God's Hatred

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timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
I think the reprobate experiences God goodness not just for purposes of fattening up, but because he is the creation of a good Creator.

God's goodness to those not yet and those never to be his elect also has another purpose. It proclaims his goodness for those with eyes to see.
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
If I can be permitted to jump into this conversation quickly and piggy-back off of Heidi's posts, I would recommend reading this post by Matthew Winzer on Samuel Rutherford, which addresses a love which God has toward all creatures which is not ineffectual in its purpose. A parallel would be the usage of our scholastics of a three-fold love of God: 1.) Love of the creature; 2.) Love of man; 3.) The special love toward the elect.

In that post Rev. Winzer speaks of an effectual yet non-salvific love, and basically states that Rutherford's point is the same as Berkhof's above: "Some prefer to say that they are expressions of His goodness, kindness, benevolence, mecy, or longsuffering, but seem to forget that He could not be good, kind or benevolent to the sinner unless He were first of all gracious." Contra Berkhof, I have argued above that God alone can be kind and give gifts without being loving or gracious -- unlike humans.

But I don't see how God's sustaining one person's existence for the purpose of heaping punishment upon them is somehow an act of love or grace.

It seems that Rev. Winzer is arguing that we can make distinctions in God's love (e.g. towards His creation, towards His elect, towards rational beings), lower the bar of what they entail (e.g. it is "loving" to provide someone existence) and then declare the love to be effectual. But I think that distorts the notion of divine love too much. If we can lower the standards of love, then what use is it to say that God "loves" a reprobate by providing him existence to feel eternal torments?
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
If I can be permitted to jump into this conversation quickly and piggy-back off of Heidi's posts, I would recommend reading this post by Matthew Winzer on Samuel Rutherford, which addresses a love which God has toward all creatures which is not ineffectual in its purpose. A parallel would be the usage of our scholastics of a three-fold love of God: 1.) Love of the creature; 2.) Love of man; 3.) The special love toward the elect.

I believe distinction should always be made between temporal, earthly blessings received by the creation generally, and eternal salvation unto life, which comes only by the grace of God in Christ.

Just as I believe distinction should be kept between law and gospel, so should reprobation be kept distinct from election; Godly wrath against wickedness distinguished from eternal reward; and providence from love and grace.

For if the source of love is in Jesus Christ, then those outside of Jesus Christ cannot know the love of God, or even be known by God. (Matt. 7:21-23)

It is the law that condemns men to death and hell. It is the love of God that rescues men from death and hell.

Maybe I think too black and white, but I cannot comprehend a mingling of divine love and everlasting condemnation. Such makes my brain hurt!
 

steven-nemes

Puritan Board Sophomore
There have been a few pages of posts that, of course, I don't want to look over; if this argument did appear already, then my apologies, just disregard it I guess.

I heard an argument yesterday while discussing this very topic:

1. Jesus fulfilled the entirety of the law.
2. Fulfilling the law involves loving your neighbor.
3. Your neighbor would involve reprobates.
4. Therefore, Jesus loved reprobates.

And of course by extension that involves God loving reprobates, I guess.

Any thoughts?
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
There have been a few pages of posts that, of course, I don't want to look over; if this argument did appear already, then my apologies, just disregard it I guess.

I heard an argument yesterday while discussing this very topic:

1. Jesus fulfilled the entirety of the law.
2. Fulfilling the law involves loving your neighbor.
3. Your neighbor would involve reprobates.
4. Therefore, Jesus loved reprobates.

And of course by extension that involves God loving reprobates, I guess.

Any thoughts?

First, He can love them qua human (i.e. rather than qua God), without actually striving for their eternal salvation.

Second, His love can be spoken of as volitional, acting kindly to all, even if for the purpose of destruction. And as I said above, only God is able to be kind for the purpose of destruction.
 

TeachingTulip

Puritan Board Sophomore
There have been a few pages of posts that, of course, I don't want to look over; if this argument did appear already, then my apologies, just disregard it I guess.

