God’s Sovereignty in Grace

I recently heard an opinion about Grace which gave me concern as I thought about it. It concerned the responsibility of the believer to extend the Grace which they had received on to others. It proposed that failure to do so would likely make the Father unhappy, and would possibly engender some sort of correction. I have no fundamental problem so far.

It further proposed that the extension of Grace telegraphs from believer to believer, with the action of each believer being required so that Grace can pass to others. In illustration, it was suggested to see a string running from believer to believer, joining the body. Grace would telegraph through this chain, extending outward and reaching those downstream. Should the Grace not be relayed by a link, the string would be cut, the Grace would stop there, and those downstream would not receive the intended Grace.

Although I would certainly agree that it is stated biblically that it is the responsibility of believers to extended Grace to others, and that failure to do so may be credited to their heavenly account, the implications made of mans’ position in the distribution of Grace are in error.

The extension of Grace is a sovereign matter. It is of God and not of man. Though we can extend Grace, as it was extended to us, that extension is for our benefit and has no effect on the actual Grace that the Lord has deemed will be extended to another. To posit otherwise is to deny a key part of Devine Sovereignty and make ‘works’ a key part of salvation (and thereby evangelism). This to me is a serious error indeed.

As a sovereign act, the distribution of Grace will occur, no matter what any or all believers should do. It is, again, all of God and not of man. My, or your, actions in extending Grace may be part of our development under the hand of the Spirit, and may make life in the Body a little more pleasant, but it will not play a part in the action of Grace being received by another, or not.

Think of it this way. If Grace flows via a string, that string goes to each of the elect from the Lord. Maybe the agency of that direct link is you and I, but the link is to the Lord. Our actions are for our development within His plan for us, and maybe for another, but the actual action is always from Him.

Since Grace flows from the Father, by means of the Spirit, the actions of one believer have no real relevance upon another in that respect. To propose that extension of Grace is dependent in any way upon the activity of men means that it can be thwarted by those actions. That is to deny God’s absolute sovereignty therein.

So why split hairs over a simple view of Grace? Viewed from a perspective of absolute faith in the Sovereignty of the Lord in this matter, one may draw the correct conclusions. If that is not the case, however, and if the listener (as was likely the case in the situation under review) has a shaky base in the Sovereignty of God and other tenants of the Reformed faith and/or they have an underlying base of ‘works’ theology, then the message here is fraught with possible misinterpretation and seriously wrong conclusions.


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