke the Lord our God to change his mind and withdraw his sustaining grace. He knew what we would be before he saved us. He chastens us because of our sin, like the loving Father he is; but he never withdraws his love. If he had not intended, from the beginning, to bear with our sin in longsuffering and patience and to forgive our sin for Christ’s sake, he would never have saved us and called us in the first place.
This is what I am saying - The cause of our salvation is entirely in God. His electing love, redeeming grace, and saving power were given to us by an act of his sovereign goodness, without any consideration of what we were or might become. There was nothing in us to attract his grace. And there is nothing in any true believer’s heart or conduct which can ever cause the Lord our God to alter his purpose of grace and withdraw his love from us. This is what God himself says about the matter - “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord my Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee” (Isa. 54:7-10). Amen.