Grace is love that stoops.
Christ has remedied the curse and gifted his holiness for one and for all.
I continually find myself impacted and influenced by “old dead wise guys,” as I’ve come to call them. Writers and thinkers, pastors and theologians from centuries gone by seems to speak the truth of God more fully, more applicably to our own day than most of my contemporaries. I cannot say why that is, I just know that it is so. There’s an earnestness in the works of old that is scarcely found now. And that, I think, is most detrimental to our faith. We who are possessed by, and are in possession of, the truth ought to be of all people most convinced of what we believe. We need not be afraid our “sound doctrine,” and neither should we be timid in its proclamation. For instance, take the following excerpt from a sermon entitled, “Grace, Mercy, and Peace,” by Rev. Alexander Maclaren, in which he erupts into exultant praise of the “Scriptural idea of grace”:
The Scriptural idea of grace is love that stoops, and that pardons, and that communicates . . . The very foundation and notion of the word ‘grace’ is a free, undeserved, unsolicited, self-prompted, and altogether gratuitous bestowment, a love that is its own reason, as indeed the whole of the Divine acts are, just as we say of Him that He draws His being from himself, so the whole motive for His action and the whole reason for His heart of tenderness to us lies in Himself. We have no power. We love one another because we apprehend something deserving of love, or fancy that we do. We love one another because there is something in the object on which our love falls; which, either by kindred or by character, or by visible form, draws it out. We are influenced so, and love a thing because the thing or the person is perceived by us as being worthy, for some reason or other, of the love. God loves because He cannot help it; God loves because He is God. Our love is drawn out — I was going to say pumped out — by an application of external causes. God’s love is like an artesian well, whensoever you strike, up comes, self-impelled, gushing into light because there is such a central store of it beneath everything, the bright and flashing waters. Grace is love that is not drawn out, but that bursts out, self-originated, undeserved. ‘Not for your sakes, be it known unto you, O house of Israel, but for Mine own name’s sake, do I this.’ The grace of God is above that, come spontaneously, driven by its own fulness, and welling up unasked, unprompted, undeserved, and therefore never to be turned away by our evil, never to be wearied by our indifference, never to be brushed aside by our negligence, never to be provoked by our transgression, the fixed, eternal, unalterable centre of the Divine nature. His love is grace. (17:1.49–50)
There is conviction and beauty in those words. You and I, if we believe in the words and works of Christ Jesus the Lord, are the beneficiaries of this stooping love. The church of God, though still filled with weak and wretched sinners, finds itself in the business of tendering these precise tidings — namely, that God has redeemed all such weak and wretched sinners by an “unasked, unprompted, undeserved” love. He, of is his own accord, has remedied the curse and gifted his holiness for one and all who come to him in repentant faith. “‘The grace of our Father,’” Maclaren continues in the same discourse, “is a love to which sin-convinced consciences may certainly appeal; a love to which all sin-tyrannised souls may turn for emancipation and deliverance” (17:1.50). May we be resolved to stand in such grace (Rom. 5:1–5), heartily praising the Father for such an abundant flow and happily pointing others to its source: the very blood of Christ.
Grace, mercy, and peace be with you today, friends.
Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, Vols. 1–17 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1944).
I found your article on 1517, so I decided to check out your blog. I was quite surprised to see a pastor from a previous church (SBC) I attended writing for 1517. I needed to be reminded of God's grace, and 1517 is a good place to find it. Thank you for the good reminders today. Please tell Nathan I said hello. -Marcy Stump