Question 27 - Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ?
No, only those who are 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.
Answer for kids:
No, only those who are elected by God and united to Christ by faith.
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.
Commentary (from newcitycatechism.com Web App)
Common grace is the term applied to those general blessings which God imparts to all men and women indiscriminately as He pleases, not only to His own people, but to all men and women, according to His own will. Or, again, common grace means those general operations of the Holy Spirit in which, without renewing the heart, He exercises a moral influence whereby sin is restrained, order is maintained in social life, and civil righteousness is promoted. That is the general definition.
The Holy Spirit has been operative in this world from the very beginning and He has had His influence and His effect upon men and women who are not saved and who have gone to perdition. While they were in this life and world they came under these general, non-saving operations of the Holy Spirit. . . . It is not a saving influence, nor is it a redemptive influence, but it is a part of God’s purpose. . . . If the Holy Spirit were not operative in men and women in this general way, human beings, as a result of the Fall and of sin, would have festered away into oblivion long ago. . . . Next to that is what is generally described as culture. By that I mean arts and science, an interest in the things of the mind, literature, architecture, sculpture, painting, and music.
Now, there can be no question at all but that cultivation of the arts is good. It is not redemptive, but it improves people, it makes them live better lives. Now, where do all these things come from? How do you explain men like Shakespeare or Michelangelo? The answer from the Scripture is that all these people had their gifts and were able to exercise them as the result of the operation of common grace, this general influence of the Holy Spirit.
Sovereign Savior, there is salvation in no one but you, and you save everyone who calls upon your name. We would never have called upon you if you had not brought us from death to life. We do not fully understand your electing love, but we confess that neither we nor anyone else deserves it. Amen.