THE WISDOM OF GOD DISPLAYED IN THE WAY OF SALVATION
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And here it must be premised that, intimately as the conception of salvation is bound up with the Gnostic religion, the idea of salvation accomplished in a definite historical moment to a certain extent remained foreign to it. Indeed, nearly all the Christian Gnostic systems clearly exhibit the great difficulty with which they had to contend in order to reconcile the idea of an historical redeemer, actually occurring in the form of a definite person, with their conceptions of salvation.
In Gnosticism salvation always lies at the root of all existence and all history. In fact salvation , as conceived in Gnosticism, is always a myth, a history of bygone events, an allegory or figure, but not an historical event. The Gnostic ideas of salvation were in the later schools and sects transferred to these persons whom we must consider as rather obscure charlatans and miracle-mongers, just as in other cases they were transferred to the person of Christ.
To this myth the idea of salvation through the earthly Christ can only be attached with difficulty. What drew these two forces together was the energy exerted by the universal idea of salvation in both systems. Christian Gnosticism actually introduced only one new figure into the already existing Gnostic theories, namely that of the historical Saviour Jesus Christ.
Gnosticism was also the pioneer of the Christian Church in the strong emphasis laid on the idea of salvation in religion. He did not minutely analyse the doctrine of predestination as Luther, Calvin and Zwingli did, contenting himself with the summary "Our Salvation is of God, our perdition of ourselves. On being assured that he would not, he stepped out again and declined their methods of salvation.
The prayers are addressed to the God of light, to the whole kingdom of light, to the glorious angels, and to Mani himself, who is apostrophized in them as "the great tree, which is all salvation. For, after all, the Christian monks never quite forgot that salvation is given by God through Christ, whereas the Manichaean electi were actually themselves redeemers. The hope of the advent of an ideal king was only one feature of that larger hope of the salvation of Israel from all evils, which was constantly held forth by all the prophets, from the time when the seers of the 8th century B.
All such passages are frequently called Messianic; but the term is more properly reserved as the specific designation of one particular branch of the Hebrew hope of salvation , which, becoming prominent in post-canonical Judaism, used the name of the Messiah as a technical term which it never is in the Old Testament , and exercised a great influence on New Testament thought - the term" the Christ " 6 xpccrros being itself nothing more than the translation of" the Messiah.
So the great Judaean prophets of the 8th century connect the salvation of Israel with the rise of a Davidic king, full of Yahweh's Spirit, in whom all the energies of Yahweh's transcendental kingship are as it were incarnate Isa. Amidst the last convulsions of political Judaism a new spiritual conception of the kingdom of God, of salvation , and of the Saviour of God's anointing, had shaped itself through the preaching, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Churches now became, in form and decoration, epitomes of the Christian scheme of salvation as the middle ages understood it.
John of Damascus, the great exponent of dogma in the 8th century, gave expression to the result of a uniform development which had been going on for centuries when he taught that Christ offers the relics to Christians as means of salvation. The Old and the New Covenants are related to one another as imperfect earthly and perfect heavenly forms of the same method of salvation , each with its own type of sacrifice and priesthood.
Its doctrine of salvation was a guide to, if not absolute non-existence, yet cessation of all consciousness of existence Nirvana. While Irenaeus held fast the traditional eschatological beliefs, yet his conception of the Christian salvation as a deification of man tended to weaken their hold on Christian thought. As contrasted with the colossal display of power on the part of the Church of Rome, it must be allowed that the churches which in the 16th century broke off from their allegiance to the Latin centre at first showed no great anxiety for the extension of the gospel and the salvation of the heathen.
For now the corporation was styled " The Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America," and its object was defined to be " not only to seek the outward welfare and prosperity of those colonies, but more especially to endeavour the good and salvation of their immortal souls, and the publishing the most glorious gospel of Christ among them.
The Salvation Army also has missions in India, Ceylon and Japan; but these cannot be called " non-denominational," because the Army has gradually become a very strict denomination itself. In before the similar work of the Salvation Army was inaugurated the Church Army established labour homes in London and elsewhere, with the object of giving a "fresh start in life" to the outcast and destitute.
