The Doctrine of Free Grace from the Puritans

Whoever is truly born of God, has obtained another nature, a new life: he has become a new creature in Christ Jesus; he sees sin in its most frightful form, and abhors it as the greatest evil; he hates it as an act of enmity towards God—as the murderer of his Savior, his own life, his salvation. Nothing is so horrible, so odious to him, as sin; he bears in his heart a deep and sincere desire, and an earnest prayer renewed daily and hourly, to be delivered from the bondage of this tyrant, and to serve the Lord in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. The Savior has enlightened him from pure mercy, so that he has recognized his wretched condition through sin; He has atoned for his sins by the death struggle on the cross; He has forgiven his transgressions, and purified him in His own blood, and made him blessed and holy, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. This astonishing grace, this unspeakable mercy has eternally estranged him from sin; sin has become detestable to him, it is a crying abomination, a most unnatural ingratitude, and therefore he hates, avoids, flies, and curses sin; and prays, strives, sighs, and uses his utmost endeavors to root it from his heart.

But how is this possible? Does not the seed of the serpent yet reign within him? Do not the most beloved children of grace still sigh and groan under the weight of their transgressions? Is not the Christian’s pillow often moistened with the tears of godly sorrow and repentance? Truly it is, but yet even in this distress and lamentation, this strife against sin, and this imploring of the sanctifying power of the blood of Christ, there is proof given, that he who is born again has received a new nature which cannot sin, to which sin is a strange, disgusting, and unfriendly element; and that the old Adam, which exists in sin, has, nevertheless, received a death wound which will by degrees cause his destruction.

We ought to try and examine ourselves, sincerely as before the sight of God, whether we know this new life by experience. Many deceive themselves, many pretend to have the seed of God in them, many imagine themselves in a state of grace when it is not so; and the consequence of this will be, that they will turn the grace of God into licentiousness, and still continue to go on in sin. Where grace has really been experienced, it breathes death against the pleasures of sin. We will now consider this so frequent an abuse—not of grace, but of the doctrine of grace.


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