No Man

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:44

How then does the Father draw men? Arminian preachers generally say that God draws men by the preaching of the gospel. Very true; the preaching of the gospel is the instrument of drawing men, but there must be something more than this. Let me ask to whom did Christ address these words? Why, to the people of Capernaum, where He had often preached, where He had uttered mournfully and plaintively the woes of the Law and the invitations of the gospel. In that city He had done many mighty works and worked many miracles. In fact, such teaching and such miraculous attestation had He given them, that He declared that Tyre and Sidon would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes if they had been blessed with such privileges.

Now, if the preaching of Christ Himself did not avail to the enabling these men to come to Christ, it cannot be possible that all that was intended by the drawing of the Father was simply preaching. No, brethren, you must note again, He does not say no man can come except the minister draw him, but except the Father draw him. Now there is such a thing as being drawn by the gospel, and drawn by the minister, without being drawn by God. Clearly, it is a divine drawing that is meant, a drawing by the Most High God—the First Person of the most glorious Trinity sending out the Third Person the Holy Spirit, to induce men to come to Christ.

– Charles Spurgeon

Assurance

Most people in church’s today have very little assurance of their salvation.  For many years I was in the same boat.  I was constantly asking myself if  I had prayed enough, read my Bible enough, been at church often enough, etc.  I based my salvation upon those things instead of faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.  What it boils down to is that you and I cannot do anything to merit our salvation.  Our sinful fallen nature makes it impossible to “do” anything for God.

Psalm 3:7-8 (ESV) – Arise, O Lord!  Save me, O my God!  For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.  Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessings be on your people.

I used to read that and think that I could just arbitrarily call out to God and he would save me.  Yes, I do have to call out to God to be saved, just as everyone else does, but it is so easy to skip over the ramifications of verse 8 which states, “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessings be on your people.”  It is God who holds the blessing of salvation and he is the one that dispenses it to whomever He wills.

Oh, I hear the cries of anger that I would have the audacity to say that, but let me ask you something.  If I were to walk into a crowd of 100 people and choose 5 of them to give a gift of $100 to, who could say I was being unfair.  The money is mine (salvation belongs to the Lord) and I am free to choose who to give it too (your blessings be on your people).  God shares His common grace with everyone on the earth (see Matthew 5:45) which is way more than we rebels deserve, but his electing grace that calls us to salvation falls on those whom he has predestined before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-10) and is according to his purpose (Romans 8:28-30).

Because I know that He has chosen me, ripped the stubborn, rebellious, calloused heart out of me and replaced it with a heart that desires to serve Him, worship Him and acknowledge Him as Lord of all, I now have an assurance that comforts me instead of having the torment of wondering about it.

In that light, I would like to continue to share the posts of SlimJim from The Domain For Truth on Assurance.  Part 6, entitled “Assurance of Salvation Part 6: Do you understand the Gospel?” is the latest post, but I’ve placed links to the 5 prior posts as well.

Assurance of Salvation Part 6: Do you understand the Gospel?

Assurance of Salvation Part 5: Christians can Know that they are saved

Assurance of Salvation Part 4: Objections to Perseverance of the Saints

Assurance of Salvation Part 3: Perseverance means a Believer Endure

Assurance of Salvation Part 2: Foundation for Perseverance of the Saints.

Assurance of Salvation Part 1: Why study on the topic of Christian assurance?

And a big Uhrah! to SlimJim.  NavyChaplainPraysWithMarines

Whosoever Will

Many times when I have spoken to someone about the electing grace of God, the response has been, “I believe in WHOSOEVER WILL.” I suppose that such a response is meant to imply that these two Bible teachings are mutually exclusive of one another or perhaps even diametrically opposed. Everyone who preaches the electing love of God believes that THE ELECT WILLINGLY COME TO CHRIST! The fact is that not only do I believe WHOSOEVER WILL. I know WHO they are! Our Lord said, “All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Our Lord said, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45). Our Lord said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). The heavenly Father said to His beloved Son, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power” (Psalm 110:3). Who will come to Christ? Those who have been given to Christ, taught of the Father, and made willing in the day of our Lord’s power. They are His sheep! – Tim James

God’s Sovereignty in the Salvation of Men

A Sermon

by

Jonathan Edwards

Sermon IV of Seventeen Occasional Sermons, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two, The Banner of Truth Trust, Reprinted 1995, pp. 849-854.

