The Doctrines of Grace Do Not Lead to Sin

NO. 1735

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
Romans 6:14, 15.

LAST Sabbath morning I tried to show that the substance and essence of the true gospel is the doctrine of God’s grace — that, in fact, if you take away the grace of God from the gospel you have extracted from it its very life-blood, and there is nothing left worth preaching, worth believing, or worth contending for. Grace is the soul of the gospel, without it the gospel is dead. Grace is the music of the gospel, without it the gospel is silent as to all comfort. I endeavored also to set forth the doctrine of grace in brief terms, teaching that God deals with sinful men upon the footing of pure mercy, finding them guilty and condemned, He gives free pardons, altogether irrespective of past character, or of any good works which may be foreseen. Moved only by pity, He devises a plan for their rescue from sin and its consequences—a plan in which grace is the leading feature. Out of free favor He has provided, in the death of His dear Son, an atonement by means of which His mercy can be justly bestowed. He accepts all those who place their trust in this atonement, selecting faith as the way of salvation, that it may be all of grace. In this He acts, from a motive found within Himself, and not because of any reason found in the sinner’s conduct, past, present, or future. I tried to show that this grace of God flows towards the sinner from of old, and begins its operations upon him when there is nothing good in him. It works in him that which is good and acceptable, and continues so to work in him till the deed of grace is complete, and the believer is received up into the glory for which he is made meet. Grace commences to save, and it perseveres till all is done. From first to last, from the “A” to the “Z” of the heavenly alphabet, everything in salvation is of grace and grace alone. All is of free favor, nothing of merit. “By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” “So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.”

No sooner is this doctrine set forth in a clear light than men begin to quibble at it. It is the target for all carnal logic to shoot at. Unrenewed minds never liked it, and they never will. It is too humbling to human pride, making so light of the nobility of human nature. That men are to be saved by divine charity, that they must as condemned criminals receive pardon by the exercise of the royal prerogative, or else perish in their sins, is a teaching which they cannot endure. God alone is exalted in the sovereignty of His mercy, and the sinner can do no better than meekly touch the silver scepter, and accept undeserved favor just because God wills to give it—this is not pleasant to the great minds of our philosophers, and the broad phylacteries of our moralists, and therefore they turn aside and fight against the empire of grace. Straightway the unrenewed man seeks out artillery with which to fight against the gospel of the grace of God, and one of the biggest guns he has ever brought to the front is the declaration that the doctrine of the grace of God must lead to licentiousness. If great sinners are freely saved, then men will more readily become great sinners, and if when God’s grace regenerates a man it abides with him, then men will infer that they may live as they like and yet be saved. This is the constantly repeated objection which I have heard till it wearies me with its vain and false noise. I am almost ashamed to have to refute so rotten an argument. They dare to assert that men will take license to be guilty because God is gracious, and they do not hesitate to say that if men are not to be saved by their works, they will come to the conclusion that their conduct is a matter of indifference, and that they may as well sin that grace may abound.

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