A Voice from the Past: The Fundamentals Of Grace -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 07:2 (Autumn 1994)
Article: A Voice from the Past: The Fundamentals Of Grace
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


A Voice from the Past:
The Fundamentals Of Gracea

Lewis Sperry Chafer1

(1871-1952)

Introduction

The exact and discriminate meaning of the word grace should be crystal clear to every child of God. With such insight only can he feed his own soul on the inexhaustible riches which it unfolds, and with such understanding only can he be enabled clearly to pass on to others its marvelous, transforming theme. Here is a striking illustration of the fact that very much may be represented by one word. When used in the Bible to set forth the grace of God in the salvation of sinners, the word grace discloses not only the boundless goodness and kindness of God toward man, but reaches far beyond and indicates the supreme motive which actuated God in the creation, preservation, and consummation of the universe. What greater fact could be expressed by one word?

The meaning of the word grace, as used in the NT, is not unlike its meaning as employed in common speech—but for one important exception, namely, in the Bible the word often represents that which is limitless, since it represents realities which are infinite and eternal. It is

nothing less than the unlimited love of God expressing itself in measureless grace.

The word favor is the nearest biblical synonym for the word grace. In this connection it may be observed that the one thought which is almost exclusively expressed in the NT by the word grace, is, in the OT, almost exclusively expressed by the word favor. Grace is favor, and favor is grace. Thus, in considering the Bible teaching on this great theme, equal attention should be given to all passages wherein either the word grace is used or favor is found. Grace means pure unrecompensed kindness and favor. What is done in grace is done graciously. From this exact meaning there can be no departure; otherwise grace ceases to be grace. To arrive at the scope and force of the Bible doctrine of salvation by grace alone we need to follow consistently the path indicated by the exact meaning of the word.

Seven Fundamental Facts About Grace

A. Grace Is Not Withheld Because of Demerit

This fact about grace is more evident, perhaps, than any other. It is the sense of demerit more than anything else which impels a soul to cry out for the kindness and benefits of grace. So, also, grace finds its greatest triumph and glory in the sphere of human helplessness. Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human failure...

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