The dogmas of Epicurus became to his followers a creed embodying the truths on which salvation depended; and they passed on from one generation to another with scarcely a change or addition. This abnormal condition necessitates a fresh creative act, that of salvation , which was, however, from the first, part of the divine plan. As a preparation for this salvation supernatural revelation was required for the purifying and revivification of the religious consciousness, and the Saviour Himself had to appear in human history as a fresh miraculous creation, born of a woman but not begotten by a man.
This stage of development inaugurated by the Saviour is attained by means of His kingdom or the community of salvation , which is both moral and religious, and in the first instance and temporarily only religious - that is, a church. All were universalists in so far as they believed in the ultimate salvation of all men.
In spite of all, the dominant fact remains, that to the end he was zealous for his God and for the salvation of his people, nay, of the whole of humanity, and that he never lost the unconquerable certainty of his divine mission. There is, for instance, no difficulty in deriving the Arab meaning of " revelation " from the common Aramaic " salvation ," and this transference must have taken place in a community for which salvation formed the central object of faith, i. Revelations of the kind which Mahomet uttered, no unbeliever could more probably, among Christians, since Christianity is in a very peculiar sense the religion of salvation.
Thus he allowed the necessity of good works to salvation , but not in the old sense; proposed to allow the seven sacraments, but only as rites which had no inherent efficacy to salvation , and so on. In the Loci of Melanchthon sought to put the fact of the co-existence of justification and good works in the believer on a secure basis by declaring the latter necessary to eternal life, though the believer's destiny thereto is already fully guaranteed in his justification, In the Loci of he did not retain the doctrine of the necessity of good works in order to salvation , and to this he added, in the Leipzig Interim, "that this in no way countenances the error that eternal life is merited by the worthiness of our own works.
Speaking at Sheffield on the 13th of October he criticized the scheme in more detail, and, as an Imperialist, warned the country against it, emphasizing his own ideal of the future of the empire - "a strong mother with strong children, each working out his own political and fiscal salvation.
And the previous history of religious belief in India would tend to show that emphasis was laid on the fact, less as an explanation of the origin of evil, than as a protest against a then current pessimistic idea that salvation could not be reached on earth, and must therefore be sought for in a rebirth in heaven, in the Brahmaloka.
Themselves giving up this world as hopeless, and looking for salvation in the next, they naturally thought the Buddhists must do the same, and in the absence of any authentic scriptures, to correct the mistake, they interpreted Nirvana, in terms of their own belief, as a state to be reached after death. It should be added that the belief in salvation in this world, in this life, has appealed so strongly to Indian sympathies that from the time of the rise of Buddhism down to the present day it has been adopted as a part of general Indian belief, and Jivanmukti, salvation during this life, has become a commonplace in the religious language of India.
And even the old ideal of life, the salvation of the Arahat to be won in this world and in this world only, by selfculture and self-mastery, is forgotten, or mentioned only to be condemned. The last word of that Scotist theology which ruled at the close of the middle ages was that man must work out his own salvation , and Luther tried to do so in the most approved later medieval fashion by the strictest asceticism.
It was held that the good deeds over and above what were needed for their own salvation by the living or by the saints in heaven, together with the inexhaustible merits of Christ, were all deposited in a treasury out of which they could be taken by the pope and given by him to the faithful. Hence for the indifferent Christian, Attrition, Confession and Indulgence became the three heads in the scheme of the church of the later middle ages for his salvation.
The wildest confusion prevailed, and the lazzaroni massacred numbers of persons suspected of republican sympathies, while the nobility and the educated classes, finding themselves abandoned by their king in this cowardly manner, began to contemplate a republic under French auspices as their only means of salvation from anarchy.