Romans 9:18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Jonathan EdwardsTHE apostle, in the beginning of this chapter, expresses his great concern and sorrow of heart for the nation of the Jews, who were rejected of God. This leads him to observe the difference which God made by election between some of the Jews and others, and between the bulk of that people and the christian Gentiles. In speaking of this he enters into a more minute discussion of the sovereignty of God in electing some to eternal life, and rejecting others, than is found in any other part of the Bible; in the course of which he quotes several passages from the Old Testament, confirming and illustrating this doctrine. In the ninth verse he refers us to what God said to Abraham, showing his election of Isaac before Ishmael – “For this is the word of promise; At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son:” then to what God had said to Rebecca, showing his election of Jacob before Esau; “The elder shall serve the younger:” in the thirteenth verse, to a passage from Malachi, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated:” in the fifteenth verse, to what God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion:” and the verse preceding the text, to what God says to Pharaoh, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” In what the apostle says in the text, he seems to have respect especially to the two last-cited passages: to what God said to Moses in the fifteenth verse, and to what he said to Pharaoh in the verse immediately preceding. God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” To this the apostle refers in the former part of the text. And we know how often it is said of Pharaoh, that God hardened his heart. And to this the apostle seems to have respect in the latter part of the text; “and whom he will he hardeneth.” We may observe in the text,

1. God’s different dealing with men. He hath mercy on some, and hardeneth others. When God is here spoken of as hardening some of the children of men, it is not to be understood that God by any positive efficiency hardens any man’s heart. There is no positive act in God, as though he put forth any power to harden the heart. To suppose any such thing would be to make God the immediate author of sin. God is said to harden men in two ways: by withholding the powerful influences of his Spirit, without which their hearts will remain hardened, and grow harder and harder; in this sense he hardens them, as he leaves them to hardness. And again, by ordering those things in his providence which, through the abuse of their corruption, become the occasion of their hardening. Thus God sends his word and ordinances to men which, by their abuse, prove an occasion of their hardening. So the apostle said, that he was unto some “a savour of death unto death.” So God is represented as sending Isaiah on this errand, to make the hearts of the people fat, and to make their ears heavy, and to shut their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isa. 6:10. Isaiah’s preaching was, in itself, of a contrary tendency, to make them better. But their abuse of it rendered it an occasion of their hardening. As God is here said to harden men, so he is said to put a lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets. 2 Chron. 18:22. That is, he suffered a lying spirit to enter into them. And thus he is said to have bid Shimei curse David. 2 Sam. 16:10. Not that he properly commanded him; for it is contrary to God’s commands. God expressly forbids cursing the ruler of the people. Exod. 22:28. But he suffered corruption at that time so to work in Shimei, and ordered that occasion of stirring it up, as a manifestation of his displeasure against David.

2. The foundation of his different dealing with mankind; viz. his sovereign will and pleasure. “He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” This does not imply, merely, that God never shows mercy or denies it against his will, or that he is always Continue reading

Does the Doctrine of Unconditional election make God a “respecter of persons”?

This is taken from the Monergism website.

 

The charge we often hear from those who reject God’s unconditional election is that it makes God a respecter of persons. As is the case with most protests against unconditional election it is important to point out that this is a moral rather than exegetical argument.  And if this is the basis for their rejecting the doctrine of salvation by grace ALONE, rather than appealing directly to the Scriptures which repeatedly declare unconditional election (Eph 1:3,4; Rom 9), then one is basing their theological future on shaky ground…

Nonetheless I still think it is important to face up to this charge to see if it has any validity. To do this we need to understand how the Bible the “respecter of persons” and then let it interpret itself as to what it actually means, and then determine whether or not God would be guilty of it if unconditional election were true. Below is a wide sampling of its occurrence in the Scripture:

“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.” (Leviticus 19: 15 KJV)

“Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.” (Deuteronomy 16: 19 KJV)

