The relationship between grace and faith

When we are worshipping the Lord, we praise Him, rejoicing in this: He has saved us by His grace. When we say that He has saved us by His grace, we do not deny that that we have been saved through faith. We say both these things: “by grace” and “through faith”. “Through faith” reminds us that we must make our personal response to Christ. “By grace” is God’s answer to the question, “Where does this response come from?” It comes from the Lord. “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Romans 10:17). When faith arises in our hearts, in response to the Gospel of divine grace, we say, from the heart, “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). The relationship between grace and faith is neither (a) co-operative nor (b) coercive. (a) We do not contribute to our own salvation. It is always, “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling.” We do not come to the Lord with our religion in one hand and our morality in the other hand. We come to Him empty-handed and receive from Him His free gift of salvation. Receiving God’s free gift of salvation through faith in our Saviour, Jesus Christ, we speak, from the heart, the words of Psalm 118:23 – “the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes. We echo the words of Psalm 115:1 – “Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.” (b) We are not forced to receive Christ. We do not come to Him with reluctance. We come to Him with rejoicing. Rejoicing in the grace which has reached out to us in our sinfulness, we affirm the truth of Jesus’ words, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 16:15). Receiving this grace with gladness, we say, “The Lord is my chosen portion” (Psalm 16:5). We sing, “O happy day that fixed my choice on Thee, my Saviour and my God.” We trace the way in which the Lord has led us to faith and we sing, “He drew me and I followed on, charmed to confess that grace divine.” We have been “loved with everlasting love.” We have been “led by grace that love to know.” The relationship between grace and faith may be described thus: the whole of the work is God’s (the absolute necessity of grace) and the whole of the work is man’s (the absolute necessity of faith). There is, of course, mystery here. it is, however, a mystery in which we rejoice – “Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

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