Vol.XV No.V Pg.2
July 1978

"By Grace Are Ye Saved"

Robert F. Turner

I have been asked, "Does God have a period of grace for a new convert?" "Will God cover his sins until he has time to learn the truth?" Many like questions or comments indicate widespread misunderstanding about grace.

The grace of God is treated as if it were a softness of heart for this or that individual, evoked upon some supposed "unusual" circumstance — as, a limb falling on a man, killing him, just as he was entering the water to be baptized; or, a fatal auto accident, before the victim had time to ask forgiveness for speeding. People reason, "If I 'feel sorry' for Joe Doaks under those circumstances, surely God would feel sorry for him." And so we find ourselves assigning God the character and nature we have, complete with human weakness, fleshly desires, and earthly limitations.

God cannot lie (Heb. 6:18), and it is impossible to please Him without faith (11:6) for exactly the same reason. God acts only within consistent limitations of His own nature and being. He cannot change; He cannot deny Himself. We can know, and assign His grace only as He revealed the working of that grace in His word. When we speak where God has not spoken, we may be guilty of presumptuous sin. The grace of God is expressed in Jesus Christ, and through Him to "the many" (Rom. 5:15). "God so loved the world" (not "special cases") "that He gave ... His Son" (Jn. 3:16). This is not "corporate love, but no concern for the individual." It is unbiased and just concern for every individual — a love so great it may be hidden to man's limited view. His mighty power was wrought in Christ (Eph. 1:18-f) and those dead in sin are made alive in Him (2:4-7). The individual is very much there (Paul said "who loved me, and gave himself up for me" 2:20) but he was a recipient of God's grace because he went to Christ in faith.

Purpose, Promise, and Election are equated (Eph. 3:6,11; Rom. 9:3,11), and their blessings are available to "whosoever will" come to and be faithful to Christ. He is the elect "one," (Isa. 42:1-7; I Pet. 1:18-21) by whom those who trust and serve Him have their hope in God.

The "election of grace" (Rom. 11:5) is clearly shown to be the "choosing" of the corporate body of "believers," either Jews or Gentiles. Individuals faithful to Christ are as branches, grafted into this "tree," and subject to removal if they become unfaithful (Rom. 11:16-23). This is the only way the scriptures reveal that one may be a recipient of God's grace.