“For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means,
that his banished be not expelled from him.” (II Samuel 14: 14 KJV)

“Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.” (II Chronicles 19: 7 KJV)

“These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.” (Proverbs 24: 23 KJV)

“To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” (Proverbs 28: 21 KJV)

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” (I Peter 1: 17 KJV)

“God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10: 34)

“For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2: 11)

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” (James 2: 1-9 KJV)

Here we have multiple instances of this phrase in both the Old and New Testament. So what are these passages talking about? They are clearly warning the believer against showing favoritism or partiality, because they declare that God Himself does not show partiality or favoritism. And. most importantly, in each of these instances it means neither we nor God give special treatment to a person because of his position, merit, wealth, influence, social standing, authority or popularity. Thus ‘respecter of persons’ means we are not to favor one person over the other because of ANY superior personal trait in the one favored, and likewise we are not to show prejudice toward those who lack these characteristics.

So when God unconditionally elects a person in Christ does he first determine who he will choose based on their position, wealth, good looks, influence etc? No. By definition unconditional election means unconditional. It is not conditioned on ANYTHING in us or potentially in us. God does not stand to gain from currying anyone’s favor … even those who are in high positions … because God gave them that position, wealth, authority or social standing to begin with. The Bible unambiguously teaches, therefore, that God is no respecter of persons in election. Those who are chosen are chosen “in Christ” not because God is thinking about what he has to gain by helping them over others.. God has no need for such things, so, by definition, his choosing us cannot be tainted with such a motive.

I want you to notice, however, the last quote from the apostle James that I offered above. In the midst of his commands to be a respecter of persons it asks: “…Hath not God chosen the poor of this world?” James question is rhetorical, of course. Because yes indeed God HAS chosen the poor of the world … i.e. those who are spiritually bankrupt who have lost all hope in themselves… S0 God is not looking to benefit from those who are already full, but shows special care those who are empty or impoverished. It is therefore not something God is looking for in people but a lack of something. So according to the Bible, showing special favor to the poor is the very antithesis of what it means to show favoritism or respect of persons. God is showing mercy to him who does not deserve mercy and the poor recognizes this fact. The Apostle Paul also says the same thing: “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” And then in the next line, Paul emphasizes God unconditional grace: “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.”. Notice Paul here even makes this a matter of boasting whether one acknowledges that salvation is of Christ alone.

Let’s take this a step further: it is actually those who defend CONDITIONAL election who make God a respecter of persons. This is because, if it were true that meeting some condition prompted God’s decision to elect his people then His choice of them would be based on their wisdom, prudence, sound judgment, or good sense to believe. He would therefore be looking at the character or merit of that person and choosing them because of it. The Bible, on the contrary, declares that we are all ill-deserving and, as such, God reserves the right to have mercy on whom he will, which is not based in any way on the will of the flesh (John 1:13; Rom 9:15, 16). If God is basing his election on who will have faith then this would, in fact, make God a respecter of persons because these persons are meeting God’s criteria in order to be chosen.

It is most ironic that those bringing this charge are the very ones who make God a respect or of persons by making God’s love and election “conditional”. It is the synergist who believes God shows favoritism or partiality because it is based on whether or not that person meritoriously meets the condition God gives him. In synergism God’s love for his people is not unconditional but is given only when someone meets the right condition… i.e. whether someone has faith or not. He chooses them only if they believe in him. Isn’t that favoritism? This conditional love is quite different than the love we expect from parents in everyday life. Consider, do you love your children because they do something for you? No, of course not. Don’t you still love them even when they do something wrong? Of course. As an example, if your child rebelled against you and made you angry then soon after ran out into oncoming traffic would you run out to save him? or would you wait until he used his own will to prove his love to you first? No as a parent who loved their child you would run out to MAKE CERTAIN your child was not hit by a car regardless of the ebbs and flows of your relationship with him. Your love for him and your choice to save him are based on unconditional love. In fact we would consider the parent who first determined the love of their child as a condition to save them most unloving and cursed.

