Today we are in Chapter 31 of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and we are examining the reality of common grace. Normally, when we think of grace, we think of the grace of forgiveness and eternal life through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. However, that is not the only grace that exists. The world is full of God’s grace.
Grace is an undeserved gift, and all humanity is constantly in a state of receiving undeserved gifts from God. For example, the wage of sin is death (Romans 6:23). I think we would all agree that the world is full of sinners, yet this sinners continue to live apart from faith in Christ. Why? Grace.
In Genesis 1:27 we are told that “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This is a true statement for all humanity. We exist by his will and we image forth God, albeit a marred image of God due to sin. We think, we feel, we create, we subdue, we sing, we write, etc. Why does God allow all humanity to have such wonderful physical and intellectual gifts? Grace.
In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus says, “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” God not only allow unredeemed sinners to continue to live, he provides basic necessities to them in the same general way he does for his children. Why? Grace.
In Romans 2:15 it says, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” Every person, saved and unsaved, has a conscience. This is the moral law. This is why societies have extremely similar laws (i.e. don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t rape, don’t lie, etc.) This moral law written on all men’s heart is a good thing in that it keeps humanity from total anarchy, and this is because God has given all men a moral code. Why did God do this? Grace.
God is a gracious God. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of God’s grace. His display of grace is always before us. This is why it says in our verse above, “for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). The grace that all men experience is called Common Grace.
Unfortunately, not everyone acknowledges this common grace. Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” In our hearts of hearts, everyone knows there is a Creator, yet because of sin, humanity does not give God the thanks that He deserves for his common grace, and justice demands that mankind be punished for this rebellion. Or to say it another way, eventually common grace will come to an end on the Day of Judgment.
And this is why Jesus came; to save us from the righteous anger of the Lord, due to our ungratefulness. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus applied to sinners is not common grace, but is called saving grace. Saving grace is different than common grace, in that common grace is for all and for a short period of time and saving grace is only for those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ and is forever.
Therefore, do not shortchange yourself. There is more grace to be had. If you are an unbeliever who has soaked in the common grace of God, choose today to repent of your ungratefulness, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be lavished with the sovereign and saving grace of Jesus before it is too late.