Effects of Grace
One blessed effect of grace is pardon, or what John calls cleansing us from all sin (see 1st John 1:7), which is first discovering to us what sinners we are, and letting us feel the burden long, and then fully pardoning us all we have committed, and all we shall commit. We receive the forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of His grace. Then trace it up to glory, and we find that they “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne” (Revelation 7:14-15).
Another blessed effect is raising us to hope. By nature we are without God, and have no hope in this world; but now, having life, and being pardoned, says Paul, He hath given us a “good hope through grace” (2nd Thessalonians 2:16). It is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Another blessed effect is salvation; salvation from the wrath to come, from our sin, from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; as Paul says, “By grace are ye saved” (Ephesians 2:8). Then trace it up, and their song in heaven is, “Salvation to God and the Lamb” (see Revelation 7:10).
Another blessed effect is, being a partaker of the Holy Ghost, agreeable to the promise, “I will pour upon the house of David” – what was David’s house? Why, Christ Jesus; and so David says, for he calls Him a House of Defence to save him (see Psalm 31:2), and the Spirit was on Christ without measure – “and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:10) – Jerusalem is the covenant of grace, and the inhabitants are God’s elect in that covenant. Well then, on Christ and His elect is poured the Spirit of grace and supplication. Grace was poured into His lips, and we are to have grace to help in time of need, which is having the Spirit, for He is to help our infirmities.
Now trace this up to glory, and in doing this, compare these two texts: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink” (John 7:37); and, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (verse 38) (then mind where this water comes from); “But this spake He of the Spirit” (verse 39). Then trace it up, and “the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne … shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17).
The next thing I shall mention, or blessed effect of grace, is the love of God, which is understood by us in two things: in chastening us for our sins – “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19) – and in shedding His love abroad in our hearts. Abroad signifies influencing the whole soul, so as to say with Paul, “The love of Christ constraineth me, that I am ready to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (see 2nd Corinthians 5:14, Acts 21:13). Now, says the apostle, “the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1st Timothy 1:14). Then trace this love up, and we are without blame before Him in love (see Ephesians 1:4); or, to be more plain, we are “without fault before the throne” (Revelation 14:5). This grace is to influence our conversation while we live: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). It is opposed to all dead works, or all service in the oldness of the letter. If it be of grace, “then is it no more of works” (Romans 11:6), for it is a free gift: “The LORD will give grace and glory” (Psalm 84:11).
If we go astray ten thousand times, grace brings us back: “I will receive them graciously;” and the completing work in finishing the building of living stones will be this, namely, to bring the last soul to the foundation, which is Christ, and then to endless glory: “He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings” – or acclamations of joy – “crying, Grace, grace unto it” (Zechariah 4:7).
– John Rusk