What is Common Grace?

What is Common Grace? March 11, 2019

We know we are saved by the grace of God, but what is “common grace?”

Gift of Grace

The Bible is clear that we cannot save ourselves by doing good works. Our works are nothing more than filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6), so “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal 3:10). Over and over again, we are told that “no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith” (Gal 3:11). It is only “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9). Several of the other world religions base their rewards on the works they do. Of course, if there are no works in a believer’s life, then someone who claims to be a believer has a dead or useless faith (James 2:14-26). We are not saved by works, but saved for works…works that God has planned for us to do from before we were born (Eph 2:10). We are not saved by those works, but those who are saved, will work. Genuine saving grace will bear fruitful works for God’s glory, but the grace of God is what we receive that we did not deserve.

Common Grace

Common grace is the world, sinners and saints, all sharing in the blessings this life on earth. Some of the blessings of common grace include family, food, sunshine, rain, pleasure, laughter, and so many other things that we all enjoy in this life. Even if the sinner is unaware of God’s provisions, they are still recipients of God’s common grace. It is grace that is common to all, as it is poured out on all. Jesus told the crowds that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt 5:45), so God blesses those who don’t even acknowledge Him with all of the general blessings that are found in the world, but even though “favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:10). It doesn’t matter…God still “gives food to all flesh” (Psalm 136:25a). Uncommon grace is the idea that God blesses the world in general, and does not withhold blessings based upon a person’s character. Both a man who hates people and treats them in a harsh manner, and a man who loves people and is generous and kind, will receive the same amount of rain for their gardens. God’s uncommon grace is showered upon the rich and the poor, the sick and the well, and the good and the bad. Only God’s saving grace is specifically given to those who have been brought to repentance and faith in Christ. The greatest blessing of all is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. There is no greater blessing than the grace of God, but even this is a free gift of God.

Uncommon Grace

The grace of God is different from the common grace given to all. To begin with, Jesus tells us to do things that are contrary to our own nature. For example, Jesus says some of the most uncommon things known to man. Radical things like, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). That is not something you’ll find much of in the world, and it’s certainly not in the ways of mankind to respond in this way, but we are not children of this world, but the children of God. The Apostle Paul writes that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6). He didn’t wait till we’d be strong, because He’d have had a very long wait for that…like, forever. By God sending Jesus Christ, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). To go even further, even “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). This is exceedingly rare, since “one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die” (Rom 5:7), but to die for ungodly, wicked enemies of God!? That’s an uncommon grace…an infinite love. That’s the grace of God.


Christ died for the ungodly, so that means He died for all of us. At one time, we were all an enemies of God (some still are), but God sent His Son to die for all who would repent and trusted in Him. Jesus has shown His love by living a sinless life and dying for us so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). If ever there was a time to be saved, it is today. Tomorrow may not come for some…and that means judgment will have come before they had the chance to repent and believe (Heb 9:27). There is still time today…today is the best of days to be saved (2 Cor 6:2). None of us can say with 100% certainty, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” (James 4:13), so it’s not wise for us to “boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Prov 27:1). Today is the day of salvation.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Christian Crier or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    “We know we are saved by grace”…No you do not. 1st lie and you’ve just begun. You do not KNOW anything that you babble, you “believe” in an ancient BOOK written by no name savages who are demonstrably WRONG about everything they claim.

    “knowing” requires evidence not “faith” which is the exact same thing as gullibility. There is NOTHING too stupid or absurd that cannot be “believed” via “faith” which makes “faith” the most dishonest position anyone can take.

    “Christ died for the ungodly, so that means He died for all of us. At one time, we were all an enemies of God (some still are), but God sent His Son to die for all who would repent and trusted in Him. Jesus has shown His love by living a sinless life and dying for us”

    What a sick and deranged make believe concept. Scapegoating. The notion that an all powerful deity sent himself as a human blood sacrifice to HIMSELF to fix a problem he HIMSELF set up is insane, infantile and willfully delusional in the extreme

    ” There is still time today…today is the best of days to be saved”

    Of course…what essay from janitor jack would be complete without the guilt, shame and imaginary portrait of filthy humanity who needs to beg an invisible undetectable celestial dictator not to be tortured forever? What a sick diseased cult you work for jack. What a cowardly man you are hiding behind your tiny pulpit in fear and self loathing unable to defend your deranged world view from the reason and critical thinking of one critic.

