Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Grace, Grace, God's Grace

by Garth Gaddy

The grace of God is His goodness poured out on those who don’t deserve it. It is also known as unmerited favor. There are two manifestations of God’s grace at work, common grace and saving grace. Common grace is God’s activity that gives blessings that are not part of salvation such as sustaining creation (Matt. 5:44-45), restraining evil (Rom. 2:14-15), enabling excellence in the arts and sciences (John 1:9, Rom 1:21) and maintaining order in society (Rom 13). Common grace does not lead to salvation. It does not change the heart or bring people to repentance and faith. It does, however, allow sinful humans to live for some time so that they might hear the Gospel and repent or have subsequent generations who might do the same. Common grace also demonstrates God’s goodness and mercy (Luke 6:35) and justice (Rom 2:5). When sinners repeatedly refuse His invitation, He is just in condemning them.

Saving grace is the manifestation of God’s grace that results in regeneration. It comes from God for the purpose of salvation (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 2:11). Salvation by grace begins with the Gospel call (proclaiming the message of the Gospel); then regeneration (being born again); conversion (faith and repentance); justification (declared righteous); adoption (membership in the family of God) and sanctification (initially changed and then progressively conformed to the image of Christ). All by grace, all a result of God’s goodness poured out on a sinner.

God’s grace should cause believers, having been the recipients of saving grace, to be thankful and should motivate us out of compassion to be ministers of the Gospel. God in His sovereignty is responsible for all things around us and is patiently pouring out His common grace on all people. Since saving grace begins with the Gospel call, that’s where you and I come in. God has determined to use believers as a means of communicating the Gospel to unbelievers. As long as God is pouring out grace that is common to all, we are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations.

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