What is supernatural grace?


In our major seminary years from 1947 to 1953 we were allowed to take our Christmas vacations at home, and I liked discussing what we’d been studying with my dad.

“This is the best stuff I’ve ever heard,” I told him at Christmas of 1950. I told him we had done the Grace Tract, and to get him ready for it, I asked him what God’s grace meant for him.

He said, “Well, it’s kind of a spiritual vitamin pill to help you do” something hard.”

I said, “That is true of Actual Grace, but Sanctifying Grace is supernatural.”

I explained how the word natural come from natus, the Latin word for birth; and the word natural describes abilities you are born with; while the word supernatural designates abilities you aren’t bor with.   

I told him that the inborn nature of every kind of creature, equips him for certain activities.  A bird’s nature equips it to fly. A snake’s nature equips it to slither. As a kid he had a dog named Scrappy. He was always taking about Scrappy, but he had to watch him die at twelve, and Scrappy’s nature hadn’t equipped him to read or write.

Now, our human nature equips us for more than that.  It let’s us live close to a hundred, and it let’s us more or less carry a tine,but it does not equip us to live forever or to see God. I explained to my dad that we are born in a limited natural state, but Baptism elevates us to a supernatural state that equips us to live on in heaven.

My dad’s response that was, “I don’t believe any of that.” He went on, “You and I have wonderful friends who were never baptized. You say heaven isn’t for them, it’s only for old biddies who just mumble their prayers? No, I don’t believe that.”

Well, I never thought it would happen, but I have come around to agreeing with my dad on that.

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