It is important that we further draw out these every day analogies to show how unreasonable this charge against unconditional election is. Consider the very world we live in. In God’s perfect wisdom and because of the fall, for His own sovereign good purposes, some people are born into better families, richer countries, healthier bodies, better times, better conditions, more intelligence, etc. Others are born into AIDS, starvation and poverty. We see these “unfair” situations all around us. Does God have nothing to do with where people are born? Did people born into starvation have any say in the matter? Frankly I do not see the Arminian shaking his fist at God for being unfair here. Yet these conditions we see in the world are there because it is part of God’s judgement due to the fall. Further, everyone is born equally guilty in Adam and so it is perfectly just that not all get the same benefits in this life when they are born. If this is true of everyday life why is it such a stretch to carry the same idea into eternity? it is hypocrisy not to recognize this inconsistency.

Next, let us consider the example of Jesus himself in Scripture. Jesus chose a specific time and place to come to earth and reveal himself and not other times. He healed some and not others. He raised Lazarus, his friend, but not everyone. There were other families in the world that were just as sad as Lazarus’ family…many of them just faithful, just as godly.  According to human unaided reason, Jesus singling Lazarus out for resurrection this might appear to show partiality or favoritism. Jesus actually had to power to raise people from the dead and you would think that if this was the case he would help EVERY family which experienced the death of a loved one. This would not be too hard for him. But Jesus did not do so.

By defining favoritism the way Arminians do you would think that Jesus would go around healing everyone, raising everyone, and making no distinctions and divisions whatsoever. Or, you would think he would at least give everyone the choice to have their loved ones raised. But the Jesus presented in the Bible is obviously not the Jesus of Arminianism or Universalism. He’s a Jesus who chooses to bring certain people to life and leave others in their own rebellion. Matt 11:27 says, “…no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Again Jesus himself plainly teaches that he makes distinctions again in Matt 20:1-16 in the parable of Laborers in the Vineyard when He gives full wages to the laborers who worked an hour. He concludes, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.” Does this sound like the picture of God painted by Arminians.

In the end the Bible teaches that God chooses to have mercy on some ill-deserving people out of the entire mass of ill-deserving people. God is not obligated, in any sense, to save anyone because none are his children by nature, but by grace when He mercifully adopts them into his family. The others are rebelling against him and reject him, so he leaves them to their own desire. God is all wise and always conspires with his own wisdom in choosing to do what he does.  By definition God’s choices are always good, even if you cannot see it.  If God doesn’t satisfactorily explain to you the good reasons He has for what he does, do you thereby condemn Him for it? Well, most of us don’t explain all the good reasons we have for what we do to our own child. Am I therefore immoral? There’s several answers I could give that my child would not understand. On what basis do you think you could understand any God-justifying reason there is?

God loves his people because he loves them. Is there some better reason OUTSIDE or ABOVE God that should make him do so?  The Arminian would have us think so. But to say so is to profoundly misapprehend the nature of who God is.  We know God is always good, so if he wills something to be so, it is right irrespective of whether you understand.

Next, consider your own life and how you think you should treat others. Is it is okay to treat your children any differently than you neighbors or do you treat them exactly the same?

The question really is not whether God shows favorites but IN WHAT SENSE does God not show favorites because God chose Abraham out of all the people’s of the earth, not because he saw something good in him, or because he earned God’s favor, but because God chooses to. He saves the poor, the wretched and the sinners of the earth according to his sovereign good pleasure in Christ.

Spurgeon Thursday

The sermon I have chosen to share, I’m afraid, would more than likely get the Prince of Preachers booted out from behind the pulpit of most churches today.  I hear many people talk about Spurgeon and the fact that he was a great preacher, but then I hear their doctrine, and have to think to myself, they only say that Spurgeon was a great preacher based on reputation, not because they read his sermons and know what he taught.  For if they did happen to read just 15 or 20 of Spurgeons sermons, and there are over 3000 to choose from, I think they would find that their own views of Doctrine are vastly different that what Spurgeon believed.  I love to read Spurgeons sermons and I think he was a tremendous preacher and theologian.  I don’t believe this because of his reputation for packing out a church Sunday after Sunday, I believe this because his sermons make me angry; they cut me; they make me take a look at the absolute sovereignty of God.  Hebrews 2:9-10 –

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.  For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

God, was for a short time during His incarnation, made a little lower than the angels, but as the verse above states, ALL things flow from Him and ALL things belong to Him.  That, my friend, is a sovereignty that none of use can claim.  Until we learn that God is sovereign in all things, and that is a process that will continue until we are perfected in glory, our theology, our doctrine, our beliefs are beneath what they should be.

