The Doctrines of Grace, Introduction
Owner of all, God’s
wisdom and attributes are clearly seen in nature,
God’s absolute claim rests upon mankind, man-
kind made in God’s image is under covenant
obligation to fulfill its created purpose.
Moral Governor, Judge, Ruler in posses-
sion of absolute moral authority, God’s
Law reveals His righteousness,
God’s Law is written upon
the conscience of man.
God in His love and mercy
takes on our nature that
He might be the
H U M A N H I S T O R Y
Scripture says that the natural man studiously suppresses the knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18-23). The natural man may try to conceive of a god. Since his efforts involve reasoning that rejects God’s authoritative revelation, his conclusions are nothing more than futility, darkness and speculation (Rom. 1:21; Eph. 4:17-19). God can only be known through Jesus Christ (John 1:18; 3:13; 2 Cor. 4:6).
Because – Outside of Jesus Christ, God is mysterious, unknowable, distant, detached from human suffering and tragedy. Man peers through the fog of sin, despair, injustice, loss and catastrophe and cannot see the glory of God. Outside of Christ, men will only have enmity and hostility for God’s holiness, wrath and justice. (Wrath is God’s settled anger and determination to justly punish sin).
As long as a person has “a bad heart and a bad record in heaven,” he will respond with enmity to the condemnation of God’s Law. That rebellion often takes the form of religious and moral efforts to protect oneself from God.
How can a person come to know God?
PROVERBS 1:7 – “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.” The fear of God is to regard His authoritative Word (the Holy Scriptures) as infinitely above one’s own futile speculations. The answer to man’s problem must come from outside man (Prov. 16:25). The natural “religion” of the heart is contrary to the gospel.
The true knowledge and glory of God floods the hearts and minds of those who believe the gospel (2 Cor. 4:6). “For in the good news God’s Way of man’s right standing with Him is uncovered, the Way of faith that leads to greater faith…” (Rom. 1:17a, Wms transl.).
Salvation deals with the righteousness of God and the guilt of the creature. There can be no reconciliation between God and the creature until both say the same thing about sin. (Precisely that all sin is against God, that the creature cannot change his own sinful nature, that sin is so serious that each person deserves to be eternally miserable). There can be no reconciliation until the creature consents to be represented by the divinely appointed Merciful Redeemer.
Faith in Christ as Lord and Savior is the reception of God’s righteousness as a gift of His grace.
In the hands of the Holy Spirit, the Law of God is a tutor that leads a person to Christ (Gal. 3:24; Rom. 10:1-4).
A person’s bondage to sin is not broken by the Law of God. The sinner’s nature must be changed, his guilt must be pardoned and he must find his right-standing before God in Christ alone. This is all accomplished through the Person and work of Christ (1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18).
God has made the greatest overturning of justice in human history (the murder of the Son of God) to be the infinite satisfaction of divine justice on behalf of all those who believe (2 Cor. 5:21).
Because – What Christ accomplished was a completely voluntary act (Jn. 10:18).
What Christ did in His life and death He did as a Substitute (1 Pe. 3:18)
What Christ accomplished on Calvary was a public display of justice ordained by God (Rom. 3:25,26).
God can only be known by way of our sinnership and His dealing decisively with it!