By Zak Pizza
There are so many things that our relationship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit encompasses. But the fulcrum on which our eternal destiny pivots is the grace of God. Apart from the divine act of superlative Grace we would know nothing of the true God, “Who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.” (1 Tim. 6:15 f.) Our lives are wholly dependent upon the grace of God, and His sovereign bestowment of said grace.
I can recall a young man, at the age of 21, running around in his ever-compiling mess of sin, when, as suddenly as lightning splits through a tree, he was eternally changed. The mighty right hand of God had taken him by the neck of his soul and set him before the cross of Calvary. For the first time ever, he saw. He saw the holiness of God and he saw himself, for what he really was. Upon beholding the true cross of Christ, he believed in the only One who could save him from his utter wretchedness and depravity. He was saved. He did not come to place faith in Jesus Christ because of any man-made traditions or methodologies, or any appeal to his five senses, but because of Truth made manifest to his heart, soul, and mind through the proclamation of the gospel. Though days after hearing the gospel, Providence happened upon him while he was boxing in his garage, and he was there justified. He rejoiced emphatically over his safety from the wrath of God. Coming out to hear all the commotion, his younger siblings gathered around him in curiosity, and the young man testified to the grace of God and the salvation of his soul. His three younger siblings rejoiced with him, and within seconds his parents heard and came out to celebrate also, ending with an unforgettable family embrace.
Being the young man in the above testimony, I was totally ignorant of who Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the Puritans were. But one thing that I was certainly not ignorant of—that day in my garage—was the grace of God. As I couldn’t shake it from my mind, the gospel was playing over and over in my head on repeat; and I was regenerated, I repented and believed, I was justified, and I have been—and will be—glorified. With the present knowledge that I now have of the doctrines of grace, I am led to worship God in true humility. For a man cannot know true humility unless God leads him to the knowledge of the truth, of God and of himself: that God is infinitely greater, infinitely holy, infinitely pure, infinitely powerful, infinitely wise, infinitely good… and that he is but a zero minus.
I thank God for the Reformers and the Puritans for their communication of the wonder-truths of God’s grace, but we need not rely upon the Reformers and the Puritans to testify to the truths of the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace, for the God-Man Himself taught us these doctrines (John 1:13; 3:3; 5:21-23, 6:37-44,65; 8:42-47; 13:18; 15:16; 17:6-19; just to name a few.). Who lived to give glory to God the Father more than Christ Jesus did? And He not only glorified the Father through perfect obedience, but through His teaching as well.
Understanding the doctrines of grace has been an incredible blessing on my life. One thing that has been true for me, as I continue to grow in sanctification, is a statement that my pastor, David Charles, once made to me: “Calvinism, the doctrines of grace, work as a rope to pull you way down into the Scriptures.”
The truths of the doctrines of grace have given me freedom to the utmost, as they have worked to pull me way down into the Scriptures, so as to abide in His word. Is this not what Jesus said would happen? “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32) I am free from death, free from sin, free from judgment! I am completely, and irrevocably, free! I have the freedom to obey Christ, take up my cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). I have the freedom to crucify all the focal points of the reign of my self, and to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Luke 9:23; Matthew 6:33). I have the freedom to come before almighty God and pray, and to be heard, and rewarded (Matthew 6:6). I have the freedom to do good works, which He prepared beforehand so that I would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). And I have the freedom to proclaim the full counsel of the gospel without alteration, without dulling the blade, and without shame; for it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).
The freedom to proclaim the full counsel of God without shame is a most encouraging freedom. As I labor at the mouth of the Amazon River, in a remote city called Porto de Moz, with the people that Providence has placed before me, it is most comforting to know that God will be the One to build His church (Matthew 16:18). That what I am to do is to be faithful to His word. Period. And no matter how helpless things may seem, there is always hope for those sinners still breathing. Because their salvation depends not on their will, but on God who has mercy! (Romans 9:16)
The testimony herein may be compared to that like the first lick of a lollipop the size of Jupiter. There is no testimony of God’s grace greater than the cross of Jesus Christ. It is the intersection of all of God’s glorious attributes. There is no great enough illustration, no great enough analogy, no deep enough heart, no great enough mind to fully, and properly explain the depth and the breadth of God’s grace, and what He did on the cross of Calvary. The subject of the glory of God’s grace is one that we will bathe in for all eternity. And it is for the grace of God in the cross of Christ that we are eternally thankful.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness,
Because of Your truth.