“Now I See”
David Brainard described his experience of God’s saving grace by declaring that five powerful truths dawned upon his soul, by which all his carnal hopes were slain, by which he was at last brought to faith in Christ. My own experience of grace is an echo of his.
I saw my sin. God the Holy Spirit convinced me of my sin (John 16:8), of the sinfulness of my sinful deeds, the sinfulness of my heart and nature, and the sinfulness of my righteousness. I saw that even my noblest deeds are filthy rags in God’s sight.
I saw the infinite holiness of God’s law. The law of God requires perfection. God cannot and will not accept anything less than absolute perfection (Lev. ). Whatever I bring to God, if he accepts it, must be perfect.
I saw that the only hope for sinners is a perfect substitute. I must have someone to obey the law and accomplish righteousness for me. I must have someone to make an infinite, justice satisfying atonement for my sins. That Substitute I found in Jesus Christ the Son of God (Rom. -26; 2 Cor. ).
I saw that faith in Christ is the only way a sinner can ever find acceptance with God. God’s gracious salvation comes to sinners through faith in Christ (Eph, 2:8). All who believe on the Son of God have everlasting life (John ). But I could not believe. I could not muster faith from within myself.
And I saw that faith in Christ is the gift of God. Faith in Christ is not within the realm of human ability. It is the gift of God (John -13; Eph. 2:8-9). Faith is the operation of God, the work of grace in a man’s soul (Col. 2:12). It is not the result of man’s “free will.” Faith is given to sinners according to God’s sovereign will (Rom. ).
By these five truths I was slain; all hope in myself was gone. And I was compelled to fall down before Christ, suing for mercy, crying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner…Lord, if you will, you can make me whole.”
Now, “I through the law am dead to the law,” because I have been crucified with Christ (Gal. -21), dead to the law absolutely! There is no hope held out to any man in the law. The sinner’s only hope of salvation is faith in Christ. You must trust the Son of God. By faith in Christ, we who believe fulfill the law of God (Rom. ). We must never allow anyone to bring us back under the yoke of the law (Gal. 5:1).