Sovereign Grace-Its Source, Its Nature and Its Effects by Dwight Lyman Moody.
DL Moody was another prominent grace pioneers of the 19th Century. The below write-up gives specific excerpts from one of his books on grace, but to compare word-by-word what D L Moody and Joseph Prince have spoken similarly on Grace- read: LINK
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“By the grace of God I am what I am!” This is the believer’s eternal confession. Grace found him a rebel—it leaves him a son. Grace found him wandering at the gates of hell—it leads him through the gates of heaven. Grace devised the scheme of Redemption: Justice never would; Reason never could. And it is grace which carries out that scheme. No sinner would ever have sought his God but ‘by grace.’ The thickets of Eden would have proved Adam’s grave, had not grace called him out. Saul would have lived and died the haughty self-righteous persecutor had not grace laid him low. The thief would have continued breathing out his blasphemies, had not grace arrested his tongue and tuned it for glory.
[Oh, let us seek to realize our continual dependence on this grace every moment! ‘More grace! more grace!’ should be our continual cry. But the infinite supply is commensurate with the infinite need. The treasury of grace, though always emptying is always full: the key of prayer which opens it is always at hand: and the almighty Almoner of the blessings of grace is always waiting to the gracious. The recorded promise never can be canceled or reversed—’My grace is sufficient for thee.’]
SAVED BY GRACE ALONE. I WANT to call your special attention to the fact that we are saved by grace alone, not by works and grace. A great many people think that they can be saved by works. Others think that salvation may be attained by works and grace together. They need to have their eyes opened to see that the gift of God is free and apart from works. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Many people would put it thus: “For by your works are ye saved,—or by your tears, or your prayers, or your fastings, or your trials, or your good resolutions, or your money!” But Paul tells us plainly that it is “not of works, lest any man should boast.” If we could be saved by works, then of course Christ’s mission to this world was a mistake. There was no need for Him to come.
I find some people have accused me of teaching heresy, because I say salvation is all of grace. I remember once, a clergyman said I was teaching false doctrine because I said salvation was all of grace. He said that works had as much to do with our salvation as grace. At that time I had never read the Thirty-Nine Articles; if I had I should have been ready to meet him. I got the Prayer Book, and looked through the Thirty-Nine Articles; and I found, to my amazement, that they put it a good deal stronger than I had done. Let us hear what they say— “XI. Of the Justification of Man. We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.” “XII. Of Good Works. Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.” “XIII. Of Works Before Justification. Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of His Spirit, are not pleasant to God; forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the school-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.” That is stronger than I ever put it. These Articles say of works before justification that “they have the nature of sin.” I never called them sin!
So you see this is not any new doctrine that we are preaching. When the church and the world wake up to the fact that works before salvation go for nought, then—and not till then, I believe—men will come flocking into the kingdom of God by hundreds. We work from the cross, not to it. WE work because we are saved, not in order to be saved. We work from salvation, not up to it. Salvation is the gift of God.
now hear paul; “Abraham believed God; and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Notice what the Apostle says: “To him that worketh not.” That is plain language, is it not? I may perhaps startle some of you by saying that many of you have been kept out of the kingdom of God by your good works. Nevertheless it is true. If you put works in the place of faith, they become a snare to you. It is “to him that worketh not, but believeth.” I freely admit salvation is worth working for; it is worth a man’s going round the world on his hands and knees, climbing its mountains, crossing its valleys, swimming its rivers, going through all manner of hardship in order to attain it. But we do not get it in that way.
An old man got up in one of our meetings and said, “I have been forty-two years learning three things.” I pricked up my ears at that; I thought that if I could find out in about three minutes what a man had taken forty-two years to learn, I should like to do it. The first thing he said he had learned was that he could do nothing towards his own salvation. “Well,” said I to myself, “that is worth learning.” The second thing he had found out was that God did not require him to do anything. Well, that was worth finding out too. And the third thing was that the Lord Jesus Christ had done it all, that salvation was finished, and that all he had to do was to take it. Dear friends, let us learn this lesson; let us give up our struggling and striving, and accept salvation at once.
