I see the most interesting things in Philly. On my way to the pizza parlor on the corner, I passed by the Scientology church. That’s nothing new… I always pass by it. In the window, there has always been a sign that says ‘Free Stress Test’. Well, today when I passed by, I noticed that the window pane that contains the sign had been either hit with a rock or a fist. I guess that was their free stress test, lol.
On my way back from the parlor, a man walked by me and said, “I think I’m in love”. I kept walking and shook my head. What woman really responds to that kind of thing ? A couple of weeks ago, while walking to the Reading Terminal, a man made a comment to me and called me baby. It was enough that it made me roll my eyes (which is not great concerning my Christian witness). What women really get geeked about that ?
Anyhow, life in Philly seems to be what most of my blogs about… but wow, can I talk about common grace!?
It is something I have known about for a year or so, a term I learned. I knew it was the grace that God gives to all men, but I am really learning the extent of it. I am doing a study on the doctrine of the application of redemption in Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. Since I am studying the book of Romans, I figured they would go hand in hand. The 1st chapter in this section is on common grace. Common grace is the grace of God by which He gives people innumerable blessings that are not a part of salvation. It differs from saving grace because it doesn’t lead to salvation. It differs in its results, recipients, and source. While saving grace is to all believers and flows directly from the atoning work of Christ Jesus, common grace is for every man and is indirectly a result of Christ’s atoning work. The book touches on examples of common grace in various realms, i.e. societal, physical, and moral.
What rocked me was the fact that I had never seen these examples before. Some things, yes, I can easily see them — man living and breathing in his sinful and Christless state, talents, etc. But then, there are some that just really blew my mind.
In the physical realm, the earth doesn’t produce thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:18) and there is beauty in creation that can be enjoyed by all men (flowers, animals, bodies of water, etc.). In the intellectual realm, ALL people are able to have some grasp of truth along with great intelligence and understanding. Just look at Richard Dawkins, world renowned atheist who has made it his mission to disprove God, but he is also the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford. The Lord has allowed him to have this intelligence (although he plainly lacks common sense). We have the ability to grasp truth and distinguish it from error. We can investigate and research various diseases to find cures. God allows this.
People are skilled to do various things — design buildings, create cars, grow and gather produce. And all men benefit from it. Anytime we go into a store, put on clothes, go ANYWHERE, we’re all partakers of the benefits and results of God’s rich common grace.
The part that really blew me away was how God’s common grace is seen in the moral realm. Simply put — God restrains people from being AS evil as they COULD be. That is amazing. To think that things in this world could be MUCH worse… The Philly murder rate could be MUCH higher… if God were to let go. That is shocking. Then, on top of that, God has given men a conscience (Romans 2:14-15), an inward sense of right and wrong… and then our laws ? Our laws often reflect the standards that Scripture presents. There are laws against murder and abortion (Thou shall not kill), theft (Thou shall not steal), bans on gay marriage (Genesis 1:18-24), and more. It’s amazing to see how such a Godless world reflects Him SO much… and they don’t even know it. Man can rebel all he wants, but he is STILL influenced and moved by God. The fact that he even rebels, he is acknowledging God! You HAVE to have something to rebel against!
The world cannot run away from God, no matter how hard they try… He is the source of all, He is the creator of all and upholds the universe by the words of His power (Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:16-17).
How the Lord exists in every crevice of this world amazes me… true omnipresence and omnipotence. Truly, like the angels say:
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
Who could come up with common grace ? Who could come up with Holiness ? Who, but God? Why would He choose to watch after His creation when we rebel against Him so ? And even in that, He doesn’t even take delight in our death and condemnation (Ezekiel 33:11) and bids us to come to Him.
Why should He even exhibit grace towards any man when it was because of us, He had to crush His Son ?
I cannot wrap my mind around it, but wow, it is a beautiful concept… Praise God for His grace… It truly is amazing.
This is such an awesome study… You can never really learn the total character of God, but it is what you learn that shapes your view of Him… Learning about His grace is important because it shows how truly undeserving we are of anything the Lord has ever / could ever / would ever give us… and yet people demand things from God… We need to really look at how much He has given us believers and those nonbelievers… and repent of our sins and reverence Him and praise Him in awe…