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Common Grace

Romans 1:5
Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us:

Matthew 5:44-45
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Rain might be taken literally, for rain produces crops that become food that feed the world, believers and sinners alike. It is better, however, to view “rain” as a figurative concept, being the outpouring of all of God’s riches upon His creation. Rain in a spiritual sense is the breath of life and all that is encompassed in such a concept. This outpouring is common grace. 

There is a sense in which Paul explains common grace at the beginning of Romans, following a pattern drawn from Genesis. God has displayed Himself, His power and His divine Godhead in creation, yet man has turned from seeking God to seeking himself and his inventions. This is not much different from Eve following the devices of Satan and choosing to eat the forbidden fruit rather than rely upon seeking God.

Paul says that God has turned sinful man over to his own sins (1:18-31). This parallels God driving Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden into a cruel, fallen world. In both instances there is a clear picture of God’s grace at work.

Genesis 2:17
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. NKJV

When God drives Adam and Eve from the Garden, common grace is found in God not immediately imposing the death sentence given to Adam in this passage. The same argument is implied in the Romans passage. Sin is hated by God, yet, when men become sinful God turns them over to their sin rather than imposing the death penaty. It may not always seem this way to us, but certainly on a broad scale, this is exactly what has occurred in the world since Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden. 




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