Jake Walker | Category: Theology for Life
What comes to mind when you think of the grace of God? Most likely you think about the saving grace that allows sinners to be adopted and justified by God through Christ. There is another type of God’s grace that is often overlooked, common grace. When I speak of common grace I mean the grace that God gives all people, both Christians and non-Christians alike. A few examples of common grace include God sending rain and sun, sustaining the universe by his power, giving governments power to restrain evil, and blessing parents with a healthy baby. Matthew 5:44 says, “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”1 Psalm 145:9 states “9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”2 Everything that is good in this world is because of God’s common grace to all of creation.
A person’s talents and skills must be attributed to God’s common grace. Wayne Grudem says, “God has allowed significant measures of skill in artistic and musical areas, as well as in other spheres in which creativity and skill can be expressed, such as athletics, cooking, writing, and so forth.”3 When I see Antonio Brown catch the football, watch a Christopher Nolan movie, or listen to Mozart, I can thank God for the common grace God gives to athletes, directors, and musicians, regardless of whether or not they are Christians. Common grace is apparent in other professions, such as doctors who find cures for diseases, military officers that protect our country, and garbage men who take away our nasty trash. Common grace allows Christians to honor God for many good things unbelievers do, such as a husband sacrificing for his family. We should praise God when we see common grace upon others’ lives, even when they are unbelievers.
At the same time, we must remember that common grace does not save a person; only a person given saving grace and faith in Christ will be reconciled to God. Even the best actions done from common grace will not merit a person forgiveness with God because “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”4 Unless a person has faith in Christ, all their actions are not done for God’s glory and are sin. All people naturally do not thank God for his common grace, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”5 For this reason, we need to share the gospel with all people hoping that God’s kindness will lead them to repentance, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”6 God’s common grace leaves all people without excuse for not coming to repentance and faith in Christ.
You and I do not deserve our next breath, heartbeat, or thought, yet God continues to show his goodness and patience to us. God’s common grace should lead us to worship him for the immeasurable ways he has blessed all of creation.
1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Mt 5:45.
2 The Holy Bible, Ps 145:9.
3 Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 661.
4 The Holy Bible, Ro 14:23.
5 The Holy Bible, Ro 1:21. 6 The Holy Bible, Ro 2:3–4.
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