Grace of Acceptation With God

by Mike Ratliff

[16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, (John 14:16 ESV)

As we look about us with any discernment at all in these times of spiritual deceit, it can be heart rending to see the outright lying done in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are so-called men of God preaching and teaching and ministering and doing things that could best be described as either the teaching or application of damnable heresies. I know that there are some who call themselves Christians who automatically have a problem with that last statement because they are afflicted with the disease of post-modernistic thinking. They believe everything is relative. Sorry, to the wind with that. If you are uncomfortable with the proclamation of God’s truth as absolute then you will not be comfortable here. God’s Word is His truth, a precious gift to His Church. In it we learn theology and His doctrines. This includes the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. From that we learn that our salvation is entirely by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9). We are justified by faith, not works. God’s truth is objective and absolute not subjective and relative. The grace we possess as Christians was purchased for us at the Cross of Christ. 

The following is a summary of part of Chapter 7 – “The Nature of Purchased Grace” from Communion With The Triune God by John Owen edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor. These are not exact quotes because he often refers to other chapters for instance and I skipped those sentences. The quotes are from pp289-291.

The grace purchased for God’s people, the elect, at the Cross of Christ wherein they have communion with Christ can be understood to have three parts or heads. 1) Grace of acceptation with God; 2) grace of sanctification from God; 3) grace of privileges with and before God. We will focus here on Grace of Acceptation With God.

Grace of Acceptation with God

Before our salvation, we are “out of Christ,” separated from God. We are alienated from Him because of our sin. No matter how good our works are we are still separated from Him because of this. Sin makes a separation between God and us. The first issue of purchased grace is to restore us into a state of acceptation. How is this done? It is done in two ways. First, by he removal of that for which we are refused—the cause of the enmity; second, by the bestowing of that for which we are accepted.

When I read this paragraph at lunch today, I stopped chewing my apple. I went back and reread it several times. I do not think I had ever heard it put quite that way before. When you have heard the Gospel given before, hasn’t it always been focused entirely on forgiveness of sins, and rightly so? Have you ever heard it given to unbelievers in a twofold way like this before? Let us proceed.

Not only all causes of quarrel were to be taken away, that so we should not be under displeasure, but also that was to be given unto us that makes us the objects of God’s delight and pleasure, on the account of the want whereof we are distanced from God:

It gives a removal of that for which we are refused. This is sin in the guilt, and all the attendancies thereof. The first issue of purchased grace tends to the taking away of sin in its guilt, that it shall not bind over the soul the wages of it, which is death.

How is this accomplished and brought about by Christ is the fruit and effect of his death for us. Guilt of sin was the only cause of our separation and distance from God, as has been said. This made us obnoxious to wrath, punishment, and the whole displeasure of God; on the account hereof were we imprisoned under the curse of the law, and given up to the power of Satan. This is the state of our unacceptation. By his death, Christ—bearing the curse, undergoing the punishment that was due to us, paying the ransom that was due for us—delivers us from acceptation with God—that all cause of quarrel and rejection of us is thereby taken away. And to that end are his sufferings reckoned to us; for, being “made sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21), he is made “righteousness unto us” (1 Cor. 1:30).

But yet further; this will not complete our acceptation with God. The old quarrel may be laid aside, and yet no new friendship begun; we may be not sinners, and yet not be so far righteous as to have a right to the kingdom of heaven. Adam had no right to life because he was innocent; he must, moreover “do this,” and then he shall “live.” He must not only have negative righteousness—he was not guilty of anything; but also a positive righteousness—he must do all things.

This, then, is required, in the second place, to our complete acceptation, that we have not only the not imputation of sin, but also reckoning of righteousness. Now, this we have in the obedience of the life of Christ. The obedience of the life of Christ was for us, is imputed to us, and is our righteousness before God—by his obedience are we “made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). On what score the obedience of faith takes place, shall be afterward declared.

These two things, then, complete our grace of acceptation. Sin being removed, and righteousness bestowed, we have peace with God—are continually accepted before him. There is not any thing to charge us with: that which was, is take out of the way by Christ, and nailed to his cross—made fast there; yea, publicly and legally cancelled, that it can never be admitted again as an evidence. What court among men would admit of evidence that has been publicly cancelled and nailed up for all to see it? So has Christ dealt with that which was against us; and not only so, but also he puts that upon us for which we are received into favor. He makes us comely through his beauty; gives us white raiment to stand before the Lord. This is the first part of purchased grace wherein the saints have communion with Jesus Christ. In remission of sin and imputation of righteousness does it consist; from the death of Christ, as a price, sacrifice, and a punishment—from the life of Christ spent in obedience to the law, does it arise. The great product it is of the Father’s righteousness, wisdom, love, and grace—the great and astonishable fruit of the love and condescension of the Son—the great discovery of the Holy Ghost in the revelation of the mystery of the gospel.

I really should not have been surprised that that text got my attention like it did today because I had been praying for God to show me exactly what to post tonight for His glory alone and for your edification. If we tire of the Gospel then there is a problem my brethren. In these troubling times in the Church we must expose those who teach that which is not biblical, warning the brethren as instructed in God’s Word. However, when we can it is a good thing to study the good work Christ did for us to reconcile us to the Father as our propitiation. Let us rejoice in this my brethren.

