20 August, 2016

FAQ — What about prayer?

Q. 1.God answers prayer and protects your loved ones whether they are saved or not. Is this not a sure infallible proof of common grace?”

To answer this question, one needs to break it down into its constituent parts.
Augustine's mother, Monica, prayed for him before he was converted. God answered her prayers in preserving him and converting him. Clearly no common grace there because a believer was praying for an elect.

So let us consider a believer (X) praying for an unbeliever ( Y ) who is reprobate, though the believer did not know this for God alone knows his decree. X prays for Y's conversion, if God wills it. Y is not converted. No common grace and no free offer there.

X prays for Y that Y is not killed on the icy roads. Y was not killed on the icy road last night. Does this prove common grace? Would Y have been spared on the icy road last night even if X had not prayed for him? Other reprobate unbelievers were not killed on the icy roads either without anyone praying for them. How does this prove common grace?

God has purposes with the continuance of life of unbelieving reprobate people. What would have happened if the pharaoh of the Exodus had died before Moses came to meet him in Exodus 5? How could he have hardened his heart and had his heart hardened by God had he already been dead? For God raised him up in order to show his power him through the 10 plagues and his destruction at the red Sea (Romans 9:17). Pontius Pilate's preservation in life was not through a love of God for him but so that he would fulfil God's role for him in his providence in handing over the Son of God to be crucified for our salvation.

God has all things in His eternal counsel which includes all the lives of all the reprobates. Their continuance in life for a time doesn't prove that God loves them but proves that God's eternal decree must be fulfilled, for the wicked world must fill up the cup of its iniquity.

Thus you see we are back to the old false notion that a mere continuance of life for the reprobate is proof of common grace for them. But the Bible says that it would be better for Judas Iscariot if he had never been born. His hell would not have been as bad if he had died a year before he betrayed the Lord Jesus. Scripture teaches that the wicked keep up wrath onto the day of wrath the longer that they live (Rom. 2:5). (Rev. Angus Stewart)

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