Home > Apologetics, Bible Study, Collateral Studies, Doctrine, Grace > Grace – Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell, and CI Scofield

Grace – Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell, and CI Scofield


Drs. Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell CI Scofield
Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote: Grace—a much misunderstood feature of God’s ways with lost men—is itself a revelation and all human hearts not having this truth of Scripture revealed will be unable to comprehend it or to adjust themselves to its provisions. Grace is not mercy or love. In Eph_2:4-5 these three doctrinal words appear severally and in their individual, specific manner: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).” Speaking first of mercy, it is defined as that compassion in God which moved Him to provide a Savior for the lost. If He had been able to save even one soul on the basis of His sovereign mercy alone, He could have saved every person on that basis and the death of Christ would have been rendered unnecessary. As for divine love, it is an emotion of infinite character, the motivating purpose back of all that God does in saving a soul. But since God is holy and righteous too and the sinner’s sins are an offense to Him, He might perfectly desire to save a soul and still be utterly helpless to do so in the light of the claims which divine righteousness make against the sinner. Not until those claims are met can God’s infinite love realize its desire. Therefore, to come now to the third definition, grace is what God may be free to do and indeed what He does accordingly for the lost after Christ has died on behalf of them. “By grace are ye saved” (Eph_2:8). When thus released from His holy demands against the sinner by the sacrificial death of Christ, and that sacrifice is accepted intelligently, the love of God will never be satisfied until He has done all He can do for such a one. The greatest thing God can do, reverently speaking, is to make someone like His Son. Such, then, will be the destiny of everyone who believes (Rom_8:29; 1Jn_3:2). Since grace only represents what God can and will do for those who trust the Savior, it must needs function apart from all human works or cooperation. It calls for no more than confidence in the only One who can save.

The Scriptures assign to the operating of grace the only salvation now offered to sinful men. God’s grace also provides security for the saved one. This is done by continuing the grace work of God with the individual in spite of his imperfections. Grace also undertakes to direct the saved one in the new manner of his daily life after he has been saved. A new motive for this is set up by the fact that the one saved was perfected forever in the sight of God as being in Christ, therefore partaking of His merit and standing forever. Nothing of merit need be added to that which is perfected forever (cf. Joh_1:16; Rom_5:1; Rom_8:1; Heb_10:14). Hence the obligation to gain merit is removed completely, and the whole law system with its merit ceases to be applicable to the saved one under grace. He is no longer under law, but under grace (Rom_6:14). The new problem becomes that of how a perfected person should walk in this world. Grace teaches the saved one concerning his holy walk in daily life. The standard is as high as heaven itself. God requires, and with reason, that the saved one, by reason of being a citizen of heaven, should live according to the standards of heaven (cf. Joh_13:34; Eph_4:1, Eph_4:30; 1Th_5:19). [1] 


“Grace” is so much of a characteristic of God (like His love), that human words do not adequately express its meaning.


Some have defined “Grace” as “Undeserved Mercy”, and this is true. However, all mercy is undeserved; that’s the meaning of mercy. GRACE is more than mercy. Mercy gets a criminal off the hook and out of jail, but GRACE pays the debt of the criminal and sets him free to enjoy the good life.

When we say that GRACE is “Unmerited Favor”, we are saying that this favor cannot be earned. It’s not just that you don’t have to earn it. The fact is, you cannot earn it. Since we are all sinners, there is nothing that we can do to gain God’s favor. Even if you did good works continuously from here on out, and sacrificed all your time to help others, and did great and wonderful things 24 hours a day for the rest of your life to please God, God still would not accept you or your efforts because He is Holy and you are still a sinner. You cannot work off your sins.

God’s salvation is not merited, it is a GIFT of God! – See Ephesians 2:8, 9. The word for “GRACE” (in the Greek) is “Charis.” The word for “GIFT” (in the Greek) is “Charisma.” It is easily seen that the very root meaning of the word GRACE is GIFT.