Do you think that Christ would have come down from heaven, would have gone to Gethsemane and to Golgotha, would have suffered as He did, if man could have worked his way up to heaven?—if he could have merited salvation by his own efforts? I think if you give five minutes’ consideration to this question you will see, that if man could have saved himself Christ need not have suffered at all.
Paul is here writing to the Christians at Philippi. They were already saved by the grace of God. Now that they had got this wonderful gift, he says: “Go, work it out.” When you see a person working for salvation, you may know that he has got a false idea of the teaching of the Scripture. We have salvation as a gift; and of course we cannot get it by working for it. It is our appreciation of this gift that makes us work.
Salvation is of God—of grace—of free grace. From the germ to the fruit, from foundation to top-stone—it is of grace, free grace, altogether and only. But the ‘working out of salvation’—is man’s part in the work of salvation. God will not repent for the man; nor believe for the man; nor lead a holy life for the man. God worketh inwardly—man worketh outwardly. And this outward human work is as necessary as the inward Divine work.” God works in us; and then we work for Him. If He has done a work in us, we certainly ought to go and work for others. A man must have this salvation, and must know it, before he can work for the salvation of others.
I want to ask you this question: If sin needs forgiveness—and all sin is against God—how can you work out your own forgiveness?
The religion of Christ is not man working his way up to God; it is God coming down to man. It is Christ coming down to the pit of sin and woe where we are, bringing us out of the pit, putting our feet upon a rock, and a new song in our mouth.
You can divide the human family to-day into two classes—pharisees and publicans. There are those who are poor in spirit: the dew of God’s grace will fall upon them. There are others who are drawing around them the rags of their self-righteousness: they will always go away without the blessing of God.
“there are many Christians who are satisfied to live on crumbs, when God wants to give them the whole joint.”
The Jews could not understand grace; so they thought Christ would grant the request of this man, because he was worthy. “Why,” they said, “he hath built us a synagogue!” It is the same old story that we hear to-day. Let a man give a few thousand dollars to build a church and he must have the best pew; “he is worthy.” Perhaps he made his money by selling or making strong drink; but he has put the Church under an obligation by this gift of money, and he is considered “worthy.” The same spirit was at work in the days of Christ.
God is waiting to cover all your sins today; He has a long and a strong arm that can reach down to the darkest, vilest, deepest depths of sin. He will lift you up on a rock, and put a new song into your mouth. Will you let him do it?
“What is the use of your asking that God would deal in grace with you, if you are not willing to receive it; or if you do not believe that He gives it to you?”
I pity those people who are all the time looking to see what they will have to give up. God wants to bestow His marvelous grace on His people; and there is not a soul who has believed on Jesus, for whom God has not abundance of grace in store.
The river of God’s grace flows on without ceasing; why should we not partake of it, and go on our way rejoicing?
“This Man receiveth sinners.” Come to Him to-day, and He will receive you: His marvelous, sovereign grace will cover and put away all your sins.
I am so thankful we have a Gospel that we can carry into the home of the drunkard, and tell him that Christ will save him. That is the very thing He came to do.
LAW AND GRACE. I N his Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Moses was the representative of the law. You remember that he led the children of Israel through the wilderness, and brought them to Jordan; but there he left them. He could take them up to the river, which is a type of death and judgment; but Joshua (which means Jesus—Saviour) led them right through death and judgment—through the Jordan into the Promised Land. Here we have the difference between Law and Grace; between the Law and the Gospel.
