Friday, September 01, 2006

Common Grace

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....

27 comments:

AgapeTheologian said...

Hey,


Very Nice post! I think many times even believers take common grace for granted. I know I have many times. Anyways, I'll TTYL.


In Prayers,


-AgapeTheologian

Phoebe said...

I wanna encourage you to help us out at doctrinesofgrace.net. If you go to the discussion forums, in the reformed theology section is a thread precisely on this subject.

Phoebe said...

Murhubtain! So, how do you know Arabic? Thanks for your comments at my site. You made some good points. Allah ma'ek! [God be with you!]

Glenda, saved by grace said...

[Quote](even though they choose to reject Him),
ROMANS 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Man CAN-NOT reject God.

PT2 said...

Glenda,

Thank you for the comment you made on my blog last week. Here are some thoughts/comments that I have in regards to your comment. Please feel free to respond at any time on my site.

Basically, after thought, I do not see, in the Romans 3 passage, where Paul says that man does not reject God. I'll try to clarify this thought. First, please know that I don't believe that man is condemned to Hell primarily because of his rejection. I believe that there are many men who say that they want God; however, they will never receive a true and abiding relationship with Him. I believe that man is condemned primarily because he is in Adam and is condemned as a sinner.

On that note, I'd like to add that I also believe that man must choose to depend on Christ for salvation and repent of his/her sins (conversion). But that only takes place after regeneration (God must take the first move).

But, me saying that someone must trust in Christ for his/her salvation is not negating the fact that God is the One who saves.

Your comment on my blog was that man "CAN-NOT" reject God; however, from an experiential and biblical standpoint, I see many people who reject God. There are many men who harden their hearts toward Him and want nothing to do with Him (hence the word "reject"). Immediately you might be thinking of Romans 9 and say, "God is the one who hardens whom He wills." I will immediately agree. However, I will also say that as a secondary response - man hardens his heart, too (Ex. 4:21; 1 Sam 6:6).

I see no contradiction in saying that man takes an active role in continuously rejecting/turning from God and His ways. In all actuality, the Romans 3 passages seems to prove that man continuously rejects God. It says, "They are all gone out of the way." One commentator (John Gill - a well-known Calvinist of old) says, "here the phrase is rendered by the apostle, 'they are all gone out of the way': that is, out of the way of God and his precepts, out of the way of holiness and righteousness, of light and life; into their own ways, the ways of sin, Satan, and the world of darkness, and of death...." So, man chooses to go out of the way because that's his nature.

Also, Romans 1 is clear by saying that men also choose to reject God.

v. 18 - For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

This passage states that sinners actively suppress the truth through their unrighteousness. So, they knowingly suppress the truth. By their own volitional choice, they reject the reality of God and their conscience contiually gets more and more seared.

One more passage:

Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

That turning was a volitional choice of man to go his own way.

So, I don't see a contradiction when I say that man chooses to reject God. Of course they choose to reject Him - that's all they can do apart from a move of the Spirit of God to impart salvation.

I guess I'll end on this note. Again, if you want to continue more conversation, please do so.

Thanks for your time and patience with this blog post.... :)

AspiringTheologian said...

"On that note, I'd like to add that I also believe that man must choose to depend on Christ for salvation and repent of his/her sins (conversion). But that only takes place after regeneration (God must take the first move)."

Are you saying that God gives man the ability and then man makes a decision one way or the other?

Or that God draws man to Him?

In Christ,
A. Shepherd
The Aspiring Theologian

PT2 said...

AspiringTheologian,

In answer to your question, regeneration must first take place and then conversion (faith and repentance). Once someone is regenerated, conversion WILL take place.

I do not believe that God just gives us the option to believe and we decide whether or not we should be saved. God's irresistible grace draws us to Himself and we respond with faith and repentance.

Does that make sense or should some wording change?

AspiringTheologian said...

Yes, that makes sense. I just wanted to make sure you weren't saying God 'enabled' the elect to make a choice, rather than 'drawing' them.

Thanks for the clarification.

A. Shepherd
The Aspiring Theologian

PT2 said...

Aspiring,

What would be wrong with me saying that God enabled the elect to make a choice?

Maybe the tension comes when someone says that "choice" signifies that the elect can say "no." In that case, I see what you're saying.

However, the elect do "choose" Christ in the sense that God has chosen them and they are intoxicated by His grace (they're drawn to Him).

I guess that clarification helps me some. Thanks!

Glenda, saved by grace said...

Thank you for your explaination...I believe that regeneration is first and then I believe in irresistable grace, Ive never met a christian who rejected God . We love Him,[ONLY] because He first loved us.
Again Thanks!
Glenda

AgapeTheologian said...