Of the five articles of the Remonstrance of only two now concern us: the possibility of resisting the grace which is indispensable to salvation , and the possibility of falling away from grace even after conversion. Bancroft, " was to make the savages work out their own salvation and that of the priests also. Some of these divisions are mutually antagonistic, denying to each other the name of Christian and even the hope of salvation.
The conception of salvation was mingled with ideas derived from the East during and after the period of captivity. Salvation was for the nation, and the individual was not necessarily participant in it. Hence he attains salvation , being delivered from sin and fear and death, for the divine attributes are not ontological entities to be discussed and defined in the schools, but they are realities, entering into the practical daily life.
Salvation is the comprehension of this fact, and in the apprehension of our essential oneness with the absolute. Allied with the doctrine of God which seeks the solution of the ultimate problem of all philosophy, the doctrine of salvation has taken the most prominent place in the Christian faith: so prominent, indeed, that to a large portion of believers it has been the supreme doctrine, and the doctrine of the deity of Jesus has been valued only because of its necessity on the effect of the atonement. By baptism and the Lord's Supper grace is given ex opere operato , so that man is renewed and made capable of salvation.
As the way of salvation was modified, so too was the idea of salvation : the dream of a Messianic kingdom on earth, with its corollary the resurrection of the physical body, faded away, especially after the Roman empire ado pd y? Salvation henceforth is not the descent of the New Jerusalem out of heaven, but the ascent of the saints to heaven; for the individual it is not the resurrection of the body but the immortality of the soul. These hopes and theories of salvation , however, do not explain the power of Christianity. A vast activity animated the early Church: to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to succour the diseased, to rescue the fallen, to visit the prisoners, to forgive the erring, to teach the ignorant, were ministries of salvation.
None the less the first place is given to the salvation of the soul, since, created for an unending existence, it is of transcendent importance. This is the charter of the Church, and its acceptance is the first requisite for salvation ; for the Church determines doctrine, exercises discipline and administers sacraments. He is dependent, therefore, not upon nature, but upon God's grace for salvation , and this comes through the Church. It is Peter who uses the strongest language in regard to the intolerable burden of the Law as a means of salvation xv.
What was said above of the Christology of the Petrine speeches applies to the whole conception of Messianic salvation , the eschatology, the idea of Jesus as equipped by the Holy Spirit for His Messianic work, found in these speeches, as also to titles like " Jesus the Nazarene " and " the Righteous One " both in and beyond the Petrine speeches. It is believed that such souls continue to be members of the Church of Christ; that they are helped by the suffrages of the living - that is, by prayers, alms and other good works, and more especially by the sacrifice of the Mass; and that, although delayed until "the last farthing is paid," their salvation is assured.
Hence also sick persons are frequently conveyed long distances to a sacred river to heal them of their maladies; and for a dying man to breathe his last at the side of the Ganges is devoutly believed to be the surest way of securing for him salvation and eternal bliss. The difference lies essentially in the belief held as to the means by which the truths defined in these dogmas are to be made effective for the salvation of the world.
Half Europe was full of waverers between Protestantism and Catholicism tolerably certain to decide for the Church that offered them the cheapest terms of salvation ; and even in wholly Catholic countries many, especially of the upper class, might easily be scared away from the confessional by severity.click
Seven Proofs of Unconditional Salvation
I am converted, I am no longer liable to be reborn in a state of suffering, and am assured of final salvation. Abandoning truth and falsehood, pleasure and pain, the Vedas, this world and the next, he shall seek the Universal Soul, in knowledge of which standeth eternal salvation. It was in the year which Kabbalists had calculated as the year of salvation that Sabbatai proclaimed himself Messiah, and in Constantinople came across an able but somewhat unscrupulous man, who pretended that he had been warned by a prophetic voice that Sabbatai was indeed the long-awaited Redeemer.
Nathan of Gaza assumed the role of Elijah, the Messiah's forerunner, proclaimed the coming restoration of Israel and the salvation of the world through the bloodless victory of Sabbatai "riding on a lion with a seven-headed dragon in his jaws" Graetz. To the mob the mob-leader is mysterious in his power of bringing luck and salvation ; to himself also he is a wonder, since he wills, and to!
