Grace, a study

31 days big

Grace is all tied up in a lot of other ideas, and anything involving salvation necessarily must involve grace. Therefore, we ought to have a pretty good idea of what grace is by now, right?

Oh, would it be that easy! Grace, at it’s core, is defined as unmerited favor. That much, everyone can agree on. From there it gets hairy. Very hairy.

There is common grace, prevenient grace, free grace, and irresistible grace, and those are just the big ones. I promise, it won’t be as hard as it sounds! It will be fun. And edifying!

We’ll stick with common grace today.

Common grace is grace available to all people, no matter what you believe about predestination, election or even Jesus. You, me, the heathens down the block, etc., all affected by common grace (hence the name). It is also not ‘salvific’ (salvation-inducing) grace: this grace is how God has (mostly) kept the world afloat, since the majority of people are to be presumed unsaved.

Common grace allows people to be “humane,” per this belief. Romans 13 suggests that God certainly has a hand in the civil authorities of man, thereby to keep the peace and establish order. Further, there is precedent for God intervening to prevent sin aside from saving grace: the pharaoh in the story of Abraham and Sarah, and David in the story of Nabal and Abigail. More directly, God has provided even the unbelievers with consciences that they may know right from wrong.

Common grace also includes “divine providence,”  the part where God made everything and made it well. Certainly there is creation; things like rain and sunshine that are for both the good and the evil. Common grace goes further. John 1:3, under the lens of common grace, suggests that things like vaccines and chemo, computers and electric light bulbs, are absolutely a part of God’s providence. He held back humanity from going completely nutso and inspired us to do awesome stuff, aside from any salvific grace that the creators of those things may have had.

So, common grace. Common to all, not saving anybody from hell, but generally preventing people from being totally awful. Potentially a thing.

Published in: on October 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm  Comments (1)  

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