Monday, August 18, 2008

10 Marks of Grace

The following are some marks of grace by which we can examine ourselves whether we are in the faith and Christ is in us. More could be added and those that have been listed could be better expressed. I hope that the marks given are not too high so as to discourage any that are struggling as to their assurance of faith.

1. Love for Christ in His Person and not for His benefits only, and a desire for fellowship with Him above all other things.
2. Love for the Word of God as the Kingly Word of Christ, submitting entirely to His authority in every word.
3. Love for the Lord's Day as the Market Day for the soul and sincere spiritual delight in devoting it to the public and private exercises of the worship of God.
4. Love for all the means of grace where God meets those that remember Him in His ways.
5. Love for the Lord's people and spiritual fellowship with them because of their union with Christ.
6. Love for holiness and the desire to be holy, with a sincere hatred of every sin.
7. Love for the secret place of prayer and a mourning over our coldness and carnality in that exercise.
8. Love to the service of Christ in any way and a fear of dishonouring Him
9. Love for meditating on heavenly things and an estrangement from that which is worldly.
10.A fear that these marks are so faint within us as not to be genuine at all

The puritan John Flavel was very discerning in relation to marks of grace. He counselled that: 'Great heed ought also to be had in the application of marks and signs; we should first try them; before we try ourselves or others by them.'

He mentions that 'Marks and signs are by some distinguished into exclusive, inclusive, and positive:

Exclusive marks serve to shut out bold pretenders, by shewing them how far
they come short of a saving work of grace; and they are commonly taken
from some necessary common duty, as hearing, praying, &c. He that hath
not these things, cannot have any work of grace in him; and yet if he do them,
he cannot conclude from thence his estate to be gracious: He that so
concludes, he deceives himself.

Inclusive marks rather discover [declare] the degrees than the truth of grace, and are rather intended for comfort than for conviction: If we find them in ourselves,
we do not only find sincerity, but eminency of grace; They being taken from
some raised degree and eminent acts of grace in confirmed and grown

Betwixt the two former there is a middle sort of marks, which are called
positive marks, and they are such as are always, and only found, in regenerate
souls: The hypocrite hath them not; the grown Christian hath them, and that
in an eminent degree: The poorest Christian hath them in a lower, but saving
degree: Great care must be taken in the application of them. And it is past
doubt that many weak and injudicious Christians have been greatly
prejudiced by finding the experiences of eminent Christians proposed as rules
to measure their sincerity by. Alas! these no more fit their souls, than Saul’s
armour did David’s body'.

I leave it to the reader to discern into which category the marks listed above fall.