Two Types Of Grace
There are varying, differing experiences of grace, but there
are two broad classifications of grace, special grace and common
grace. By special grace, which only a few seem to comprehend,
is meant redeeming grace of the highest sort. It may not be
wanted, welcomed or given to everyone.
The prayerful and mysterious mystical relationship between Christ and HIS BELIEVERS is THE SPECIAL GRACE OF God granted to those blessed few who are living in a state of awareness of the living reality that is Christ Jesus.
God is defined by his roles as Father (Jehovah), Son (Jesus Christ) and His Holy Spiritual Personality, (indwelling in the individual and the world as the Holy Ghost who is acting on an unseen, invisible and mysterious frequency.) It is the Holy Spirit that is referred to in I John 4:4 “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
Of great importance is our divine spiritual bond with God. Relationships may transform us significantly or partially. Any degree is worthwhile. For example parents are often transformed by that parental relationship. The motivation many parents have to go to work at jobs, is taking care of their children.
The bonding with our children is fulfilling, awakening, enjoying and transforming as is the relationship with Christ. We respond to the innocence of Christ with responsible loving behavior as often happens after meeting and recognizing His love and compassion.
This bond to Christ is a bond of special grace that motivates and wakes us up from the coma of self and selfishness in which we are prone to sleep. Children wake mothers and fathers out of considering shallow things only. So it is with believers awakened by the birth of Christ in their hearts. They are awakened to a new life.
This higher relationship in Christ leads us down the Good Path to a more fulfilled spirituality, of union with God, a reverence for God’s creation, as well as serving many others who need our help. The bond with Christ creates trust and caring. To be happy the world around us must be spiritually full as well as materially adequate. But too many are now spiritual dwarves in a stunted and grotesquely materialistic world.
So that NOT to have a special grace relationship is to be spiritually deprived, solely materialistic, warped and ugly, God did not mean for us to live in such a way. God presented to us to use with wisdom a wonderful creation fraught with technological riches to be developed. In this rich world mankind was intended to live lives of spiritual attainment and moral control. The future is yet before us to try to do this in.
A person with a special grace bond to God is richer and better off than one lacking bond or awareness of God. Still a person born only to an awareness of common grace is born a rich person, who has much life to enjoy.
Common grace includes gifts of God given through a beneficent creation to everyone. The creation God has given is fraught with wonderful technology if wisely used. The creation can also be inexpressibly beautiful and enjoyable.
Through the common graces of God everyone can taste, can feel, can see. Everyone may enjoy the feel of the sun, the different tastes of food, of fashion, of loving others or being loved by others. The little joys of life form a cloud of pleasant moments that drop upon life like rain to make it enjoyable.
Believers, we should not despair. We live in a world of Common grace and Special grace. We are twice blessed. There may be depressed people who cannot appreciate the thousands of gifts of common grace given by God. These people we should pray for. And there may be thousands who will not accept the offer of special grace, saying there is no God, and refusing to bond with God in a dialogue of understanding compassion.
I have concluded there are obstinately glum people in this world. If we cannot help them, we cannot allow them to harm us by undermining our joy, our happiness and our sensibility in a life we know to be good when we think from a healthy heart or a redeemed mind.
Now this is not to say things are not bad, worse than we often can expect, and there is no sin, disease or ugliness. This is, I think, because a perfect world would not allow an imperfect man. And people to have free will must live in an imperfect world. We must have free will to choose what we should be. I do not wish to be forced to be good as I would have no happiness in it. I find I must choose to build myself.
However, I could be wrong. But do you really think God, God, will condemn anyone personally on a wrong opinion about Him? I think not. He will say as my father often did, “I love you and approve of you, but I do not consider that opinion worthy of you. Think on it. We’ll talk about it later, in a year or so.”
Then when the year rolled around, and he tried to talk about it, I would say quite honestly that I didn’t remember the idea at all. Actually I had outgrown it and stopped thinking about it, but I suppose the original thought seemed a good idea at the time.
So I would ask you to consider the graces that enrich our lives: common grace and special grace. We should pray for those unappreciative of common graces as well as those not accepting the offer of bonding with Christ through special grace in a believers communion and union with Christ.
But I remind you, few seem totally bereft of grace. Bad people can do good things. Confused people can do good things. Good people can become confused and do bad things. But grace is everywhere, always with us, though not always clearly seen. Sometimes it is glimpsed through a glass darkly. (1 Corinthians 13:12) Flashes and grace after a fashion are often seen darting in our narcissistic mirrors of self. Yet thanks be to God for His unspeakable gifts of grace. Let us appreciate common grace everywhere as well as seek the relationship with God that is special grace.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.