Grace of God Quotes

The quotes on this page concern the grace of God generally, but they also concern our role and God's role in our salvation. The Bible says such things as:

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to do and to will for his good pleasure. (Php. 2:12b-13)

And ...

For this I also labor, striving according to his energy [Gr. energia, lit. "inworking"], which works in [Gr. energeo] me mightily. (Col. 1:29)

What is the balance between God's "energy" or "inworking" and our striving in labar and working out our salvation? In other words, how much is God's grace and how much is our effort?

Christians have varied widely on the answer to that question. Here's what they have had to say.

My Two Cents

Since I'm collecting these quotes, I'd like to chime in on this one.

There is no "balance" on this issue. It requires all our effort, and everything we do is by his grace. 100% on each side. Thus, Paul "strives" in ministry, and he disciplines his body (1 Cor. 9:27), but he knows that "in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells." He strives according to God's energy (Col. 1:29).

Defining "Grace"

Grace has to be defined nowadays because it is often confused with mercy.

Overlooking a fault is mercy; grace is the power to overcome it (Rom. 6:14).

Thus, you can show mercy to a brother, but you cannot give him grace. You can only bring him to seeing and receiving God's grace. Grace is the power to do God's will; mercy is overlooking a fault or sin.

An excellent depiction of grace is Titus 2:11-14, where the grace of salvation is described as teaching us and making us zealous for good works. Grace is not only about overcoming sin, however. Grace is also the power behind spiritual gifts and ministry (1 Pet. 4:10).

Clement of Rome, AD 96

Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed and learn that from generation to generation the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all that would be converted to him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites, but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation even though they were aliens to God.

   The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance. The Lord of all things has declared an oath about it himself: "'As I live,' says the Lord, 'I do not desire the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance'" [Ezek. 33:11]. In addition, he also adds this gracious declaration: "Repent, o house of Israel, of your iniquity. Say to the children of my people, 'Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, yet if you turn to me with your whole heart and say, "Father!," I will listen to you, as to a holy people" [Ezek. 18:30 & paraphrase of Isa. 1:18]. (1 Clement 7 & 8)

John Flavel

Keep thy heart, seems to put it upon us as our work, yet it does not imply a sufficiency in us to do it. We are as able to stop the sun in its course, or to make the rivers run backward, as by our own will and power to rule and order our hearts. We may as well be our own saviours as our own keepers; and yet Solomon speaks properly enough when he says, Keep thy heart, because the duty is ours, though the power is of God; what power we have depends upon the exciting and assisting strength of Christ. Grace within us is beholden to grace without us. "Without me ye can do nothing." (On Keeping the Heart)

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