I heard an argument yesterday while discussing this very topic:

1. Jesus fulfilled the entirety of the law.
2. Fulfilling the law involves loving your neighbor.
3. Your neighbor would involve reprobates.
4. Therefore, Jesus loved reprobates.

And of course by extension that involves God loving reprobates, I guess.

Any thoughts?


Sir, #1 speaks of Christ . . . #2 speaks of men.

Yes, Christians are to love their enemies and all men, because sinners cannot know exacty who are elect and "accepted in the Beloved."

That is why I said believers do not have the privilege of labelling anyone else a "reprobate." We just don't know. Someone really sinning bad today, may be saved tomorrow, by the grace of God; proving to have been elect all along.

But God knows, and I do not believe those He has ordained to hell and reprobated in this life, receive His love and grace at all. And I do not see in Scripture where God is obligated to love any sinner at all.

The fact that He has chosen to save any of us in Christ, is the only definition of efficacious and amazing grace.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
How do you make threads "printer friendly" on PB?

I was wanting to print out this thread to study it more closely in greater comfort.
 

regener8ed

Puritan Board Freshman
Quick question: Does God love the elect because He has elected them, or does God elect the elect because He loves them?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I can't adequately define the term common grace because I don't believe grace's application is referred to as common in scripture.

I suppose perhaps not by name, but to evaluate:

What lets us breathe? God's grace
What lets us live? God's grace
Why do we have food? God's grace.

Essentially all things we have are found as being as a gift of God which can be considered an act of grace, displayed towards all people.

Whereas we have saving grace which would include God's electing grace, financial, persevering, justifying, glorifying and so forth.

Do you understand the point I am attempting to make?

What do you mean by God's financial grace, Jake? I assume that's an error :duh:
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Quick question: Does God love the elect because He has elected them, or does God elect the elect because He loves them?

That's a good question. My tentative answer is that God freely chose to love His people and as a result elected them unto eternal life.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Such things as appropriate rain and sunshine on unbelievers/reprobate are not portrayed in Scripture as bad things in themselves but as good gifts. It is the evil, unregenerate will of the reprobate which by its response to God's goodness turns good things into evil.

The reprobate will not spend eternity able to blame God for the fact that they are in Hell because God reprobated them, or for sending "bad, gifts of hatred" to them such as wholesome food and water, but they will blame themselves for sinfully abusing/misusing any such good gifts.

How do you make this thread printer friendly?
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
No one is saying the gifts from God are "bad" or "of hatred"; the point is that God gives reprobates legitimately good things -- He truly does act kindly towards them -- but this cannot be seen as an example of divine grace, primarily because God is acting only to heap more condemnation upon them.

You may ask in response, How can God act kindly as a means towards augmenting their condemnation? And I reply that only God can do that. For humans, it is essential that we wish a creature's good when we act kindly; for the One who sovereignly ordains and foreknows all events, it is not essential.

And sorry, I don't know about making this printer-friendly.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
No one is saying the gifts from God are "bad" or "of hatred"; the point is that God gives reprobates legitimately good things -- He truly does act kindly towards them -- but this cannot be seen as an example of divine grace, primarily because God is acting only to heap more condemnation upon them.

You may ask in response, How can God act kindly as a means towards augmenting their condemnation? And I reply that only God can do that. For humans, it is essential that we wish a creature's good when we act kindly; for the One who sovereignly ordains and foreknows all events, it is not essential.

And sorry, I don't know about making this printer-friendly.

Thanks historyb for that technical help.

Dear Ben.

But that still leaves the point that God acting kindly and giving good things is grace if its directed towards a sinner. It may turn out not to be grace in the end but sometimes some Reformed folks look at things only from the perspective of the ultimate purposes of God and not the proximate purposes which He has on the way to achieving His ultimate purposes.

If you don't like the word "grace" being applied to anyone but the elect, surely that just depends on how you define it?

Is mercy not not visiting judgment on someone who deserves it and is grace not giving good things to someone who deserves judgment?

