Speaking of my appreciation for the grace-centeredness of Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646), I am especially attracted to this comment he makes in his commentary on Hosea (republished last year by RHB). Take note of his biblical references (and don’t miss the final sentence):
“In one word, God is the author of all good, by his grace working it; the permitter of all evil, by his patience enduring it; the orderer and disposer of both, by his mercy rewarding the one, by his justice revenging the other, and by his wisdom directing both to the ends of his eternal glory.
This serves to discover the free and sole working of grace in our first conversion and the continued working of grace in our further sanctification. Whatsoever is good in us habitually, as grace inhering, or actually, as grace working, is from him alone as its author. For though it be certain, that when we will and do ourselves are agents, yet it is still under and from him. By grace we are what we are and do what we do in God’s service.
1. By grace our minds are enlightened to know and believe him; for spiritual things ‘are spiritually discerned’ (Jer. 31:33, Matt. 11:27, 1 Cor. 2:12-14).
2. By grace our hearts are inclined to love and obey him; for spiritual things are spiritually approved. He only, by his almighty and ineffable operation, works in us both right perceptions and good desires (Jer. 32:39, John 6:44).
3. By grace our lives are enabled to work what our hearts love; without which, though we should will, yet we cannot perform, no more than the knife which has a good edge is able actually to cut, till moved by the hand (Rom. 7:18, Phil. 2:13, Heb. 13:20-21).
4. By grace our good works are carried on to perfection. Adam, wanting [lacking] the grace of perseverance, fell from innocence itself. It is not sufficient for us that he prevent and excite us to will, that he cooperate and assist us to work, except he continually follow and supply us with a residue of spirit to perfect and finish what we set about. All our works are begun, continued, and ended in him (1 Thes. 5:23, 1 Pet. 5:10, Jude 1:24, John 17:15).
5. Lastly, by grace our perseverance is crowned; for our best works could not endure the trial of justice, if God should enter into judgment with us (Ps. 143:2, Isa. 64:6). Grace enables us to work, and grace rewards us for working. Grace begins and grace finishes both our faith and salvation (Phil. 1:6, Heb. 12:2). The work of holiness is nothing but grace, and the reward of holiness is nothing but grace for grace.”
– Jeremiah Burroughs in An Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea (RHB: 2006) p. 624.
This weekend, spend some time meditating on God’s amazing grace and our freedom in Him.