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Prevenient Grace

Psalm 21:5


Preachers do not talk about it much anymore, because preachers, for the most part, know nothing about the grace of God; but a common theme of meditation and preaching in earlier times was GodŐs prevenient grace.

Prevenient grace is the secret operation of grace that precedes and prepares the way for GodŐs saving grace. Prevenient grace is illustrated in many ways in the Word of God. I will call your attention to just three aspects of it.


  1. Prevenient grace is formative grace (Galatians 1:15; Jeremiah 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15). It is the grace of God that forms and molds our lives, preparing us as vessels of mercy to receive GodŐs salvation, and preparing us to serve our Savior in the way he has appointed for us.
  2. Prevenient grace is restraining grace (1 Samuel 25:13-26; Genesis 20:6), the grace by which the Lord God restrains us from doing all the evil we are capable of doing, and ready to do, did he not restrain us.
  3. Prevenient grace is overruling grace (Philemon 15), the secret work of GodŐs grace by which he overrules evil for good, by which he overrules the evil we do for our spiritual and everlasting good (Hosea 2:8; Psalm 76:10).


How I rejoice and give thanks to God for his free Covenant Grace and for his secret Prevenient Grace. It is this prevenient grace that keeps and preserves his elect throughout their days of rebellion unto the day of their calling (Jude 1). Prevenient grace gives the angels their charge (Hebrews 1:14).







Don Fortner








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