Was it not of God's grace and mercy that the Israelites were taken out of Egypt into the Promised Land? Many of them abused that grace and mercy and proved themselves to be reprobate. It was them that turned gifts of God's grace and mercy into a rod for their backs. Of course God ultimately knew that this would be the case, but that does not mean that in history He also intended to be good, gracious and merciful to the Covenant offspring of Abraham, and that the responsibility for rejecting the Gospel was theirs that rejected it and not God's.
 

Reformed Rush

Puritan Board Freshman
Is mercy not not visiting judgment on someone who deserves it

When, under God's sovereign rule, has this ever happened?


and is grace not giving good things to someone who deserves judgment?

No, grace has nothing to do with receiving good things in this life. Good things do not replace Godly justice.

Grace describes Jesus Christ suffering the deserved judgments of His people, which far exceeds mere "mercy." The Christian's excape from deserved judgment, only comes according to the ransom paid by Jesus Christ, which far exceeds "good things."



Was it not of God's grace and mercy that the Israelites were taken out of Egypt into the Promised Land?

No, it was a matter of covenant fulfillment, sanctification, and baptism. All of which were non-salvific.


Many of them abused that grace and mercy and proved themselves to be reprobate.

Most of them abused God's sanctification of the race, because they proved to be reprobate of God. Most never received the Abrahamic promises, and most died in the wilderness or as unfaithful children.


It was them that turned gifts of God's grace and mercy into a rod for their backs.

Reprobation is a result of God's sovereign decision; not of mens' actions. Yes, reprobates prove to be unrepentant and unfaithful sinners, but that is because God has left them reprobate and accursed, not because they had an optional choice to refuse the goodness of God. (Can you not see the Arminian supposition and glimmer in your remarks?)

Of course God ultimately knew that this would be the case, but that does not mean that in history He also intended to be good, gracious and merciful to the Covenant offspring of Abraham, and that the responsibility for rejecting the Gospel was theirs that rejected it and not God's.

I do not understand this statement. Please reword your thoughts.

Meanwhile, I personally believe that the reason many reject the gospel, is because God has ordained their reprobation. Also, the only reason many believe the gospel and exhibit faith in Jesus Christ, is because God has ordained their salvation.

I believe God determines all these things as well as the fate of all souls. Reprobation or salvation is not left up to the choices of sinners, else none would ever escape death and hell.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Quote from Rush
Reprobation is a result of God's sovereign decision; not of mens' actions. Yes, reprobates prove to be unrepentant and unfaithful sinners, but that is because God has left them reprobate and accursed, not because they had an optional choice to refuse the goodness of God. (Can you not see the Arminian supposition and glimmer in your remarks?)

I see nothing Arminian in placing all responsibility for the reprobates' ultimate condition at their door, and for the elects' salvation solely at God's mercy and grace.
 

Reformed Rush

Puritan Board Freshman
Quote from Rush
Reprobation is a result of God's sovereign decision; not of mens' actions. Yes, reprobates prove to be unrepentant and unfaithful sinners, but that is because God has left them reprobate and accursed, not because they had an optional choice to refuse the goodness of God. (Can you not see the Arminian supposition and glimmer in your remarks?)

I see nothing Arminian in placing all responsibility for the reprobates' ultimate condition at their door, and for the elects' salvation solely at God's mercy and grace.

What about the infants of the non-elect? On what basis are they sent to hell?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
That's a whole other topic. We don't know which infants are going to Hell unless we are talking about those infants whose spiritual state we can assess before they die. Those infants who do go to Hell - a lesser Hell than some - will go because of Adam's sin (and any sins/sinful attitude of their own if they have any). God chooses the reprobate, but it is them who are to blame for their punishment. If it was God who was to blame for their punishment rather than them, they could take some comfort in that.

I'm open to persuasion on this topic as divines like Dabney, Shedd, Kuyper, Berkhof and Van Til have defended the doctrine of common grace, while others like Hermann Hoeksema have disagreed.

