My Doctrines Of Grace
Peter L. Meney | Added: Oct 10, 2023 | Category: Theology
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I was many years a professing Christian before I ever encountered the phrase ‘The Doctrines of Grace’. When I did hear the term and was introduced to the teaching I was appalled at the ‘doctrines’ the phrase encompassed. They seemed to contradict just about everything of the Christian faith I had been taught. Fancying myself a trainee student in the Lord’s school, I was busy learning how to argue against Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons and how to debate with atheists and argue with agnostics. Little had I realised there was such folly within the camp I thought myself a part of.
I resolved it would be wise to take a broom to my own house before trying to deal with the dirt in the street. I would learn about the doctrines of grace so the next time I encountered them I would be prepared and able to argue effectively against them; able to put their advocates right. The trouble was, rather than supply me with arguments against the doctrines of grace, the books I bought and the sermons I listened to thoroughly convinced me of their truth and opened up a whole new world of gospel meaning and spiritual understanding. If I wasn’t converted before, I was converted now!
I learned what the Fall of Man really amounts to and how sinners like me have lost all ability of will and strength to do any spiritual good. I learned my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Paul’s words in Romans 7 took on a new meaning where he declares, ‘in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not’. I realised I had not previously understood the first thing about my sin, or indeed, the holiness of God.
I discovered the Bible’s teaching on Election and God’s sovereign purpose to bring certain individuals to salvation. I realised how God’s dealings with fallen sinners must be unconditional because the alternative is salvation based on my will and my works which, simply put, denies the message of grace. Also, I realised if God is not sovereign in salvation He can be changed and influenced by my decisions and my works. I knew enough to understand God is unchangeable and He must change me. Again, Paul’s words took on new meaning, ‘So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy’.
The significance of the Lord Jesus Christ’s successful accomplishments on the cross then dawned on me. All my previous notions of universal atonement and Christ dying for everyone were so bland and insipid compared to the power of the message of particular redemption and limited atonement. Words that had originally offended me now radiated with energy, efficacy and light. I grasped Substitution for the first time. Christ’s blood meant something! The death on the cross of the perfect Son of God was the price by which I am bought back and brought back – He was the Ransom by which I am redeemed.
My views of the glory, majesty and primacy of God in salvation were transformed. Now the irresistible work of the Spirit of God seemed obvious. My cherished freewill was a sham. I saw I would never choose God had He not first chosen me. I would never love God had He not first loved me. I saw how the quickening power of the Holy Ghost in the new birth was essential for conversion. I had long before learned about the meeting between Nicodemus and the Lord Jesus but now it meant so much more. ‘Except a man be born again’ was not speaking about my decision to follow Christ but of God’s grace to quicken me. Now it all made sense!
Perseverance of the saints, the last step in what I came to learn was nicknamed TULIP, was not such a big leap for me. It hardly seemed credible that ‘He which hath begun a good work’ in me would do anything other than ‘perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’. If the Father had chosen me, and Christ had redeemed me and the Holy Spirit had quickened me it was unlikely that, having bought me so dearly, the Lord Jehovah would readily let me go.
I thank the Lord He taught me the gospel when I wrongly believed I knew it and brought me to the truth when my first reaction was to kick against it.
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