Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Common Grace and Saving Grace: Flood Light and Spotlight

Here's an important fact to remember about Common Grace and Saving Grace: one never negates the other, as if one were darkness and the other light. Both are lights. They can strengthen one another, but they can never darken or diminish one another.

Some in the Reformed tradition, having accepted the glorious doctrine of unconditional election, begin to view everything through "election glasses" which tend to limit every aspect of God's nature and action.
Election Glasses may be stylish and comfortable,
but they can be theologically reductionistic.

It is dangerous to start building our theology with the divine act of election and then read that back into every other divine attribute and action. Some would reason this way: "God only elects some so He must only love some" ... however, God in His Word veritably shouts the exact opposite! Why not say, "God only elects some, so He only has the power to save some?" No Christian would ever say that, yet God has never defined Himself in Scripture as "power," while He has defined Himself emphatically as "love."

A spotlight is directed toward a limited and particular area
The fact that God loves the elect in a special way does not negate His general love for all, any more than an effectual call can negate the reality of a general one. Both work together.
Election is a type of love, but it is not the only kind. Election magnifies God's love; it does not shrink His love. Election extends His love to include the salvation of certain worthless wretches ("election according to grace"); it does not rescind His love from the rest. Election makes His willingness to save (all) effectual (in the case of some), but it does not remove His love or His willingness to save from the rest. Election simply takes a general willingness to save and makes it a FIRM WILL to save. In other words, the spotlight of Saving Grace does not unplug the flood light of Common Grace. Both work together in perfect harmony without conflict or negation. Both shed positive light, but in different ways and to different ends. They may be two different kinds of lights, but both are lights indeed.
A flood light provides a general ambiance of light

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