So, with that, I share the following:

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION

NOS. 41, 42

A SERMON DELIVERED  ON SABBATH MORNING, SEPTEMBER 2, 1855,

BY THE REV. C H. SPURGEON,

AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK.

 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through  sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining  of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14.

spurgeon 2IF there were no other text in the Sacred Word except this one, I think we would  all be bound to receive and acknowledge the truthfulness of the great and glorious Doctrine of God’s ancient choice of His family. But there seems to be an inveterate prejudice in the human mind against this Doctrine—and  although  most other Doctrines will be received by professing Christians,  some with caution, others with pleasure—this one seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded! In many of our pulpits it would be reckoned a high sin and treason to preach a sermon upon Election because they could not make it what they call a, “practical”  discourse! I believe they have erred from the Truth of God. Whatever God has revealed, He has revealed for a purpose. There is nothing in Scripture which may not, under the influence of God’s Spirit, be turned into a practical discourse—“for all Scripture is given by Inspiration of God and is profitable”  for some purpose of spiritual  usefulness. It is true, it may not be turned into a free will discourse—that  we know right well—but it can be turned into a practical Free Grace discourse. And Free Grace practice is the best practice when the true Doctrines of God’s Immutable Love are brought to bear upon the hearts of saints and sinners! Now I trust, this morning,  some of you who are startled at the very sound of this word will say, “I will give it a fair hearing. I will lay aside my prejudices. I will hear what this man has to say.” Do not shut your ears and say at once, “It is high Doctrine.” Who has authorized you to call it high or low? Why should you oppose yourself to God’s Doctrine? Remember what became of the children who found fault with God’s Prophet and exclaimed, “Go up, you bald-head! Go up, you bald-head!” Say nothing  against God’s Doctrines, lest haply some evil beast should come out of the forest and devour you, also! There are other woes beside the open judgment of Heaven—take  heed that these fall not on your head. Lay aside your prejudices—listen calmly, listen dispassionately—hear what Scripture says! And when you receive the Truth, if God should be pleased to reveal and manifest it to your souls, do not be ashamed to confess it! To confess you were wrong, yesterday, is only to acknowledge that you are a little wiser today. Instead of being a reflection on yourself, it is an honor to your judgment and shows that you are improving in the knowledge of the Truth of God! Do not be ashamed to learn and to cast aside your old doctrines and views. But take up that which you may more plainly see to be in the Word of God. And if you do not see it to be here in the Bible—whatever I may say, or whatever authorities I may plead—I  beseech you, as you love your souls, reject it! And if from this pulpit you ever hear things contrary to this Sacred Word, remember that the Bible must be first—and  God’s minister must lie underneath it!

We must not stand on the Bible to preach—we must preach with the Bible above our heads. After all we have preached, we are well aware that the mountain of Truth is higher than our eyes can discern—clouds  and darkness are round about its summit and we cannot discern its topmost pinnacle. Yet we will try to preach it as well as we can. But since we are mortal and liable to err, exercise your judgment—“Try  the spirits, whether they are of God”—and  if on mature reflection on your bended knees, you are led to disregard Election—a thing which I consider to be utterly impossible—then forsake it! Do not hear it preached,  but believe and confess whatever  you see to be God’s Word. I can say no more than that by way of introduction.

Now, first. I shall speak a little concerning the truthfulness of this Doctrine—“God  has from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” Secondly, I shall try to prove that this Election is absolute“He has from the beginning chosen you to salvation,” not for sanctification, but, “through  sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Thirdly, this Election is eternal because the text says, “God has from the Continue reading

What is Man?

