“God’s Grace as a Rule of Life” (Chafer and Walvoord, 1974)

3 12 2012

In the classic book “Major Bible Themes” (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 1974) (click here), author John Walvoord (updating the original work of Lewis Sperry Chafer published in 1923 and 1956) discusses the Grace of God as a Rule of Life (Chapter 29, pages 192-193-71).  Walvoord presents an “operative” view of the grace of God that is accessible, applicable and helpful to born again believers like you and I today.

File:Sunrise, Manaslu.jpg Manaslu (also known as Kutang) is the eighth highest mountain in the world, part of the Nepalese Himalayas.  Its name, which means “Mountain of the Spirit”, comes from the Sanskrit word Manasa, meaning “intellect” or “soul”. Manaslu is 8,156 metres (26,759 ft) above mean sea level (source: Wikipedia)

Following are some quotations from Walvoord/Chafer in regards to the grace of God as a rule of life for us…..

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“For the child of God under grace, every aspect of the law is now done away with.

1. The legal commands of the Mosaic system and the commands which are to govern the kingdom are not now the guiding principles of the Christian.  They have been superseded by a new and gracious rule of conduct which includes in itself all that is vital in the law, but restates it under the peculiar order and character of grace.

2. The child of God under grace has been delivered from the burden of a covenant of works.  He is not now striving to be accepted, but rather is free to live as one who is accepted in Christ.

3. The child of God is not now called upon to live by the energy of his own flesh.  He has been delivered from the feature of the law and may live in the power of the indwelling Spirit. Since the written law was delivered to Israel, she alone could be delivered from the written commandments of Moses by the death of Christ.  However, both Jew and Gentile were delivered by that death from the hopeless principle of human merit and from the useless struggle of the flesh.

4. In contrast with law, the word “grace” refers to the unmerited favor which represents the divine method of dealing with mans that was introduced by Adam.  Under grace, God does not treat men as they deserve, but He treats them in infinite mercy and grace without reference to their desserts.  This He is free to do on the ground that the righteous punishment for sin, which His holiness would otherwise impose upon sinners as the just dessert, was borne for the sinner by the Son of God (i.e., by Jesus Christ in his atoning death on the Cross of Calvary – blogger’s note).

5. In contrast with law, grace is revealed in three different aspects: (a) salvation by grace, (b) safekeeping by grace, and (c) grace as a rule of life for the saved.

Approaching the Manaslu Mountain Summit

5a) Salvation by grace: God saves sinners by grace, and there is no other way of salvation offered to men.

Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (NASB)

Saving grace is the limitless, unrestrained love of God for the lost acting in compliance with the exact and unchangeable demands of His own righteousness through the  sacrificial death of Christ. Grace is more than love; is it love set free and made to be a triumphant victor over the righteous judgments of God against the sinner.

When He saves a sinner by grace, it is necessary that God shall deal with every sin, for they would otherwise demand judgment and thus hinder His grace.  This He has wrought in the death of His Son.  It is also necessary that every obligation shall be canceled, and to this end salvation has been made an absolute gift from God.

John 10:28: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (NASB)

Likewise, it is necessary that every human merit shall be set aside, lest the thing which God accomplishes be in any measure based on the merit of men and not on His sovereign grace aloneSince every human element is excluded, the gospel of grace is the proclamation of the mighty, redeeming, transforming grace of God, which offers eternal life and eternal glory to all who believe.

Galations 3:22 “But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (NASB) 

5b) Safekeeping through grace: The divine program of safekeeping through grace demonstrates that through grace alone God keeps those who are saved.  Having provided a way whereby He can act in freedom from His own righteous demands against sin, having disposed of every human obligation for payment, and having set aside eternally every human merit, God has only to continue the exercise of grace toward the saved one to secure his safekeeping forever.  This He does, and the child of God is said to stand in grace.

Romans 5:2 “through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (NASB)

5c) Grace as a rule of rule of life for the saved: God provides also a rule of life for the saved based on the grace principle.  God teaches those who are saved and kept how they should live in grace and how they may live to His eternal glory.  As the law provided a complete rule of conduct for Israel, so God has provided a complete rule of conduct for the Christian.  Since all rules of life which are presented in the Bible are complete in themselves, it is not necessary that they be combined.  Therefore the child of God is not under law as a rule of life, but he is under the counsels of grace.  What he does under grace is not done to secure the favor of God, but it is done because he is already accepted in the Beloved (i.e., accepted by saving grace through faith in Jesus Christ).  It is not undertaken in the energy of the flesh, but is is the outliving and manifestation of the power of the indwelling Spirit.  It is a life which is lived on the principle of faith.

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.”  (NASB)

Hebrews 10:38 “But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (NASB)

Mount Manaslu Mount Manaslu

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Blogger’s Comments….

We are saved only by grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross in payment for our sins.  Concerning the way and means of salvation, God says in His Word in Romans 10:5-17…

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Mount Manaslu

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