By James Smith
"Abundant grace." 2 Corinthians 4:15
"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly." 1 Timothy 1:14
Grace IN God is the loving tendency of his nature to pity the miserable, pardon the guilty, and bless the unworthy. It is the graciousness of God. Now our God is the God of grace--the God of all grace. He is naturally inclined to sympathize with the suffering, and to confer blessings on the unworthy. The grace of God lies at the foundation of salvation, and is the hidden spring from which flows every good and perfect gift. If God were not gracious--then man could have no hope; we would never have heard of a Savior, or found a way of escape from the wrath to come.
Grace FROM God comprises every good thing that is bestowed on sinners, whether temporal or spiritual; but it particularly more refers to those spiritual blessings with which he has blessed us in Christ, and which he freely bestows on the most unworthy through Christ. Grace never looks for any payment from its object--but gives, simply because it will give, for its own honor and glory.
God has grace to confer on sinners--grace provided and laid up, on purpose to give to those who cannot merit, who do not deserve:
grace which just meets man's condition;
grace which supplies all his needs;
grace to make him alive from the dead;
grace to pardon him as guilty;
grace to cleanse him as polluted;
grace to supply him as needy;
grace to elevate him as depraved;
grace to protect him as defenseless;
grace to crown him with everlasting glory!
In a word, grace to work in him, grace to work by him, grace to confer on him, and grace to glorify him.
The grace which God has provided--he has revealed. The gospel is called "the glad tidings of the grace of God." It tells us there is grace in God, and grace in God for sinners--sinners of every class, climate, or color--grace for sinners as sinners, nothing but sinners, in whom there is no good thing, and by whom no good thing has ever been done. The gospel presents grace to sinners, and invites them to receive it; the very grace that suits their case, and meets their condition. The grace that the gospel presents, includes all the good things that a sinner can need--or God can consistently give; and it presents all as free, without money and without price. The grace of the gospel is to be received and enjoyed; received by whoever will, and enjoyed by all that receive it.
And to encourage us, the Apostle assures us there is "abundance of grace." Many have received--but there is an abundance still. However much you need--there is an abundance to supply your need. It is not the abundance of some large vessel, it is the abundance of the ocean! It is not the abundance of some artificial light--but the abundance of the sun! There is enough for every one, there is enough for all.
This abundant grace will pardon any sin, and all sin. It will save any sinner, or all sinners; for sinners do not perish because grace cannot save them; but, as Jesus said to the Jews, "You will not come unto me, that you might have life." So may we say to sinners who perish under the sound of the gospel, "You would not come for grace which God had promised, nor receive the grace which is in the gospel he presented to you."
Nor is it because grace would not be given, for it would. As Jesus said to the carnal selfish Jews, "Labor not for the food which perishes--but for that food which endures unto everlasting life, which the son of man shall give unto you." Nothing can be plainer than this. Jesus was willing to give unto them--but they were unwilling to receive. Jesus was authorised by the Father to give unto them--but they would not receive it from His hands.
Just in the same manner he expresses his willingness to give, when man is willing to receive, in His words to the woman of Samaria, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says unto you, Give me to drink, you would have asked, and he would have given you living water." So now Jesus, who is full of grace and truth, is both ready and willing to give grace to any and every sinner who is willing to receive grace from Him, and, as He exhorted the Jews to believe on Him, so that they might have everlasting life, so He exhorts sinners now, and says "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
There is an "abundance of grace" then, and that grace is for sinners, for great sinners; yes, for the greatest sinners, the vilest of sinners. It was first offered at Jerusalem. Here the market of free grace was opened, and the proclamation was made by inspired Apostle, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost!"
Here is the article, the grace that saves, sanctifies and satisfies! And here is the price--no money, that is, it is gratuitous--you may have it for nothing. Sinner, great sinner, miserable sinner, poverty-stricken sinner, here is grace for you, on purpose for you, and there is abundance of it too. Come then, come to Jesus, come without delay, He will give you grace and glory--grace now, and glory at the close of life! Let no one doubt, for there is plenty; God calls it "abundant grace." Let no one fear, for all are welcome! God says "Whoever will may come and take freely."
Here is grace to blot out your sins;
grace to renew your heart;
grace to disperse your doubts;
grace to strengthen you for conflict and duty;
grace to save you fully, freely, and forever!
Come then, as guilty as you are--as hard hearted as you are--as timid and fearful as you are--as weak and wavering as you are--as lost and ruined as you are--come to Jesus, and come just as you are, that you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help you in time of need!
