Salvation is by free grace alone!
(James Smith, "The Believer's Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble" 1842)
"By grace you are saved!" Ephesians 2:8
Salvation is by free grace alone! In eternity past, the Lord fixed upon the objects whom He intended to deliver from sin, Satan, and the curse — and whom He designed to raise to holiness, happiness, and honor. He assigns no reason but His sovereign good pleasure: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion!"
He chose His people out of the vast mass — and recorded their names in the book of life. He gave them to our dear and adorable Immanuel — to be His care, charge, and bride. He appointed them to life, sonship, and conformity to Jesus — and all of free grace!
Grace scatters blessings upon millions — but never utters a curse against any. She provides salvation for her objects — but is in no sense the cause of the damnation of the rest. Her language is SAVE; but never DESTROY.
Sovereign grace, rightly viewed — embodies everything that is sweet, pleasant, charming, and delightful. It is . . .
as free as the summer breeze,
as pure as the sun's bright ray,
and as pleasant as the morning light!
All who know it — love it,
all who have seen it — admire it,
and all who enjoy it — adore it!
Grace finds . . .
a depth for our sins,
a fountain for our needs,
a covering for our persons, and
a Heaven for our eternal habitation.
Oh that Heaven would coin language sufficiently grand, and furnish ideas sufficiently noble — to speak of the glories of sovereign grace, or to show forth half its praise!
Salvation, then, . . .
originates in the free grace of God,
flows in the channel of the Redeemer's blood, and
aims at the glorification of Jehovah in all His perfections.
Salvation was . . .
planned in eternity,
executed in time, and
shall be realized and enjoyed until eternity can end!
Salvation is . . .
divine in its contrivance, execution, and application;
holy in its character, tendency, and design;
and free in its bestowment and operations.
Salvation is of God, by grace, to holiness — forever!
"Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious" (1 Peter 2:7).
Every believer VALUES Christ. Let others think of Him as they may — all who are taught of God, think highly of Him. They can never honor Him as they wish, or enjoy Him to their full satisfaction.
Every believer feels their NEED of him.
No weary traveler ever felt his need of rest,
no hungry laborer ever felt his need of food,
no drowning mariner ever felt his need of a life-boat
— as the believer has felt his need of Christ!
They need to be saved — and only Christ can save them.
They need to be happy — and only Jesus can make them happy.
They need His blood to cleanse them from sin, and procure their pardon.
They need His righteousness to clothe their souls, and justify them before God.
They need His Spirit to sanctify their nature, and make them fit for Heaven.
They need His intercession to secure them from evil, and procure for them good things.
They need His fullness of grace to supply all their needs, from earth to Heaven.
Every believer discovers the exact SUITABILITY of Christ to them.
He is just what they need — He has all that they need!
They are foolish — and He has wisdom.
They are unrighteous — and He has righteousness.
They are unholy — and He has holiness.
They are weak — and He has strength.
They are in bondage — and He has redemption.
They are lost — and He has salvation.
In a word, they are led to see that God has stored up everything in Jesus, and that possessing Him — they have all things!
Every Christian believes on Him to the saving of the soul. They trust Him to procure their pardon, peace with God, and everlasting life.
Their heart goes out to Him,
they repose confidence in Him,
they commit their souls to Him,
they build on Him — as God's foundation;
they hide in Him — as the sinner's refuge; and
they trust themselves with Him — as the almighty Savior.
"Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!"
But Jesus is only precious to believers. Others do not feel their need of Him, do not see His adaptation to them, and do not depend on Him for pardon, peace with God, and everlasting life.
Beloved, do you have this saving faith — which renders Christ so precious?
If so, admire the sovereign and distinguishing grace of God, which has conferred so great a blessing upon you — for not all are given saving faith.
If so, realize the importance of this faith — which renders Christ so precious.
It is the eye — which sees the beauty of Christ.
It is the foot — which travels to Christ.
It is the hand — which lays hold of Christ.
It is the mouth — which tastes the sweetness of Christ.
It is the inward principle — which clings and cleaves to Christ.
Avoid therefore whatever weakens faith, or interrupts its exercise; and prize whatever strengthens it, and makes it vigorous!
(James Smith, "Christ Precious!" 1861)