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The Eschatology of Grace


Although law and grace operate with the same moral standard, the eschatology of grace—what it teaches us about things to come—is infinitely brighter than the eschatology of law. Indeed, the eternal future of those under grace holds nothing but unending glory and blessings. But the only thing the future holds for those who remain under the law is death and eternal damnation.

Here is the fundamental difference between law and grace. The law makes no promise to sinners other than the guarantee of judgment. For those still under the law, the return of Christ will signal the final outpouring of the judgment to come, and it is a terrifying prospect. But God’s saving grace teaches us to be “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Law threatens judgment and pronounces a death sentence. Grace grants forgiveness and promises eternal blessings. The law points to the sinner’s past, filling the guilty heart with fear and regret. Grace points to the believer’s future and fills the forgiven heart with gratitude and hope.

. . .

The “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 13) is the blessed hope we look forward to precisely because Christ’s appearing in glory will mean the total and permanent removal of sin from our experience, and we will instantly be transformed and perfected.

For the moment, we groan, together with all creation (Rom. 8:22), but it is not a hopeless complaint, nor is it a cry of defeat. We are “eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (v. 23). “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

—John MacArthur, The Gospel according to Paul (Thomas Nelson, 2017), 126–128.

Posted 2018·07·20 by David Kjos
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