Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | July 18, 2006

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

Today is our final entry in regards to God’s attributes as summarized in Article 1 of the Belgic Confession. At the conclusion of this Article the words “the overflowing source of all good,” are attributed to God. This statement refers to God’s grace over all of creation. God’s grace is distinguished into two different categories known as special and common. We will consider God’s special grace in the future when the topic soteriology is encountered. However, God’s special grace is just that, it is special, and does not apply to all creation only the elect. On the other hand, God’s common grace is common to all creation that enjoys the blessings of God everyday.

Although, it may not be apparent to many people in our world, God’s blessings are manifested among all creation. Much of the ignorance may be attributed to an attitude of ingratitude and ungratefulness. However, these blessings are seen in mundane events, such as rain, sunlight, growth of plants and food, human reproduction and other things of this nature. All of these things that we tend to take for granted are the result of God’s common grace. A familiar passage in Scripture is given during Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In his Institutes John Calvin comments on this passage of Scripture in the following:

How does it come about that God not only “makes his sun rise on the good and the evil” (Matt 5:45), but that with respect to the uses of the present life his inestimable liberality constantly flows in great plenty? Hence, we surely recognize that the things proper to Christ and his members also pour forth abundantly upon the wicked, not to become their lawful possession, but rather to render them inexcusable. The wicked often experience God’s kindness, by remarkable proofs, so as sometimes to put in the shade all the blessings of the pious, yet these lead to their great condemnation. 3.25.9

As Calvin states, God’s common grace is extended to all people and because they do receive these blessings, yet still do not believe, leaves them without excuse. Since they do not acknowledge or recognize the blessings that come from God they are worthy of judgment.

God’s common grace is not limited to nature, however also extends to the arena of human ingenuity and progress. These are things that help our lives everyday and they are a result of God’s grace towards humanity. Although, it is man who employs the use of God’s gifts to achieve technological advances, it is still by grace that man is successful in these endeavors. As we’ve learned in previous entries, God is sovereign, thus controls all things. However, He chooses to accomplish His will through the use of human agents. In his commentary on Genesis, John Calvin when discussing the sons of Cain enters into the topic of God’s common grace in human advancement:

Let us then know, that the sons of Cain, though deprived of the Spirit of regeneration, were yet endued with gifs of no despicable kind; just as the experience of all ages teaches us how widely the rays of divine light have shone on unbelieving nations, for the benefit of the present life; and we see, at the present time, that the excellent gifts of the Spirit are diffused through the whole human race. Moreover, the liberal arts and science have descended to us from the heathen. We are, indeed, compelled to acknowledge that we have received astronomy, and the other parts of philosophy, medicine, and the order of civil government from them. Nor is it to be doubted, that God has thus liberally enriched them with excellent favours that their impiety might have the less excuse. But, while we admire the riches of his favour which he has bestowed on them, let us still value far more highly that grace of regeneration with which he particularly sanctifies his elect unto himself. Commentary upon the Book of Genesis, Ch 4.20

All good things find there source from God, technological advancements in medicine, transportation, academics, government, computers, etc are a result of God’s common grace. Furthermore, the air we breath, the water we drink, the food that we eat and the shelter we have are all a result of God’s common grace. Everywhere we look and see the good finds it source in common grace. This leaves us without excuse and sill we need more grace to even acknowledge this fact. Until next time grace to you.

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