For what to the others was chiefly a promise of personal salvation became for the indomitable will of Knox an assurance also of victory, even in this world, over embattled forces of ancient wrong. Zeus or Jupiter , in practice yields place to his attendant deities, who work in the world and are able to lead the believer, who has been initiated and keeps the commandments of purity, to salvation. They bear in themselves irrefutable proofs of their authenticity, bringing us face to face not with the Zoroaster of the legends but with a real person, announcing a new doctrine and way of salvation , no supernatural Being assured of victory, but a mere man, struggling with human conflicts of every sort, in the midst of a society of fellow-believers yet in its earliest infancy.
For he ascribed salvation , not to " knowledge " but to faith "; he appealed openly to the whole Christian world; and he nowhere consciously added foreign elements to the revelation given through Christ. Overpowered by the majesty and novelty of the Christian message of salvation , too conscientious to rest satisfied with the ordinary attempts at the solution of difficulties, while prevented by the limitations of his time from reaching an historical insight into the relation of Christianity to the Old Testament and to Judaism, he believed that he expressed Paul's view by the 1 Esnik's presentation of the Marcionite system is a late production, and contains many speculations that cannot be charged upon Marcion himself.
The prophets and patriarchs, having been often deceived by the Demiurge, suspected a trick and would not avail themselves of the promised salvation , remaining content with the bliss of being in Abraham's bosom. Milner practically confined his demands to a five years' franchise, which he helped would enable the Uitlanders to work out their own salvation. The apostle prays: "Fountain sent unto us from Rest, Power of Salvation from that Power proceeding which overcomes and subjects all to its own will, come and dwell within these waters, that the Charisma gift of the holy Spirit may be fully perfected through them.
In this effort he was defeated, mainly because the Revolution, for lack of experience in the right use of liberty, changed into a military despotism which allied itself with the spiritual despotism of Rome; partly because, when the Revolution was overthrown,, the parties of reaction sought salvation in the "union of altar and throne.
For the former several of the arches of the city railway have been utilized, and correspond in internal arrangement to like shelters instituted by the Salvation Army in London and various other cities. The leaders of the Great Vehicle urged their followers to seek to attain, not so much to Arahatship, which would involve only their own salvation , but to Bodhisatship, by the attainment of which they would be conferring the blessings of the Dhamma upon countless multitudes in the long ages of the future.
The belief in them probably arose out of the doctrine of the older school, which did not deny the existence of the various creations of previous mythology and speculation, but allowed of their actual existence as spiritual beings, and only deprived them of all power over the lives of men, and declared them to be temporary beings liable, like men, to sin and ignorance, and requiring, like men, the salvation of Arahatship. Among them the later Buddhists seem to have placed their numerous Bodhisats; and to have paid especial reverence to Manju-sri as the personification of wisdom, and to Avalokiteswara as the personification of overruling love.
We find long treatises on the nature of being, idealistic dreams which have as little to do with the Bodhisatship that is concerned with the salvation of the world as with the Arahatship that is concerned with the perfect life. Of his numerous other Bohemian works we may mention the Postilla collection of sermons , the treatises 0 poznani testy grave k spaseni the true road to salvation and O svatokupectvi on simony , and a large collection of letters; those written in prison are very touching.
He was born in , of an old Somersetshire county family, and, after a varied career as university man, sailor before the mast, soldier, coffee-planter, curate in the Church of England and evangelist in the Salvation Army, was converted about to the views of Prince. Occam was a sincere Franciscan, and believed with his master that salvation was won through rigid imitation of Jesus in His poverty and obedience, and up to his days it had always been possible for Franciscans to follow the rules of their founder within his order. One may divine in all this an intention to "justify the ways of God" to the Jew, by proving that God in His faithfulness to His ancient people had given them the first opportunity of salvation through Christ, but that now their national privilege had been rightly forfeited.