Take another illustration. John the Baptist was the last prophet of the old dispensation—the last prophet under the law. You remember that before Christ made His appearance at the Jordan, the cry of John, day by day was, “Repent: for the kingdom of God is at hand!” He thundered out the law. He took his hearers down to the Jordan and baptized them. He put them in the place of death; and that was as far as he could take them. But there was One coming after him who could take them into the Promised Land. As Joshua led the people through the Jordan into Canaan,—so Christ went down into the Jordan of death, through death and judgment, on to resurrection ground. If you run all through Scripture you will find that the law brings to death. “Sin reigned unto death.”
And that is what the law of God does to the sinner; it brings him right to death, and leaves him there. I pity deep down in my heart those who are trying to save themselves by the law. It never has; it never will; and it never can—save the soul. When people say they are going to try and do their best, and so save themselves by the law, I like to take them on their own ground. Have they, ever done their very best? granting that there might be a chance for them if they had, was there ever a time when they could not have done a little better? If a man wants to do his best, let him accept the grace of God; that is the best thing that any man or woman can possibly do.
But you will ask, What is the law given for? It may sound rather strange, but it is given that it may stop every man’s mouth. “We know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The law shuts my mouth; grace opens it. The law locks up my heart; grace opens it—and then the fountain of love begins to flow out. When men get their eyes opened to see this glorious truth, they will cease their constant struggle. They will give up trying to work their way into the kingdom of God by the deeds of the law. They will give themselves up for lost, and take salvation as a free gift. Life never came through the law. As some one has observed: When the law was given, three thousand men lost life; but when grace and truth came at Pentecost, three thousand obtained life. Under the law, if a man became a drunkard the magistrates would take him out and stone him to death. When the prodigal came home, grace met him and embraced him. Law says, Stone him!—grace says, Embrace him! Law says, Smite him!—grace says, Kiss him! Law went after him, and bound him; grace said, loose him and let him go! Law tells me how crooked I am; grace comes and makes me straight.
I pity those who are always hanging around Sinai, hoping to get life there. I have an old friend in Chicago who is always lingering at Sinai. He is a very good man; but I think he will have a different story to tell when he gets home to heaven. He thinks I preach free grace too much; and I must confess I do like to speak of the free grace of God. This friend of mine feels as though he has a kind of mission to follow me; and whenever he gets a chance he comes in with the thunders of Sinai. I never yet met him but he was thundering away from Horeb. The last time I was in Chicago, I said to him, “Are you still lingering around Sinai?” “Yes,” said he, “I believe in the law.” I have made inquiries, and I never heard of any one being converted under his preaching: the effects have always dwindled and died out. If the law is the door to heaven, there is no hope for any of us. A perfect God can only have a perfect standard. He that offends in one point is guilty of all: so “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Paul says to the Galatians: “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.”
THE SOFTENING POWER OF GRACE.
So we see that the law cannot give life; all it can do is to bring us to Him who is the life. The law is said to be “a schoolmaster.”
That was the difference between law and grace. Christ says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” He takes us out from under the law, and puts us under grace. Grace will break the hardest heart. It was the love of God that prompted Him to send His only-begotten Son into the world that He might save it. I suppose the thief had gone through his trial unsoftened. Probably the law had hardened his heart. But on the cross no doubt that touching prayer of the Saviour, “Father, forgive them!” broke his heart, so that he cried, “Lord, remember me!” He was brought to ask for mercy. I believe there is no man so far gone but the grace of God will melt his heart.
PEACE, GRACE AND GLORY.
So there is a great deal of difference between law and grace. “Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” There are three precious things here: peace for the past; grace for the present; and glory for the future. There is no peace until we see the finished work of Jesus Christ—until we can look back and see the Cross of Christ between us and our sins. When we see that Jesus was “the end of the law for righteousness;” that He “tasted death for every man;” that He “suffered the Just for the unjust”—then comes peace. Then there is “the grace wherein we now stand.” There is plenty of grace for us as we need it day by day, and hour by hour.
If we will but come to the throne of grace, we shall have strength to bear all our troubles and trials.
the contrast between law and grace:
The Law was given by Moses. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
The Law says—This do, and thou shalt live. Grace says—Live, and then thou shalt do.
