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Elon Musk and Common Grace

Elon Musk recently purchased Twitter and proponents of free speech everywhere have been celebrating accordingly ever since. When one considers how important public dialogue is to the foundations of our democracy (and always has been), we simply must look optimistically toward this event, and we should even praise God for it as it is from Him that all good things come (James 1:17).

That raises an interesting dilemma for the Christian potentially. As most know, Elon Musk is not a Christian. As Paul might say, “As regards the gospel, he is an enemy” (Romans 11:28). Should we thank God for the work of an enemy?

The brief answer is “Yes, of course!” And the reason for this is the notion of common grace.

God bestows peculiar grace, special grace to believers. There is a saving grace that is found only in and through Christ Jesus. But this does not mean that those outside of Christ receive no grace at all! After all, as the Apostle Paul says, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

We are all constantly receiving grace from God in some way or another. And God does give incredible grace to non-Christians in order to be used by God for the sake of His people. This is why non-Christians are so often brilliant people who make discoveries and inventions that bless mankind. That God works peculiarly through the church to advance the Gospel, He is not afraid to work through all people to accomplish His broader purposes.

The keystone example of this in Scripture is found in Cyrus the Great. Cyrus was a heathen King that the Lord used to rescue His people from captivity. Isaiah prophesies of this event:

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed:

“I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me.

I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.

Isaiah 45:1-6

The Scriptures would go on to document the fulfillment of these events in the book of Ezra and in 2nd Chronicles 36. The Persian king did in fact redeem the Jewish people from Babylon and equipped them to return home and rebuild their city. That’s common grace in action. God’s people were thankful for the heathen king.

This is how we can approach Elon Musk and others like him. We do pray for him and desire he comes to be saved from His sins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We do count him as a spiritual enemy. But nonetheless, the Lord is graciously using him (or so it seems for now) to accomplish something very important. For that, we can turn our eyes toward heaven, in light of the Lord’s common grace, and thank God for Elon Musk.

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