According to Calvinism God's election unto salvation is absolute, determined by His olyn inscrutable will according to Arminianism it is conditional, dependent on man's use of grace. That God desires that all should be saved, and that the salvation of each depends on his own choice - these are the general convictions of modern theology. The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage.
They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary. Home Sentences salvation. But man's salvation was to be gradual. For I am able to give you salvation , as much as the 1 Cod. No, Winston's my salvation. Every believer may be assured of his own salvation. Stevens, Christian Doctrine of Salvation Salvation , however, was at hand. When all seemed lost salvation was near.
The Great Plan of Salvation
In the convent Luther set himself to find salvation. The reliance upon ritual - seeking salvation through outward acts. Hence the way of salvation is by knowledge. Without this visible Church there is no salvation. Related Articles.
This is important to us because, in the final analysis, the ultimate explanation for unbelief and faith is divine election. How does one explain the unbelief and consequent judgment of men?
Suggestions for Study and Teaching
The answer is two-fold. Second , they are lost because God has not chosen them. The Jews assumed that because they were physical descendants of Abraham, they were guaranteed a place in the kingdom of God. Paul corrects this misconception, informing us that just because one is a descendant of Jacob or Israel , he or she is not necessarily a true Israelite.
The answer is simple: divine election. Ishmael was not that child. And so not all the descendants of Abraham were the recipients of the promised blessings of God. God chose Isaac, and He rejected Ishmael. After all, these sons had the same father but a different mother, and the mother of Ishmael was a concubine.
No wonder Ishmael was rejected, and Isaac was chosen. These two sons were born of the same parents and were even the product of the same union. They were twins. No two sons could be more similar, and yet God rejected the one and chose the other. By custom, the first-born son received the birthright, and yet God indicated His choice of the younger son to Rebekkah before Jacob or Esau were even born:.
God indicated His choice of Jacob over Esau before their birth without regard to any works either son would do. Some insist God chooses whom He does because He knows beforehand they will choose Him. They suppose God chooses those who will be most beneficial to His work. Too often I hear people commenting on what a dynamic Christian someone would become if they were only saved. It is not that God was ignorant of what these two would do; rather, His choice was made without regard to their deeds.
His choice was a declaration and demonstration of His sovereignty:. There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! If this question presupposes the answer, it also presupposes the reason for asking it. Paul is teaching divine election. God chooses one and rejects another, and when God chooses a person for salvation, He always does so on the basis of grace, bestowed by His sovereign choice and not on the basis of works. If Paul were not teaching the doctrine of election, this question would be inappropriate and not even deserve an answer.
But Paul was teaching on election, which is why he raises the question of justice. How then can God choose to save one man and harden another and not be accused of injustice? The answer is very simple: grace. Salvation is a matter of divine grace sovereignly bestowed upon those whom God chooses as its recipients. Justice is about people getting what they deserve.
It is unjust when men labor for their employer and are not paid. It is unjust when a guilty criminal is not punished. God is not unjust to condemn sinners to the eternal torment, because they are getting just what they deserve. Furthermore, God is not unjust in saving men. God is therefore just in condemning men to bear the penalty they deserve, and He is just in saving men, whose penalty Christ has borne:. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Romans They are not apologetic.
Paul is not shuffling his feet, hesitant as to how he should respond. He is bold and confident. He is incensed that any might even suggest that God is unjust in election. God is not unjust in the salvation of sinners who deserve the eternal wrath of God verses Neither is God unjust in the condemnation of sinners like Pharaoh, whose heart God hardened verses Moses and Pharaoh are more than just contemporaries who faced off at the exodus.
Moses was the man who appears to have been next in line to be the Pharaoh of Egypt. God spared Moses, appointing him to lead His people out of bondage. Through Moses, God displayed His grace. When God began to reveal His glory to Moses in Exodus 33 climaxing in chapter 34 , He declared that His mercy was to be sovereignly granted to whomever He chose.
