Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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The first characteristic of God’s grace is that it is not related to man’s wrongdoings. God’s grace is given to sinful man, to helpless, low, weak, and ungodly sinners. If the question of wrongdoing comes up and if it is stipulated that those with sin shall not have grace, then grace is basically annulled. God’s grace can never be held back just because man has sinned. God’s grace cannot even be reduced when man’s sins increase. There can never be such a thing.

Man’s mind, being fully of the flesh, is filled with the thought of the law. We may think that the ones who have achieved may receive grace but we, the sinners, as those without achievements, are unqualified to receive grace. In man’s thought, wrongdoing and grace are at opposite poles. In man’s thought, grace only comes where there is no wrongdoing. If you told anyone who has some consideration about God that God loved him and has given him grace, he would immediately wonder how this could be since he has committed so many sins. Man’s thought is that grace can be received only when there is no wrongdoing. He fails to realize that this is absolutely wrong. Why? Because wrongdoing provides the best opportunity for grace to operate. Without wrongdoing, grace has no opportunity to manifest itself. Not only is wrongdoing unable to stop grace; it is the necessary condition for grace to be manifested.

In the same way, our poverty before the Lord is not a deterrent to grace. On the contrary, our poverty is a condition for receiving grace. Without being so poor, we would not be willing to receive grace. Every Lord’s Day morning there are eight or nine beggars here in our meeting hall. They come every Lord’s Day morning, and they are very punctual. When they come to you and you give them a coin or two, they smile and take it. But what would happen if you offered a coin to any brother or sister among us who is well groomed and who has a good upbringing, saying, "Here, take this. Find yourself two more coins and you will be able to buy some fritters on the street"? Surely he or she would not accept it. He or she would not only refuse it, but would consider it an insult. Therefore, being poor is a condition for receiving grace; in fact, it is the most necessary condition.

Man is very illogical. He says that he cannot receive grace because his sins are too numerous. No statement is more contradictory than this. No statement is more senseless. Because the sick are sick, they need a doctor; because the poor are poor, they need relief; and likewise, because man is a sinner, he needs grace. Hence, sin is not a deterrent. On the contrary, it is an opportunity. Our problem today is that we always think that we have to be in a condition that is different from where we are today. We think that we must be holier and better people today than yesterday if we are to receive grace.

(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 3, by Watchman Nee)