John Phillips Ministries

Grace Be Unto You, and Peace - Part I

m2t on Dec 19, 2016

Grace be unto you, and peace." Thus the book of Revelation begins—more like a Pauline epistle than a great apocalypse. Here is a book that deals primarily with judgment, but God begins it with grace. In this book we see people getting what they deserve—judgment after judgment from a God whose patience is exhausted at last. The floodtides of His wrath, which have been dammed back since Calvary, are now released. The dams burst. The pent-up oceans of His holy anger against sin and against the murder of His Son pour out now in all their fury. But first, God speaks of His grace. God tells people that judgment is His strange work. He would far rather offer them His grace. Grace, as the word is used in Scripture, is the outpouring of God's unmerited kindness to sinners.

Years ago a reclaimed drunkard named Sam Duncannon used to haunt the halls of the Glasgow mission in Scotland. He was poor. He was simple, but he was saved. He collected pictures, and he collected poems. He would find a picture and paste it onto some cardboard; then he would find a matching poem and paste that alongside the picture. Then he would give these picture poems to the derelicts that came through the mission, hoping they might bring some brightness into their lives.

One day someone gave Sam Duncannon a picture of Niagara Falls. He loved it. He looked and looked for a poem to put beside it. But he could not find one.
Then one day D. L. Moody came to the Glasgow mission, along with Ira Sankey. Mr. Sankey got up to sing, and at once Sam knew he had found the words he wanted for his picture of Niagara Falls. This is what Mr. Sankey sang:

Have you on the Lord believed?
Still there's more to follow.
Of His grace have you received?
Still there's more to follow.
Oh, the grace the Father shows!
Still there's more to follow.
Freely, He His grace bestows.
Still there's more to follow.
More and more, more and more,
Always more to follow,
Oh, His matchless, boundless love!
Still there's more to follow.

Such indeed is the boundless grace of God. "Grace be unto you!" Grace to defy the Devil to the very end! Grace to win souls from beneath the very throne of the Beast! Grace poured out upon the two witnesses and then superabundantly upon the 144,000 witnesses until the converts of the judgment age to come promise to outnumber all those of history.

And yet more grace! Grace to send an angel with "the everlasting gospel" to win still more souls before the bowls of wrath are outpoured (Rev. 14:6-7). Indeed, so great is God's desire for lost people to be saved, right down to the last possible moment, that He reduces the angel's message here to the lowest possible terms. Here is no elaborate New Testament theology. Here is no demand for good works of any kind. It is the primeval gospel, the simplest, most universal beliefs available to all people everywhere based on the evidence of creation and conscience (the kind of thing we have in Rom. 1:18-20). "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters"
 (Rev. 14:7). There will be no time left to discuss the profound theology of the cross—besides the prerogative of preaching Christ and Him crucified is not given to angels but to humans. But we alas have failed. With judgment fires already poised on high and about to descend, there are still untold millions still untold, so an angel is sent. He calls for the barest essentials of belief God can accept; and one last, burning call is given from heaven. Such is our God—a God of matchless grace.