The Gracious Fruitage of Grace

By Jesse Roy Jones

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


What a fruitful life was that of the Apostle Paul! How marvelously he lived and labored as an apostle of Jesus Christ! Such a life as Paul's not only challenges our admiration, but makes us want to know the secret back of it. Was it because he was an educated man, — a student of Gamaliel, if you please? Or was it because he belonged to the leading religious sect of his day, — the Pharisees? Paul might well have boasted of his scholarship and religious standing, had he so desired, for we know that he was qualified in both and was by no means a novice in these attainments. But was this the secret of his power as an apostle of Jesus Christ? Not by any means. Hear his own testimony as it comes to us from the inspired record of God's holy Book. Paul said:

"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Cor. 15:10).

How radiantly clear and definite is Paul's testimony. He attributes all that he is to just one thing, — grace, God's grace, God's "unmerited mercy."

As we review the writings of Paul we find that this wonderful grace of God which He speaks of so often will always manifest itself in the life of the willing Christian in two ways, — i. e., by holy living and by true service.

Holy Living

Concerning real Christianity someone has said I that the impossible argument to answer is the argument of a holy life. This is the argument that baffles the skeptic and shuts the mouth of the infidel. And if Christians the world over would only awaken to this fact and live the Christian life instead of playing at it, only the Lord Himself knows what the result would be. Suffice it to say, that the glorious Gospel of Christ would not be brought into such disrepute among unbelievers as it is today.

Unfortunately many Christians have a warped conception of holy living. They seem to think that because the word "Holy" is used that one must don a certain kind of garb, or wear a certain (usually lengthy) expression on his face, or he must fold his hands a certain way when he sits down. But such an interpretation of the holy life is absolutely foreign to the Word of God. When God speaks of holy living He means just one thing. He means living "in the Spirit," or living in separation — separation from the world and separation unto the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:1-2; 6:13). In other words, we must recognize the fact that though we are "in the world," we are not "of the world." We are to "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing" (Col. 1:10).

God makes His appeal for holy living on the ground of Grace. Paul devotes the first eleven chapters of his epistle to the Romans to what God has accomplished for us through the matchess grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and then, beginn'ng with the first two verses of the twelfth chapter, he makes his appeal for us (Christians) to live for Him because of what He has freely given us. Someone has said: "It is too cheap." Let such an one look at Calvary and see what it cost God. Others say: "It is too easy." Again look at Calvary and see what was needed to put away sin. Take away the grace of God and you take away our salvation. True, it is both cheap and easy for us, but that is because it is gratuitous. W. H. Griffith Thomas has well said: "All that we are, have, do and become, is of grace, and we are so to live that our lives are to be 'to the glory of His grace'." As a result of what grace has obtained for us, Spurgeon offers the following, which is indeed helpful and full of valuable suggestion:

"I passed under a camphor tree and gathered a few of its leaves and found them full of camphor; indeed, the whole of the tree was saturated with it. Thus should the grace of God show itself in the whole life of the believer. As the inevitable outflow of his renewed nature his most commonplace acts and words should be gracious. Little things best reveal character, for in them a man is less upon his guard. Let even the leaves of your words partake of the grace which dwells in you."

The ability to live a holy life is entirely dependent upon grace. Too often Christians accept salvation by grace and then try to live a holy life by their own efforts. What a mistake and how displeasing to God! This is the cause of failure and of frequent backsliding. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). This is the divine prescription, both for salvation and holy living. If we received the Lord Jesus by grace, then let us live for Him by grace. The Christian life is, as the above passage suggests, a "walk." "Walk in the Spirit," says the Apostle Paul, "and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). This is the secret of a holy life. Just simply "walk in the spirit." But, someone will say, how can one walk in the Spirit? Well, we can easily see how a child born into a royal family should walk in royalty. We can easily see why the child of a prince should not walk as a child of a pauper. Then why should we be in a maze when God asks us as His children to walk "in the Spirit," — His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ — and not after "the beggarly elements of the world."

It is sad when Christians say that it is impossible for them to live holy lives — separated lives. Does God ever ask His child to do anything that is impossible? The record of Phil. 4:13 is: "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." And again, II Cor. 12:9 says: "My grace is sufficient for thee." Let us be careful, dear reader, that we do not limit the power of His grace. For "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (II Cor. 9:8). What a supply of grace from which to draw! Let us "consider Him," "and find grace to help in time of need."

When the Christian lives by the power of His grace, there is not only sufficiency for holiness, but there is no excuse for sin. Wow ungrateful for Christians to use the liberty which grace has provided for them as a license for sin in the life. No wonder when the apostle Paul raised the question: "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" that he vehemently exclaimed: "God forbid!" Grace is contrary to sin. Grace teaches us that "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world" (Tit. 2:12).

True Service

The logical result of holy living is true service. No more can you stop a soul, whose chief aim is to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, from a life of service than you can stop up a bubbling spring of water by stuffing it with cotton. True service is "the outflow of the grace of God in the heart." Far greater emphasis is laid on Christian living in the Word of God than on Christian service. The reason for this is evident. God knows that if He can only get the Christian in the place of yieldedness He so much desires, the work of the ministry and evangelism will never suffer.

Grace has a very specific part to play in the life of service. In Heb. 12:28 we read: "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably." What a shame that so much service is rendered today by Christian workers that is not acceptable to God. When grace characterizes our service for Him, there will not be the boasting that is so common when we do a bit of Christian work that is marked by visible results. When the seventy whom Jesus had sent forth returned after having accomplished some wonderful things, even to the extent of demons being subject to them through His Name, Jesus rebuked them by saying: "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). Our service becomes pleasing and acceptable in His sight when we glory in His matchless grace which permits us to serve Him.

Not only does grace make our service acceptable to God, but by it we are able to do more abundant service (II Cor. 9:8). Paul said: I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Cor. 15:10).

The grace of God so gripped the life of Uncle John Vassar, the famous colporteur of the American Tract Society, that he would scarcely take time to eat his meals, so intense was his passion for lost souls. It is said of him that he was "unseasonably in season" winning men to Christ.

In summarizing the truth in connection with our subject, it were well to quote again from W. H. Griffith Thomas, who has given us many helpful thoughts in his book, entitled, "Grace and Power." Concerning the gracious fruitage of grace he says: "Grace will make us gracious in our dealings and enable us to avoid the spirit of hardness, hatred, severity, and manifest the spirit of love, patience, mildness, forgiveness, and tenderness. * * * It not only provides redemption, but it humbles pride, guarantees holiness, inspires to service, incites to hope, pledges heaven and glorifies God. No wonder, therefore, that we are invited to receive this grace and warned against receiving it in vain (II Cor. 6:1). It calls. for appropriation and application. Grace does not work apart from our responsibility. We must use it, believe it, respond to it, reproduce it. We can have little or much, we can be rich or poor, we can rejoice in the Divine wealth or exist in miserable poverty. * * * The works of grace are to be carried out by God's people, and if they do not do this, they will thereby prove that they know nothing of grace. What we receive from God as 'gratia' comes to us 'gratis,' and is intended to make us 'gratum,' grateful. His grace is intended to elicit gratitude, and gratitude is to be shown in graciousness to others. And yet all along it will be 'Not I, but the grace of God which was with me' (I Cor. 15:10)."