Posts Tagged ‘Marks of Regeneration’

Receiving Grace

August 2, 2010 Comments off

From the daily J.C. Ryle quotes email, I noticed the following from the recent 4th Mark of Regeneration:

The Regenerate man values grace. Those who have most grace, and are most like Christ, are those he loves most. He feels that they are members of the same family with himself, his brethren, his sisters, children of the same Father.

It appears that J.C. Ryle is talking about differing levels of grace amongst believers:  if some are “most like Christ,” it suggests a difference; that some, while believers, are not at the same level of spiritual maturity in their walk as others.  Certainly the Bible does suggest this in some places, such as discussion of the believer’s rewards (gold or silver, versus wood, hay and straw).  Some Bible passages talk about a “measure of grace” we each received, as apportioned by God (Ephesians 4:7).  2 Corinthians 6:1 warns believers against receiving the grace of God in vain; many ideas have been suggested concerning what that means, and one suggested meaning is that it refers not to salvation, but “to the loss of potential blessings related to spiritual growth, knowledge, and joy… they have failed to progress in their Christian growth and stand in danger of losing those spiritual blessings and rewards they otherwise might have obtained.” Certainly I have come across similar ideas before, such as when MacArthur speaks of the believer’s greater reward from our faithfulness to Him in this life  — a greater capacity to know, love and glorify God.

In a brief conversation with someone concerning my present circumstances, he encouraged me to “be assured of receiving grace.”  I was unfamiliar with such wording, “receiving grace,” but I think I understand the idea.  God gives us grace to handle whatever situation He has placed us in, and sometimes gives more grace.  When a person experiences a time of spiritual awakening and renewed interest in the word of God, coming to understand and love God’s word all the more, that is evidence of receiving grace.  Then, when that person experiences greater trials, some persecution of being misunderstood — even compelled to continue attending a church at which the preacher does not truly search out and honor God’s word — that too is a situation in which the person receives grace, the grace to persevere through this test.  As I’ve read before, I think from Spurgeon, the more recent convert does not have tests so difficult, but as the believer matures, greater tests and trials will come.

And now for some great words from John MacArthur, which relate so well to one such greater trial of dealing with professed believers who are more interested in getting along, who neglect the study of God’s word and disparage those who do study it.  From a “Strength for Today” devotional:

The focus of theological discussion also reflects the contemporary hostility to knowledge. To a shocking extent, truth is no longer the issue; the questions being asked today are, “Will it divide?” or “Will it offend?” To ask if a theological position is biblically correct is considered unloving, and those who take a stand for historic Christian truth are labeled as divisive.

But knowledge is inseparable from moral excellence and Christian growth. It should be obvious that people can’t put into practice truths they don’t know; we must first understand the principles of God’s Word before we can live them out. Peter knew well the importance of knowledge in developing a stable Christian walk and the assurance of salvation that accompanies it. Therefore, he urged his readers to add knowledge to their moral excellence. Gnosis (“knowledge”) refers to insight, discernment, and proper understanding of truth. …

The Bible commends child-like (i.e., trusting, humble) faith, but not childish faith. Paul exhorted the Corinthians, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking . . . in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20).