Taken and adapted from, “Lessons at the Cross,”
Written by, Samuel Hopkins.
Edited for thought and sense
The Grace of God is the chief doctrine of the Gospel. It is the great light of the spiritual universe.
It is not Divine Love simply; but Divine Love going out beyond the abodes of holiness to find recipients for its gifts. It is Divine Love coming with overtures of blessing to the sinner. It is the union, or partnership of Love and Justice; in which both blend their glories and unite their influence to save.
That God can forbear, that he can pardon, that he can be gracious, –is our only hope.
It is a sufficient source of joy and peace; and of incomparable preciousness. Yet few so interweave themselves with the promises of grace as to attain to the stability and peace which they are designed to impart. Few so far divest themselves of unbelief as to appropriate that spiritual encouragement which grace affords. “All the promises of God in Christ are yea, and in him amen;” they are sure, boundless, free ; yet few partake of them without trembling and feed upon them without restraint. How seldom are doubts silenced, fears quelled, unbelief shamed, and the adversary foiled by the plea which David used, —”For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for –it is great.”
“Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection?” Are not the resources of Divine grace equal to the extent of human sinfulness? Are not the supplies of infinite fulness equal to the greatness of human necessity? ” Shall not He who spared not his own Son with him also freely give us all things?” Why, then, should our conception of his grace be diminutive? Why should we fear lest our measure of it be beyond the truth?
One principle upon which Divine grace proceeds is, that its own fullness, or sufficiency should be the most gloriously exhibited.
The display of God’s grace is not made in the announcement of what he might do, or of what he intends to do. The display of grace is made in the deed of grace. In proportion to the greatness of its deeds, is the exhibition of its fullness. If its glory shines bright and clear in the pardon of one transgression, how much more then it freely cancels sins without number and of the deepest dye. If, for the purpose of explaining the nature of his grace and its value, God forgives one iniquity, will he not much more and for the same purpose “O thou of little faith!” answer a penitential prayer for the forgiveness of a multitude of sins ? Will he not, -think you, -when the illustration of bis grace is the greater and the more glorious because of the very excess of sin? Indeed, if there is sin too great to be pardoned when pardon is humbly and earnestly sought; if there is a blessing so great that it must be refused, though humbly craved ; if a sinner suing for mercy must perish because he is so great a sinner; and if a needy suppliant must be denied because of the greatness of his prayer, -then what is meant by “the exceeding riches of God’s grace” which Paul so much extols? If these things are thus, what means Paul when he says, “-God hath quickened us …. that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace”? If these things are thus, is not grace so reduced in its measure, so circumscribed and trammelled in its operations, that it is palpably inadequate to its great object, -the showing forth of the boundlessness of God’s goodness ?
“For thy name’s sake,” says the Psalmist, “pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” He pleads the greatness of his sin as the true reason for its forgiveness. He pleads that the magnitude of sin affords the better opportunity for the more glorious display of grace; that the greater the act of pardon, the more honor to the name of God; and that the greater the sin, the greater the pardon.
In all our reflections upon the economy and principles of grace, we should always keep in view this grand truth, “that in the bestowment of pardon God always has an eye to the most glorious exhibition of his own excellence. Another principle which uniformly regulates all the operations of Divine grace is this,” that God herein seeks for the fullest exercise of his infinite benevolence.