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Page 307


God is the source of all good -outward and inward. The root of all civil good is God's common grace, but the principle of all spiritual good is God's saving grace. This distinction is portrayed in the sketch below.



We should value, and not despise, God's gifts of common grace. Without common grace, natural man could not live together in peace, and societal life would be impossible. In hell, fallen man will be completely given over to his sinful desires; God's common grace will be totally removed, and even acts of outward kindness and helpfulness will be non-existent. Hell is pure self-centeredness; enmity against God; and hatred of others, upon which the wrath of holy and righteous God shall be poured out without the restraints of common grace.

We must, however, never overvalue civil good works. We would never view them as evidences of saving grace. God judges the motives of each person's heart. A person may be very civil, neighborly, and kind in his outward words and actions; and yet, in God's sight, miss the inward source, standard, and motive for spiritual good works.

What harmful results can be observed in the lives of those who:
- Overemphasize the importance of civil good works?
- Underemphasize the importance of civil good works?


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