7. The grace of God is abundantly evident in regeneration, calling, and sanctification; God regenerates men by his grace, and of his own good will and pleasure, (James 1:18) and he calls them by his grace, and according to it, (Gal. 1:15; 2 Tim. 1:9) and which always becomes effectual. There are some things which bear the name of grace, which fall short of true sanctifying grace, at least what men call so, as “restraining grace”; whereby some of God’s people, before conversion, and some others, are kept from the commission of gross sins others fall into; and external “gifts” of grace, as a rational knowledge of the gospel, historical faith, and even gifts for the public ministry; which persons may have, and yet be unknown by Christ, and be castaways. And also what some call “sufficient grace”, though wrongly; rather it should be called, insufficient; for that can never be sufficient which is ineffectual; as the means of grace often are. There are other distinctions of grace, which are not very material, yet, if rightly explained and understood, may be allowed, as grace “preparing, anticipating, operating”, and “co-operating”, and “subsequent”. “Preparing” grace must be understood not of preparations, and previous dispositions in men, and of them, to the grace of God; but what is of God himself, who prepares the heart, and makes it, by his grace, good ground, fit to receive the seed of the word cast into it, where it becomes the ingrafted word (Prov. 16:1; Matthew 13:23). “Anticipating” grace is that in which God goes beforehand with men, and enlightens their minds, teaches and instructs them in the knowledge of themselves, and of Christ, and guides, directs, and draws them to him, (John 6:44, 45) “Operating” grace is that by which God works in men, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). “Co-operating” grace is that by which men act, being acted or wrought upon, and by which they run, being drawn (Song 1:4). And “subsequent” grace is that by which the work of grace is carried on, and performed until the day of Christ (Phil. 1:6). Though there seems to be no great need of these distinctions; the most proper epithet of the grace of God, as displayed in regeneration, calling, and conversion, is, that it is “efficacious”; it never fails of its effects: and it is always “persevering” grace, and is never lost or comes to nothing; but issues in everlasting salvation; and all is owing to unmerited goodness. Every grace implanted in regeneration, flows from the free favour and good will of God.
Faith is a gift, a free grace gift, a distinguishing gift; not given to all men, only to whom the Lord pleases (Eph. 2:8 2; Thess. 3:2). Repentance is a grant of God’s grace, a gift of Christ, and a blessing of the covenant (Acts 5:31, 11:18; Ezek. 36:26). Hope is a good hope through grace; what men, in a state of nature, are without; and which God, of his free grace, gives (2 Thess. 2:16). The same may be said of every other grace, love, humility, patience, &c.
John Gill (1697 – 1771) A Body of Doctrinal Divinity Book 1, Chapter 13, The Grace of God