Apostle Paul: Titus 3:1-5
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy.
Abraham Kupyer: Common Grace
Among the “perfections of God,” it is particularly his forbearance that is not exhausted in this “common grace,” but rather is magnified in a moving way … The Lord our God is not merely holy, but also in his holiness he is at the same time forbearing, and it is from that “forbearance,” which yields the divine patience of the Almighty for bearing temporarily with sin, that “common grace” is born.
In his Institutes, Calvin formulated the profound understanding of this common grace most clearly when he answered the question of how we can explain the fact that uprightness and nobility excelled among pagans and unbelievers so often to such a high degree … Calvin formulated the matter this way … “God by his providence bridles the perversity of nature, that it may not breakforth into action; but he does not purge it within.” Here lies the roof of the doctrine of “common grace,” together with the explanation of why it forms such an indispensible part of the Reformed confession. It arose not from philosophical invention, but from the confession of the deadly character of our sin. Our Reformed ancestors have always insisted on sin’s lethal character. They unanimously confessed, “Dead by nature through sin and trespasses.”
Apparently, however, this did not fit with reality. There was in that sinful world, outside the church, so much that was beautiful, that was worthy of esteem … We may not close our eyes to the good and the beautiful outside the church, among unbelievers, in the world. This good existed, and that had to be acknowledged. At the same time we may hardly minimize in any way the pervasive depravity of sinful [human] nature. So then, the solution of this apparent contradiction lay in this, that outside the church grace operates among pagans in the midst of the world, this grace is neither an everlasting grace nor a saving grace, but a temporal grace unto the restraint of ruin that lurks within sin.