Common Grace, 3.2

Common Grace, 3.2 May 10, 2022

This post is part of a series walking through the third volume of Abraham Kuyper’s Common Grace

We must begin with “the sovereignty of God,” not “the salvation of man or the deliverance of the sinner” (10). From that beginning, then we move on to the doctrine of the salvation of man. We are fallen foes of God who have surrendered and switched teams. We are those who have “been in rebellion against God and wanted to be sovereign” ourselves.

“Now that he has surrendered, he is vanquished. God, not he, has been revealed as sovereign, and far from making the human being ill-fated and broken, this defeat has imparted a blissfulness that transcends all the joys of the world… for him, God’s sovereignty began not with God’s omnipotent ordination governing the stars and the angels, the sea and its islands, the animal world and the nations, but rather with the experience and the sensation of God’s sovereignty over the self, his very person, his own being, which encompasses the past, the present, and the future. the confession ‘You are stronger than I, and you have prevailed’–that and that alone is the starting point.” (11)

So we do not start with common grace, our life as believers begins not with common grace but with particular grace. Specifically, we begin with election in eternity past, and then step to God’s omnipotence, in which we learn that God is sovereign over all things. Within this sovereignty is common grace:

“There is simply nothing that falls outside its [God’s sovereignty’s] influence. It includes and encompasses everything. It extends over heaven and earth and over what is under the earth.” (12)

We see common grace in the mercy of a Holy God who does not instantly destroy the world for our rebellion.

The opponents of common grace must show how things work otherwise, and how their view is more aligned with “Scripture, history, and reality, and to cross swords in an honest debate.” (14)

This practical volume is necessary because “every part of [the] confession as consequences.” (14) We live in the world, so action must be outlined. Without this we must either withdraw from the world or live without compromise in it. With no common grace, withdrawal is the only option, as the ark was the only place for Noah. The other option is to bitterly oppose and resist the world. This is where the monks and figures like Tertullian arise, as well as the Anabaptists. We disagree with their view of the world while admiring their consistency and courage. Most such today show no such courage or endurance.

Yet, we see in Scripture that we are to live in a sinful world. Because God “is still involved with that world”, we must be too, and so must look at practical ways to live in the world. (17) We must avoid “churchism”, and the lure of a prideful superiority dividing the world into holy and sinful. So we see how we may serve “God in the context of this world, to His utter glory.” (18) This is a harder view, since instead of a single decisive break it involves ongoing struggle and battle. This volume outlines this practical fight.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

"These are good Christian books to read and I will surely add them to my ..."

18 Christian Books the Intellectually Curious ..."
"hmm interesting and informative information, and would like to add interesting information from myself. I ..."

Violence and Sports in Netflix’s “Malice ..."
"Fair enough--though I do have to wonder at what point someone who believes in ongoing ..."

Common Grace, 2.50
""... we're not deists and don't believe God has created and then left." Not all ..."

Common Grace, 2.50

Browse Our Archives