Common and Special Grace
A Sermon on Ephesians 6:10-13
The Armor of God
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and …
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against …
Humanity is in a helpless state of sin and depravity as a result of the fall. People are fallen and wholly unable to save themselves. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:10–13 titled “Common and Special Grace,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims the grace of God is the answer to this great problem. For in God’s love He has not left the world alone in its wickedness and depravity. He has provided a means of salvation in Jesus Christ as the only escape from sin. He has also provided common grace to restrain the sinful actions of people and nations. One of the most prominent forms of common grace is the institution of government. While government does not save souls, it nevertheless restrains mankind’s sinful desires and actions. It is only by the saving power of the special grace of God that hearts and minds are renewed and turned to the light. Outward confirmation of the law of God can never bring salvation and true life. Listen as Dr. Lloyd-Jones exposes the lie of false religions and teachers who replace the grace of God with human works. There is true life in Christ Jesus in the gospel. This is the only hope that God has given the world, and it is the only hope that the church can proclaim to sinners and fallen people.
- The sermon begins by emphasizing the importance of understanding the spiritual forces of evil that exist in the world according to Ephesians 6:10-13. These forces are more powerful than humans and are the reason the world is in its current state.
- The sermon then discusses the historic fall of man as described in Genesis 3. After God created the world, man fell and the world became ruled by Satan. All people are born as children of Satan until they are redeemed.
- Despite man's fall and hopelessness, God is concerned about the state of the world because His glory and honor are at stake. He will not leave the world as it is.
- God's plan to redeem the world is the central message of the Bible. His plan began immediately after the fall and is demonstrated through common grace and special grace.
- Common grace refers to God's general blessings and control over the consequences of the fall that are given to all people. This includes the institution of government to limit evil and the development of culture and civilization. Despite common grace, man continued to fail, leading to God punishing the world with the flood.
- Special grace refers to God's particular plan of redemption for certain people. This begins with Abel, continues through the line of the patriarchs, and eventually leads to the formation of the nation of Israel through Abraham. The law was given to Israel to guide them and point to the future redemption through the Messiah.
- In addition to common grace and special grace, God has also used the ministry of angels to help humans in their struggle against evil. Angels are spiritual beings interested in man's salvation who serve and protect God's people. Examples are given from the Old and New Testaments.
- While God's actions through common grace, special grace, and angels sustained His people in the Old Testament, they were not enough. The Old Testament looks forward to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to fully redeem people from the power of Satan.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.