Before the Beginning
The Primacy of Grace in the Plan of Salvation
Before our birth, both yours and mine, there was an invitation;
Before we ever sought His face or tried to earn His favor;
Before we knew to worship Him, or righteousness to savor;
Before our praise, before our works, before our pulse, was grace.
Before the fundamental list of doctrinal citation;
Before the founders could retrace the certain steps to Christ;
Before the counsel fixed our gaze on Jesus, sacrificed;
Before we saw, before we knew, before we were, was grace.
Before the mother church fought back with published declaration;
Before the thought was commonplace to work for what was free;
Before the councils ruled the fates with serious decree;
Before the storm, before the veer, before the church, was grace.
Before a hammer helped a monk begin a reformation;
Before a thousand year’ erase of venerable creed;
Before the scripture’s common tongue was ever guaranteed;
Before the press, before the creeds, before the monk, was grace.
Before Anselm and Abelard had shaped our speculation;
Before medieval marketplace had bartered with the judgement;
Before uncertainty increased the fearful soul’s torment;
Before the fear, before the price, before the words, was grace.
Before “that African” confessed the Cross’s inspiration;
Before his service would displace the grasp of pagan pride;
Before his battles met the foe and turned religion’s tide;
Before the wars, before the deeds, before the crux, was grace.
Before the Romans heard from Paul there is no condemnation;
Before the church could first embrace salvation as a gift;
Before the disciples preached the cross as something to uplift;
Before the cross, before the gift, before the Lamb, was grace.
Before the gathered angels sang the wondrous incarnation;
Before the shepherd sought the place where Mary birthed the Child;
Before the manger held our hope and on Him wise men smiled;
Before the star, before the birth, before the song, was grace.
Before young David brought from God a giant cancellation;
Before the dreams the grand staircase a need identified;
Before old Abram learned to trust the Lord who will provide;
Before the trust, before the need, before the stones, was grace.
Before the first pair wakened in a finished new creation;
Before their Maker knelt in space to breathe the breath of life;
Before the garden’s vow was made to crush the head of strife;
Before the fall, before the breath, before the world, was grace.
 “That African” was a pejorative name enemies threw at Augustine, who lived in Hippo in North Africa.
 © Stuart Tyner 2004 published in “Searching for the God of Grace;” Pacific Press Publishing Association, used by permission of Stuart Tyner