For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

-- 1 Corinthians 4:7


The only difference between the believer and the unbeliever, between the righteous and the wicked, between the seed of Christ and the seed of the serpent, is the difference which grace has made. This we must acknowledge. "By the grace of God I am what I am!" All believers gladly make that acknowledgement. God's grace is always particular, distinctive, and distinguishing. Those who are saved are distinguished from those who are lost by five acts of grace.

Eternal Election

The first distinguishing act of God's grace is his eternal election. If you can, with the eye of faith, trace every spiritual blessing that you now enjoy, and those which you hope to enjoy, back to the place of their original source, the place of their origin would be spelled "E L E C T I O N" (Eph. 1:3-4; 2 Thess. 2:13; Jer. 1:4; 31:3). Thank God for his free, electing love!

Effectual Redemption

The second act of grace by which God has distinguished his elect from the rest of mankind is effectual redemption. By his precious blood, poured out unto death upon the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ has effectually ransomed God's elect from the hands of divine justice, by satisfying the claims of justice against us (Isa. 53:8-11; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:12). Christ hath redeemed us. Let the redeemed of the Lord rejoice!

Adorable Providence

The third act of grace by which the Lord God has distinguished his own elect from the rest of the world is his adorable providence. Our God governs all the affairs of this world. Specifically, he has governed all the affairs and circumstances of our lives to bring us to the place where we now are, and ultimately to eternal glory in Christ (Matt. 10:29-31; Rom. 8:28). Thank God for his wise, unerring, adorable providence!

Divine Regeneration

The fourth act of grace by which we are distinguished from all other men is God's sovereign work of regeneration. The only thing that makes you different from any other being on this planet, if you are born again, is the fact that God has saved you. He gave you life and faith in Christ by the irresistible power of his Spirit (Eph. 2:1-10). Give praise to God the Holy Spirit for the blessed gift of divine regeneration.

Merciful Preservation

The fifth act of grace by which God distinguishes his elect from the unbelieving is his merciful preservation. The only thing that keeps us in grace is grace itself. The only thing that holds us to Christ is Christ himself (Jer. 32:38-40). Thanks be unto our God, the holy, triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit for distinguishing grace! Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. Amen.