SWIMMING IN THE POOL OF GRACE
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
A childhood memory is that of the simple joy of reading comic books, and one in particular: Donald Duck. It seems Donald had a rich uncle who was also very stingy. He had accumulated so much money that it filled a swimming pool. This uncle (scrooge by name) loved to dive off the diving board into the pool of money and wallow in it, throwing it into the air and immersing himself in the sheer glee of it all.
This little story is at best crude, but it does have a way of illustrating the marvelous, fathomless grace of God toward his creation, and specifically mankind.
The word “grace” is commonly defined as “Unmerited favor.” It is first employed in the Bible in Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” The law of first mention is that a word finds its clearest meaning in the context of its initial usage. Here and throughout the Bible, it is clear that great favor of a totally unmerited nature is bestowed upon mankind. It is favor that builds upon itself as it finds welcome acceptance in its beneficiaries.
Certainly, Noah did not merit the favor of God, but this favor (grace) was bestowed upon him by which he escaped the global flood, and repopulated the earth.
The multiple instances of grace being bestowed on various saints of old would require a sizeable book, but suffice it here to fast forward to the New Testament where the word and its meaning takes on expanded appreciation, though remaining far from our comprehensive understanding. As the apostle John presented the Word in the first chapter of his gospel, he spoke of this abundant grace. Moreover, he recorded the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus: “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.” John 1: 16-17.
In an attempt to better understand the idea of the phrase “grace for grace,” most scholars say this means grace piled on top of grace. Another likens it to the continuous supply of manna to the Hebrews in the wilderness wanderings. By grace it was there this morning, and by grace will be there the next day to replace what was used. But in the writings of John, it is contrasted with law which came by Moses. Thus, it is conveying the unmerited favor of the New Covenant: the church, the faith once delivered to the saints in contrast to the law and its penalties of the Old Testament. It is favor beyond that of spiritual salvation to that of comprehension to the point of spiritual maturity. It is unmerited favor piled upon unmerited favor. To a submissive people to Him, it is as David of old said, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” Psalm 68:19. What a spiritual pool of grace we have in Christ Jesus! Enjoy the swim!
A Deist leads Judson from infidelity
1808 – Adoniram Judson secured his horse from the home of his uncle where he had left it, and then started back to his home to regroup after having left to try his luck in the theater in N.Y. City. On the way back he stopped at a village Inn and took a room and all night long a sick man disturbed his sleep. The next morning when he inquired he was quite disturbed to find out that the man had died and that he was Jacob Eames, an upper classman at Rhode Island College where Judson had gone, and who had been a fellow Deist and unbeliever. In fact he had been the very one that had led Judson into infidelity and away from his Christian roots. For hours the words “Dead! Lost! Lost!” kept ringing in his ears. There was only one place for him and that was home, home to his preacher father and godly mother. And so it was that on Dec. 2, 1808, the young man found peace through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. This was the man who became the first Baptist missionary to Burma. [Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore, (Boston: Little, brown and Company, 1956), p. 30. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 517—19.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
“A great revival resulted under his ministry”
December 23, 1741 – John Waller was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and was a descendent of the honorable Wallers in England. No man suffered more or experienced greater success in his ministry in Virginia and S.C. than he. His uncle had made arrangements for him to be educated in the law, but upon his death, his father was unable to finance even a classical education. Allowing himself to indulge in every type of wickedness and profanity, he quickly acquired the appellation of “Swearing Jack” Waller. He was sometimes called the “devils adjutant” to muster his troops. He was on the grand jury who was presented the case against the Baptist preacher, Lewis Craig and heard his testimony when he said, “I thank you for the honor…While I was wicked you took no notice of me: but since I have altered my course of life, and endeavored to reform my neighbors, you concern yourselves much about me. I forgive my persecuting enemies, and shall take joyfully the spoiling of my goods.” When Waller heard him speak in such a humble manner, he was persuaded that Craig was possessed of something he had not seen in him before and desired to have the same experience. Waller began to attend the Baptist meetings, and he experienced very intense conviction for seven or eight months. He said, “I had long felt the greatest abhorrence of myself.” In hearing another man cry out for mercy he felt his own heart melt, “…and a sweet application of the Redeemer’s love to my poor soul.” He said that there were periods of struggle…but he took refuge in the Word of God, especially in Isa. 50:10. He was ordained to the ministry in June of 1770 and it was attended with great success. A great revival resulted under his ministry and he had a membership of 1500.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 536-37