Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hodge: A Covenant of Grace

The word grace is used in Scripture and in ordinary religious writings in three senses. (1.) For unmerited love; i.e., love exercised towards the undeserving. (2.) For any unmerited favour, especially for spiritual blessings. Hence, all the fruits of the Spirit in believers are called graces, or unmerited gifts of God. (3.) The word grace often means the supernatural influence of the Holy Ghost. This is preeminently grace, being the great gift secured by the work of Christ, and without which his redemption would not avail to our salvation. In all these senses of the word the plan of salvation is properly called a covenant of grace. It is of grace because it originated in the mysterious love of God for sinners who deserved only his wrath and curse. Secondly, because it promises salvation, not on the condition of works or anything meritorious on our part, but as an unmerited gift. And, thirdly, because its benefits are secured and applied not in the course of nature, or in exercise of natural powers of the sinner, but by the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit, granted to him as an unmerited gift.
- Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. II

5 comments:

iz said...

Jacob,

Question: What's the difference between grace and mercy?

iz

Jacob said...

I can't say I have a very informed opinion on this, but I have heard it described thus:

Grace is something given, and mercy is brought about by something terrible being withheld.

How would you explain the difference?

iz said...

Grace can be given to anyone - even someone who is not in need. Mercy necessitate that the recipient is in need. Both are freely given so the emphasis is placed on the state of the recipient. I think some of Hodges statements belong under the topic of mercy as opposed to grace. Now, Biblically, whenever God gives grace he also gives mercy, but even the Bible distinguishes the two since both are mentioned together (1 Tim 1.2; 2 Tim 1.2; Heb 4.16). It offers a nuance to God's character.

iz

Jacob said...

So you would be happier if Hodge called it a "covenant of mercy and grace?"

iz said...

That's one option.