Late medieval theologians began to distort how we think and talk about grace. Where did they go wrong? Today, Sinclair Ferguson articulates what it really means to be recipients of the Lord's saving grace.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: What is grace? I'm here on the Ligonier campus with Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, one of our teaching fellows here. Dr. Ferguson, what is grace?
DR. SINCLAIR FERGUSON: Nathan, I've come to say that actually there is no such thing as grace, partly because I think many Christians do think there is a thing that is grace, so we say, "I received grace." And there is this kind of sense that it is something between God and ourselves, between Christ and ourselves, that He gives to us that is almost totally separate from Him.
So I think the best answer to the question is Jesus Christ is God's grace, and when the New Testament speaks about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, it's not thinking primarily about something that is given to us but someone who is given to us. The grace is in Christ. The grace of Christ is in Christ. And this is why the gospel invitation is not "come and receive grace" but "come and receive the Lord Jesus Christ."
And I've found that helpful partly because that there is such a thing as grace tended to be the way of thinking of the late-medieval theologians. You got grace through the sacraments, so it seemed to be a very substantial thing.
And part of what the Reformation was about, and I think this is especially true in Calvin, was this emphasis that it's not grace as a thing you need; it's Christ as a Savior and Lord that you need. And when you believe into union and communion with the Lord Jesus you get everything that there is for you that's in Him.
So the short answer is, What is grace? Jesus Christ is grace. Come to Him, trust in Him, live for Him, and enjoy Him.
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