Paul WasherI recently had the opportunity to listen to two sermons by Paul Washer on the book of Ephesians.  As usual, they have challenged me to rethink how I think about God and who He is.  I’ve included a partial transcript I made of the second sermon.  I’ve included the audio files of both sermons and you can listen to them by clicking on the links provided at the bottom of this page.

From Ephesians 1, Part 2:

When does God get scandalous for man?  When does God become scandalous for man?  When we talk about His love? No.  When we talk about His mercy? No.  When do people get angry when we talk about God?  When we talk about His righteousness.  Now think about that.  When you say that God is righteous, men get angry.  Now why would men get angry at the idea of a righteous God?  Because man is not righteous.

What is the great scandal about the Law of God?  When I’m speaking, especially at universities, I hear people say all the time – “I don’t want to hear about the Law of God!”  “Why, I ask?”  “Because it suppresses me, it oppresses me and holds me down.”  I had a student actually stand up and say that one time.  I asked him, in front of the entire audience, please explain to me which law is oppressive?  Which one do you hate?  Is it ‘love your neighbor as yourself?’  Is it ‘you shall not lie or bare false witness?’  Is it ‘you shall not commit adultery and steal another mans wife or that you should not reduce another human being to an object to be used for your sexual pleasure?’  Exactly which law is it that oppresses you  and if God’s law does oppress you, then what does that say about you?

You see, the reason why men are hostile towards God is this, God is good, and men are not.  When we talk about this mass of humanity we are talking about a mass of people given over to corruption, hostile towards God and hostile towards His law.  But also we are talking about a humanity that loves evil and refuses reconciliation.  Now think about that, a humanity that not just loves evil, but a humanity that refuses reconciliation. 

Humanity cannot come to God.  Men cannot come to God on their own.  When I say that people respond, “Well, if men cannot come to God on their own, then God is wrong in judging them in the same way we would be wrong for judging a man who was blind for not being able to read a sign on the road.  What do you mean, man cannot come to God?”  I mean that because Jesus said that. But what is the explanation and why is such a man held guilty?  Man cannot come to God because man will not come to God and he will not come to God because he hates Him.  He hates Him because He is good.

Have you ever seen an old lady whose face is etched with bitterness and you say to her, “Ma’am, you must forgive your husband.”  She responds, “I cannot forgive him.”  Now, she speaks the same language as her husband and they live in the same house.  She is not saying she cannot, she is saying she will not and why will she not?  Because of her hostility towards her husband.

What about a political prisoner who is in chains?  The king comes down to the dungeon and says, “I will throw open the door, all you have to do is bow your knee to me and acknowledge my sovereignty.”  The prisoner leaps up, grabs the door, slams it closed and says “I would rather rot in prison than bow my knee to you.”

That is man.

Jesus said this in John 3:19-20:

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

Light came into the world.  I’m always hearing people say that if the believers would just live like Jesus then people would be converted.  No, you would have a lot of believers crucified.  Jesus came into the world and what did the world do?  They crucified him!  Why?  He gives us the reason: 

…that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Jesus said in 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.

In John 6:65:

And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

I want to read a paragraph that I have written here in my notes to make myself as clear as possible.

When the scriptures speak about election, it is not in the context of a mass of humanity victimized by the devil, that wants to be saved, but lacks the faculties to do so.  That is the way, a lot of times, men are presented; victims.  No that is not the context.  The context is this.  It is in the context of a mass of humanity that is morally corrupt, hostile towards God, that rejects every offer of redemption and that would rather spend an eternity given over to corruption and the misery’s of hell than to be subject to God in heaven.

One of the reasons why certain people have so much difficulty with election and they have so much difficulty with hell is because they think man is good, that there is something good in man that wants God.  There is a little spark, there is a little something, there’s got to be some goodness in there somewhere.  Therefore they say hell is immoral, how could God throw man in hell?  What you need to understand is that that is not true.  Hell is moral because man is immoral.  The only reason they may look a little moral in the context of present society is because the grace of God is restraining their evil.  But if God where to pull back, man would become monsters of iniquity.  So every time you see some vile crime that comes out on the local news, or some atrocity committed by some government that is beyond the mind to comprehend, realize that that is you apart from the grace of God.

Ephesians 1, Part 1

Ephesians 1, Part 2