William Newell’s Few Words on Grace
The Nature of Grace:
1. Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature — as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously — in view of the cross.
2. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD.
3. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man’s part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors.
4. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help — it is absolute, it does all.
5. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace.
6. The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of Divine grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed — on another principle, outside of himself!
7. Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows that “in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing”; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!
The Place of Man under Grace:
1. He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!
2. He is not “on probation.”
3. As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at the Cross, and Christ is his life.
4. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies (needs) beforehand: His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them.
5. The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed grace (as it would under law). For example: the man in I Cor. 5.1-5; and also those in 11.30-32, who did not “judge” themselves, and so were “judged by the Lord, — that they might not be condemned with the world”!
The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace:
1. To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret. 2. To refuse to make “resolutions” and “vows”; for that, is to trust in the flesh. 3. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth. 4. To testify of God’s goodness, at all times. 5. To be certain of God’s future favor; yet to be ever more tender in conscience toward Him. 6. To rely on God’s chastening hand as a mark of His kindness. 7. A man under grace, if like Paul, has no burden regarding himself; but many about others.
Things Which Gracious Souls Discover:
1. To “hope to be better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.
2. To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.
3. To be discouraged is unbelief, — as to God’s purpose and plan of blessing for you.
4. To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves.
5. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion. 6. Real devotion to God arises, not from man’s will to show it; but from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted.
7. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God’s order, and preach law, not grace. The Law made man’s blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so, — in proper measure.
William Newell’s short disposition on grace is so profound and stirring, I may struggle to keep the summary or exposition contained. Where can we really begin with grace, where can we track it to, where can we attribute its beauty and majesty among all creation. The grace of the heat from the sun, the grace from the vibrant colors of nature and the grace from a simple but moving smile. God has given such an amazing gift to mankind and we all too often miss this opportunity to truly enjoy its gravity. Its ministry goes deep, its implications change the very souls of men, and its power can only be compared to the vastness of the universe. Thank God we have a God of grace, thank the Lord we have a creator that within His very nature expresses grace unto the created. In this exposition I am going to simply go through the nature of grace, the place of man under grace and the proper attitude of man under grace. William Newell gives such an amazing foretaste of the deepness of these things and it is my hope to dive into this and really meditate and have a short discourse of God’s grace.
Starting with the nature of Grace from William Newell’s commentary we see the impartation of grace and the effect of this impartation. We see and actively experience God’s grace every day, and therefore know by the fact that we live in a fallen state see that grace is freely given and is part of God’s character nature. How can we deserve to behold the majesty of a sunrise or the breathe of fresh air through our lungs? Why should we live on such a privileged planet among a whole universe? This is common grace, this is a testimony of being nothing more than receivers of the blessing of grace from God. We will see that grace cannot depend on nothing more than the giver and that it is whole in its act towards us. Each day we have a full sunrise and breathe the fullness of life, God does not withhold grace from us and is always giving a complete thought and word to us. When we receive the saving grace we know that it is a finished work, it is a complete movement from death to life. There is no middle ground on the scales of grace, we are given a full measure and hold nothing of our own to acquire or even maintain such grace. It is from this point that we see the nature of grace in effect. We will discover that grace creates humility as it is fully realized(which in a lifetime we will never come close to as we will only discover a measure of this in time). We find that grace in effect, is eternal and effectually working unto the fullness of times and beyond. Our flesh cannot live alongside this grace, and we experience warfare within as we combat a deep rooted tree of pride in our hearts. This pride is utterly defeated by grace, to the glory of God! This pride is uprooted and the remaining roots are sought out as humility overcomes our soul and we are led by a new spirit and have a renewed mind in grace. This is the nature of God. To create a new work in us, to restore fellowship with us and defeat the long standing oppressor Sin.
The place and attitude of a man under grace moves us towards the application of grace in our lives. We need to apply grace to first ourselves then we find that we have capacity and the gift to give it to others. Just going through the list from Newell commentary: A man is not on probation under grace,His past is non existent before God, And any failure of devotion does not withdraw God’s grace. These are packed with truth and freedom! All to often we accept grace as the gift but act as if there is another layer underneath it that we need to unwrap. Much like the russian dolls that keep getting smaller and smaller with each doll, we can often minimize the grace of God and really misunderstand our place under grace. Grace cannot be withdrawn and it is not something we have to work to draw more out. God’s work in us is complete and in Him we have a life that is eternal looking only at the opportunity of the present, and hopeful of the future. The grace of God as we place ourselves under its covering will give even more to us and manifest itself in our attitude. We will realize that we are greatly loved, and all the while progressively more and more unworthy. We will live in a way that we know we are going to be blessed outside and beyond what we could ever merit. We will also grow and know that we are in Gods favor while growing ever conscious of how we may fall short. The amazing attitude under grace cannot be diagnosed or explained adequately as all reason and logic defies such love and favor among such imperfection. We are blessed if we live under this grace and grace alone. We are greatly desired among people as we bear a lightness and freedom that no social program or government could enact. With Grace, the nature of God, all thing s are possible and all things can be overcome. Thank God for the grace he has bestowed and thank God for his eternal purpose of revealing grace all through and beyond time.