I'll read Rev. Winzer's article and other material, and study the Scriptures more closely. At present, I agree with Berkhof when he says,

Another objection to the doctrine of common grace is that it presupposes a certain favourable disposition in God even to reprobate sinners, while we have no right to assuime such a disposition in God. This stricture takes its starting point in the eternal counsel of God, in His election and reprobation. Along the lines of His election God reveals His love, grace, mercy, and long-suffering, leading to salvation; and in the historical realisation of His reprobation He gives expression only to His aversion, disfavour, hatred and wrath, leading to destruction. But this looks like a rationalistic oversimplification of the inner-life of God, which does not take account of His self-revelation.

Where - for instance - are God's good gifts ever called gifts of God's hatred - to anyone, elect or reprobate? If they are gifts of God's loving-kindness, that is more heaping coals of fire on the heads of those who abuse everything good, than if they were motivated by God's hatred pure and simple. It is because they (and even the elect to some extent) abuse gifts of God's goodness (and not hate) that the sin is so abominable and deserves greater damnation.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Where - for instance - are God's good gifts ever called gifts of God's hatred - to anyone, elect or reprobate?

Maybe the question should be what provisions of God to people are called "gifts"? Not every provision of food, drink, clothing and shelter, I don't think, can rightly be called a "gift"...
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
At present, I agree with Berkhof when he says,

[...] Along the lines of His election God reveals His love, grace, mercy, and long-suffering, leading to salvation; and in the historical realisation of His reprobation He gives expression only to His aversion, disfavour, hatred and wrath, leading to destruction. But this looks like a rationalistic oversimplification of the inner-life of God, which does not take account of His self-revelation.

Where - for instance - are God's good gifts ever called gifts of God's hatred - to anyone, elect or reprobate? If they are gifts of God's loving-kindness, that is more heaping coals of fire on the heads of those who abuse everything good, than if they were motivated by God's hatred pure and simple. It is because they (and even the elect to some extent) abuse gifts of God's goodness (and not hate) that the sin is so abominable and deserves greater damnation.

I think the main point of dispute is this quote you said earlier:

But that still leaves the point that God acting kindly and giving good things is grace if its directed towards a sinner. It may turn out not to be grace in the end but sometimes some Reformed folks look at things only from the perspective of the ultimate purposes of God and not the proximate purposes which He has on the way to achieving His ultimate purposes.

Your objection is basically that the non-CG view is being too simplistic, not making the distinction between God's ultimate purposes and proximate purposes. If I recall correctly this was what Bahnsen said when the topic of common grace is brought up in Van Til's Apologetic. He basically says that we need to keep in mind the proximate/ultimate distinction. The Gospel give to reprobates can still be seen as a mark of divine favor and graciousness, even if only proximately.

I think that distinction fails in regards to this issue, basically because of statements like this one: "It may turn out not to be grace in the end." Considering that God ordains not only His actions but also all human reactions (and His "reactions" to the human reactions, etc.), and considering that God knows exactly for what purpose everything in the universe occurs, I think it's a bit awkward to state that "it may turn out not to be grace in the end." If God never intended for some specific gift to be used towards a reprobate's wellbeing, and if He ordained every step of the process to ensure that this intention was filled out perfectly, then it seems wrong to say that at the moment the gift was given it was still grace. We can say that from a human perspective we can tell it's a gift from God and we ought to praise Him for it, but we can't tell from a divine perspective if it is being used ultimately for blessing or for destruction. And seeing as the ultimate doesn't contradict the proximate, the ultimate must be seen as objective (from God's point of view) and the proximate as subjective (from the human's point of view). Consequently it is wrong to provide that distinction as if it can say anything about God's intentions or dispositions. If God intended from all eternity to create a reprobate for destruction, then at every step of the way that is still His intention.

Again, I must say that I believe the CG position comes up because it is hard to conceive how God may legitimately show kindness and present gifts as a means towards destruction. But this is only because He is the one Being in existence who can ordain free reactions to His actions.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I've been looking at some NT passages that use the word grace (charis). It seems clear that there is a grace/grace according to the NT that falls short of saving grace.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)

This passage is particularly interesting in that it explicitly mentions reprobation. Yet it still calls God's goodness to these men "grace" and says that it was their fault and responsibility for turning grace into lasciviousness.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Heb. 12:15)

In the KJV margin we have "lest any man fall from grace", so it is clearly not saving grace. So we must call it something else, and Reformed people call it "common grace"

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:29)

This shows that common grace extends further than outward things such as milk and honey/food and clothes and also includes the actings, warmings, convictings and drawings of the Spirit of God, short of salvation itself. These things are portrayed as good spiritual gifts and the God the Holy Spirit is characterised as acting in His capacity as "the Spirit of grace". It is because such influences are gracious gifts that the sin is so wicked and the punishment will be even sorer.

