“And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
It is important for us to understand something theologians have called, "Common Grace." God is not simply working in the lives of believers. He is at work in every human being. “We have all received grace upon grace.” Every throb of your heart muscle, every breath of air and the ability of your body to draw oxygen is given by God through His Creator/Sustainer Son. The universe and the Earth that sustains life are given by grace. All human ability and ingenuity comes through Jesus. John 1:14 says His glory is the glory of the only Son from the Father, “full of grace and truth.” He lavishes grace and truth upon all humanity.
The ability to understand anything comes through the Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us. Believers are sometimes confused about the value of abilities that we developed before we came to know Christ personally. But when you understand that your ability to sing or play the piano, paint or speak eloquently is given you personally and individually by Christ, you see how your natural ability works together with spiritual gifts given you after the spirit of God has come to dwell in you. Of course they sometimes form a counterbalance to our spiritual gifts. Moses had a speech impediment, and yet the book of Deuteronomy is a record of the marvelous sermons Moses preached to the children of Israel at Mount Horeb. I remember hearing the testimony of a high school wrestler who had a learning disability that had kept him from reading anything. Yet when he came to Christ he began to voraciously read God's word with amazing understanding.
However our natural abilities usually work in perfect union with the gifts and calling that God gives after we come to Christ. The great intellect of someone like Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis or Francis Schaeffer was certainly active before they came to know Christ. But God mightily used their intellect in conjunction with their spiritual gifts in the calling of God upon their lives.
Some of that grace comes through the conscience. The Bible says the law of God is written on the hearts of men. No one is shocked to discover that God forbids bearing false witness. People know innately that murder and theft are wrong. This is from common grace. You also find people who do not know Christ sacrificing in love for other people, being honest to their own hurt, and living in peace with their neighbors. These are all expressions of common grace.
We can rejoice that God is at work throughout the world around us. In these troubled times there is a peace that comes from the assurance that God is at work all around us. His Spirit touches people whose mindset and world view reject God at every turn.
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