Common Grace in Gospel Witness
by Alfred Lwiche
In every culture the presence of common grace can provides a moral and intellectual platform for gospel witness. In the studying of his topic, it is necessary to know how the gospel witness was carried out and the methods used in the culture for the gospel witness.
God’s goodness is expressed in various ways to mankind. It speaks on His behalf and reveals his greatness. Humanity gets to comprehend the goodness and sovereignty of God through His generosity to all the people of the world irrespective of their cultures, beliefs, norms, races or spiritual standing condition with God. This is what is known as common grace. God has revealed Himself to humanity through the way which most people regard as general revelation. He has used it to reach out to the hearts of the peoples of this world as one of the methods He would use to convict the human race of their sin. It is therefore important to learn about some of these methods such as general revelation, Logical reasoning, the use of conscience and morals.
By way of general revelation, God has revealed Himself through nature and His creation, which displays His very own goodness and glory. In the book of Romans 1:20 we read, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse”. God’s creation speaks of His eternal power and divine sovereignty and contemplating on this time and again would leave no man with an excuse to make concerning God’s supremacy and great love for humanity. We can help point out to unbelievers the great work of creation of God as evidence of His existence. In so doing, gospel witness would be the ultimate accomplishment.
A vivid biblical example of logical reasoning is the one that can be seen when the apostle Paul discovered about the people who were idol worshippers in Athens in the book of Acts 17:16-34. He reasoned with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks and the people who were in the market place. Paul advocated for the true God who had created all things. Many people got interested and excited to hear about this God and invited Paul to speak to them about the God who made the world and everything else. Therefore, Paul took courage to explain the truths about the idols the people worshipped as false gods and introduced to them the true God of creation. Many people who listened to Paul’s message were convicted and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and abandoned worshipping idols and the false gods. Goodrick and Kohlenberge in their book say, “God has forbidden idolatry…” ( pg.548).
The apostle Paul also used influential people such as the Epicureans who were prominent and educated upper classes in the community. These people helped through logical reasoning with the rest of the people in the community in sharing the truths of the scriptures to others and many people believed the gospel of Jesus Christ whom Paul advocated for. In this way we see that with reasoning and logical presentation of biblical truths, we can help unbelievers to turn away from their wicked ways and give their lives to God. Adeyemo in his book speaks of Paul “as being positive in advocating the true God to the Athenians. He said to them, “You are very religious” and the basis of saying this was because of the number of shrines for idol worshipping he had seen of which one had even been dedicated to “unknown god”. Like the Athenians, Africans are very religious and have numerous shrines; and their concept is the same as that of the Athenians which led them to the elect of an altar to the “unknown god”. This happens because of the ignorance about the true God who made the world and everything else” (pg.1331).
Another method appealing to the unbelievers is by the use of conscience. By the use of conscience, unbeliever’s can be convicted before a holy God. Their sins can be made manifest to them which can result in their repentance. The word of God is like a mirror in which one can view his spiritual faults and correct them. It is just like the way a person looks in a mirror and sees his face. He will notice all the dirt and wrinkles that are in his face and clean them.Keener refers the mirror “…to analogy for law which was to bring liberty” (pg. 693). Zuck shows that “an obligation is involved when one looks into the mirror of the word of God; one must look into it internally because the perfect law gives freedom” (pg. 823).
The third method is the way we live and behave as Christians before unbelievers. Our Christian morals matter very much whenever we present the gospel to the unbelievers. Christians or believers play a very cardinal role in the way they present themselves to others around them and in this case the unbelievers. Unbelievers can either find it easy to be drawn to God by the believers’ way of life or be drawn away from God if the case is the exact opposite. By portraying. God’s character, believers can compel unbelievers to God. John Piper speaks of the fundamental problem of preaching, “…that the preacher can proclaim hope to the sinner in view of God’s unimpeachable righteousness” (pg. 33-34). Therefore, all mankind should understand the grace of God and honor Him. There are so many religious groups in the world today who claim to worship the true God and yet they have a form of godliness and denying its power (2 Tim 3:5). Douglas referred to grace “as the sustaining influence that enables the believers to be preserved in Christian life and also is a gift of knowledge “(pg. 402).
In conclusion, I would say, by common grace God has provided the means and methods of revealing Himself to mankind through general revelation, logical reasoning, the use of conscience and good morals.
The aspects of common grace in culture act as a platform we can use to witness to unbelievers. Our duty now is to obey Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel. This involves our working to identify the aspects of common grace in the unbelievers’ culture that can help us relate better with them as we seek to win them to Christ.
Alfred Lwiche is a fourth year student at CABC
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