More later.........

-----Added 7/4/2009 at 02:20:08 EST-----

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:4)

The grace that these Galatians had experienced must have been short of saving grace otherwise they could not have abandoned the faith. Paul doesn't offer the backsliding of truly saved Christians here.

Continuing backwards through the NT...

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal 2:21)

Paul speaks of a grace that can be frustrated. Clearly it cannot be the irresistible saving grace.

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (II Cor 6:1)

Paul speaks of a grace that can be received in vain. Clearly not salvation, which when received cannot be lost.

There are other relevant texts also, but these are sufficient to show that the New Testament teaches that God is gracious to the reprobate even to the extent of the Holy Spirit working in their hearts and lives.

Just because our tiny minds cannot fathom it, doesn't mean that it's not true that there is genuine grace from God that falls short of irresistible saving grace. But our tiny minds can't completely understand God's sovereignty and Man's free agency/responsibility and other biblical concepts.

If words have meaning the NT teaches Common Grace, call it what you will.
 

ExGentibus

Puritan Board Freshman
Brother, I have just a few comments to make while I wait for others more knowledgeable than me to add theirs.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)
Jude is saying here that those men are using the doctrine of the free grace of God in Christ as a pretext for their lasciviousness. In fact, they taught what Roman Catholic and Arminian apologists often accuse us of teaching, that under the pretense of a complete justification by faith alone, we may feel free to sin and live according to our concupiscence.

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:4)

The grace that these Galatians had experienced must have been short of saving grace otherwise they could not have abandoned the faith. Paul doesn't offer the backsliding of truly saved Christians here.
Same as the verse in Jude. Paul is contrasting law with grace, that is, the perfect rightneousness required by the Law with the Gospel of the justification of the sinner by grace alone through faith alone in Christ. Falling from grace means renouncing the benefits of the Covenant of Grace (falling from grace), to go back to the judgment of the Law.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal 2:21)
Exactly. This verse is the premise to the one above: frustrating the grace of God in this context means teaching, and living, a doctrine of works righteousness instead of the doctrine of the grace. For, if we really believe that we can earn righteousness through the Law, we are frustrating, disregarding, the gospel of salvation by grace alone, as though Christ died in vain, which is impossible.

I have to say that I am a bit troubled by how the exegesis used to support common grace often seem to align with those used to deny election and irresistible grace.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I have to say that I am a bit troubled by how the exegesis used to support common grace often seem to align with those used to deny election and irresistible grace.


:agree:

Well, you have to go where the Word leads you, even if you have to be more nuanced in your views than you would like.

Election and irresistible grace are clearly taught in Scripture; but there seems evidence that the Spirit works in people without changing them, and this is also called grace (Hebrews 10:29).

We just have to be careful in how we express and explain these things. Plenty of orthodox Reformed divines have believed in Common Grace.
 

kalawine

Puritan Board Junior
Here's an audio debate on the subject. Is the Doctrine of Common Grace Reformed?

Dr. Richard Mouw is an example of someone that has used the term "common grace" to promote un-Biblical teachings, In my humble opinion.

Correct. But I believe that walking down the "common grace" road will eventually lead to the conclusions that Mouw comes to. Mouw takes the idea and runs with it. He takes it to it's logical conclusion which leads to compromise of the Reformed Faith.
 

kalawine

Puritan Board Junior
We just have to be careful in how we express and explain these things. Plenty of orthodox Reformed divines have believed in Common Grace.

Can you name these divines? Before or after Kuyper?

