(1)RESOLVED,That the messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Nashville, Tenn., June 15-16, 2021, thank God for his common grace at work in society to reveal evil; and be it further
(2)RESOLVED, that these moments call for humility that God’s Holy Spirit is at work exposing these deeds done in the darkness so that gospel-centered, grace-saturated Southern Baptists would support the legal challenges necessary to change laws, thereby bringing a more just and biblical society; and be it further
Common Grace and Not So Common Resistance
Common grace is at work in the law. The Apostle Paul wrote,
For it there had been a law given that could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law. But the scripture shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were guarded under the law, shut up to faith that should afterward be revealed, so that the law has become our tutor until Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Paul is clear, however, that what we find in the law is insufficient for righteousness. It exposes the deeds done in darkness whether the act be done in violation of the law or whether the law has itself codified darkness.
Be it resolved that we give God thanks for his common grace at work in society to reveal evil,
Common grace is God’s means that preserves human beings from plunging as deeply into sin as would be capable. Depravity may be total in its effect. But common grace forestalls depravity’s consequences from overtaking hope. Thanking God that the world is not as evil as it could be is more than a nod to grace, it admits to a grace-saturated world.
Be it resolved that that these moments call for humility that God’s Holy Spirit is at work exposing these deeds done in the darkness so that gospel-centered, grace-saturated Southern Baptists would support the legal challenges necessary to change laws, thereby bringing a more just and biblical society;
Wherever we find common grace, we find God’s Holy Spirit at work. Alerted to the revealed darkness, Article 15 is our confession that,
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society.
Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love.
Article 15 is full of law language. We are, “under obligation, should, should, should, should, should.” We have not been so sensitive at our communication to remind that we are working from the victory of God, from grace, not making our way to it, works. In other words, we stumble to describe what it is we do having been saved by grace that makes a difference in our world. We confess in Article 15 that it is ours to take up a not so common resistance to the forces of darkness and in doing so we show brotherly love.
Imagine 16 million Southern Baptists supporting legal challenges to unjust laws still on the books in our Country, those that have been used to subordinate other people. Wouldn’t that be a not so common resistance?
*Contributed by Todd Littleton