Common Grace, 3.19

Common Grace, 3.19 November 22, 2022

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

Scripture apples to all spheres, so in the sphere of politics we should not be limited to “the natural knowledge of God.” (157) The positions all believers should hold include:

  • The truth that God has created everything, owns everything, has all rights, all creation is subject to Him–stars, animals, rational agents alike are all to obey His commands. Anything that doesn’t “conform to God’s will in thought, word, or deed, is sin.” (158)
  • We are therefore obliged to ask what God’s will is, and if it’s in Scripture we are to do it.

This applies to all humanity, not just believers. “Ignorance is no excuse–that is, as long as we take into account the fact that all people, both personally and communally, are responsible for sin.” (159) Sin blinds us and drives us to actively resist God’s Word. God will sort this out, though we must remember sin and its effects. All believers know that we did not embrace the Word on our own, but rather we were made new. We also know that we were always obligated to obey God even before we were believers.

This obligation is to both Scripture and natural revelation. We must likewise remember that we as believers have often closed our eyes to God’s revelation through nature. We will be judged by how we respond to the available light. So politically, we must separate the politician in need of personal salvation (who is no different from us in that sense) who must govern according to his station from our function as citizens. His function will look different to him (based on Romans 13) than it does to us (based on Ephesians 6:5-8). Salvation is the same for king and peasant alike, but life in the world as citizens will look different.

Salvation is found only in Scripture–nature adds nothing here. Rule is found in nature, but Scripture can improve this light. This applies to all position in society. We see good rule pre-Scripture in ancient Rome. God taught them through nature. The same is true of our worldly professions today–we’re not really “Christian gardeners,” but rather “gardeners informed by nature who are Christians.” (163) There is a duality here–though preachers are exceptions to this rule as their job would not otherwise exist.

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

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