Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Common Grace Part III

Today we continue with out look at common grace. Before we do however, let me remind you that in Part I, we established a working definition of common grace. Actually, we borrowed a definition from Wayne Grudem which says, "Common grace is the grace of God by which he gives people innumerable blessings that are not part of salvation." Of course the idea is that common means something that is common to all people and therefore is not restricted to God's people alone.

In Part II, we elaborated on a number of depictions or examples of common grace. We looked at some very specific areas such as the physical realm, the intellectual realm, the societal realm, and the religious realm. In each  of these areas we see that both the lost and the saved receive blessings related to those specific areas seemingly indiscriminately.

Be sure to catch up if need be and read those first two posts. Now we move to a third area concerning common grace, and that is the...


The first question that comes to the mind of most thinking people is, "Why would God give something like common grace to people who don't deserve it in the first place, and in the place are considered by His standards to be sinners? There seems to be at least four (4) reasons under-girding God's design. The first reason in God's design is...

To Redeem Those Who Will Be Saved

Peter tells us very clearly that God is actively delaying the day of judgement of all of mankind because there are people in every generation who are to be saved. "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (II Peter 3:9-10, ESV)

God is fulfilling his plan and purpose this very moment. He is going to bring an end to this world as we know it and all of mankind will stand before God and be judged. However, he is delaying that judgement so that all those whom he has determined to save in each generation have the opportunity to repent and turn to Him through Christ and be saved. God delays judgement, bears with or suffers the countless sinners to violate his standards in order to bring about the salvation of all of the elect, leaving none behind or unsaved. Since God has delayed judgement and is working to save his elect in each generation (until that last elect individual has been saved) both those who are lost and those who are redeemed experience the same benefits of common grace.

Sinners are recipients of God's common grace as the elect are drawn to salvation. There is a second reason in God's design concerning common grace, and that is...

To Demonstrate God's Goodness and Mercy

It remains very clear that both God's goodness and his mercy are depicted in the salvation of his elect. It is equally as clear that God's goodness and mercy is depicted in his goodness to undeserving and unrepentant sinners. God displays his glory to both angels and human beings when he is good to those who do not deserve  his goodness. "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the most high, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6"35-36, ESV)

"The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." (Psalms 145:9, ESV)

Louis Berkhof wrote, "...God showers untold blessings upon all men and also clearly indicates that these are the expressions of a favorable disposition in God, which falls short however of the positive volition to pardon their sin, to lift their sentence, and to grant them salvation."

So, God delays judgment of the lost and displays his glory, goodness, and mercy by giving temporary blessings to human beings. There is a third reason in God's design concerning common grace, and that is...

To Demonstrate God's Justice

This is a tough one. It is hard for us at times to understand God's condemning people. Well, some people we can more easily understand; child molesters, murderers, and politicians. OOPS! Did I say that? You know what I mean, when we look at the life of a brutal, wanton, despicable rapist and murderer we many times are not only understand God's condemnation but we are happy about it. The apostle Paul gives a sobering warning to the "good people" who refuse God's command to repent and invitation to be saved, "But because of your hard and impenitent heat you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgement will be revealed." (Romans 2:5, ESV)

God, in delaying the day of judgement and in giving all sorts of benefits and blessings which we call common grace will be more than justified when people who refuse to acknowledge God and repent. People use or enjoy all the blessings of common grace given by God without acknowledging the source of that grace and without ever repenting. God is just when they are condemned.

God of course is just whether he chose to bestow common grace or not, but how much clearer is it to you and me the justness of God's condemnation to those who refuse to repent, especially after enjoying God's blessings. There is a fourth reason in God's design concerning common grace, and that is...

To Demonstrate God's Glory

God displays his glory in a number of magnificent ways. The glory of God is is essential character and nature. God uses various means to display his nature and character to mankind. God uses things that are common to man to display both his character and the quality of his character such as rain, lightening, thunder, sunshine, oxygen, and other means. God reveals himself through these means that are common to us all.

Side Note: This is the second time my automatic post has "eaten" a paragraph. This last point was much longer with more examples and three questions and it has disappeared along with a picture. I my try to fix it later but don't have the time right now. 


welcome to my world of poetry said...

I look forward to your post Gregg and today was no exception. Such a good post and most enjoyable.
Thank you.


Pat Donovan said...

its amazing to me that God is so Gracious to the unjustafied and still they will be in hell shaking there fist at God. And we the elect will be with our Lord and Savior knowing that apart from Gods grace we would be there to. God is mercifull.

Penned Pebbles said...

I used to struggle with the Justice part, but it's becoming crystal clear. Every breath is a gift of God. Everything is a gift of God... I love how Thomas Watson put it:

"Do you live upon God every day, yet not love Him? He gives you your breath, He bestows a livelihood upon you, and will you not love Him? ...that man is dead who has no heat of love in his soul to God. How can he expect love from God, who shows no love to Him?"

Great post, thank you!