The Lord Jesus Christ is everything to His people. He is all we have. He meets our every need. “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Painful as it is to our pride, even our ability to believe Him requires His grace (Eph. 2:8-9). We cannot meet the smallest need of our soul apart from His sovereign grace. We cannot understand. We cannot repent. We cannot believe. Surprising to us, without His grace, we cannot even receive grace (John 1:16). Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We need grace from first to last and everything in between (Rev. 1:8,11,18; Heb. 12:2). We need His choosing grace, for we cannot choose ourselves to be God’s sons. We cannot choose Christ to be our Redeemer. We cannot decide to be born again. We cannot choose to believe. Don't you think Thomas wanted to believe? Yet until the Lord Jesus spoke peace to him, showed him His wounds, and commanded him not to be faithless but believing, he could not believe his beloved Master had risen from the dead. No, we cannot choose to believe. And we will not come, and we cannot come unless God the Father draws us (John 5:40; 6:44). We need redeeming grace to remit our sin debt before the throne and court of heaven -- the holy place -- and to ransom our souls from the prison God’s justice demands that we occupy. We need redeeming grace to raise our spiritually dead souls to life. We need redeeming grace to raise our mortal body to immortality, and to replace our corruption with incorruption; to give us eternal life (1 Cor. 15:53).
We need grace to turn, to change our minds about God (Ps. 80; Acts 5:31) and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). “Surely after that I was turned, I repented” (Jer. 31:19). We need grace to strengthen us to come to God, to call on Him, to look to Christ, to hold fast to Him, to continue believing Him, to look for Him (Isaiah 45:21; Heb. 12:2). We receive this strength when we hear the gospel in our conscience. When Christ speaks the gospel of His grace to our conscience, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (Isaiah 44:22), then we are strengthened. When He says that He is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes (Rom. 10:4), then we are strengthened. When He says that though we have two natures, one sold under sin, and one alive to God, yet, “sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14), then we are strengthened.
Christ must command our salvation (Ps. 71:3). He must strengthen us (Ps. 35:3). When He says to us in the gospel, “Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee,” causing us to see that it is Him who speaks and Him who has fulfilled all for our release, then we know it is our Savior, our great Shepherd whose voice we hear, and as Daniel, His command to us is “Be strong, yea, be strong.” Then we are strengthened.
To receive grace is to receive all that God has done for His people in Christ. To receive grace is to not work, but to receive the reward of Christ’s work (Rom. 4:5). Grace is God doing all for His people in Christ. Grace means that nothing can be done to earn or complete our salvation, for Christ is our salvation and He has done all (Luke 2:30; John 19:28-30; 17:4; Heb. 10:14).
“Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength” (Daniel 10:8).
“And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake [until Christ gives grace, we cannot even ask for living water], and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me” (Dan. 10:16-19).