By Alexander Whyte
"Ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14).
And then, what is grace? Grace is love. But grace is not love simply, and purely, and alone. Grace and love are, in their innermost essence, one and the same thing. Only, grace is love adapting itself to certain special circumstances.
As, for instance, love may exist between equals, or it may rise to those who are above it, or it may flow down to those who are beneath it. But grace has only one direction that it can take.
Grace always flows down. And thus it is that sovereigns are said to be gracious to their subjects. But though a subject may loyally and truly and devotedly love his sovereign, yet the most loving of subjects is never said to be gracious to his sovereign.
Because grace always flows down. Now, among many other relations that God holds to us, He is our Sovereign, and therefore His love to us is always called His sovereign grace. It is called mercy also, because we are in misery on account of our sin. But it is called grace above all, because we are not only in an estate of sin and misery, but because we are so infinitely beneath God, and are in that and in every other way so utterly unworthy of His love.
And thus it is that with its infinite condescension toward us, grace has the most absolute freeness in all its outgoings and down-flowings also. And as grace is free, so is it sure. Nothing can change, or alter, or turn away sovereign grace.
And, with all that, it is unconditional. That is to say as no merit of mortal man ever drew down on him the grace of God, so no demerit and no ill-desert of any man on whom it has once rested, will ever cause that grace to be withdrawn. It is not of works, lest any man should boast.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed. If by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. Grace, then, is grace,--that is to say, it is sovereign, it is free, it is sure, it is unconditional, and it is everlasting.