John 1:16,17; Ephesians 2:8
And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): God alone can give spiritual life at the first, and keep it up in the soul afterwards.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Were it not for the grace of God there would be no such thing as a Christian…A man is not a Christian unless he can say with Paul, “I am what I am by the grace of God.”
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.
PHILIP MAURO (1859-1952): But there is, in the heart of man―corrupted as it is by sin―a rooted aversion to being saved by grace alone.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Grace has been defined as the “unmerited favour” of God…An esteemed friend has pointed out that, grace is something more than “unmerited favour.” To feed a tramp who calls on me is “unmerited favour,” but it is scarcely grace. But suppose that after robbing me I should feed this starving tramp—that would be “grace.” Grace, then, is favour shown where there is positive demerit in the one receiving it.
THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Grace is nothing but an introduction of the virtues of God into the soul.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Nature can never do the work of grace…In a state of nature men are a kind of atheists: whatever be their speculative belief, they are practically without God in the world—we may have the form of godliness, but not the power; we may be reformed, but not renewed; we may become other creatures, but not new ones.
A. W. PINK: Nothing short of the regenerating work of the Spirit can make any man a new creature in Christ Jesus.
JOHN L. GIRARDEAU (1825-1898): Regenerating grace is creative power.
A. W. PINK: Divine power was needed to create, but much greater power is required to regenerate a soul: creation is only the beginning of something out of nothing, but regeneration is the transforming not only of an unlovely object, but one who resists with all its might.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Regeneration, or that great change without which a man cannot see the kingdom of God, is the effect of Almighty power. Neither education, endeavours, nor arguments, can open the eyes of the blind. It is God alone, who at first cause light to shine out of darkness, who can shine into our hearts, “to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” People may attain some natural ideas of spiritual truths by reading books, or hearing sermons, and may thereby become wise in their own conceits; they may learn to imitate the language of an experienced Christian; but they know not what they say, and are as distant from the words “blue” or “red,” as from the ideas which those words raise in the mind of a person who cannot distinguish colours by his sight.
A. W. PINK: Saving faith is not a native product of the human heart, but is a spiritual grace communicated from on high. “It is the gift of God.” It is “the operation of God,” Colossians 2:12. It is by “the power of God,” I Corinthians 2:5. A most remarkable passage on this subject is found in Ephesians 1:16-20. There we find the Apostle Paul praying that the saints should have the eyes of their understanding “enlightened, that they might know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.” Note the strong expressions here used: not merely the power of God, or the greatness of it, but the “exceeding greatness of His power.” Note too the standard of comparison: we “believe according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” God put forth His “mighty power” when He resurrected Christ. There was a mighty difficulty to overcome, even the vanquishing of the grave. There was a mighty result to be achieved, even the bringing to life One who was dead. None but God Himself was equal to a miracle so stupendous. Strictly analogous is that miracle of grace which issues in saving faith―the sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, and can no more quicken himself than he can create a world.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Men cannot take the grace of God and employ it in turning themselves from darkness to light. The light does not come to the darkness and say, use me; but the light comes and drives the darkness away. Life does not come to the dead man and say, use me, and be restored to life; but it comes with a power of its own and restores to life. The spiritual influence does not come to the dry bones and say, use this power and clothe yourselves with flesh: but it comes and clothes them with flesh, and the work is done. Grace is a thing which comes and exercises an influence on us.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration.
WILLIAM JAY: It is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is a new birth, a new creation. The work, though always essentially the same, differs in various individuals. The means also by which it is produced are not the same in all instances. In general, it is accomplished by the preaching of the Word; but sometimes it is effected by reading the Scriptures, by a good book, by pious conversation, by affliction: “Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living,” Job 33:29,30.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The Word of God is the great means of regeneration, James 1:18. The grace of regeneration is conveyed by the gospel…The grace of God works in, and by, the Word of God; it brings that to mind, and sets that home to the conscience.
JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): We do not look for the Spirit to convert souls without the truth; it is by the presentation of this to the judgment, and by the co-working of Divine grace upon the heart, that the great change of regeneration is effected.
C. H. SPURGEON: Even so, we cannot explain conversion and regeneration and the new birth.
WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): The way of God, in the regeneration of man, is past finding out. One part of it He keeps near Himself, concealed by the clouds and darkness that surround His throne; another part of it He has clearly revealed to our understandings, and pressed on our hearts.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Grace is a ring of gold, and Christ is the sparkling diamond in that ring.