I'm having a very difficult time with the regeneration and we choosing. It sounds like you're leaving it up to man's choice. But I know that is not what you mean. I've always thought God took our hand 100% the way to Him, and at that moment we are regenerated and converted. Maybe you should take a whole post to explain, but I am very confused now. Could you please explain. Thank you.



In Prayers,



-AgapeTheologian

AspiringTheologian said...

Maybe the tension comes when someone says that "choice" signifies that the elect can say "no." In that case, I see what you're saying.

Well, like I was telling agape in my Puritan post, the Amrayldians believed in mediate regeneration. I've also met other people who believe in it. It basically states that God enables certain people to make a choice yea or nay.

I understand that we make the choice based first off of God's choice (we are drawn), but the Amrayldians didn't think so.

I really don't like the terminology 'we make' the choice. It seems to say (even though I assume you aren't saying it) that salvation is up to man, when it isn't. We really can't make any good choices until conversion. We are not 'free' until after we are saved. When God works on us, we have only ONE choice - to become His child.

Then again, of course, we don't go kicking and screaming into salvation.

I know what you mean, I think. I just wanted clarification is all. Thanks.

God bless,

A. Shepherd
The Aspiring Theologian

AspiringTheologian said...

BTW - when I say "I don't like the terminology" I am not trying to criticize you, just thinking aloud about this. :)

PT2 said...

AspiringTheologian,

I really do appreciate your comments. It helps me to firm up thoughts in my mind.

Please don't stop. I need this and I'm thankful for the dialogue.

BTW - In what sense are you an aspiring theologian? Is that the true vocation you are seeking after? Personally, I'd really like to be a professor of theology someday, but I don't know what to do or where to go. Plus, I have two young children and I don't want to sacrifice family for the sake of education. If you can give any help or advice, I'd be grateful.

AgapeTheologian said...

I don't have a lot of time on my hands right now. But I do want to answer PT2. I totally agree with what you just said. 100%. It is totally Christ. The part I'm confused is when you say Christ regenerated me then I repent. I've always thought of it as 100% Christ, but to me, it sounds like it's part of man's responsiblity.


In Prayers,



-AgapeTheologian

AspiringTheologian said...

That's what I want - to be a professor of theology. Whether I will make it that far will depend on a lot of things - having a family one day, etc.

To be a professor of theology you would first want to go to seminary as you probably know. I am currently looking at the Reformed Theological Seminaries and Covenant Seminary. Covenant is Presbyterian, but the other two are just reformed I think, without regards to denomination.

Then I would have to go on to do extra work for a doctorate.

Since I'm not already a professor though, I'm not sure how much advice I can give. I haven't done all this stuff myself. There are some professors of theology at this site: III Millenium, where you can submit questions to them. Ask them whatever and they usually respond fairly quickly (within 2 weeks). They should be able to help out better than me.

And pray and ask God. That's the best advice (if any) that I can give.

I appreciate your kind words. I am not a minister or a professor of theology, so my ability to help in that regard is limited. But I'm glad to help with what little I can give.

It's great to see other Reformed people out there with a desire to get into the ministry and such. Even without a doctorate in theology, though, we can make a big difference.

Anyhow, I have to go. Wish I could say more or give even better advice.

God bless,

A. Shepherd
The Aspiring Theologian

PT2 said...

Agape,

Regeneration is new life. It's being born again. Conversion is like the moment I possess the salvation that God gave me.

Once I'm regenerated, the only choice I'll make is Christ because GOd is drawing me.

You cannot negate that man must exercise dependence on Christ and must turn to Him in repentance. If you say those are NOT necessary, then you are also dumbing down salvation. Those are not works. I'm merely saying that is the first time a person willingly turns to Christ and trusts in HIM (His life, death and resurrection) for salvation.

If one doesn't trust Christ, they're still trusting themselves and their own works.

PT2 said...

Aspiring,

Thanks for the info.... BTW - would you answer if I asked how old you are? If so, how old are you?

AspiringTheologian said...

17.

Andrea said...

You guys look fabulous -- what a great picture! Hope you're all doing well!

Anonymous said...

Hi I was wondering what you believed (like whether calvinist or arminian or what) and why. Also, please tell me what are your favorite posts are (what subjects - such as common grace, etc).
Thx, Anon.

Anonymous said...

Hey PT, this is you-know-who. I finally checked out your blog and I will (probably) talk to you tomorrow. Hope you have a good day and stuff.

Anonymous said...

By the way PT, I'll probably have a specific user name before this week is over (looking for suggestions from people).

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