REFLECTIONS FOR LIFE

 

AMAZING GRACE

COMMON GRACE

Matthew 5:45

 

Pastor Lou Gallo

July 5, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Grace, it can be argued, is the most important thing in a human’s life.

 

Grace is an attribute of God. An attribute is the expression of God’s character. God’s greatness expressed in His character. There are many attributes of God. Some are: love, mercy, and grace. These three often go together. Often, they overlap –where does love end and mercy begin, or mercy end and grace begin. They all go together.

 

Other attributes of God seem to be the opposite of grace, love, and mercy – such as justice and holiness. But they are not opposite. God is so loving and so gracious that He grants to those who reject and rebel against Him what they deserve – judgment and wrath.

 

There are two main categories of how God gives grace; Special Grace (or Saving Grace) and Common Grace. This doesn’t mean that there are two different kinds of grace in God but that are two ways that God expresses His grace in the world.

 

Special Grace; saves people from their sin and His wrath. Special grace sanctifies us making us holy. Special grace sustains His people giving them strength to endure, His grace preserves His people to the end, and ultimately glorifies God’s people when they die and enter heaven.

 

Common Grace;“God’s blessings that are not part of salvation. It is seen in how He cares for creation, and the restraint of sin in the world. It is present in man’s conscience and the blessing that God gives to mankind in general.” Wayne Grudem

 

What are the blessings that God gives to all people, both believers and unbelievers?

 

Matthew 5:45b

“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

 

The Sermon on the Mount in the context of Matthew 5:45,and is about loving our enemies. Jesus explains that God is the example of loving enemies. He says, God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good and He sends rain on the just and the unjust. Meaning, He gives these blessings to all mankind regardless of whether they are believers or unbelievers. But in the context of how to love our enemies, Jesus lets us in on how God loves His creation in general.

 

The definition of grace; is that it is a gift that is given. It is an expression of love. You can say that God’s Common Grace is mankind getting what they do not deserve. We could capture it in reversing the flawed logic of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And ask the more biblically sound question; why do good things happen to bad people?”

 

2 Peter 2:4 says

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment.”

 

Peter goes on to list the ways that God judged sinful people. However, the difference between angels that sinned and were cast out of heaven and mankind is that there is hope for mankind through Jesus Christ. Yet, while the earth exists God gives grace to all of mankind whether they are believers or unbelievers.

 

God’s natural or Common Grace is given freely to everyone; both to the believer and the unbeliever.

 

Common Grace

1. Helps make sense of the world

2. Helps connect us to the world

3. Helps us to be grateful for the world

 

Helps make sense of the world

“Every advancement in human learning, every work of art, and every scientific discovery is simply God “opening his book of creation and revealing his truth” to us.” Tim Keller

 

Secular – Sacred distinctions

Work; spiritual and non-spiritual employment

Music; good vs. bad instead of Christian vs. Non-Christian

Talents; art, design, intellect,

Employment

Fair/Unfair– Believers don’t seem to have as much as unbelievers.

Finances–we know many unbelievers who have more financial resources than we do.

Talents – talented individuals who are using their gifts and talents for their own gain and certainly not to glorify God.

Happiness –There are unbelievers who seem happier than Christians we know.

Health

Engineering (A/C) – thank God for Willis H. Carrier the inventor of modern air conditioning in 1902.

 

Helps connect us to the world

Christian and non-Christian? God has given talents to all mankind.

Tradesmen – plumbers, electricians, carpenters.

Medicine – doctors, nurses

Pharmaceuticals

Advances in medical research – we can benefit from the medical community AND glorify God!

 

Mankind is made in the image of God. Therefore, people have attributes that are like God’s. Examples such as, the ability to love, show mercy, be patient, and so on. People also do good deeds to improve the world. They reflect God’s image.

 

People who are not Christians can, and often do, things that are based upon the principles of scripture whether they know it or not. Also, the world is not as bad as it could be given the wickedness of sin. Common grace restrains sin. John 1:9 say, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”

 

God gives common grace that restrains sin. The world is a broken place. As we’ve said in the past, just watch the news for about a minute. However, the world is not as bad as it could be. People are not as bad as they could be if they were completely given over to the depravity of the human heart.

 

God has granted mankind the common grace of a conscience that is connected to the moral law that God has written on their hearts.

 

Romans 2:14-15 says

“For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 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.”

 

The church is a restraining influence on sin in society where it can exercise that influence. It’s not hard to see that when a society turns away from the morals of scripture that society slips into moral decay. Of course, people acting in a moral way does not earn any merit with God.

 

Third, we can be thankful to God that Common Grace …

 

Helps us to be grateful for the world

 

Cultures and ethnicity

Traditions

Food

Dress – clothes

Art

Music

Architecture

 

Nature and beauty

 

Psalm 136:4-9, says,

to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever”

 

Food – smells, textures, tastes – If you eat with me and listen to me pray for our food I thank God for all the variety. It doesn’t have to be that way – God already proved that He can sustain us on manna!

Mountains, trees. The oceans, rivers, waterfalls.

Weather, clouds, seasons, sunrises and sunsets.

 

Common Grace points to a thoughtful, caring God. For anyone who is intellectually honest, as they investigate creation, they will discover the Creator.

 

Romans 1:19-20,

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

 

Acts 17:27-28

…“that they should seek God,and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,28for“‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.”

 

Questions:

 

1. What are the two main categories of Grace?

2. What does Matthew 5:45 mean to us today?

3. How does the doctrine of Common Grace change the way you look at the world around you?

4. Write down three ways you can apply this doctrine to your life.

You can view all AIM live worship services here as well as this message here.

We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.

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