    What a shameful existence you have jack…totally shameful

    • Raymond

      You did see on another thread that Jack has you in his kill file yes?

      • pud

        Don’t know what you’re talking about

        • Raymond

          Of course you don’t. Jack is blocking all your posts so that he can’t see them – you’re talking to no one.

          • Matthew 22:37

            Yes, the Pastor has said it more than once. He has him on block. Plus he would be too busy to sit around arguing. He runs a church, has another job and a family to attend to and is involved in a lot of charity work. There is no way he has time to read pud comments every day much less respond to them. He has also stated he doesn’t believe in arguing. Why should he argue with the demotivated people when he can exhort the more motivated people? Doing is more important in the Christian worldview than mere talk. Love is an action verb.

          • Matthew 22:37

            Yes, pud is still talking to himself. I suppose he doesn’t want to face professional apologists or he would be on one of these blogs for a change.


            Cold-Case Christianity
            Wintery Knight
            Hope’s Reason
            Canon Fodder
            Apologetics 315
            Sean McDowell
            Alisa Childers
            James Bishop
            Come Reason
            Tentative Apologist


            RZIM Global Blog
            Evolution News
            Reasons to Believe
            Stand to Reason
            Reasons for Jesus
            Poached Egg
            Christian Apologetics Alliance
            Apologetics dot com

            He should go over to Randal Rauser’s blog, too, and check it out.

            How come he’s never on belief dot net?

  • pud

    Hey jack…when you’re done praying for me and hiding behind your pulpit in abject fear of debating me…why don’t you write a happy essay about Jepthah? You know the warrior who your invisible undetectable “god” chose to slaughter a bunch of people if he would sacrifice the first thing (his daughter) when he returned home? It’s really wholesome and it seems stories like these often slip by you. Clearly you can make up some excuse for this right? Clearly you can explain why lunatics like you should tremble in fear as they love this “god” who goes to war and sacrifices children…can’t you?

    • Matthew 22:37

      The pastor has blocked you pud. You are carrying on a conversation with yourself.

      • pud

        He reads it as do you and others so I’m not conversing with myself unlike you and he who carry on conversations with invisible undetectable mind reading non existent agents in your head.

        • Matthew 22:37

          You greatly over estimate how much attention people pay you. I hardly even read your posts because 1) I already know I don’t agree; 2) I know you are wrong and express yourself like a child throwing a tantrum and; 3) I really don’t care to entertain evil ideas in my head.

          The pastor is probably no different and he takes it in stride that you like to insult and provoke him because every time you insult him God’s glory rests on him.

          He doesn’t respond to your provocations because he’s a godly man capable of self control. Plus he has on the full armor of God and your slings and arrows just bounce off of him.

          You didn’t really think a real Christian takes your slights to heart did you?

          I am sure the Pastor is well read on spiritual warfare so when you act like the devil it doesn’t perturb him at all.

          Mockery is an ineffective tactic used by many atheists as it really does not achieve the result they desire to coerce people into mental submission to their logic and ideas. Plus it makes you look socially unintelligent.

          You have to be weakminded to cave in to such nonsense. The Pastor knows he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him including ignoring you when necessary.

          • pud

            Gibberish. Mindless infantile make believe gibberish.

          • Matthew 22:37

            Whatever. He still has you on block and you’re impotent against that. So what kind of neuroses is prompting all this acting out on your part?

            Are you secretly afraid that God has rejected you because you rejected Him? If so then why take your fear out on people. Just say you are sorry to God and get on with your life.

          • pud

            I thought your “god” could read minds…next time you see “him” ask him to get on with it eh?

          • Matthew 22:37

            Get on with what? Proving you wrong?

            Why don’t you get off this blog and try doing something real with your time for a change.

