What is Grace?


What do you mean by grace?1

By grace I mean a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation.

How many kinds of grace are there?2

There are two kinds of grace, sanctifying grace and actual grace.

What is sanctifying grace?3

Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul holy and pleasing to God.

What is actual grace?4

Actual grace is that help of God which enlightens our mind and moves our will to shun evil and do good.

Is grace necessary to salvation?5

Grace is necessary to salvation, because without grace we can do nothing to merit heaven.

Can we resist the grace of God?6

We can and unfortunately often do resist the grace of God.

What is the grace of perseverance?7

The grace of perseverance is a particular gift of God which enables us to continue in the state of grace till death.

Why must we firmly hold to this teaching of justification by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith?8

We must firmly hold to this teaching because

  • It is the most important doctrine of the Christian religion (Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43);
  • It distinguishes the Christian religion from false religions, all of which teach salvation by works (Galatians 5:4-5; Micah 7:18-20);
  • It gives enduring comfort to the penitent sinner (Acts 16:30-31, 34; Matthew 9:2);
  • It gives all glory to God for His grace and mercy in Christ (Revelation 1:5-6).

With whom was the covenant of grace made?9

The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?10

The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provides and offers to sinners a Mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promises and gives his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he has appointed them to salvation.

Was the covenant of grace always administered after one and the same manner?11

The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were different from those  under the New.

How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?12

The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.

How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament?13

Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fulness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.

Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace?14

The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fulness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.

What is that union which the elect have with Christ?15

The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.

May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace? 16

True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Can true believers be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein unto salvation?17

Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavor to walk in all good conscience before him, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God’s promises, and by the Spirit enabling them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God, be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation.

Footnotes

  1. Baltimore Larger Catechism (1885), Question 103.
  2. Baltimore Larger Catechism (1885), Question 104.
  3. Baltimore Larger Catechism (1885), Question 105.
  4. Baltimore Larger Catechism (1885), Question 110.
  5. Baltimore Larger Catechism (1885), Question 111.
  6. Baltimore Larger Catechism (1885), Question 112.
  7. Baltimore Larger Catechism (1885), Question 113.
  8. Luther’s Small Catechism (1529), Question 186.
  9. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 31.
  10. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 32.
  11. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 33.
  12. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 34.
  13. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 35.
  14. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 36.
  15. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 66.
  16. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 79.
  17. Westminster Larger Catechism (1647), Question 80.

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