Q27: Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ?
A: No, only those who were elected by God and united to Christ by faith. Nevertheless, God in his mercy demonstrates common grace even to those who are not elect, by restraining the effects of sin and enabling works of culture for human well-being.
Romans 5:17 – “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this mean in my relationship with God?
While there are likely many points that could be pulled out from this question regarding one’s relationship with God, perhaps the most life altering result of the answer to this catechism question is that God is completely and totally sovereign. There is not one thing, or person, that is outside of the rule of God, Christian or non-Christian. This is a massive truth for our daily lives.
It is seen early on in the answer to this question, that God is sovereign over salvation. Perhaps this is an uncomfortable truth for many. Perhaps some responses are, “that does not seem fair that God would not save everyone.” However, looking at this from another perspective may provide help and result in joy. According to the Romans 5:12, “death spread to all men because all sinned…” and, as a result, all of humanity, justly, deserves the wrath of God toward that sin, and therefore, none are deserving of salvation. The only fair result is death. However, God, in and by His sovereign choice, saves some, out of sheer mercy, motivated by His own good pleasure. Therefore, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is by definition, not fair. If God gave mercy to everyone it would no longer be merciful.
So then, for those in Christ, this truth is cause to worship. It is cause to celebrate because the salvation that we have in Christ allows for no boasting in ourselves, but only the sovereign grace of God toward us.
- 1:3-6– “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this mean in my relationship with humanity?
There are two things in our relationships with others that this question and answer effects. First, because salvation is solely a work of God’s sovereign grace, we have no idea who will be saved and who will not. Therefore, we have a responsibility under the authority of God to share the Gospel with anyone and everyone we come across. Perhaps they are someone that God is drawing to Himself and He will use you to be the voice through which the message of the Gospel comes.
Second, because God, in His sovereignty provides common grace to all, Christians must know that God is using people who are not saved to bring about the establishment of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Therefore, Christians should avoid isolating themselves from those that are not and avoid thinking that they have nothing to offer. Rather, Christians should think, “These people are still worthy of respect as image bearers and God is potentially using them to establish His kingdom”. So then, we should show everyone respect, and think about how what they say or do may be furthering the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth.
- Matt 28:16-20– “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted.And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
- Rom 10:14-17– “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
As I have stated above, this question and answer compels us to three things. One, because salvation is by sovereign grace alone, those who are saved ought to find themselves celebrating. Two, in response to the same truth, those who are saved ought to find themselves speaking the Gospel to all those they come across since they do not know who God is working in. Three, we must recognize that because God is sovereign over all things that He is using all things to establish His Kingdom. Thus, all people, saved or not, are worthy of our respect and are, perhaps, instruments that our sovereign God is using to advance His Kingdom without them even knowing.