In our morning Bible study yesterday, Preston Atkinson discussed the reality and implications of and our responsibility toward God’s common grace. In light of that discussion I couldn’t help but post this quote from D.A. Carson:
“It comes as an enormous relief to recognize that, however odious and sweeping sin is, whether in personal idolatry or in its outworking in the barbarities of a Pol Pot or an Auschwitz, God intervenes to restrain evil, to display his ‘common grace’ to and through all, so that glimpses of glory and goodness disclose themselves even in the midst of the wretchedness of rebellion. God still sends his sun and rain upon the just and the unjust; he still guides the surgeon’s hand and gives strength to the person who picks up the garbage; the sunset still takes our breath away, while a baby’s smile steals our hearts. Acts of kindness and self-sacrifice surface among every race and class of human beings, not because we are simple mixtures of good and evil, but because even in the midst of our deep rebellion God restrains us and displays his glory and goodness” (Christ and Culture Revisited: 49).
The question is not why God would allow so much evil, but given the depth of our depravity why there is not more evil than there is.
We covered Joshua 6 in our preaching yesterday. The text begs the question: “How could God endorse what appears to be genocide?” God was not guilty of genocide. Jericho was guilty of “theocide” and deserved every bit of God’s fury. So, let’s not ask why God did what he did to Jericho, but contemplate why he didn’t do it sooner. And there we enter the mysterious world of God’s common grace from which we must never emerge.
2 thoughts on “Carson on Common Grace”
I find it interesting that often our “prayer meetings” are so quiet and reserved. In light of Daniel’s prayer and acceptance of guilt he need not bear for his people. (Look at how many times he uses the word “we” when he speaks of Israel’s sin.) I wonder if our prayers are so quietly and reservedly whispered to God that perhaps our lack of intensity is indicative of a lack of soul-deep faith and a sub-lingual fear of appearing politically incorrect? Our tongues do not demonstrate a faith of heart that moves feathers, let alone mountains… We are indeed guilty still, as Adam and Eve were also guilty, and thus the cross! Until Heaven is our Home and Christ is our Host, THIS world will leave us wanting and sometimes in pain. The next Home will erase all memory of anything else, including sin. What a day that will be!!!
My apologies: Daniel 9 was the reference I was citing. Sorry about that. If I could only find my Alzheimers pills I would remember where I put them!