In this episode
- A reminder to subscribe to our newsletter
- Some thoughts about the differences between saving grace and restraining grace
- A longer-than-usual segment from chapter 4 of our audiobook
- Notes from the blog
- Episode blog post: What is true grace?
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo design: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Welcome back to the Theodio Podcast, I’m your host Dan Kassis.
We’re walking though the book Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks. Along with a segment of our original audio production of the book, we provide commentary and fresh insight, bringing this work of classic theology to life for you.
We are currently in chapter 4 of Precious Remedies, where Brooks explains how Satan tries to keep Christians in a place of always doubting and questioning our faith, of always feeling defeated, hopeless, and useless. And we’re countering those tactics with the truth of God’s Word.
There’s also the Theodio Blog. It’s where we break down and explain these devices and their remedies. Visit theodio.com and click the “blog” link on the top menu to see the whole series, starting with the most recent.
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Okay, let’s get started.
In every other episode of the Theodio Podcast, we’ve found a way to reword the “remedies” Thomas Brooks offers to counteract Satan’s devices. This time, we’re going to concentrate on Brooks’ definitions and explanations of grace instead.
We could easily devote an entire series to the subject of biblical grace. For our purposes, let’s allow a simple definition to suffice.
What is God’s grace?
Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward those he saves by faith in Christ. We differentiate grace from mercy, which is withholding of just punishment for wrongdoing.
You may have also heard grace defined this way, via an acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Another common definition helps us distinguish grace from mercy:
- Grace – receiving what we don’t deserve
- Mercy – not receiving what we do deserve
Again, a fair examination of God’s grace could fill volumes. Far more qualified theologians have written on the subject for the serious scholar to explore.
Thomas Brooks’ “graces”
I want to be sure we know we’re talking about the same thing when we say the word “grace,” with respect to this part of the book. If Satan tempts us to believe our “graces” are not true, what sort of graces are these in the first place?
Remedy 1: Salvation vs. dispensation
Look at remedy 1. Brooks reminds us grace is taken in two ways.
- First, there is the grace God extends to some that saves them from their sins. This is the grace that comes to us who have faith in the work of Christ on our behalf to grant us eternal life and adoption into God’s family. It’s the grace we just defined here.
- Second, there are the grace-gifts God extends to believers through his Holy Spirit. The Scripture where we commonly read about these is 1 Corinthians 14. We often call them “spiritual gifts.” But the original Greek (charis-ma) behind that Scripture doesn’t have the word “gifts,” only “spiritual,” the outworkings of grace. “Happenings of grace,” perhaps.
Interestingly, Brooks argues that God extends some graces of this second category to “hypocrites” – those who profess Christ but don’t truly believe. In Brooks’ mind, understanding these differences is itself a remedy against Satan’s scheme. If we are to win this battle against our enemy, we must know what sort of grace it is that he argues is untrue.
It would seem much more critical for us to know God’s saving grace is real. We can tolerate mistaking a human talent or ability as a spiritual gift. We cannot, however, tolerate false assurance of salvation.
Remedy 2: Renewing vs. restraining grace
The second remedy comprises the remainder of this book section. Brooks wants us to understand the differences between “renewing and restraining” grace – the grace that sanctifies us and the grace that carries us through the hardships of the day. Again, if the latter is merely an act of our own wills, so much for it. But for sanctifying grace to be untrue is spiritual death.
Let’s examine these differences for ourselves. Brooks writes extensively in this part of his book, so we’ll leave most of that work in his capable hands. We’ll listen to this book section, and then I’ll come back and provide only the briefest comments and analogies in my own words.
Here we go.
“Contentment is the deputy of outward felicity.” Wow. In other words, when we can’t be outwardly happy because of our circumstances, contentment – inward satisfaction in Christ – stands in its place. Brooks is the kind of writer who makes you stop and think.
We hope this small effort has pointed you more directly toward this Jesus who offers you God’s unmerited favor through the gift of his grace. And we also hope these reminders are remedies to you when Satan tempts you to think this grace is untrue.
Next time on the Theodio Podcast, we’ll see Thomas Brooks take a different tack in his book. The subject is effort, and Brooks’s methods lie in a series of counter-arguments against Satan. Is our struggle against sin no different than the world’s struggle against bad behavior?
Come back next time and we’ll find out.