Soli Deo Gloria!

18 thoughts on “Grace of Acceptation With God

  1. “Ye have not yet resistd unto blood, striving against sin.”
    Hebrews 12:4 KJV
    It may come to this yet, brothers and sisters!
    Although I am not looking forward to it, we may be called to such for the Glory of Christ and His Gospel…the TRUE GOSPEL, as laid out in Holy Scripture.
    Are those that deny the Truth of Scripture, prepared to “go to the mat” for their beliefs?

  2. Dear Mike,
    Oh that those who persecute us would know how much we LOVE them. It is the hard road to care enough about people to actually care that they are being led astray and to try and warn them, even though this will surely bring condemnation to you. But, do we really love them?
    There are many in the visible church that profess to be Christians but are compromising at every turn. We may not judge the heart only God knows. So, there are only one of two options, either they are truly not Christians OR they are believers under a delusion or deception.
    We must as Christ loved and prayed for us,(John 17:6-20) earnestly pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who may be under deception. I have been convicted to pray Daniels prayer in chapter 9. Here is a condensed version:
    “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, ‘Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, WE have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside for Your commandments and ordinances… Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him…So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sancturary… O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” Daniel 9:4&5,8&9,17,19 May we confess our sins so that we can come before our God with clean hands and a pure heart to intercede for those who are deceived and pray that God may lift the veil off their eyes. We ask this in the name above all names Jesus Christ our wonderful Savior!

  3. Amen Charisse! Yes indeed, may we confess our sins and become those bondservants of our Lord who are useful vessels in His hands to do His Will for His glory alone.

  4. Mike, this was very well written by Owen. The forgiveness of sins makes us unfit for outer darkness but not necessarily fit for the Kingdom of God. There must also be that righteousness God demands for all in His Kingdom. And so Christ Jesus is the Lord our Righteousness. Even from Abraham, God made it clear that man needed an imputed righteousness for right-standing with Him. What a God of grace to do all this for such wretches as ourselves!

  5. What a beautifully written description of our salvation. What a blessed estate, “accepted in the beloved”. ALL praise and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ!!!

  6. Hi Mike :-D
    This was like drinking when one is really thirsty only to be sated or the old-fashioned word ‘slaked’. It is a joy to be reminded that we were in the ‘wrong being’ with God before being born again of the Spirit and that only through Jesus, were we and can we ever be, put into ‘right being’ with Him and forever.

    Bless you dear brother :-D

    At Calvary – Will­iam R. New­ell, 1895

    Years I spent in vanity and pride,
    Caring not my Lord was crucified,
    Knowing not it was for me He died
    at Calvary!

    Chorus: Mercy there was great and grace was free,
    Pardon there was multiplied to me,
    There my burdened soul found liberty
    at Calvary!

    By God’s Word at last my sin I learned,
    Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
    Till my guilty soul, imploring, turned
    to Calvary!

    Chorus

    Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
    Now I gladly own Him as my King,
    Now my raptured soul can only sing
    of Calvary!

    Chorus

    O the love that drew salvation’s plan!
    O the grace that brought it down to man!
    O the mighty gulf that God did span
    at Calvary!

    Chorus

  7. Amen, Mike.
    And since God is unchangeable, and Jesus Christ ever lives to make intercession for us, and the Father always hears the Son, and they are united in their work of salvation, then our salvation is perfect and forever with no chance of failure. It is too wonderful to comprehend.
    God’s rich blessings to you today.

  8. This was wonderful, Mike…..rejoicing in its Truth!

    Thank you and praise the Lord! All glory is due Him alone.

  9. I had the same (wow) effect when I first studied the three imputations in the Bible years ago (and I think the same thing is being taught here):

    1) Adam’s sin imputed to us (our standing with God is in effect negative infinity)
    2) Our sin imputed to Christ (forgiveness gets us to net zero with God in a certain sense)
    3) Christ’s righteousness (active obedience to the law) imputed to us (gets us to a net positive infinity – there is nothing we can add to or earn from God at this point).

    I too felt that the 3rd one is underemphasized today, where grace is under fire constantly. I later learned (from a post over at team-pyro) that the value of Jesus’ perfect obedience to the law is actually under attack in some circles today.

    They seek to reduce it to penal substitution only, and to denigrate the value of Christ’s righteousness in our salvation. They retain salvation by grace, but blessings after salvation tend to be “earned” legalistically – a pastoral disaster.

    Thanks from bringing this up, I agree it is a wonderful teaching to give some more “airtime” to.

  10. Thanks for that input Kurt. That was exactly my reaction to it. Yes, the Spirit said absolutely true so why aren’t we hearing this? I think it would make a huge difference in the Church in our time.

  11. Pingback: A Salvation That Really Saves « Possessing the Treasure

  12. Glory!
    Praise the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
    I will never, EVER, understand why He chose to impute HIS righteousness to me!
    I will never be able to thank or praise Him enough!

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