The Doctrines of Grace

three cross and sunset

During the 1980’s I came across a phrase I had never heard before. The context helped me understand the meaning, but the manner and attitude with which it was used bothered me. The phrase was ‘the Doctrines of Grace’. Yes, the capitals for ‘doctrines’ and ‘grace’ convey the attitude that was present.

There was a sense of elitism. Yet, these people were knowledgeable, friendly, and God-honouring, at least as far as I could tell. The attitude wasn’t blatant, but it was still evident to anyone who was observant.
The term ‘doctrines of grace’ appears nowhere in Scripture. The closest use of the terms ‘doctrine’ and ‘grace’ is found in these two verses: Titus 2:10-11 “not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in every respect. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men”. This, of course, does not mean that we should not or cannot use the phrase; he word ‘Trinity’ is not used in the Scriptures either, but the Triune God is clearly taught.

I appreciated those believers and their heartfelt desire to honour the Lord. My purpose in raising this issue is to encourage those of us who have been humbled by the Lord’s teaching concerning His sovereign gracious work through divine election to humbly instruct those believers who believe differently concerning the process of salvation.

Understanding this instills humility rather than pride. I am reminded of Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: 2 Tim. 2:24-26 “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Brethren who are like-minded, let us not use the term as a badge of honour but of humility. God the Spirit has revealed these things and it is incumbent upon us to graciously teach others the consistent teaching of the Word on the word ‘grace’. For that, in fact, is what the term ‘doctrines of grace’ really summarizes: God’s outworking of salvation in specific people thoroughly and completely by grace.

Nothing of man but all of God! He is the giver; we are the recipients of God’s unmerited mercy and love.

I need to remember 1 Cor. 13:4-7 as much as anyone: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

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