THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN COMMON GRACE

Part I

Pastor Floyd Koenig

INTRODUCTION

Common grace may be defined as the unmerited goodness of God bestowed upon the world at large. It is called "common," not to downgrade it, but rather to distinguish it from "saving" or "efficacious" grace.

Some examples of common grace are:

1. Godís provisions for manís physical needs.

a. He makes the sun shine and gives rain to the just as well as the unjust (Mt. 5:45).

b. He gives fruitful seasons in order that everyone might have food to eat (Acts 14:17).

2. God sending out the Gospel call (Mark 16:15).

3. God providing the Christian influence (Mt. 5:13-16).

4. Godís longsuffering toward evil men (Rom. 9:21-22).

Common grace, not only includes external blessings, but it also includes the internal workings of Godís Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, not only works effectually in the heart of those who are saved, but He also deals with men who were never regenerated.

I. GOD RESTRAINS THE DEPRAVED

A. THE RESTRAINING POWER OF GODíS SPIRIT KEEPS THIS DEPRAVED WORLD FROM BECOMING AN UNBEARABLE CESSPOOL.

1. In common grace, God has allowed civil government, the family, public worship, and some degree of safety to exist in this world.

2. The fact that morality and honesty are even found among the unsaved reveals that God restrains men in their depravity.

3. Think of what our own country would be like should God cease to work through His people in preserving some truth and decencey (I Tim. 2:1-2).

B. GOD RESTRAINS WICKED MEN FROM BEING AS WICKED AS THEY COULD BE.

1. This restraining power is revealed in the fact that God is said to "harden" hearts or "give men over" to iniquity.

2. Because God is never the author of sin, these expressions must mean that God removed the restraints that formerly held back these individuals(Jas. 1:13).

a. When it was said that God hardened Pharaohís heart, that meant that He simply removed the restraints and let Pharaoh express more wickedness (Ex. 10:1).

b. When a person refuses to acknowledge the glory of God, He is given over to the foolishness of his own heart (Rom. 1:21-28).

c. The Lord simply removes the restraints in his life.

3. Satan and his demons will incite men to sin whenever permitted by God. a. Those who had no love for the Truth will be deceived by a lie (II Thess. 2:8-11).

b. Because of Saulís rebellion against the Lord, Satan was permitted to trouble him (I Sam. 16:14).

C. THE RESTRAINING POWER OF THE SPIRIT IS A BLESSING FOR WHICH WE SHOULD NOT FORGET TO THANK GOD.

1. Unsaved men who appear to be moral and upright, fail to realize what depts of depravity lay pent up within their own hearts.

2. It is a glorious truth that God in fact restrains all sin that will not ultimately contribute to His glory (Ps. 76:10).

II. THE HOLY SPIRIT ENLIGHTENS THE UNSAVED A. THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT THE UNSAVED ARE SPIRITUALLY BLIND.

1. They consider the Gospel to be so much foolishness (I Cor. 1:18; 2:11-14).

2. They are ignorant concerning the precious truths of God (Eph. 4:17-18).

3. They have no concept of the glory of Christ and the nature of salvation.

4. This, however, is not to say that they are without any knowledge in the moral realm.

5. God is pleased in His work of common grace to impart some knowledge unto those who are unsaved.

B. GOD HAS BEEN PLEASED TO REVEAL HIMSELF IN MANíS CONSCIENCE (Rom. 1:19-20).

1. Even though unsaved men hate the knowledge of God, yet they can never succeed in erasing it from their minds (Rom. 1:22-28, 32).

2. In every nation men admit the existence of Deity.

3. In order for a person to be an atheist, he must deny the witness of his own heart.

C. GOD HAS IMPARTED TO MEN THE KNOWLEDGE OF RIGHT AND WRONG.

1. The unsaved person hates Godís law, yet he can never erase its precepts.

2. The Holy Spirit has written them in his conscience (Rom. 2:14-15).

3.The unsaved have a contracted view of Godís law which produces guilt and mere restraint rather than joyful obedience.

4. The saved, on the other hand, not only have a much fuller and more spiritual revelation of Godís law, but they are also enabled to love it (Rom. 7:22; Heb. 10:16-17).

III. THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES SPECIAL GIFTS A. EVERY GOOD GIFT COMES FROM GOD (Jas. 1:17).

1. God is author of everything in men which is good.

a. It was the Spirit who strengthened Samson (Jud. 14:5-6).

b. God gave Be-zalíe-el his abilities in the work that he did in constructing the Tabernacle (Ex. 31:1-5).

2. The abilities of those who benefit society today should also be attributed to the workings of Godís Spirit.

a. We are to honor and pray for the leaders of our government, even though many are not saved (Rom. 13:1; I Pet 2:17).

B. WE FIND IN THE WORD OF GOD THAT SPIRITUAL GIFTS WERE SOMETIMES GIVEN TO THE UNSAVED.

1. Even though Balaam was a heirling porphet, he was given the gift of prophecy (II Pet. 2:15).

2. Even though Judas was a vile person, he had the power to do miracles (Mt. 10:1).

3. King Saul prophesied and received power to rule and fight bravely (I Sam. 10:9-11; 11:6).

C. HERE WE SEE THAT WHILE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND SAVING GRACE, YET THESE GIFTS ARE TO BE REGARDED AS BLESSINGS OF GOD.

IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT PROVIDES SPECIAL INFLUENCES A. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS NOT RESTRICTED ONLY TO THE ELECT.

1. He often helps and protects them by influencing those around them.

2. We are told that God controls the hearts of kings (Prov. 21:1).

a. Though Cyrus was a pagan, he was called Godís anointed because of Godís special purpose for him in assisting the Jews (Isa. 45:1).

b. Joseph and Daniel both found favor with their jailers, and Jacob was saved from Labanís wrath.

B. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT GOD IS ABLE TO INFLUENCE EVEN THE UNSAVED FOR GOOD (Prov. 16:7).
CONCLUSION

1. Whether it be the restraint of sin or the giving of physical necessities, yet all men must admit that God is good to men (Ps. 145:9).

2. We must not limit all of Godís blessings to the elect.

3. Let us follow our Lordís example and be kind both to the good and the bad among men (Mt. 5:43-48).
 
 

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