The Prohibitions of Grace -- By: George McKillop Cowan

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 103:411 (Jul 1946)
Article: The Prohibitions of Grace
Author: George McKillop Cowan


The Prohibitions of Grace

George M. Cowan

(Continued from the April-June Number, 1946)

The Application of Grace Prohibitions

In its offer of salvation the grace of God knows no limits. “Whosoever” is the keynote of the gospel message, “It is finished” its assuring word, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” its only imperative. The supreme moral responsibility of the unsaved is to obey this command of God to believe on His Son. For disobedience, failure to care, unbelief, there is nothing but the wrath of God (John 3:36; 2 Thess 1:8). “God does not discipline one who is not saved, for there would be no purpose in such action. He might judge such a one because of his sin, but discipline from Him is always reserved for saved people.”1 For God to legislate conduct for the unsaved would be to depart from the whole principle of grace itself and hopelessly becloud the one issue for the unsaved man. Grace shuts up the unsaved to personal acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. In this matter personal behavior has no part except to condemn and show the need of such help.

“The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” but the discipline of grace is reserved for “us”—the redeemed (Titus 2:11, 12). “Grace in its teaching ministry is not universal. It is restricted to those who have appropriated the saving grace of God and are themselves children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.”2 Once the supreme decision has been made and Christ received by simple faith, conduct truly becomes of paramount practical

importance, for the believer has been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

Every sphere of the Christian’s life has its fitting and necessary discipline. In salvation the believer “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess 1:9), and in daily life he is to continue to turn from all that out of which he is saved and henceforth live unto God. His relationship toward that from which he has been saved is largely described in negatives—the prohibitions of grace. His relations with that unto which he has been redeemed is largely described in positives, though even here prohibition will be found to have a legitimate place. Considerati...

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