Sunday, September 23, 2012

Can Grace Be Common When Considered Theologically?

Biblical grace can be understood in three senses. The first is as an attribute of God within Himself, independently of all the creation, the second is as an attitude towards a creature in accordance with this attribute, and the third is as a power towards that creature in accordance with that attitude. This is where the idea of common grace goes wrong, as it proposes an attitude of gracious favour which does not proceed from God's infinite grace in Himself, and therefore does not result in the gracious power of salvation towards its object. If grace is understood first of all as an attribute within God Himself, which is inseparably united with all His other divine attributes, such as omnipotence and holiness, then it is very apparent that He cannot be gracious toward someone and yet NOT save them.

Also if grace does not proceed from God's grace within Himself which is almighty, just, and so on, where does it come from? And if it is not legally based on the cross of Christ, how is it just? And if it is based on the cross of Christ, how are the recipients not delivered from hell, since Christ's atonement was substitutionary and complete?

What about when God speaks graciously towards Israel as a whole, when many in that nation were actually not saved? God often addresses the entire nation of Israel graciously, but it is directed towards the elect kernel within the nation as considered as an organic whole, like a grain of wheat surrounded by chaff and supported by a stem, or like a wheat field in which tares are also present. John the Baptist spoke of the Day of Judgment when no longer will the chaff be among the wheat, but God would clear His threshing floor.