The reason any person received grace was not to be found in that person, the recipient of His blessings, but in God, the Blessor. Grace is unmerited favor, and thus it must be sovereignly bestowed, for no one would ever be worthy of it. God spoke directly to Moses verse 15 and indirectly through Moses and the Scripture to Pharaoh verse Pharaoh was chosen too but for a very different role and destiny.
Here is a very important truth which seems to escape many Christians. Many seem to think God suffers some kind of defeat when lost sinners do not repent and come to faith in Him. They suppose God is glorified only through the salvation of the lost and not through the condemnation of stubbornly resistant sinners. In fact, God is glorified through the salvation of sinners and through the condemnation of sinners. God reveals His mercy in saving sinners and His power in triumphing over those who oppose Him.
- 5. Wisdom in Salvation: James 2:14.
- Salvation Articles | Resources from Ligonier Ministries.
- 10. The Sovereignty of God in Salvation - (Romans 9:1-24).
God is not embarrassed by those who reject Him. For who resists His will? There is an answer for this question, but Paul is not going to respond to the question raised until after he has made a very important point. Verse 19 is not just a question; it is an insult because it questions the integrity of God. It is actually an indictment against God, a protest. It does not seek an answer; it senses that in asking the question, God is silenced.
In this chapter, Paul has been teaching the sovereignty of God. Centuries before Paul lived, God brought a Babylonian king to his knees. This great king learned some very important lessons about sovereignty. Nebuchadnezzar learned first that while God grants men a certain degree of sovereignty on earth see Daniel ; f. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me.
Sovereignty means that the one who is sovereign is in complete control, above questioning by any subordinate. Paul is very sensitive to this fact and thus immediately reacts, rebuking the attitude of the questioner. Who is man to question God? God is the Creator, and it is His prerogative to use His creations men any way He chooses. Men are His creation, and they have no right to question their Creator. If God chooses to use one of His vessels to bring Him glory by being a vessel prepared for destruction, that is His right.
If God chooses to bring glory to Himself by making another vessel as a vessel of mercy, a vessel which He will save, that too is His prerogative. I am constantly amazed at how slowly the disciples and I! Even after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord, we see that the apostles were slow to embrace the teaching of the Old Testament and of Jesus in the Book of Acts.
In Acts , Jesus told them:. This was but a repetition of what Jesus had already commanded the disciples before His death:. Did the disciples immediately seek to evangelize Gentiles in the Book of Acts? Certainly not. Indeed, they resisted it. It took intense persecution to scatter the Jewish believers from Jerusalem Acts ff. It took a dramatic and repeated divine vision to get Peter to go to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, and preach the gospel see Acts ff.
And when word reached the ears of the Jewish leaders of the Jerusalem church, Peter was called on the carpet and rebuked for preaching to Gentiles Acts They had to admit that God must have intended to save Gentiles too, but notice what they did once they acknowledged this—nothing:. Acts Had it not been for that anonymous group of Hellenistic Jews, who did not know any better than to share their faith with Gentiles, the predominantly Gentile church in Antioch would never have been established humanly speaking, of course.
When we come to verse 24 in Romans 9, Paul wants his readers to understand that the salvation of many Gentiles and the unbelief of many Jews should have come as no surprise. That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. All whom God chooses to save are lost sinners, dead in their trespasses and sins, captives not only to their own sins, but to Satan himself, not one bit different from those who will spend eternity in hell see Ephesians Those whom God saves do not seek Him; they are saved apart from seeking to be righteous Romans They are saved not because of what they are or because of what they will be or could be Romans Through His Spirit, God regenerates the one dead in his trespasses and sins, giving both life and faith so that the individual is now drawn to Him John and expresses faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, a faith which also comes from God Ephesians ; 1 Corinthians ; salvation is thus regarded as the work of the sovereign God—not men Romans , ; ; 1 Corinthians ; Hebrews Are some distressed that God chooses some and not others?
They should not be! When God chooses to save anyone, He chooses one who would never have first chosen Him. Michael Horton puts it this way,. We should be grateful that God elects some to salvation; otherwise, no one would ever have been saved. If God looked down the corridors of time and chose those who would choose Him, He would have chosen none, for none would have chosen Him see Romans If God were to have chosen those who were worthy of His salvation, He would have chosen none.
