Common Grace: Interesting phrase. A lot of my posts deal with this subject. However, I've never referred to that phrase yet.
What is common grace, you might ask? Common grace is specifically meant for all of humankind. It's what no man deserves (Rom. 6:23); however, every man receives it at different levels throughout their lifetime on this earth.
Notice Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV) - "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
This passage gives us ample enough reason for us to love other people. Not only has Christ's death covered all of my sins (and all of those who believe and will believe) and given me a righteous standing before the Father , but God is gracious to those who are "hard and impenitent" on this earth. The fact that God not only holds back His wrath but also gives food, clothing, a house, car, a nice annual salary, etc., is a sign of grace to them. However, the unsaved world doesn't see it that way. They either see God's wrath and are angered by it or they dumb down God's justice by saying they can appease it by their works (Rom. 2).
However, in all of this, God is still immensely gracious to them. As you saw in the passage above, God sends rain and the sun on the just and the unjust! God allows people to enjoy His creation (even though they choose to reject Him), and He grants them many blessings on this earth.
The big differrence now between the Christian and the non-Christian is that the true believer can see God's common grace and give thanks. Passages like Eph 5:4 & 1 Thess. 5:18 are clear that one of the Spirit-birthed tools the believer's struggle with sin is fought through a Christ-saturated thankfulness.
The non-believer cannot be truly thankful for Christ because they do not possess Him, but the believer can be thankful because of the indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8, Gal. 5:17ff).
The sad part of all of this is that while God grants more and more common grace to unbeliever's, they take it for granted and only want more. Their heart only fills with more and more coveteousness. They don't look to God for saving grace. They merely take Him for granted and command that He give them more.
May we all look to God's common grace and learn that we too must imitate Him as children, but may we first be amazed that He would be even more gracious to the world!
On this note of common grace, I want to add that I am truly thankful for the grace gift of my family! Here's a new picture of the four of us....