The issue of evil in the world is often a significant barrier for many when deciding whether to accept a belief in God. They wonder, “Why would a supposedly loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?” But the opposite issue is frequently raised by theologians: Why do good things happen to bad (fallen) people at all? God is holy, and we are sinners worthy of punishment except for the blood of Christ in our lives.
The question is not why “bad things happen to good people,” for there are no good people. (See Mark 10:18; Romans 3:10ff) The question is, “Why does rebellious humanity—which has no right to anything other than condemnation—receive so many blessings in this life?” Common grace helps answer these questions.
If you have never heard the phrase “common grace” before, you are not alone. Beyond individual salvation found in our faith in Christ, Christianity also recognizes the concept of “common grace.” This is the idea that God’s grace (benevolence not in the context of salvation only by faith in Jesus) extends to all of creation, benefiting believers and non-believers. It includes providing food and shelter and restraining evil in the world. The Psalmist writes, “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:15-16)
Jesus said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44–45) Common grace is God’s love for His creation, whom He seeks to redeem through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Rain falls on all. When did you and I last thank God for a small blessing? A summer rain, good friends, or a fantastic meal with family are all reasons to give thanks. Thank you, God, for the little things.