Well so much for attempting to be brief, Common Grace is not the only issue as I alluded to earlier, but it still flows from the Cross (see Murray below) and thus IMO 'common grace cannot be looked at as being distinct from the atonement.' Another problem is that some individuals only look at the "positive aspects" of the term "general." Looking at the negative aspects, Christ did accomplish "something" for the non-elect on the Cross, and thus, ... Though the non-elect are "already condemned" (John 3:18) Christ sealed their judgment in His death/resurrection. He is LORD of ALL. EVERY knee will bow and the list goes on. Thus, Christ did die in a general way for ALL... For the elect He accomplished their salvation and for the non-elect He sealed their judgment. If we remove the fact that Christ did die to seal the judgment of the non-elect we remove a very valuable part of the Gospel IMO. Additionally, IMO it is difficult to separate common grace from the Cross, as Christ is LORD of all including common grace, etc.

As Murray states in Redemption Accomplished and Applied, The unbelieving and reprobate in this world enjoy numerous benefits that flow from the fact that Christ died and rose again. The mediatorial dominion of Christ is universal. Christ is head over all things and is given all authority in heaven and earth. It is within the mediatorial dominion that all the blessings which men enjoy are dispensed. But this dominion Christ exercises on the basis and as the reward of his finished work of redemption... (Phil 2:8-9). Consequentially, since all benefits and blessings are within the realm of Christ's dominion and since this dominion rests upon his finished work of atonement, the benefits innumerable which are enjoyed by all men indiscriminately are related to the death of Christ and may be said to accrue from it in one way or another. If they flow thus flow from the death they were intended thus to flow. It is proper, therefore, to say that the enjoyment of certain benefits, even by the non-elect and reprobate, falls within the design of the death of Christ.

Reformed and Always Reforming,