Sunday, March 30, 2008

By His grace alone

Galations.c.3.v.3-7 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another, but when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Saviour appeared He saved us not because of deeds done by us in righteuosness but in virtue of His own mercy by the washing od regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
There seems to be a big question in the church as to whether or not man has a free will. I think he has free will to disobey and reject God, how could love be satisfied with anything less, and man under the federal headship of Adam has indeed taken the way of free-will and disobedience and lives under the consequences of that to this day, every time we sin and disobey God we are fully endorsing Adam's original sin for ourselves.
But having taken the way of free-will man is not now able of his free-will able to turn back to God, since free-will is man's disobedience and sin how could it possibly be a way or a means of his restoration back to God and blessing?
He might have desire to serve and to please God but the way and means to do so he has not. This is exactly what St. Paul meant in the 7th chapter of Romans when he says in verse 14 onwards "we know that [God's] law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin, I do not understand my own actions for I do not do what I want but I do the very thing [sin] that I hate." Theologians are ever in a foment about whether St. Paul is talking as a christian or someone who is not saved, I have never seen the difficulty they have [but then I am not a theologian] for St. Paul says quite clearly that he, in the example he is quoting, is carnal, sold under sin, therefore he is clearly describing somebody not saved and this is fully in line with the context of chapter 7. In verse 18 he says "for I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is in my flesh, I can will what is right but I cannot do it." Mankind has free-will but free-will is not the means or way of finding God or serving Him.
What I am writing in a short treatise here needs a book almost as large as an encyclopedia, I would heartily recommend the writings or the sermons of C.H.Spurgeon to anybody trying to get a grasp on the doctrines of free-grace over and against the doctrines of free-will, the two theologies are oceans apart and not only affect the manner in which people are saved but also the whole quality of their christian walk and attainment of the blessings and fruit promised by God to them thereafter.
The almost universally held theology in the modern church is the free-will theology, whereas in ages past it was almost universally free-grace and I would suggest, as many more important and auspicious persons than me have suggested past and present, that this is at the root and core of so very, very much that is wrong in the church today.
So if man by his own free choice is neither able to find God or to serve Him how is he to be saved? what hope has he at all? you say through faith, yes but faith is a spiritual attribute and the bible teaches that man's spirit is slain within him, dead through trespasses and sins, Do you wonder then that God seems unreal or remote to the man who is not saved? is it any wonder at all that he tries to fill this awful loneliness and emptiness with perverted pleasure and drugs and drunkeness? which lead him on to ever increasing depression and death.
What then? Ephesians.c.2.vs8-9 for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God, not because of works, lest any man should boast.
All must depend upon a going forth of the Holy Spirit of the Living God into the heart of the one who hears the good news of Jesus Christ and His salvation, it is for God's Spirit to bring about conviction and surrender for the forgiveness of sins at the cross, it is not for the man upon the urgings of the preacher to decide whether to accept or deny Christ.
The appeal of the preacher should be not to the hearer to make a decision but his appeal should be to God to send the Holy Spirit from heaven to demonstrate and bear witness to the gospel message by working in the hearts of the listeners, it is just this work that is missing in modern evangelism and which is the cause of many, many people coming into the church who are not truly saved.

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