Engelsma, "I believe that the common grace doctrine that we’re talking about originated with Abraham Kuyper, and Herman Bavinck in the late eighteen hundreds and the early nineteen hundreds. And I am not afraid to claim virtually every reformed theologian prior to them, as, at the very least, not teaching and espousing that cultural common grace, which also then is supposed to take manifestation in a well-meant gospel offer on God’s part in the preaching of the gospel to everybody. And even, I wouldn’t hesitate to claim, every orthodox reformed theologian before Bavinck and Kuyper as repudiating that, if not explicitly, then by implication. When I say that, I readily acknowledge that it is common in the Reformed theologians going back to Calvin, and including Calvin, to refer to what I call, “bounties of providence,” whether Mozart’s musical ability, or Plato’s intellectual ability or whatever it may be, as a certain kind of grace. I recognize that. But that does not put those theologians in the camp of those who think that there is an operation of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of unregenerated people restraining sin, so that they’re partially good, and can even do works that are truly good, because they’re done by God’s grace, much less, launch this project of common grace to ‘Christianize’ society. That was Abraham Kuyper’s terminology, and Abraham Kuyper was after that: ‘Christianizing’ society by a common grace of God."
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
and I see no biblical evidence that would say that God's purpose in sending the rain on the unjust is the same as God's purpose in sending the plagues on Pharoah (or that I have to look at the rain today and think of it as so much fire and brimstone later).

An odd comment on this: I was looking at this statement and thinking, "I can see an argument being made for the case that there was an element of grace in the plagues."

Think about it: God was displaying His might and power, revealing himself to the Egyptians through these acts of judgment. Many knew where these plagues were coming from, do we assume that there were none converted by this? We see other instances in the OT where kings were converted to the way of the Lord by the judgment of God, why not this? Is this beyond the pale in discussing the concept of grace, or is it just a different animal than grace?
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
I've been looking at some NT passages that use the word grace (charis). It seems clear that there is a grace/grace according to the NT that falls short of saving grace.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)

This passage is particularly interesting in that it explicitly mentions reprobation. Yet it still calls God's goodness to these men "grace" and says that it was their fault and responsibility for turning grace into lasciviousness.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Heb. 12:15)

In the KJV margin we have "lest any man fall from grace", so it is clearly not saving grace. So we must call it something else, and Reformed people call it "common grace"

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:29)

This shows that common grace extends further than outward things such as milk and honey/food and clothes and also includes the actings, warmings, convictings and drawings of the Spirit of God, short of salvation itself. These things are portrayed as good spiritual gifts and the God the Holy Spirit is characterised as acting in His capacity as "the Spirit of grace". It is because such influences are gracious gifts that the sin is so wicked and the punishment will be even sorer.

More later.........

-----Added 7/4/2009 at 02:20:08 EST-----

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:4)

The grace that these Galatians had experienced must have been short of saving grace otherwise they could not have abandoned the faith. Paul doesn't offer the backsliding of truly saved Christians here.

Continuing backwards through the NT...

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal 2:21)

Paul speaks of a grace that can be frustrated. Clearly it cannot be the irresistible saving grace.

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (II Cor 6:1)

Paul speaks of a grace that can be received in vain. Clearly not salvation, which when received cannot be lost.

Sorry, but your conclusion does not follow from the premises. What you have done is a good example of eisegesis, that is reading your conclusion into the texts of Scripture rather than demonstrating that your conclusion is a good and necessary consequence of the texts.

In each example you have cited, the word grace can refer to the full extent of saving grace when the term is meant doctrinally rather than experientially. It is the doctrine of saving grace that is twisted to derive lascivious conclusions about Christian practice (Jude); the true doctrine can be professed with the lips but not believed in the heart by a false professor (Hebrews 12) or disavower (Heb. 10, Galatians 5, 2 Cor 6) as the result. Since the subject of Gal 2. is the Apostle Paul referring to something he is not doing with reference to true saving grace, that Scripture is not relevant to a discussion of whether common grace exists or not; in fact none of these passages speak to the question of common grace.