The Law says—Pay me that thou owest. Grace says—I frankly forgive thee all.
The Law says—The wages of sin is death. GRACE says—The gift of God is eternal life.
The Law says—The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Grace says—Whosoever believeth in Jesus, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Him shall never die.
The Law pronounces—Condemnation and death. Grace proclaims—Justification and life.
The Law says—Make you a new heart and a new spirit. Grace says—A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.
The Law says—Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Grace says—Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute iniquity.
The Law says—Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Grace says—Herein is love: not that we love God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The Law speaks of what man must do for God. Grace tells of what Christ has done for man.
The Law addresses man as part of the old creation. Grace makes a man a member of the new creation.
The Law bears on a nature prone to disobedience. Grace creates a nature inclined to obedience. The Law demands obedience by the terror of the Lord. Grace beseeches men by the mercies of God.
The Law demands holiness. Grace gives holiness.
The Law says—Condemn him. Grace says—Embrace him.
The Law speaks of priestly sacrifices offered year by year continually, which could never make the comers thereunto perfect. Grace says—But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever . . . by one offering hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
The Law declares—That as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law. Grace brings eternal peace to the troubled soul of every child of God, and proclaims God’s salvation in defiance of the accusations of the adversary. “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment (condemnation), but is passed from death unto life.”
“Whence to me this tranquil spirit— Me all sinful as I am? Is it thus descends the merit Of the sin-atoning Lamb? Grace, all power to deliver, Gift of a Creative Giver, Like a full, refreshing river, Ever flowing. Over all my course of sinning Spread its waters without bound, Cleansing, fertilizing, winning For the Lord the barren ground. Lavish from the heavenly treasure, Fountains of a Father’s pleasure, All the marks of human measure Overflowing. Not my virtue or repenting Earned the precious boon for me. Thine, my Saviour, the relenting, Thine the pangs which set me free— Gift of grace beyond all knowing, From the heart of Jesus flowing, Ever flowing, overflowing, Flowing freely.”
CHAPTER VI. GRACE FOR LIVING.
There are many Christians who practically limit the grace of God. It is like a river flowing by; and we can have all we need: but if we do not come and get a continual supply, we cannot give it out to others.
What we want, more than anything else, is more grace in our lives, in our business affairs, in our homes, in our daily walk and conversation.
If we would be strong and vigorous, we must go to God daily and get grace. A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough to-day to last him for the next six months; or take sufficient air into his lungs at once to sustain life for a week to come. We must draw upon God’s boundless stores of grace from day to day, as we need it.
There is plenty of grace in the bank of heaven; we need not be afraid of its becoming exhausted. We are asked to come boldly to the throne of grace—as sons to a father—that we may find grace. You have noticed that a son is very much more bold in his father’s house than if he were simply a servant. A good many Christians are like servants. If you go into a house, you can soon tell the difference between the family and the servants.
though God may withhold from us many things that we desire, He will supply all our need. There can come upon us no trouble or trial in this life, but God has grace enough to carry us right through it, if we will only go to Him and get it. But we must ask for it day by day. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”
And so if we will only come boldly to God, we shall get all the help and strength we need. There is not a man or woman alive but may be kept from falling, if they will let God hold them up in His almighty arms.
Dear friends, bring your empty vessels; and God will fill them. I venture to say that the eyes of those boys sparkled as they saw this beautiful oil, fresh from the hand of the Creator. The woman went and told the man of God what had happened; he said to her, “Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt; and live thou and thy children off the rest.” That is grace for the present, and for the future. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” You will have grace not only to cover all your sins, but to carry you right into glory. Let the grace of God into your heart; and He will bring you safely through.
“God give us grace to see our need of grace; give us grace to ask for grace; give us grace to receive grace; give us grace to use the grace we have received.” “Grace taught my soul to pray, And pardoning love to know; ’Twas grace that kept me to this day, And will not let me go. Grace all the work shall crown, Through everlasting days; It lays in heaven the topmost stone, And well deserves the praise!”
