Remembering Grace Alone
by Joseph Franks
Before I was born, the Son saw my sinfulness. He knew the number and nature of all my sins — even the ones I have yet to commit.
Before I was born, the Son knew my hopeless condition. He knew I would never stop transgressing his will with my wicked heart, head, mouth, and hands.
Before I was born, the Son declared the just condemnation I deserved. As a rank rebel, hell was my earned inheritance.
Before I was born, the Son determined to grace me. He, in accord with the Father and the Spirit, swore they would not let me perish apart from his love. He would not let me receive that which I would earn.
Before I was born, the Son added a human nature, and was born of Mary. He came to be my righteous substitute.
Before I was born, the Son was tempted to rebel. However, he resisted every temptation and loved his Father with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength. He kept every jot and tittle of the Law — internally, externally, and exhaustively.
Before I was born, the Son received from the Father the just condemnation I deserved. In Jerusalem, though he was a perfectly blameless worshiper, he was treated as a rank rebel. The hell that was my earned inheritance he received by his Just Father.
Before I was born, the Son’s work in life and death was approved by the Father. He rose from the grave, met with his friends, ascended into heaven, and began interceding for me.
Before I was born, the Son sent his Spirit and gave birth to his church. He inspired men to pen his infallible Word, and he led men to collect, preach, and teach his timeless truths. He would make sure it was infallibly passed on from one generation to another.
In time, I was conceived and proved to be the rank rebel he foreknew and foreloved.
In time, I proved to earn only the wrath of God and the flames of hell.
In time, I proved to be the unrepentant fool.
However … gloriously … in time … I proved to be transformed by the beautifully sovereign and irresistible power of Christ’s Holy Spirit using the Word of God. He gave me the gifts of faith and repentance, and at that point I was all too happy and eager to express aloud my God-given and gracious change in mind, heart, and will. I found myself trusting him.
Suddenly, completely, exhaustively, and inalterably, I was one covered by Christ’s death. There was no more condemnation and wrath left for me.
Suddenly, completely, exhaustively, and inalterably, I was one clothed by Christ’s righteousness. There was no more law-keeping required for me to be enjoyed by my Heavenly Father. For me, the Son had already “kept the Law” and his righteous robe was mine. I was declared to be his saint.
Suddenly, completely, exhaustively, and inalterably I was filled with his Spirit.
Suddenly, completely, exhaustively, and inalterably, I was adopted as his beloved child. I was betrothed as his beloved bride. Forever, he determined to cause me to look more and more like Jesus. He would work through me. He would work on me. And because he would dwell and work within me, I found myself working for and with him. I made progress in walking in holiness.
One day, he has already promised to finish that which he has eternally begun. In glory, I will be rid of sin. Forever, I will only be like Jesus — loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Suddenly, completely, exhaustively, and inalterably, I will unable to do otherwise.
And all of this is by grace alone!
Friends, fight the temptation to be a legalist. Enjoy grace!
Fight the temptation to be licentious. Enjoy grace and make progress in holiness.
We have good news to believe today. We have good news to preach tomorrow. Be a good Reformer and stand firmly on the doctrine of grace alone.