Romans 11:6 is a verse that clearly contrasts “WORKS” with “GRACE.” It does that because they are exact opposites. A gift is something given freely, but work is something that you do to earn a wage. Romans 6:23 tells us what wages we have coming to us: “FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.”

We really don’t want what our sins have earned for us. Rather we want the gift that comes from God through Christ. Since we began to study Romans 3:21-24, we have seen that God’s righteousness has been made available to all of mankind today, but it is only imputed to those who believe. Then God, upon that faith, justifies or declares the sinner righteous. Now we learn that all of this is done “FREELY BY HIS GRACE.” What a wonderful God we have!

Ephesians 3:1-5 teaches us that God’s message of GRACE was first revealed to Paul. It was through the Apostle Paul that God’s Word of GRACE was preached to the Gentiles.

Galatians 1:13-16 gives testimony that God’s GRACE was what changed Paul from being the number one enemy of Christ into Christ’s number one preacher among the Gentiles.

I Timothy 1:11-16 explains why God used Paul for this job of making His GRACE known. It was because Paul’s conversion is the pattern of grace. Paul deserved the most severe punishment of hell, but by the grace of God he was saved and given the right (as all believers have today), to sit with Christ in heavenly places – (see Ephesians 2:6).

We have said: “Mercy gets the criminal off the hook, but grace pays his debt”. Romans 3:24 goes on to tell us that the reason God is free to deal with mankind today in GRACE is because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ paid our debt of sin and, in receiving Him, we are set free to enjoy God’s love and to live in His favor!

PRACTICAL POINT: Everything required for my Salvation has been supplied by God. Salvation is the work of God in my behalf. Now, to get that point through our stubborn thick human heads, we are told that justification is unmerited and undeserved on our part. On the other hand, it is given freely to us on God’s part. It could not be made any clearer. Salvation comes to us, not on the basis of works, but on the basis of a free gift from God.

Since I am now in God’s favor apart from any good works of my own, then– if I happen to do a bad deed– it does no change God’s attitude toward me.

Before you jump to any conclusion, please understand; this does not mean that a believer is free to go out and continue sinning. Contrary to popular opinion–but in accordance with Scripture–as a Believer dwells upon this grace of God in which he now stands, it will motivate him to do good works! – see Titus 2:11, 12. [2]

The Nature of Grace
Dr. William R. Newell

  1. Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature — as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously — in view of the cross.
    2. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD.
    3. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man’s part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors.
    4. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help — it is absolute, it does all.
    5. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace.
    6. The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of Divine grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed — on another principle, outside of himself!
    7. Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows that “in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing”; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!The Place of Man under Grace:

    1. He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!
    2. He is not “on probation.”
    3. As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at the Cross, and Christ is his life.
    4. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies (needs) beforehand: His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them.
    5. The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed grace (as it would under law). For example: the man in I Cor. 5.1-5; and also those in 11.30-32, who did not “judge” themselves, and so were “judged by the Lord, — that they might not be condemned with the world”!

    The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace:

    1. To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret.
    2. To refuse to make “resolutions” and “vows”; for that, is to trust in the flesh.
    3. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth.
    4. To testify of God’s goodness, at all times.
    5. To be certain of God’s future favor; yet to be ever more tender in conscience toward Him.
    6. To rely on God’s chastening hand as a mark of His kindness.
    7. A man under grace, if like Paul, has no burden regarding himself; but many about others.

    Things Which Gracious Souls Discover:

    1. To “hope to be better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.
    2. To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.
    3. To be discouraged is unbelief, — as to God’s purpose and plan of blessing for you.
    4. To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves.
    5. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion.
    6. Real devotion to God arises, not from man’s will to show it; but from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted.
    7. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God’s order, and preach law, not grace. The Law made man’s blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so, — in proper measure.

Studies in Deuteronomy
by William R. Newell

Instead of blessing the people altogether on the ground of promise, that is altogether in view of Christ’s coming work, He says “If you obey My law, I will bless you.” Obedience first, then blessing, is the order under the law. There is nothing for the people to fall back on, except their own obedience now. They may indeed remember that they are God’s chosen people, according to His covenant with the fathers: but the law has come in since those days, and they are under it. So Moses insists, in Deuteronomy, on their obedience as the condition of everything, as they are about to enter their inheritance.