The idea behind "grace" is that its giver gives something given to someone who doesn't deserve it, or to someone who deserves the contrary of what is received. If the reprobate (as a class) receive anything from God which they do not deserve, or anything from God that is contrary to what they deserve, than they have received, some form of a "grace" from God.

What all sinners deserve to receive from God is death (Gen 2:17, Rom 6:23a) and that immediately (Gen 2:17). If God allows the reprobate to experience anything other then immediate death for sin commited, he is giving them something they do not deserve and, in fact contrary to what they deserve.

Whatever God's long term reasons for giving the reprobate what they do not deserve may be, or whatever the long term effects of these gifts in the lives of the reprobate may prove to have, those reasons do not change the fact that the reprobate who do not experience death immediately after sinning are experiencing some level of blessing from God, and that blessing is not what they deserve.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I've been looking at some NT passages that use the word grace (charis). It seems clear that there is a grace/grace according to the NT that falls short of saving grace.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)

This passage is particularly interesting in that it explicitly mentions reprobation. Yet it still calls God's goodness to these men "grace" and says that it was their fault and responsibility for turning grace into lasciviousness.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; (Heb. 12:15)

In the KJV margin we have "lest any man fall from grace", so it is clearly not saving grace. So we must call it something else, and Reformed people call it "common grace"

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:29)

This shows that common grace extends further than outward things such as milk and honey/food and clothes and also includes the actings, warmings, convictings and drawings of the Spirit of God, short of salvation itself. These things are portrayed as good spiritual gifts and the God the Holy Spirit is characterised as acting in His capacity as "the Spirit of grace". It is because such influences are gracious gifts that the sin is so wicked and the punishment will be even sorer.

More later.........

-----Added 7/4/2009 at 02:20:08 EST-----

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:4)

The grace that these Galatians had experienced must have been short of saving grace otherwise they could not have abandoned the faith. Paul doesn't offer the backsliding of truly saved Christians here.

Continuing backwards through the NT...

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal 2:21)

Paul speaks of a grace that can be frustrated. Clearly it cannot be the irresistible saving grace.

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (II Cor 6:1)

Paul speaks of a grace that can be received in vain. Clearly not salvation, which when received cannot be lost.

Sorry, but your conclusion does not follow from the premises. What you have done is a good example of eisegesis, that is reading your conclusion into the texts of Scripture rather than demonstrating that your conclusion is a good and necessary consequence of the texts.

In each example you have cited, the word grace can refer to the full extent of saving grace when the term is meant doctrinally rather than experientially. It is the doctrine of saving grace that is twisted to derive lascivious conclusions about Christian practice (Jude); the true doctrine can be professed with the lips but not believed in the heart by a false professor (Hebrews 12) or disavower (Heb. 10, Galatians 5, 2 Cor 6) as the result. Since the subject of Gal 2. is the Apostle Paul referring to something he is not doing with reference to true saving grace, that Scripture is not relevant to a discussion of whether common grace exists or not; in fact none of these passages speak to the question of common grace.

The idea behind "grace" is that its giver gives something given to someone who doesn't deserve it, or to someone who deserves the contrary of what is received. If the reprobate (as a class) receive anything from God which they do not deserve, or anything from God that is contrary to what they deserve, than they have received, some form of a "grace" from God.

What all sinners deserve to receive from God is death (Gen 2:17, Rom 6:23a) and that immediately (Gen 2:17). If God allows the reprobate to experience anything other then immediate death for sin commited, he is giving them something they do not deserve and, in fact contrary to what they deserve.

Whatever God's long term reasons for giving the reprobate what they do not deserve may be, or whatever the long term effects of these gifts in the lives of the reprobate may prove to have, those reasons do not change the fact that the reprobate who do not experience death immediately after sinning are experiencing some level of blessing from God, and that blessing is not what they deserve.

Dear Timmo,

I stand corrected, but I would dispute whether none of these passages indicate undeserved goodness on the part of God to the reprobate and even the resistable strivings of the Holy Spirit with the reprobate which fall short of regeneration (e.g. Acts 7:51)

In Jude 4, it was a grace of God that these men heard the Gospel message of grace, even if they responded by using it as an excuse for sin.

