Everywhere grace (see here and here) does much good to all who experience it. It enhances people’s characters, lives, and surroundings. We don’t want to even think what we and our world would be like without it. All the happiness, joy, peace, contentment, order, etc., in the world is the result of this almighty blessing.
And it’s not just the externals – the outward person or the external environment – that it impacts. It also influences the inner person, though without going so far as to save the soul. It imparts and stirs up human virtues such as generosity, patience, and parental love. It exerts a moral influence, giving our consciences a sense of right and wrong, and provoking guilt to restrain further sin. It works on the heart but it does not renew nor regenerate it.
More grace is needed.
Or rather a different kind of grace is needed: the special, sovereign, and saving love of God.
However, we mustn’t separate these two kinds of grace entirely; they are intimately connected; the one should lead to the other. Everywhere grace is given to lead people to seek God’s special saving grace. So much everywhere grace is given that it leaves us without excuse for not seeking special grace (Rom. 1:20).
Everywhere grace is intended to draw us and call us to the special grace that’s located only in Christ. Paul challenges all recipients of everywhere grace: “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).
Do you see that? One of the most powerful tools in our evangelistic armoury is the goodness of God. If we only tell people about their sin, and refuse to point out God’s mercy and grace already in their lives, we are missing out a vital evangelistic lever. By highlighting God’s existing mercy and grace we encourage sinners to seek even more of it (2 Peter 3:9).
Everywhere grace does not save, but it does point us to the One who does.