“The various attributes of God shine upon different occasions. There are, as it were, several theaters in which their glory is revealed. In creation there was, most of all, power; in governing the world, wise providence; in hell, justice in punishing sinners.”
“But now to man in a lapsed state, what attribute shines most and is most glorious? Oh, it is mercy and free grace. If grace and mercy were hidden, our state being as it has been since the fall, what would all other attributes be but a cause for terror? To think of the wisdom and power and justice of God would add to the terror. He is the wiser and more powerful and can take revenge on us. But grace is the glorious attribute by which God sets himself to triumph over the greatest evil that can be, over sin. That which is worse than the devil himself could not prevail over his grace. There is more height and depth and breadth, there are greater dimensions in love and mercy in Christ, than there are in our sins and miseries. And all this is gloriously revealed in the gospel.”
“Do you wonder why the grace of God has found such enemies as it always has, especially in religions in which works are mingled with grace? It is because the contrary heart of man, being in a frame of enmity to God, sets itself most against that which God will be glorified in. Therefore we should labor to vindicate nothing so much as grace. A dangerous encroaching sect has risen up, enemies to the grace of God, who cover their plot cleverly and closely; but they set nature against grace. Let us vindicate that upon all occasions. For we live by grace, and we must die by grace and stand at the day of judgment by grace – not in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ, being found in him.”
Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom: The Excellency of the Gospel Above the Law (Banner of Truth: Edinburg, 2000), 73-74.
The glass of the gospel is excellent and eminent above all other glasses. It is a mirror that changes us. When we see ourselves and our corruptions in the glass of the law, we see ourselves dead. The law finds us dead and leaves us dead; it cannot give us any life. But when we look into the gospel and see the glory of God, the mercy of God, and the gracious promises of the gospel, we are changed into the likeness of Christ, whom we see in the gospel. This excellent glass has a transforming power to make beautiful. Such a glass would be much prized in this proud world; such a glass is the gospel.
Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom: The Excellency of the Gospel Above the Law, 125
The adversaries of the grace of God quarrel with us, because we preach justification by the free mercy and love of God in Christ. They say this is to deaden the spirits of men, so that they do not care about good works. But can there be any greater incentive and motive in the world to sanctification, to express Christ and to study Christ, than to consider what favour and mercy we have in Christ; how we are justified and freed by the glorious mercy of God in Christ? There cannot be any greater. We see here that they depend upon one another. By seeing in the glass of the gospel the glory of God, we are transformed from glory to glory. An excellent glass the gospel is: by seeing God’s love in it we are changed.