We talk about grace a lot. We preach grace from the pulpit, say grace from the table, and strive to stay in each other’s good graces. “Grace” is one of the richest words in our Christian vernacular, and yet, that’s often all it remains—a word. But is grace more than something we confess in a statement of faith? Is it more than just a word on our worship screens or in our vernacular?
Thomas Brooks was a man who not only talked about grace; he lived it. He felt the power of God’s grace and saw the effects of it in his life. His book, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, identifies the various schemes of Satan and the ways Christians fight against them. But just as much, Brooks hopes the reader catches a glimpse of the true grace of God—a grace that does something.
For Brooks, grace was more than a theory. It was real. It was visible and visceral. He notes that one of Satan’s primary devices for keeping Christians in a state of despair and doubt about their faith is “suggesting to them that their graces are not true, but counterfeit.”
Certainly, for us to feel that we have been “duped” by grace that’s not really there would be devastating to our faith. But God desires that we live in assurance, knowing that if we belong to Christ, nothing can separate us from Him (Rom. 8:38-39).
TEN WAYS TO IDENTIFY “TRUE GRACE”
To really live in grace, we must learn to distinguish what Brooks calls “true grace” from a false imitation. So how do we tell the difference between the two? Luckily, Brooks provides ten particulars that help us better define what true grace is. Here are Brooks’ ten statements with some personal commentary:
“True grace makes all glorious within and without.” Grace is a transformative reality. It does not leave us unaffected or stagnant, but like the breath God breathed into Adam, it rouses and awakens us to a new life. True grace, Brooks argues, is not like a lion becoming caged, where his environment or circumstances change but his nature does not. It is rather like the lion becoming a lamb. Our nature is made new by grace. The old is gone, and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).