Westminster Assembly

Westminster Assembly

Acts 6:4

"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word."



1 Timothy 4:6-16

" If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Tim 4:6-16 (KJV)

"Common Grace Revisited" By Shane C. Montgomery

Friday, June 3, 2011
Concerning the on-going debate on Common Grace, I think it would be safe to say that yes it is more than a theory, that God does offer blessings to the unregenerate (Reprobate) as well as to the regenerate (Elect).  But the amount of these blessings as well as the extent of God's sovereign control over the believers and non-believers daily lives is often taken to extreme, some might claim God is sovereign and He is, and in His sovereignty He is sovereign over every single aspect of every single living thing in the universe, to a point or extreme as to say He decides when a fly will fly into your window and onto a crumb of food under your kitchen table and all this while you are three thousand miles away on vacation.  This as well as every other action and thought happening every second of every day is decided and manipulated by Sovereign God.  While I agree God is in fact truly sovereign over all things, I believe we sometimes go to extremes concerning His involvement.

  I do not believe God cares what color socks I wear today or that He makes me choose one pair of socks over the other ten pair in my sock drawer.  Just as I believe God to be sovereign over that fly that landed under your table while you were on vacation, I do not believe that He cares what that fly does or made it invade your kitchen.  I am not placing any limits on Our God, but trying to keep a understanding of Him based on what is revealed in Scripture and nature.  Many will say that God offers forth Saving Grace to His Elect, making them Regenerated and endowing blessing upon them, which He does.  Most believe God offers another grace, a Common Grace to everyone, even those Unregenerate, the Reprobate, that He offers and extends toward them blessings such as sunshine, food, water, love, children, wife’s, husbands, trees and so on.  This way of thinking is normal, most would believe this to be true but to take these simple blessings and extend them or to extend God's involvement in the sinners life beyond 
what Scripture indicates would be a mistake. 

God can and does work through believers and non-believers, God can and does intervene in the lives of all mankind, but does He control every single aspect of their lives, is every thing Predestined, every little act or move or thought Pre-determined by God way in advance?   Is denying this extent of His involvement to deny Predestination?  I do not think so, I believe God has complete and total control and can intervene when and where He sees fit, but why would He make a fly land in your kitchen when it has no affect on anything, no bigger picture would be accomplished by such a trivial incident.  Not that I am questioning God's plan for the culmination of the world or even in His culmination plans for anyone’s life, this He is totally sovereign in.   

The problem I have with the Common Grace theory is that too many extend this beyond it's reasonable bounderies. Meaning that yes, sinners enjoy certain blessings from God, but only because they are living in a world controlled by God, they live in a Christian world, though they do not care that they do, still God rains blessings on His Elect, the Reprobate just happen to be sharing the world with those who belong to Him, so they are lucky enough to enjoy many of the benefits of living among believers.  They feel the cool of the rain just as we do, though it was not meant specifically for them or their enjoyment.  It is that the Elect and the Reprobate has no choice but to share this world together that they get to enjoy the overflow of blessings extended by God.  But it is this very sharing of the world that some take to extreme in theorizing that God in His sovereignty suppresses the evil and bad things that the Reprobate would do if not limited by the hand of God. This to me might be extending Common Grace too far.  Maybe God does intervene to a point that He limits the Reprobate mind from sinning even more than he or she does, but this is another subject all together, this cannot be a blessing offered to the Reprobate.  God, intervening in the lives of sinners would be looked at as Him protecting His Elect and or Him protecting His planet, animals, what ever as well as God fulfilling His sovereign culmination of the world.  We should not be so quick as to place God limiting the sins of the Reprobate into the arena of Common Grace. 

  There can be no doubt that Reprobate man is found enjoying blessings from God, even blessings they do not deserve or merit, just as we enjoyed these blessings when in our yet unregenerate state, and even now during the process of our on-going sanctification we still do not deserve His blessings but we still enjoy them, but we should not assume sinful man is blessed in a lesser grace.  God's blessings are for His people, even when we were blessed with repentance, faith and salvation these blessings were toward His Elect, we belonged to Him then as much as we do now, we just failed to realize it then.  So God blessed His own, and still does, sinners enjoy our blessings because they share a world with us, a fallen world, but a world none the less.  They might share in these blessings but they will not share in the blessings in the world to come.  Knowing that the Reprobate are those vessels fitted for destruction (
What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” Romans 9:22-23 (KJV )- do we still accept the theory of Common Grace? (I am aware this is known as Double Predestination,)  Where will this free grace offered to sinners be when they are suffering everlasting torments in Hell?  That will not be any grace but instead a punishment for due sins.  

  We often hear Common Grace mentioned, but not debated, not discussed very often, these words are used in our daily lives and often hear them coming from the pulpits in Lord's Day worship, but do we understand what we are truly saying when we say this?   We are saying that God gives a lesser grace to those who rebel against Him, why?   He does for sinners who are of the Elect, but that is understandable, for Him to extend these blessings to everyone would be a form of Universalism, that would be saying that God will eventually save everyone because they enjoy the same blessings as those justified.  That cannot be the case.   Scripture clearly states that only a remnant will be saved.  Scripture also states the God creates some people for salvation while others He creates for destruction, and this cannot mean God is the author of sin.  Our own hearts do enough of that already.

The early Reformers wrote on Common Grace, they did not use that particular name for it, but they did speak of it, they discussed it in length but it was not until the late 19th century that we first find this term coined and I believe Abraham Kuyper brought it into the limelight in his debates around the turn of the century. There were some very significant debates and even arguments in the 1920s between two parts of the Christian Reformed Church here in the U.S , the question of Common Grace being one of the free graces extended by God one to Regenerate man and the other to both Regenerate and Unregenerate man. One side voted to put this into their confession of faith and another much smaller group argued against it, not believing in Common Grace, they split off, or were asked to leave the church would be more realistic, and they did not wish to go, they pleaded with the church to have a discourse with them, but a split was forced birthing the Protestant Reformed Church. So we can see, at one time, this was a very sensitive subject, maybe that is why we hear so little talk of it today. Maybe it is because this theory really has little bearing on anything in the believers life, after all, what ever your view on the subject is, it will not change the truth or the mind of God. What God has planned in His sovereignty will happen no matter what we think or desire. What I am saying is that this is not a Cardinal Doctrine, how we believe on this subject will not be a deciding factor on where we spend eternity, it will not earn you the name “Heretic” it is only a theory, but one we need to take a closer look at.

The theory of Common Grace has been around for as long as their have been believers, the question is as old as Scripture and this question will not be answered any time soon, maybe not ever, but to ignore the subject will not make it go away, and why would we want it to? Of course we cannot know the perfect will of God, we will never have all the answers while on this earth, but that does not mean we can't ask the question, that does not mean we cannot discuss and debate, that does not mean that we shouldn't look for the answer, for if God has revealed the answer for us, it is out there somewhere in Scripture,  and we will never find it if we do not look for it.

Be Holy!
Shane C. Montgomery


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