O SINNER, would to God I could persuade you to come to this fullness of grace--to come while the Lord waits to be gracious--to come and obtain mercy--to come and be saved by simple faith in Christ. "For by grace are you saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast!" If you should perish--if you are lost forever! O fearful supposition! If you at last sent away into everlasting punishment, it will not be because there is not grace enough in God to save you, or because Christ was not willing to save you, or because you had not heard of the abundance of grace there is to save sinners, or because you were not warned to flee from the wrath to come, or because you were not invited or exhorted to come to Jesus and be saved by His grace--but simply because you obstinately refused--you simply would not come to Jesus! You chose eternal death, in the error of your way.
TRIED Christian, there is "abundance of grace" for you!
Grace to help you in time of need;
grace to enable you to carry your cross after Jesus;
grace to sanctify your trials and troubles;
grace to enable you to glorify God in the fires!
FEEBLE believer, there is "abundance of grace" for you! It is in Jesus, and in Jesus for you. The little grace you have received has brought you out of the world, has led you to His cross, and has enabled you to trust your immortal interests in His hands. But your faith is weak, your fears are strong, your doubts are painful, your inward conflicts are severe, and you often think you shall be obliged to give up all for lost. But hear what the Apostle James says, "He gives more grace!" He who gave you what you have--will give you more. Fear not, for the grace of God is sufficient for you, and He will make His strength perfect in your weakness. He is able to do exceeding and abundantly above all that we can ask or think; yes, He is able to subdue all things unto himself. Look to Jesus, and He will save you. Yes, He will save you from sin, from Satan, and from a deserved hell; He will save you now, and save you with an everlasting salvation; and all of His grace, of His free, sovereign, and abundant grace!
There is an "abundance of grace" for all TIMES. None of us know what is before us; but times and seasons will change. There are seasons of darkness--as well as light; seasons of conflict--as well as peace; seasons of trial--as well as triumph; seasons of sickness--as well as health--and at last there is the hour of death! But there is that in grace which will suit us under all circumstances, and there is grace sufficient for us, whatever trials we may have to pass through.
There is an "abundance of grace" for all PLACES. Some live and die in their fatherland, some emigrate to a foreign climate, some of us are almost stationary, others are almost always traveling about. But wherever we may be situated, the God of grace is with us, the throne of grace is before us, the promise of grace is in our hand, and there is "abundance of grace" for us! Precious consideration this!
Be where I may, be what I may--there is grace, abundance of grace, for me! I may be far from relations and friends--but I shall be near to my God. I may be far from Christian ordinances--but the God of grace will be with me. I may be tossed on the billows of the mighty deep--but God who holds the waters in the hollow of His hand is my God still, and will give me strength equal to my day! I may be in poverty, or I may be bereaved of my beloved relatives and friends, the shadow of death may be thrown over my prospects, or I may be unexpectedly called upon to cross the Jordan; but whatever happens, there is still an ABUNDANCE OF GRACE, and that grace is sufficient for me!
I will not, therefore, look too much at my circumstances; yes, I will not look so much at the grace that I have already received--as the grace that is in Christ! Grace in me is a drop--grace in Christ an ocean! Grace in me may be exhausted--but grace in Christ never can be! O my soul, keep your eye steadily fixed on the ocean of grace which is in the heart of Jesus, and seek to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, however weak in yourself, or whatever discouragements may lie in the way!
Graceless sinner, one more word with you before I lay down my pen, for my soul longs to be of use to you. You need salvation, and nothing can save you but God's grace. But grace can, for grace is omnipotent! Yes, grace can save you. That grace that is in Jesus--can save you today. There are no insurmountable obstacles in the way of your salvation. No one can prevent you being saved but yourself. If you perish--it must be your own act and deed. If you die this second death, you must be a spiritual suicide! God will say to you, when you appear before Him in judgement, "Sinner, you have destroyed yourself!"
The angels that drive you from the presence of the Lord to the pit of quenchless fire, will say, "O sinner, miserable sinner, you have destroyed yourself!"
And the devils who receive you at the gates of hell, and who will be your everlasting tormentors, will say when you shriek with agony, cry from the depths of torment, and howl from the horrors of despair, O sinner, miserable sinner, you have destroyed yourself!" With this they will taunt your tortured spirit forever!
And from the deep dark vaults of hell, and from the gloomy chambers of your guilty conscience too, the awful words will be echoed, O sinner, miserable sinner, you have destroyed yourself!"
Oh sinner, sinner, sinner, before it is too late, let me beseech you that you do not receive the gospel of the grace of God in vain; but while there is "abundance of grace" to save you--seek and secure the salvation of your immortal soul!!!