Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Gospel on Tiptoe

According to the Bible, human beings in their natural condition are in deep trouble. They are described in various places as hostile to God1, dead in sin2, inclined only to evil3, hearts intent on evil from birth4, blinded by the god of this world5, and actually incapable of accepting the things of God6. We call it the "sin nature", and it's everywhere. And it's bad, very bad. Biblically humans are not "basically good" -- they're hopelessly evil7.

If the Scriptures are true, what possible hope is there for anyone? I mean, we aren't going to make it. We don't have the means. We don't have the ability. We don't even have the inclination. So what does that leave us?

Well, the Bible is equally clear that 1) God is Sovereign8 and 2) His salvation is a gift9, not something earned10. (Whew! Good thing! Because "earned" is not going to work for Natural Man.) God chose11 before the foundation of the world whom He would save12, who would be His. It was not based on human free will or on human effort13. It is not by human birth or work or will, but by God14. God chooses not on foreseen work or choices, but on His own purpose15.

In order to accomplish this salvation, God sent His Son16, Jesus, who laid down His life for His sheep17. He accomplished the atonement He intended18. With this act on the part of Father and Son, God would be both just and justifier of those who have faith in Christ19.

God is still left with a dilemma. Humans are not ready, willing, or able to come to Him. God issues a call, but Natural Man will not respond. Thus, God ensures that those who are called certainly respond20. God makes absolutely certain that everyone He intends to save comes21. None are lost22.

That leaves only the outcome to consider. If sinful Man is chosen by God, paid for by Christ, and born of God, so that he cannot be lost, what possible outcome could there be? Well, biblically, He who believes in the Son has eternal life23. None can be lost22. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them23. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God24. What happens? Because it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure25, Jesus loses not one of those whom the Father has given Him25.

Now, I don't know how closely you've been paying attention, but I've laid out a basic, straightforward presentation of the Gospel. I've included a host of references straight from the Word of God. And I've given the standard "5 points of Calvinism", again, with a host of references straight from the Word of God. You may disagree, of course, and that's fine, but don't let anyone tell you that it's "doctrine of men" when the very clear source is Scripture. And maybe, just maybe, you might begin to see those "5 points" in a different light. Okay, perhaps that's overly optimistic. I can dream, can't I?
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1 Rom 8:7; 2 Eph 2:1-3; 3 Gen 6:5; 4 Gen 8:21; 5 2 Cor 4:4; 6 1 Cor 2:14; 7 Rom 3:10-18; 8 1 Tim 6:15; 9 Eph 2:8; 10 Rom 11:6; 11 Matt 22:14; 12 Eph 1:4; 13 Rom 9:16; 14 John 1:13; 15 Rom 9:11; 16 1 John 4:9-10; 17 John 10:15; 18 John 19:30; 19 Rom 3:21-26; 20 Acts 13:48; 21 John 6:37; 22 John 10:28-29; 23 Eph 2:10; 24 1 John 3:9; 25 John 6:39

2 comments:

David said...

It always seems odd to see clear passages being ignored in order to hold to a different theology. For example, when it comes to Free Will against Sovereignty, it is much easier to handle those passages that seem to portray Free Will as king when standing on Sovereignty, but those Sovereignty passages can't just be explained, they have to be ignored when standing on Free Will.

Stan said...

I suppose it depends on your definition of "Free Will". If "Free Will" means "no influences at all", then "Sovereignty" collides. Of course, if that's what it means, then it makes no sense at all, but that wasn't the point, was it?