Hebrews 12:15, indicates that they had to look to themselves and their ostensible brothers to make sure that their faith was not spurious. These people had heard the Gospel by grace, if not had influences of the Spirit upon them, also by grace.

Hebrews 10:29. I would not like to be dogmatic in saying that these people had experienced nothing of the Spirit of God/Grace of God, although clearly not regeneration, especially in the light of Hebrews 6:4-6.

Galatians 5:4 In God's grace they heard the message of grace and for a time looked as if they had received it by grace - but it was temporary faith.
(See e.g. Galatians 1:6)

Galatians 2:21 Although Paul wasn't frustrating God's grace, the implication is that the Galatians were by turning to a false Gospel.

II Corinthians 6:1 They received the grace of God. Whether it involved only the outward call of the Gospel or also some influences of the Spirit that fell short of conversion, I don't know?

If you wish to correct these thoughts further, I will not demur.

Whatever God's long term reasons for giving the reprobate what they do not deserve may be, or whatever the long term effects of these gifts in the lives of the reprobate may prove to have, those reasons do not change the fact that the reprobate who do not experience death immediately after sinning are experiencing some level of blessing from God, and that blessing is not what they deserve.

I agree. The point of contention here seems to be that because God's ultimate attitude to the reprobate is one of hatred, contempt and loathing, we should not call any of the good things that He gives to them grace/gifts of grace or common grace. Whatever the logic in that it seems to contradict the language of Scripture about these things the reprobate receive, including the "common operations of the Spirit". (WCF IX IV).

Yours,
Richard.

-----Added 7/5/2009 at 11:28:15 EST-----

We just have to be careful in how we express and explain these things. Plenty of orthodox Reformed divines have believed in Common Grace.

Can you name these divines? Before or after Kuyper?

Engelsma, "I believe that the common grace doctrine that we’re talking about originated with Abraham Kuyper, and Herman Bavinck in the late eighteen hundreds and the early nineteen hundreds. And I am not afraid to claim virtually every reformed theologian prior to them, as, at the very least, not teaching and espousing that cultural common grace, which also then is supposed to take manifestation in a well-meant gospel offer on God’s part in the preaching of the gospel to everybody. And even, I wouldn’t hesitate to claim, every orthodox reformed theologian before Bavinck and Kuyper as repudiating that, if not explicitly, then by implication. When I say that, I readily acknowledge that it is common in the Reformed theologians going back to Calvin, and including Calvin, to refer to what I call, “bounties of providence,” whether Mozart’s musical ability, or Plato’s intellectual ability or whatever it may be, as a certain kind of grace. I recognize that. But that does not put those theologians in the camp of those who think that there is an operation of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of unregenerated people restraining sin, so that they’re partially good, and can even do works that are truly good, because they’re done by God’s grace, much less, launch this project of common grace to ‘Christianize’ society. That was Abraham Kuyper’s terminology, and Abraham Kuyper was after that: ‘Christianizing’ society by a common grace of God."

Well Robert Dabney's "Systematic and Polemic Theology" (1871) and Charles Hodge's "Systematic Theology" (1871-3) for a start.

Quote from Engelsma
But that does not put those theologians in the camp of those who think that there is an operation of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of unregenerated people restraining sin, so that they’re partially good, and can even do works that are truly good, because they’re done by God’s grace, much less, launch this project of common grace to ‘Christianize’ society. That was Abraham Kuyper’s terminology, and Abraham Kuyper was after that: ‘Christianizing’ society by a common grace of God.

I don't think that Hodge or Dabney would call the works of the unregenerate "truly good". More likely "outwardly good" or "good as far as they went". Neither do I think that Hodge and Dabney who were both postmillennialists would believe that society can be Christianised without large numbers of people in the society being converted and being salt and light. Nor do I think they believed in a third class of people who were "partially good"

I'd have to check up on the "well meant Gospel offer". I think Hodge and Dabney would say that when the Gospel is preached, the Spirit regenerates some, leaves others and works by common and not saving operations on others.(?)
 
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