Grace is beauty

“Grace alone makes the elect gracious; grace alone keeps them gracious; and the same grace alone will render them everlastingly glorious in the heaven of heavens.” – Augustus Toplady.

Grace according to John Owen:

1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness. So we say, “A graceful and comely person,”either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ (upon the matter) is the subject of near one-half of the book of Song of Solomon; it is also mentioned, Ps. 45:2, “Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips.” And unto this first head, in respect of Christ, do I refer also that acceptation of grace which, in respect of us, I fix in the third place. Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency; as will afterward appear.
2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favour) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Gen. 39:21,Acts 7:10; 1 Sam. 2:26; 2 Kings 25:27, etc.
3. The fruits of the Spirit, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7; Heb. 12:28. He calls these latter two purchased grace.

In New Testament usage God’s grace usually means the sovereign powerful, irresistible work of his unconditional, undeserved love towards his elect that saves and keeps them (Eph.2:8-9, Ex.33:19, Titus 2:11). It inevitably saves it’s recipients and goes on working throughout their lives (II Cor.12:9, Eph.4:7, Acts 4:33), hence Paul’s repeated salutations and doxologies like “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all ” (II Cor.13:14 and also Peter’s (I Peter 1:2, II Peter 3:18). The elect are looked upon with grace which is also favour and is the beauty of Christ.

But when we come to Christ, the source and communicator of that grace, we cannot say that it was anything undeserved or merciful or needful for him. He was full of grace (John 1:14). So what was he full of? The beauty of holiness! God, in Christ is a being of absolutely perfect beauty, which is reflected in his creation and which is lauded in Scripture and which is communicated to his people (Ps.149:4, 90:17, 29:2, 96:9, 110:3,27:4, Is.33:17, Ezek. 16:14). It was not outward beauty people saw (Is 53:2) it was inward! The spotless Bridegroom makes his bride beautiful (II Peter 3:14). Lord let this beauty be upon us!

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