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a’ Brakel on Common and Special Grace

September 16, 2007

a’ Brakel:

The Grace of God
Grace can be defined as being a perfection of God’s character which has no relationship to an object that is, who God was and would be even if there were no creature; namely, a compassionate God who would be capable of manifesting His benevolence to creatures apart from any merit. Grace can also be considered relative to creatures in the manifestation of undeserved benevolence. Concerning the grace of God we distinguish between grace as a gracious gift, or grace o gracious receipt. Gratia gratis dam (grace as a gracious gift) relates to God’s perfection as being the fountain from which all His benefits issue forth. “For unto you it is given7 in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29)! “There is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works” (Rom. 11:5-6); “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). Gratia gratis data (grace as a gracious receipt), relates to the received benefits themselves. This is true for common grace of which unconverted persons are the recipients to which Jude referred, “Ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (Jude 4). This is also true for saving grace which is frequently referred to as the gifts of grace (cf. Rom. 5:15-16; 6:23; 11:29). The following texts speak of this: “Through the grace given unto me” (Rom. 12:3); “That ye might have a second benefit” (2 Cor. 1:15);”For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Pet. 2:19). Both perspectives of grace, that is, grace as a gracious gift and grace as a gracious receipt, are often conjoined in the Pauline benedictions. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father” (Rom. 1:7); “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (1 Cor. 16:23).

Wihlemus a’ Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, trans., by Bartel Elshout, (Ligonier, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publ., 1992) 1:124-125.

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