Now the position of the Christian is entirely different. It is of absolute importance that we understand this. Thousands upon thousands of Christians today are in bondage because they do not see the essential difference between our position and that of Israel under the law. Now, Israel depended upon their own obedience to get their blessings in the land. Christians get their blessings because Christ obeyed in their stead. This gives them rest of heart, so that they have leisure to love God for His own sake, and learn to delight in His will.

But there are hardly any Christians who dare believe this. That is, they cannot apprehend such grace as this. They think, of course, that their blessings depend upon their faithfulness, their earnestness, their consecration, etc. But, this is not to be under grace (where God says we are Rom. 4:14) but under law; that is, under responsibility to do, in order to have, which is the order of the law, not that of grace.

Grace says, “You have been blessed already, in Christ Jesus, with all spiritual blessings.” Eph. 1:3 The only obedience that pleases God now, is the obedience of FAITH, which enters boldly in, and appropriates these things that Christ’s obedience unto death has secured for us.
Now I know someone will read these words who will say: ”Yes ‘but we must do our part’, ere we can claim or enjoy these spiritual blessings.” The which shows that such a person is at heart, a miserable legalist to this day believing neither that Christ is the end of the law, nor that His work has really made these heavenly things actually ours. This is the hellish insult that unbelief ever flings into the face of God, that His Word is not good for the exact face of it.

The primary reason Christians today are living such unhappy, such empty, such weak and fruitless lives, is not (I dare to say it), that they are “not consecrated,” “not surrendered,” “not self-denying,” “not obedient,” not this and that and the other that the thousand and one preachers of legal holiness are complaining — not these at all: the trouble, the one great trouble, is, Christians do not believe that they are free from the law, in Christ Jesus; and that they already have the glorious blessings they are seeking after, and need only claim them, to enjoy them. People dare not believe that Christ has done all the obeying and fulfilling for them, and that “their part” is simply to enter in and enjoy the infinite spoils of Christ’s victory.

Someone needs to die for this great truth in their own day, as Paul died for it once and all the martyrs since. God bring it back to the church, this glorious truth of grace! “By the obedience of the ONE, the many are made righteous,” and are blessed for His sake alone. Rom 5 Eph 3.

GRACE: Old Scofield Bible Summary [3]

(1) Grace is “the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man. . . Not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Tit_3:4); (Tit_3:5).

It is, therefore, constantly set in contrast to law, under which God demands righteousness from man, as, under grace, he gives righteousness to man (Rom_3:21); (Rom_3:22); (Rom_8:4); (Phm_3:9). Law is connected with Moses and works; grace with Christ and faith; (Joh_1:17); (Rom_10:4-10). Law blesses the good; grace saves the bad; (Exo_19:5); (Eph_2:1-9). Law demands that blessings be earned; grace is a free gift; (Deu_28:1-6); (Eph_2:8); (Rom_4:4); (Rom_4:5).

(2) As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom_3:24-26); (Rom_3:4); (Rom_3:24); (Rom_3:25). The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation, (Joh_1:12); (Joh_1:13); (Joh_3:36); (Mat_21:37); (Mat_22:24); (Joh_15:22); (Joh_15:25); (Heb_1:2); (1Jo_5:10-12). The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile (Act_4:27). The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church.

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY Doctrinal Summarization

[2] From Dictionary of the Gospel: http://www.graceimpact.org/GHBM1/frams3.htm

[3] Old Scofield Study Bible. We have these available in bonded leather (KJV), to ship for a gift to PMI of $30. Stamps are welcome.

Thank you to all who have asked. We will gladly accept stamps, printer and copy paper, KJV Bibles (pref Old Scofield),
Bible reference and enrichment books (we send to chaplains for prison libraries)
and of course money donations- check, money order Payable to PMI or
Pay Pal (which is a snap to set up in 5 minutes or less).


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