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The Biblical Concept of Grace

To arrive at an accurate conception of the operation of the will of God, we cannot proceed from the meaning of the wordĀ graceĀ in our everyday usage of the term, nor even from its usage in Holy Scripture. We must study speciļ¬c terms and the use of words, but it must be done with great care. We always run into the danger of arguing from something in man to what is in God. That is the re- verse order. We must work theologically. God Himself determines the character of His will, grace, love, hate, wrath, and so forth. But it is also true that we know nothing deļ¬nite about God apart from Godā€™s revelation in Scripture. And so we must have a clearly deļ¬ned idea of God and the operation of His will, which we get from Godā€™s self-revelation, before we say anything at all. Such submission to the same Word of Godā€™s revelation must also be present when we consider election by His grace, and the accompanying reprobation of His wrath, because both are the operation of His eternal will.

Preaching Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins (5): Forgiveness and Justification Distinguished

One of the problems with an emphasis upon eternal justification is that justification by faith becomes simply a realization that we were always justified, not an actual point in time when our legal status changed and we were declared righteous. This leads to the extreme view that we were always saved, never lost, which would be news to a man like Zacchaeus: ā€œThis day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham: for the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lostā€ (Luke 19:9-10).

Preaching Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins (4): Forgiveness of Sins

In the minds of some, forgiveness of sins is the same thing as justification by faith alone and, since we are justified by faith alone without works (and the same people often define repentance as a work), to connect the forgiveness of sins in any way with repentance jeopardizes the truth of justification by faith alone. Therefore, with due deference to the fundamental truth of justification by faith alone we proceed carefully.

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