The Word of His GRACE

Arthur Pink, 1943

"Now I commit you to God and to the Word of His grace." Acts 20:32

Various reasons may be suggested why the Scriptures should be so designated the Word of His grace. Among them the following.

First, it is most in accord with His gracious character, that their Author should communicate with His people. In view of all that we know of His perfections, it is inconceivable that God should hold Himself aloof in unbroken silence—a dumb Deity would be no more winsome, than the inarticulate idols of the heathen. If a human parent writes to his sons and daughters when they are absent from home, shall our heavenly Father withhold a like proof of His love for His dear children? We are told that "For it was fitting, in bringing many sons to glory, that He, for whom and through whom all things exist, should make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb 2:10), that is to say, it accorded with His perfections and redounded to His glory that the whole plan of redemption should be as He designed it. Then may it not be said, reverently, it became the Triune God to give us a written revelation, that since He is in Himself "the God of all grace" (1 Peter 5:10) He should bestow upon us the Word of His grace? To make such a communication, graces or adorns His character. The Psalmist declares of God "You have magnified Your Word above all Your name" (138:2), that is, above every other revelation of himself.

Second—yet the gift of His Word is an act of pure benignity on His part. There was nothing whatever outside of God, which required Him to grant His creatures a written revelation. No indeed—the great I AM finds within Himself the springs of all His actions. He takes counsel with none (Rom 11:34) and gives no account of any of His matters (Job 33:13). God is exalted high above all, fulfilling His own sovereign pleasure, working all things after the counsel of His own will. He is the one absolutely Free Agent in the universe—under no restraint. All creatures are under infinite obligations unto Him—but He is obligated to none. If then He gives us a communication, it proceeds from His mere condescension and magnanimity—it is an act of pure grace. It must be so, for we were not entitled to it, and could do nothing to earn or merit it; no, not in our unfallen state. The holy angels are dependent creatures, maintained in being and sustained in holiness by their Maker, and therefore it is impossible for them to do anything which brings the Most High into their debt. His Word, then, has issued not from the requirements of justice—but proceeds freely from His sovereign grace.

Third, hence the gift of His Word is one of unmerited and undeserved goodwill on God's part. If unfallen creatures are entirely incapable of bringing the Most High God under any obligation to them, how much less so those who have revolted from His scepter and repudiated His government over them. What claim can rebels have upon Him—whose laws they defiantly trample underfoot? To what favorable consideration are insurrectionists entitled from their Sovereign? None whatever. Their very enmity calls for His wrath and not His mercy, for sentence of judgment rather than expressions of loving-kindness. Then let amazement be rekindled in our hearts as we contemplate afresh, this marvel of the Divine mercy. Be astonished O heavens and earth, that instead of annihilating the apostate race of Adam, Jehovah was pleased to address them in overtures of grace, calling upon them to throw down the weapons of their warfare and be reconciled to Him, making known to them the way of recovery and restoration to His favor. That was indeed grace—grace as "fathomless as the sea."

Fourth, it is so denominated, because it is the chief instrument employed by His Spirit. In Hebrews 10:29, we find the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of grace," and He is so designated there in connection with His ministration and operation in the assemblies of the saints. The Word and the Spirit are so intimately conjoined, that we are scarcely warranted in thinking of the one without the other. The Word does not operate without the Spirit's agency—and the Spirit does not work apart from the Word. It was by the Spirit's inspiration, that the Word was first given, for "holy men of God spoke moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). It is by the Spirit, that we are enlightened (Eph 1:17,18), yet the Word is the means He employs. It is by the Spirit, that we are sanctified (Rom 15:16), yet not apart from the Truth (John 17:17). It is by the Spirit, that we are strengthened (Eph 3:16) as He causes the Word to dwell in us richly (Col 3:16). It is by the Spirit, that we are comforted (Acts 9:31) as He applies the Divine promises to our hearts. How appropriate, then, that the grand Instrument employed by the Spirit of grace should be termed "the Word of His grace."

Fifth, in His Word God has disclosed to us the wondrous "riches of His grace." Therein is set forth the incarnate Word "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14), the One who "came to seek and to save that which was lost," the "Friend of publicans and sinners" (Luke 7:34), the One who fed the hungry, healed the sick, cleansed the leper, raised the dead. Therein is revealed the "Gospel of the grace of God" bringing "good tidings of great joy," for it proclaims rest for the weary, pardon to the guilty, justification to the ungodly, adoption to the outcast, eternal heavenly treasures for spiritual paupers. Its terms are "Ho! everyone who thirsts—come to the waters! And he who has no money—come buy, and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price!" (Isa 55:1). Such good news is not to be confined to the cloister—but freely proclaimed to "every creature." The twentieth century needs it as urgently as did the first, and its music is just as welcome to ears opened by the Spirit of grace. It is "the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind" who are to be called to the feast which free grace has spread (Luke 14:13).

Sixth, it is called the Word of his grace, because therein we are informed how grace is to be obtained, namely, by coming as empty-handed beggars to the Mercy-seat. The throne upon which the Mediator is now seated, is the Throne of Grace and therefore are His subjects invited, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb 4:16). It is written "But He gives more grace," and if we find ourselves straitened, the fault is entirely ours—and not because of any reluctance in Him to bestow. Nor is the particular fault or cause of our lack difficult to determine, "God resists the proud—but gives grace unto the humble" (James 4:6). "He has filled the hungry with good things—and the rich He has sent empty away" (Luke 1:53). It is the poor in spirit, those who feel themselves to be utterly dependent upon the Divine bounty, and not the self-righteous and self-satisfied, who are enriched by the heavenly Donor.

Seventh, because it is itself the chief means of grace. It not only instructs us where grace is to be found, and how further supplies of it are to be obtained—but it is the principal medium through which grace is actually imparted to the soul. As its sacred pages are reverently perused—the mind is instructed, the conscience enlightened, the affections warmed, and the will moved. As its exceeding great and precious promises are meditated upon and treasured up in the heart—new strength is imparted to the soul. As its holy precepts are turned into earnest prayer—help is obtained for the discharge of duty. As its timely warnings and admonitions are heeded—temptations lose their power and the snares of Satan are avoided. As its cheering revelation of what God has prepared for those who love Him is received by faith—new hope is kindled in the breast, and the trials of life are borne with greater fortitude. As the end of the journey is neared death loses its terrors and the call to "valley of tears" becomes more desirable.