            You said you have more money then God. So why don’t you give some to several Christian charities and see what kind of correspondence they send you.

            I think you will see contrary to your negative stereotypes about God and Christians that they are doing some very important charitable work in this world.

            Now that reality would challenge you more than any argument.

            Try it and see what happens and you will have a few good works for God to see when He reviews all your words and deeds on Judgment Day.

            If you help people then you honor God. Right now you are not helping people getting argumentative on this board. You are just wasting your precious time to actually do some good in this world.

            Have a blessed day! I am sure once you get over your stubbornness that you will see the light some day. Take care.

          • Collao

            Hello Elymas. If you believe that then you have nothing to lose in a challenge. Find a quiet place and challenge God to reveal himself to you. Easy, right?

          • pud

            Tried that for Bigfoot, a Unicorn, a thunderbolt from Thor and Yahweh….nothing. Gee, who’d a thunk?

          • Collao

            Don’t be afraid. Take the challenge.

          • pud

            Try not to be stupid for a day. Don’t be afraid.

            Then get down on your knees…in a quiet place…and ask Hanuman the monkey god to reveal himself

            Take the challenge

          • Collao

            Well, I tried. Good luck.

          • pud

            I tried too…If you’re not willing to make yourself believe in Hanuman the monkey god before you beg him to reveal himself to you the magic won’t work.

          • Collao

            BTW – did you know that the Greek name Elymas means “Wise”. Try to live up to your new name. But don’t forget that it also has a dual meaning.

          • pud

            OH NO!! I can’t see!! Sorry gebusus please spit in my eyes so I can see again?

          • Collao

            The rest is up to you. I wish you well.

          • pud

            Yep..I can lead you to the truth of the monkey gods all encompassing love but I can’t make you drink…the rest is up to you…GL! Oh, and woe be unto you if you don’t believe! There is terrible fire and torment if you fail to believe in his primate glory! Just warning you….

          • Collao

            You are getting closer. Keep working it out.

          • pud

            You’re almost there! Just get down on your knees and beg his holy primateness to enter your heart! Try it! Watch the transforming glory of his fury opposable thumb make your life whole!

          • Collao

            I have a message for the parasite who lives inside you: The Lord Rebukes You. And as for you, Elymas. I wish you well.

          • pud

            Git behind me satan! LOL…You lunatics crack me up

          • Jack Wellman

            You did all you could. The rest is up to God and the hardness of Pud’s heart.

          • Jack Wellman

            Exactly. Seek Him while He may be found. Thank you Collao. Praying for Pud.

  • If you believe this Pauling heresy, you’re not paying to what Jesus said about BEHAVIOR (Matt 5:1-21). You’ve adopted the Babylon dogma that THOUGHTS COVER YOU, which is blasphemous.

    • Jack Wellman

      Can you explain “this Pauling heresy?” By “Pauling” do you mean Linus Carl Pauling?

      • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

        Ooops, sorry. It was a typo. PAULINE heresy, that says, Only beliefs count–not behavior.–which nullifies the entire Holy Law Covenant, doesn’t it? And the outcome of Paul’s heresy is that Christians EN MASSE have abandoned the devotion to spiritual progress and perfection and instead embraced Lucifer’s call to Free Will and license. Am I wrong? Of course not. Few denominations have remained faithful to the concept of pursuing Holy Spirit perfection after the manner of the Pilgrim’s Progress, meditations of Ellen White or Emanuel Swedenborg or the Essenes or the Community Orders of the Faithful in Liturgical churches and Anabaptist communities, where daily devotion is the norm–not merely “belief with lip-service.”

    • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

      • Emily Elizabeth Windsor-Cragg

        comment deleted.

  • tovlogos

    Excellent essay, Jack — well thought out. ” We are not saved by works, but saved for works…”
    Not too much is generally said about common grace, but it nicely gives that reality a scriptural position.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you for the encouragement, and I agree that people don’t realize how God good is, both to the saints and the lost. He desires none should perish, but all to come to repentance and faith in Christ. That’s my prayer.

      • tovlogos