by Joseph Franks
God grants some grace to all men.
In theological circles we call this “Common Grace,” and it includes everything from man’s sense of morality, the rain that waters the earth, the sun that gives warmth and light, the sensory delight of God’s earth, the various material possessions he places in our hands, and the very fact that we are not cast into hell the moment we draw our first carnal breath. The very fact that God is long suffering is a demonstration of his common grace.
God grants special grace to some men.
Towards Christians, God has granted unfathomable grace. He has blessed us with:
- His predestinating affection
- His all-sufficient righteousness and sacrifice
- His scriptures and glorious Gospel
- His all-powerful, most compelling, and abiding Holy Spirit
- A new heart
- A new union; we are the bride of Jesus
- A new family status in heaven; we are his adopted sons and daughters
- A new family status on earth; we find sweet fellowship with local believers
- An official declaration of justification
- An official declaration of sanctification
- A progressive experience of sanctification resulting in holiness
- A promise he will never fail us or let us utterly fall
- A missional gift and purpose in life
- A promise that he loves to save parents and their children
- A future home in paradise with him and all the saints
Yes, we who are believers in Christ are incredibly graced from the beginning of time to the end. There has never been a moment when God has not been working out everything for his own glory and his own family. Rejoice, God has graced his own all along the way, and he promises to continue doing so forever and ever and ever. Therefore, how should we walk today? We should become Christian Philanthropists of grace knowing that …
God grants grace through men.
As Philanthropists of grace, we should enjoy passing on God’s riches to others. This is the truth Paul wished to express to his people:
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work … He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. (2 Corinthians 9:6-12)
We are rich. All of us have received eternal riches which cannot be taken away. We have an irrevocable trust — an inheritance too vast to contemplate. Paradise awaits.
We are rich. All of us have received spiritual riches beyond estimation. Identified with Jesus, we are holy saints looking more and more like our Law-keeping Savior. In our hearts we have the Holy Spirit, and in our mouths we have the Gospel which gloriously transforms individuals, families, and cultures.
We are rich. All of us have received an individual spiritual gift distributed by the Lord. We didn’t choose it; it chose us. And it is ours to use for God’s glory and the good of the fellowship.
We are rich. Most reading this blog are still well endowed with physical energy. As of today, God has neither confined us to a bed, nor has he thoroughly buffeted our bodies with Job-like ailments and pain. We still have many hours and some degree of vitality to enjoy and use for him.
We are rich. Most of us have an abundance of material possessions, and most of us still have a very good paycheck. When we look about at world poverty, we recognize God has given us far more than others. There is no doubt God has given us far more than we deserve; we have far more than we need; and we have far more than we know what to do with. To prove this, we simply need to peruse our plural homes, attics, closets, garages and storage buildings. Financially, we can see our wealth when we review our safes, our checking account, our other checking account, and our now-growing-again stock market portfolios. And on top of this, many reading this blog still have an incredible ability to produce more profit and wealth.
Yes, we are rich in many ways, so what ought we to do with our eternal, spiritual, physical, and financial blessings? Should we “count our many blessings; name them one by one; and then hide and hoard them?” No, let us seek to give away ourselves, our material blessings, and our spiritual blessings. We are confident God has given us that which we needed yesterday. We are confident we have more than enough today. We are confident God will give us that which we need for tomorrow, and our eternal provision is off the charts. Therefore, let us enjoy being philanthropists of grace. We cannot out-give God. We cannot exhaust his limitless pockets. We cannot be so radically generous that we goof up his plan.
As believers, we have received an abundance of God’s common grace.
As believers, we have received a super-abundance of God’s special grace.
Now as believing recipients of grace, let us be gracious and generous. Let us shower people with the Gospel, with our time, with our energy, with our spiritual gifts, and with our possessions. Freely we have received, freely give! Christian Philanthropy is our calling. Ministering after the model of Jesus is that for which we have been predestined.