20 August, 2016

FAQ - Why is God continuing and sustaining this world's existence apart from common grace?

Q. 1. If there is no common grace, then why is God continuing and sustaining this world's existence?”

“... for no other reason does he [i.e., God] sustain the world than to collect from it the number of the elect ...” (Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 3, p. 42).


Q. 2. “Why do the wicked still exist? What purpose does their continuance on earth serve? Surely the fact that they haven't yet been cast into hell is a grace or mercy on their part, as they don't deserve to walk this world for another moment? Surely the fact that they have life right now and are not cast into hell is itself a kindness and undeserved favour of God towards these unthankful and unrighteous people?”

The reprobate are here for the purpose of the salvation of the elect. As the corn plant is necessary for the corn kernels, the reprobate are necessary for the salvation of the elect. The elect church is like a building that God builds throughout history; the reprobate are the scaffolding.

It is a strange grace and mercy that enables the wicked to continue life, filled as it is with grief, sorrow and pain. It is a strange mercy and love that allows the wicked to live to sin more than ever than if they had died young – only to be deeper in Dante’s divine inferno when they die.

The real reason people want to call man’s continued life in the world grace is because they hope that such men will still, if given a further chance, accept Christ and be saved. That is why the common grace usually includes a gracious offer of the gospel that proclaims God’s love for all. For if God is gracious to all, He loves all and wants to save all. Then, after all, salvation is our work, not God’s work.

I would like to see once a text that explicitly teaches that because of God’s love, or mercy, or grace, fallen man continues to exist. The wicked know better than “common grace Christians.” They, says Scripture, are like the restless sea and have no peace. In the night they say, “Would God it were morning;” and in the day they say, “Would God it were night.”

Proverbs 3:33 says that the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. Let anyone show me where Scripture says that the curse is there, but love too; the curse is their daily experience, but mercy too; the curse is in their eating and drinking and working and sleeping, but so is grace. What kind of a god is that? It is not the God I serve and worship. Let us be led in our doctrine of God by Scripture and not by what we wish He was. (Prof. Herman C. Hanko)

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