We’ve been plowing through some heavy ground lately. Does it seem like too much? Here’s the deal. There comes a time when there is an “Ah ha!” moment when this stuff starts to make sense. When it does, the pieces start to fall into place. Those who don’t have saving grace perhaps conceptually recognize that the bible teaches us we cannot obtain righteousness on our own, but they reject the one true and living God in favor of their own, even if that god is atheism. Believers, too, may conceptually believe it but still believe that they inherently are righteous apart from God. They won’t lose their ticket to heaven over this, but it is an error that someday will be rectified.
Why am I making such a big deal out of all this? What difference does it make anyway?
The answer is plain and simple. Christians should desire truth and reject lies. Jesus not only teaches truth, he IS truth; and that truth died on the cross for our sins. If we think for a minute that we have something to do with our entrance into heaven, that we are able to make right our wrongs or to forgive our own sins, then we are deliberately believing a lie. Not only that, we are purposely deceiving others. Do we want to stand before Jesus on that day to explain that? I don’t think so!
Still, most people think being a good person will get us into heaven, even true Christians. Why am I so sure about that? Because once you start talking, like I am about to, that it is God who chooses us, people start disagreeing. Big time. But the biblical evidence is impossible to deny. Here’s a couple verses to chew on.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no man may boast.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Matthew 16:13-17 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Johah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Luke 10:21-22 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
I’m sure you have other verses that are coming to mind as well. We simply cannot honestly explain this stuff away. Yes, we must proclaim with our mouth and believe in our heart (Romans 10:9) to be saved, but what comes first? Our proclamation and belief or God initiative? Scripture would say that it is God who moves first. What we think is our initiative is simple a reaction to God’s touch. Think about that.
If this isn’t the case, then we have some real problems. Why? Because that means it is man’s initiative, alone, that brings us to a passive God. We must approach him to be saved. Effectually, that means that we can save ourselves. Are you with me on this? And, if we have the capability to save ourselves, then that means we ALL have that same ability, right? Otherwise, God would not be fair. All would have to be capable of seeking God. But all don’t? Why? Haven’t they understood the message? You know as well as I do that you can reason until you’re blue in the face and people don’t get it. How in the world can people be so blind as to not see the choice of eternal life or eternal torment? But, if they are capable of seeing, do we not have the moral obligation to ensure that the do – and very soon!
Think about this. If it is up to each to reason out his/her own salvation, then we have the responsibility to make sure s/he DOES understand. If one person slips through our fingers and dies without believing and proclaiming, aren’t we guilty of that person’s sin? Don’t be quick to dismiss this argument. If your child’s or parent’s salvation is not secure, by what means would you take to ensure that they do believe? Would you reason with them? How often? Would it be worth an argument over it? How often? How big of argument? Would any conflict be too big when their eternal soul is on the line?
Remember, we wouldn’t be able to ask God for help because he gave us all free will, right? He must sit on the sidelines. Even our asking him would indicate doubt of our own reason/ability (faith).
Come on now, you who think we all have inherent good in us, why aren’t you doing everything you possibly can to proclaim the gospel? I tell you what, I don’t know how people can keep from going stark raving mad in their belief that man must come to God on his/her own. How can you possibly rest knowing that your relative, friend, neighbor, or even enemy would go to hell? Why wouldn’t you drop EVERYTHING to do convince EVERYONE? Do you mean to tell me that you intentionally don’t do everything in your power to convince people? Do you mean to tell me that you don’t make much of an effort at all? How could you hate people so much to intentionally exclude them from heaven? That’s exactly what it is! If you don’t ensure that they believe, you, in essence, hate them.
Enter infant baptism.
But that doesn’t solve anything because if all we need to do is get some holy water on them, we could send airplanes around drizzling it non-stop over the entire world. Right? Wouldn’t we do that?
Inherently, we know this is all nonsense. We know that we cannot straighten our own mess out. Most of us stick our heads in the sand and refuse to think about it – either by total disbelief or by making up our own make-believe system. Others are saved, but even many of them refuse to accept this truth:
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
That’s right, nothing, including saving yourself. That means that everyone is consigned to hell – apart from some type of divine intervention.
Romans 11:32-36 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How searchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers