Wilhelmus à Brakel – The Justice and Grace of God

18 Jan


Beware, oh sinner, whoever you are, for God is just! Do not imagine that you will be able to satisfy God by praying, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner,” or by doing your utmost to refrain from evil and to practice virtue. To imagine such is to be on the broad way to eternal destruction, and causes millions, who live under the ministry of the gospel, to perish. If you could be delivered from this foolish imagination, there would still be hope for you. As long as you foster such an imagination, however, you are in a hopeless condition. Please consider that there can be no hope of grace and salvation without satisfaction of the justice of God, that is, by the enduring of punishment.

You have heard that God is gracious, which is true. You are guilty, however, of distorting the essential meaning of the grace of God by interpreting it to refer to remission of sin and absolution from punishment apart from satisfaction. Such, however, is not grace. There is no contradiction in God. The justice of God, which cannot be compromised to the least degree, of necessity demands the punishment of the sinner. God cannot deny Himself, and thus grace does not negate His justice. Grace is not incompatible with justice, but confirms it. This is the grace of God so highly exalted in His Word—that God, without finding anything in man, yes, contrary to his desert, gave His Son as a Surety. He transferred the sins of the elect from their account to His and by bearing the punishment justly due upon their sin, satisfied the justice of God on their behalf. This is grace, namely, that God offers Jesus as Surety in the gospel. It is grace when God grants faith to a sinner to receive Jesus and to entrust his soul to Jesus. It is grace when God converts a sinner, granting him spiritual life. It is grace when God permits a sinner to sensibly experience His favor. It is grace when God sanctifies a sinner, leading him in the way of holiness to salvation.

Please note how much the grace of God differs from your conception of grace. Put your erroneous conception aside and cease from trying to make all things well in the way of prayer and self-reformation.

~Wilhelmus à Brakel~

The Christian’s Reasonable Service, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1992), 129-130.

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More à Brakel Quotes at The Old Guys

8 Responses to “Wilhelmus à Brakel – The Justice and Grace of God”

  1. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert January 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    Here is a bit of an antinomian hammer blow…for the moral law of God is still a sign and desire toward obedience to God!

    • Bentley January 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      Do you mean this a hammer blow against the antinomians or a hammer blow by the antinomians in favor of antinomianism?

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert January 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

        Against of course! WE still should and must obey the moral law of God!

      • Bentley January 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

        Ah ok. I wasn’t sure if I was reading you correctly. Now I’m curious though. I am no antinomian, but would they not be able to affirm a quote like the above, being that it is regarding the realm of justification, while then also affirming that the law has been abolished on that same basis in the new life of the Christian? In other words, could they not say that yes God satisfied His justice in the death of Christ to save sinners (as above), but now, because of that, the Christian is set free from all law and it no longer has any place in his life now as a believer? Or would you say that am I misunderstanding either antinomianism or the quote above?

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert January 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

        If you note, Paul of course taught a form of Law/Gospel (Gal. 4: 1-7), as our Reformers, especially Luther and Calvin. And then too the moral law of God, and the law of love, (Rom. 14: 1-23 / (1 Cor. 9: 19-27). But indeed the Spirit actualizes the believer’s sonship…”the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4: 6). So in some sense the Law of God is still the reality in our sanctification, but Christian character is not mere moral or legal correctness, but the possession and manifestation of the grace of God! But as Paul says too: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law [Mosaic].” (Gal. 5: 22-23) But still the moral law of God! And it is here by the Spirit that we can give obedience! The antinomians know nothing here!

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert January 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

        Someone wrote and asked me how the “Law of God” could be our sanctification? Note, there is in Scripture, a sort of classification of the Law/Laws of God! Divine Law, the natural law, and human law. The Divine laws are Mosaic, both in the OT and even in the Gospels, especially the so-called synoptic Gospels. There are generally three divisions of the Mosaic law: the ceremonial, and here even too the civil or judicial laws. Of course the ceremonial laws of Moses and the civil laws are no longer commanded to other nations, nor are they binding on us.

        And then finally, there are the moral laws, or the moral law of God, and we can see these in the Decalogue, and even too in the natural law. Note here, Matt. 22: 36-40!

        But for Christians and in our redemption Christ fulfills all the Law of God for us! Romans 8: 1-4. But Romans 8: 4, “so that the requirement of the Law be fulfilled is us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” In Romans verse 5, we can see the great difference between those who are ‘In Christ”, and those who are not! We should also read Romans chapter 10 here! Finally, the Law of God is only our Sanctification as it is ‘In Christ’! (Gal. 6: 2 ; 10) We surely must beware of antinomianism, that the Christian is somehow not bound by the Moral Law of God, but in fact the Christian is always actually bound to, or is necessitated to the moral obedience to God and Christ; but by grace and God’s glory! “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1: 27) See too, 2 Cor.13: 5, a most profound Pauline verse! Indeed let us, “Test” ourselves/”yourselves”…”if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?” And surely always part of that test is God’s moral law! Note in this verse how Paul posits “yourselves”, but In Christ!

  2. lacykitkat January 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on HE STILL SPEAKS!.

  3. mydelightandmycounsellors January 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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