God’s Electing Grace
When Boothe considered the grace of God, he knew that he would have to go back before the beginning of time to the election and sovereign grace of God. Rather than stirring up feelings of hostility, “it is a wonderful thought” that God graciously elected to carry out the salvation of those who believe in Him (Ephesians 1:3-12; Romans 8:28-39). God’s election “gives no encouragement whatever for anyone to continue in sin” for His ultimate aim is to conform us to the image of His Son.
This grace of God comes through a statement that “startled” Nicodemus—namely that one must be “born again” to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3-8). This means that “no sinner can by any means work out a salvation for himself”. It is God who makes alive (Ephesians 2:1,4-7). The God who raised Lazarus from the dead must also raise our spiritually dead souls. Rather than be busy wondering how or why God has done all of this, we should busy ourselves with offering thanksgiving for such marvelous grace.
The Grace of Repentance
Too often in our day, repentance is thought to be the sole work of man in his free will. However, true sorrow for sin comes by the gracious conviction of the Holy Spirit. We see this sort of repentance in David when He confesses his sin in Psalm 51. True sorrow acknowledges the wrong done to others but primarily focuses on the wrong done toward the “majesty and glory of God”. True confession, according to Boothe, is saying of ourselves and our sins “exactly what God says about them” as seen in 1 John 1:9.
The Gift of Faith
Without faith, how can we be saved? We can’t. We must call on God (Romans 10:13-14). Calling upon God means running to Jesus and confessing that He alone can save us from the sin and death which plague us. Boothe says “that earnest and honest calling on the Lord means that all dependence on anything else than what Christ Jesus has done is utterly renounced and that in Christ is all his desire, all his trust, all his hope.”
It is this gift of faith that allows a sinful person to be counted as righteous in the sight of God. Boothe reminds us that the only way a sinner can be just with God is if God provides a way Himself. The Scriptures are clear that justification can’t be mixed with our works, for “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:27-28). If works are included it is no longer of grace, says Paul (Romans 11:6). It is hearing and believing that justify so that we may boast in God alone (John 5:24; Romans 5:1-2).
Growing In Holiness
Sanctification is the process of being made holy, and salvation is brought to its fullness as the Spirit makes us more and more Christlike. God justifies and sanctifies us by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). Christ is also active in presenting the church as a glorious, spotless, holy bride (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Boothe reminds us that Christ prayed specifically for our sanctification and that “without holiness, there is no salvation”. Therefore, we should be earnest to pursue holiness and flee from sin (Hebrews 12:14-15; Titus 2:11-14).
Preservation of the Saints
Boothe prefers to use “preservation of the saints” because “it draws attention directly to God, who is the Preserver of his people”. Scripture brings out the fact that God does indeed preserve His saints in His “gracious and unalterable purpose”. Romans 8:28-30 show a chain of salvation so glorious that Paul speaks of present tense saints with past tense glorification. We are kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:2-5), confirmed until the end (1 Corinthians 1:3-9), safe sheep in the hands of God (John 10:27-30), and awaiting Jesus’ promise to come again (John 14:1-3).
Take a moment to just thank God for His active work in salvation. He didn’t leave us to ourselves. He didn’t hand us a ladder and say, “climb as high as you can, and if you make it, I’ll let you in.” He also didn’t say, “Climb as high as you can and I’ll grab you when you can’t keep going”. Rather He came to the bottom of the ladder, resurrected us, and is carrying us to the top, by His grace. Does this negate our responsibility, not at all. Trust Christ. Pursue godliness. Chase after holiness. Boast in Him alone. Never forget that the God who saved us is the God who will keep us.
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