2019-04-29 If Not For Him

Good Morning!

My devotional (Voices From The Past) today featured the Puritan Thomas Manton. His passage was the outline of biblical conversion with scriptural references. It is the first time I have seen such compactness, so I think I’ll share it with you. Now, I realize that some of you will not agree with some of these points, namely, many believe that it is the individual who draws near to God rather than God initiating the whole process. What you or I believe does not matter with the very next conversion. Both of us believe that we are commanded to present the gospel to all humans. However, whether or not a human has an inherent “good” inside that propels them to seek God has immense ramifications on how we view our relationship with God and, therefore, life itself. The view of Manton is of sovereign election. Enjoy.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately sick; who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

The work of conversion is completely of God. God alone frames our hearts to the obedience of his will. This must be so as we consider the nature of man. Man is stark blind in the things of God. Every man has a heart of stone, insensible and inflexible. How many times does the Word of God work upon him to no purpose! Sin is an overruling master, and man a willing servant. Sin never stops commanding and we are at its beck and call. Man is blind with a hard heart (Eph. 4:18). He is an enemy to the law of God (Rom. 8:7), and cannot please God. He does not even desire a guide. If someone directs him into the right way he becomes angry. He is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:5). He is worse than dead, his life is alive to resist and rebel against God. What a miserable, wretched creature man is! There is nothing in man’s nature to carry him to grace. In conversion, God must work or he can never be renewed. To remedy so great an evil requires almighty power. God must open our understanding and our hearts (Eph. 1:18, Acts 16:14). God does not only knock at the heart by his Word, he also opens the heart and enters to take possession. God uses different keys to unlock the door of our hearts. He uses one cross, another affliction, a sermon, and one message after another. It is not however until God puts his fingers upon the hole of the lock that we open. Salvation is expressed by regeneration (John 3:3), resurrection (Eph. 2:5), creation (Eph. 2:10), and light out of darkness (2 Cor. 4:6). We are called new creatures, and are overcome by God’s power (2 Cor. 10:4). What a mystery is grace, and the power of God that works in us! ‘He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus’ (1 Cor. 1:30).

Here are the verses:

Ephesians 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to the hardness of heart.

Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot.

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved –

Ephesians 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

Acts 16:14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshipper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

John 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved –

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh by have divine power to destroy strongholds.

1 Corinthians 1:30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

“Voices From The Past Volume I, Puritan Devotional Readings” edited by Richard Rushing 2009, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh UK, Carlisle PA USA
Scripture is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), Copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

Photo by Trevor Gerzen on Unsplash

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