THE SELF-HELP IDOL
When it comes to rugged individualism, we are the worst generation in American history trying to practice such, especially when applied to the doctrine of salvation. We have been trying to cover our shame and guilt since the fall of mankind really. We find ways to cover our sins by our own efforts. We like to be religious. We follow rules and laws thinking they lead to eternal life. Even after being driven from the Garden of Eden, God had to protect the Garden from His creatures, who would have gone back in and eaten the fruit from the tree of life and lived forever in a rebellious sinful state. God would have none of that!
WAS GOD OBLIGATED TO SAVE ANYONE AFTER THE FALL?
God was only obligated to keep His word to Adam and Eve about the results of their disobedience. That word was “…you shall surely die”! Anything contrary to that, is mercy and grace, to unworthy sinners. Man is responsible for His own sin and rebellion. God did not force Adam to sin! He is not a victim. Their choices in the Garden of Eden brought about the enslavement to sin of mankind’s will. As Adam’s children, we all fell with him and our wills are in bondage to sin. Knowing what bondage to sin means, and also, how that in that bondage we were children of Satan, in his control and domain is absolutely necessary for people to understand and see if they wish to appreciate the work of the Gospel for such ones!
MAN IS IMPOTENT WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION, AND SANCTIFICATION!
You and I can’t pull Christ down from heaven and “make Him Lord of our lives” because He is in charge of regeneration and the new birth. Preachers may say such things, but people can’t make God do anything. Christ Jesus is LORD of our lives from the New Birth to our continued entrance into heaven! He can’t be Lord later, He doesn’t come in a divided package. It is HIM ALONE as HE is or None of Him!
He is in charge of all things including our salvation. We see this starting in the Garden. It was God who covered Adam and Eve with clothing which represented God protecting them from His wrath which they deserved because of their rebellion and sin. It was a picture of the blood of Christ being shed to atone for sin. Their fig leaves couldn’t do it. God chose to use a Lamb, an animal, to portray the work of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who would take away sin!
The bondage of sin controlled the will of Adam and Eve after their rebellion. Only God could break that bondage and free them.
,We are, before salvation, as children of Adam and Eve, a fallen people with captivated wills in bondage to sin. We have a sinful heart, a sinful soul, a sinful spirit and a sinful mind. That is complete depravity existing due to the fall! This is now considered the FLESH, after we have been saved because that FLESH where sin and fallenness still resides has not been changed yet. We as fallen unsaved people willfully act, sin, and live our daily lives controlled by Satan, the world and the flesh, until Christ Jesus sets us free to walk in the Spirit with Him.
WHAT MUST WE DO?
So what is man able to do? Nothing! “Salvation comes from the Lord.” Romans 9:16 states, “It does not depend on man’s desire or effort but on God’s mercy.” John 6:44 states, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Because this happens then a person acts by the spiritual abilities given to him which includes Faith and Repentance inseparable gifts from God! Those are clear statements. Grace comes solely from God without any effort or action by us. God chooses to call and He calls and He saves period! The word of God states He is the “author and finisher of our faith”! If we confess our sins and faith in Christ, it is only because God has changed us first! For no one seeks after the real God, no one! Paul said this in Romans 3:10-18 as he quoted Psalm 14:1-3.
Some falsely say, “We have a free will and God would never interfere with that.” That is absolutely nonsensical. Throughout the Bible we can see God interfering in man’s stubborn, sinful acts. We can see God changing man’s will throughout the Bible. Even a casual reading of the scriptures will show God interferes in both saved and lost people’s wills and actions! God prevented the King from sinning when he took Abraham’s wife Sarah. The will of the King was changed because God interfered with the King’s plans.
If you want to see how much the Bible says on the subject of our will read Martin Luther’s book “Bondage of the Will.” It is the best book ever written on the subject beside the Bible!
Until people realize all things we receive from God is by absolute pure grace, without any effort by man, there will be confusion, frustration, unbelief and eventually despair. Man has erected his will up on an altar whereby he worships at its feet! Our wills must bow to the Sovereign God of the Universe and be in His control!
If you have been saved thank God He has called you and given you life eternal, forgiving you of your rebellion and sins. One may ask why me? Why would God choose me and not another? One answer is it was not due to anything of merit. We do not deserve grace and mercy! We can only say “it was for the glory of His grace He did this”! Read Romans Chapter 9 for a evaluation on this matter. We were not worthy of it. So worship Him and honor His word!
Blessings and Grace to you from our Lord Jesus!
by Lamar Carnes