CHAPTER VII. GRACE FOR SERVICE. FOR the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared; teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” In this wonderful passage we see grace in a threefold aspect: grace that bringeth salvation; grace for holy living; and grace for service.
In ii Corinthians 9:8, we read: “God is able to make all grace abound towards you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” There are three thoughts here—God makes all grace to abound, that we may have all sufficiency in all things. I think this is one of the most wonderful verses in the Bible. There is plenty of grace. Many Christians, if they have grace enough to keep them from outward sin, seem to be perfectly satisfied; they do not press on to get fullness of grace, so as to be ready for God’s work. Many are satisfied to go into the stream of grace ankle deep, when God wants them to swim in it. If we always came to meetings desiring to get strength, then we should be able to go out to work and speak for Christ. There are a great many who would be used of God, if they would only come boldly to His throne of grace, and “find grace to help in time of need.”
It is said that Alexander the Great had a favorite General to whom he had given permission to draw upon the royal treasury for any amount. On one occasion this General had made a draft for such an enormous sum that the Treasurer refused to honor it until he consulted the Emperor. So he went into his presence and told him what the General had done. “Did you not honor the draft?” said the Emperor. “No; I refused till I had seen your Majesty; because the amount was so great.” The Emperor was indignant. His Treasurer said that he was afraid of offending him if he had paid the amount. “Do you not know,” replied the Emperor, “that he honors me and my kingdom by making a large draft?” Whether the story be authentic or not, it is true that we honor God when we ask for great things. It is said that on one occasion when Cæsar gave a very valuable present, the receiver replied that it was too costly a gift. The Emperor answered that it was not too great for Cæsar to give. Our God is a great King; and He delights to use us: so let us delight to ask Him for great grace, that we may go out and work for him.
Suppose you wish to get the air out of this tumbler; how can you do it? I will tell you: by pouring water into the tumbler till it is full to overflowing. That is the way the Lord empties us of self. He fills us with His grace.
If we had a telescope which would enable us to look into heaven as Stephen did, I can imagine we should see the thief, who believed in Jesus while on the cross, very near the throne. Ask him how he got there; and he would tell you it was through the grace of God. See how the grace of God could save a Mary Magdalene possessed of seven devils! Ask her what it was that melted her heart: and she would tell you that it was the grace of God. Look again at that woman whom Christ met at the well at Sychar. The Saviour offered her a cup of the living water: she drank, and now she walks the chrystal pavement of heaven. See how the grace of God could change Zaccheus, the hated publican of Jericho! Now he is in yonder world of light; he was brought there by the sovereign grace of God. You will have noticed that many of those who were about the most unlikely, have, by the power of God’s grace, become very eminent in His service.
COME AND DRINK! “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters: and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat: yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” If you will come and drink at this fountain, Christ says you shall never thirst again. He has promised to quench your thirst. “If any man thirst,” He says, “let him come unto Me and drink.” I thank God for those words: “If any man.” That does not mean merely a select few respectable people; it takes in all—every drunkard, every harlot, every thief, every self-righteous Pharisee.
When Moses took his rod and struck the flinty rock in the wilderness, out of it there came a pure crystal stream of water, which flowed or through that dry and barren land. All that the poor thirsty Israelites had to do was to stoop and drink. It was free to all. So the grace of God is free to all. God invites you to come and take it: will you come?
The gift Jesus wants to bestow is rest: Rest for time, and rest for eternity. Every weary soul may have this rest if he will. But you must come to Christ and get it. Nowhere else can this rest be found. If you go to the world with your cares, your troubles, and your anxieties, all it can do is to put a few more on the top of them. The world is a poor place to go to for sympathy. As some one has said: “If you roll your burdens anywhere but on Christ, they will roll back on you with more weight than ever. Cast them on Christ; and He will carry them for you.”