Grace and Bible Reading

“Show me a person who despises Bible reading, or thinks little of Bible preaching, and I hold it to be a certain fact that they are not yet born again.” ~ J.C. Ryle

I read that quote the other day online and I glanced through the comments afterward knowing I’d see it, the one comment I knew would pop up. Sure enough, I found it, “We’re saved by GRACE!!”

The comment was made to thwart the idea that people do something to get saved, it’s all grace. If Ryle says people are only saved if they read their Bible, then he is ruining grace.

This is typical thinking about grace. We are saved by grace, but there is still something that determines who is saved and who is not. I wouldn’t call it merit, no one deserves salvation, but I would call it “fulfilling conditions.”

The Bible does say we are saved by grace, but it also doesn’t just say that. It says we are saved by grace through faith. God shows grace, we respond to it with faith. Without faith, you have no saving grace.

If faith is our part, it seems important we know what faith is. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Ryle is saying that the saved man esteems God’s Word, because that is what faith is and it is by faith we receive grace!

If a man does not esteem God’s Word there is no way that man has faith, and if he does not have faith, he has no basis to claim he has God’s saving grace.

Furthermore, our faith is placed in Jesus Christ, who is called The Word. If we claim to be saved by Jesus Christ we can’t help but esteem The Word. If we do not esteem the Word, we do not esteem Christ and thus there is no way you could claim to be saved.

We need to be careful with our treatment of the word “grace.” It has come to mean so much that the Bible does not say. There are other words in the Bible besides grace and those other words are there on purpose.

4 thoughts on “Grace and Bible Reading”

  1. It is the same now as it was when Jesus walked the earth. Religious folk have put confidence in traditional phrases and practices. “But you will not come to Me that you may have life.” Jesus said it back then, and it is true today as well.

    The vision in Zechariah 4 fits in perfectly with your blog article. The oil flows through golden pipes coming from the two olive trees. The oil is “grace” (Zech. 4:7). But it comes from the two trees, which are the “two anointed ones”.

    In the book of Revelation, these are introduced as the “two witnesses”. Jesus said of the scriptures, “these are they which testify [or witness] of Me”. The Old and New Testaments are the two means of grace through which the Holy Spirit works to bring life.

    “I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.” Ps. 119:93

    “…[God has] quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” Eph. 2:5

    It’s all done through the word.

  2. Here’s a song I wrote which speaks of the way of “grace through the word” versus the way of presumption, which is claiming God’s word without fulfilling the conditions:

    Two Ways

    1. Two ways are open to each person today:
    The way of faith and the presumptuous way.
    They both appear to offer a certain way to God,
    The one is narrow and the other is broad.

    2. Faith’s way is climbing up a steep, rugged grade,
    With signs, conditions, warnings, clearly displayed;
    These warnings must be heeded, these signs must be obeyed,
    Conditions met, before much progress is made.

    3. Presumption’s way goes down a smooth, easy track;
    You take your sins with you, upon your back;
    The signs are all excuses to hide a naked soul,
    Yet millions walk this way to strive for the goal.

    4. But only one way has God’s sanction and seal:
    The way of Jesus — self-denying zeal;
    A faith in heav’nly power to break sin’s slaving bands,
    And perfect service to His holy commands.

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