Brothers and Sisters,
I would lead this morning with a short stanza from a prayer, taken from Valley of Vision.
Teach me to know that grace precedes,
accompanies, and follows my salvation,
that it sustains the redeemed soul,
that not one link of its chain can ever break. - Valley of Vision
n this short stanza lifted from one of the many wonderfulprayers fromValley of Vision(which I might add would make a wonderful Christmas gift for a loved one or yourself) speaks of the essential nature of God’s grace to the salvation of a sinner. Grace is necessary to every step of our salvation and grace never fails. Grace is God’s extraordinary, undeserved, unmerited disposition of favor towards sinners, like you and me. It erupts not out of a response to our worthiness, but rather the heart of God which abounds with never-failing love and compassion. God does not find beautiful people and then determines to love them, but rather He has chosen objects of love and makes them beautiful, that is like Himself in holiness, by His grace. To quote Martin Luther from his wonderful Heidelberg Disputations from 1518: “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.”
You are the what you are because God, in His particular and eternal affection chose you and has showered you with transforming grace. Let the heart then of your pursuit of holiness, service in the Lord’s Church, fellowship with the saints be grounded upon a spiritual affection whose object is the One who is most beautiful, most glorious, most patient, most GRACIOUS, the Triune Lord of Heaven and Earth.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15, ESV)