“Co-belligerency can make a certain kind of sense, if you have your wits about you.”
Common grace helps us to acknowledge that there are times to embrace culture warmly, and times to be in stark, prophetic opposition to it. And the only durable, Biblical way to do both is to see culture through the lens of common grace.
This doctrine helps us make a strong Biblical case for engaging the culture while embracing the gospel.
Wherever we work, we can rest assured that God can use us through our vocational calling to influence our fellow employees, our company, our city, our nation, and the world for the glory of God.
We do this by faithfully fulfilling our calling to be witnesses to the truth of the Gospel. We also do this by being good citizens and working through our vocational callings to ensure that there is justice, care and equality toward human flourishing for all. In a democratic multi-faith society, Christians cannot hope to achieve these goals without working closely together with others who may not share all our faith convictions.
In fact, this type of cooperation should assist our gospel efforts, bringing us into close relationships with unbelievers we may not otherwise have met. God may indeed use these encounters as a means for the conversion of key decision-makers and leaders – another way of bringing about societal transformation.
As we learned previously, Al Mohler warns that we must always be wise and cautious, as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16), making sure our work together with unbelievers does not silence us in our gospel witness or lead us not to speak the truth that might offend others in areas of disagreement.
The Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is able to work in and through the Christian and non-Christian to bring about his good purposes through “Common Grace.”
In conclusion, it is this common grace grounded in the work of the Holy Spirit that provides a theological rationale to engage co-belligerently in every sphere of the world around us, especially in our vocational callings. Theologian Vincent Bacote writes in his book Spirit in Public Theology,
This work of the Spirit is a providential, preserving, indwelling, and life-giving interaction with the created order. It extends back to the beginning of creation but continues into the present and invites us to shape the world toward the future.
In an essay entitled, Why Christians Should Engage the World, Reverend David Kim suggests the confidence we have to work in common with the world for God’s glory and for humanity’s good lies not in any inherently unfallen aspect of the world or people, but rather in the ongoing, unified, cosmic work of the Holy Spirit. It is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit which guards Christians from creating an artificial divide between the sacred and the secular.
For this reason we can boldly assert with Theologian Abraham Kuyper, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”
Speaking of His Father in heaven, Jesus said, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). With this in mind, John Frame in his book, Doctrine of God, encourages us to see God’s blessings everywhere,
Every bit of food, every bit of rain and sunshine, comes from the goodness of our heavenly Father. God really does love us; he seeks our good. And while the Last Judgment tarries, God seeks the good of the reprobate as well. Thus, we should praise his name. (Page 436)
Question: Do you feel hopeful that you are working towards the Kingdom of God, even in your secular workplace? Leave a comment here.
- Part 1: Can Believers Work with Unbelievers?
- Part 2: What Special Grace Means for You
- Part 3: What We All Gain From Common Grace
- Part 4: What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men?
- Part 5: God’s Eternal Love and Restraint
- Part 6: How Common Grace Sustains Culture
- Part 7: Common Grace for the Common Good
- Part 8: Why Work Towards a Common Goal with Unbelievers
- Part 9: Hope for Christians in the Secular Workplace
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