Seven Proofs of Unconditional Salvation
Election is the choice of a sovereign God to save some. Election is the outworking of grace, and the only means by which sinners could be saved. It is not a doctrine to agonize over, but a doctrine over which we should rejoice. It is the basis for gratitude and for praise. As Paul will say in chapter How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! The sovereignty of God is an incentive to pray for the salvation of the lost and a source of comfort when some reject His offer of salvation in Christ.
Knowing that God is sovereign in salvation is a great incentive to witness, because I know God will accomplish His purposes. In spite of my failures in presenting the gospel, and the blindness of those to whom it is preached, God is the One who saves. My labor and yours in evangelism is never in vain.
Even when men reject the gospel, God is glorified in the preaching of His gospel, whether men believe it or not. He is glorified both by the salvation of sinners and by the eternal punishment of sinners. Ultimately, men are not saved because we have convinced them or even because they have first decided to choose to believe in God. Men are saved because God has chosen them, enlightened and illuminated them by His Spirit to understand the gospel, and effectually called them by opening their hearts to respond to the gospel. To whom would you rather appeal for the salvation of men?
He is a God who loves us and who delights to answer our prayers. Let us rejoice that the salvation of our loved ones is ultimately in His hands, and that we can beseech Him to save them. And when loved ones reject the gospel, we know that He is able to save. When loved ones die without coming to faith, we know this did not take God by surprise but is a part of His great eternal plan. Often in our presentation of the gospel, I fear we misrepresent God and demean His glory in the picture we convey to the lost.
The gospel must not be viewed as God begging and pleading with sinners hoping desperately that they will choose Him. The gospel is a command, and we proclaim this to lost sinners. We know we cannot convince men of their sin or cause them to turn to Christ, but God can and does for all He has chosen. Lost men are sinners, who have offended a righteous and holy God and who are destined for eternal hell.
They cannot do anything to save themselves. The gospel is a glorious offer to lost sinners, who know they can do nothing to save themselves. The gospel is an offense to the self-righteous, who think they are saved on their own, by their own merits. Have you acknowledged your sin and guilt? Have you submitted to the sovereign God of the universe and accepted His provision for your salvation? I cannot convince you or convert you.
He has promised that His Spirit will convince lost sinners of their sin, of His righteousness, and of eternal judgment. Will you submit to God by receiving His way of salvation, the only way of salvation? I pray that you will. All men are dead in their trespasses and sins, unresponsive to God, and unable to do anything to change their condition see Ephesians Those dead in their trespasses and sins do not understand God; they do not grasp the gospel or seek God. They are destined for divine wrath, hopeless apart from divine grace and intervention.
Regeneration is the supernatural work of God which gives dead men life Ephesians ; Titus Regeneration precedes belief. Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit, giving life to one who is spiritually dead. This new life is expressed by faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This means that salvation is ultimately the work of God. He is the initiator; we respond see 1 John He will complete what He has begun in us Philippians In this case, man is the first cause. The problem with this view is that it contradicts Scripture.
It denies the sovereignty of God and denies the depravity of man. How can a dead man, who hates God and does not seek Him, suddenly, on his own initiative, turn to God in faith see Romans ? Many are the objections to divine sovereignty. Let us raise a number of them and offer a biblical response. In the Scriptures it is also used of a choice made ahead of the time.
No one would choose God unless God first chose us, regenerated us, and gave us the faith to respond to the gospel. This contradicts Scripture Hebrews ; Philippians , etc. Men are called upon to repent and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. Men are saved by faith. All those who come to Him, who call upon the name of the Lord, will be saved John ; Romans Here is where creature responsibility begins: in the sovereign ordination of the Creator. As to His sovereignty, there is not and never will be any end to it! If God did not intervene and overcome our lethal malady of sin and rebellion, no one would ever be saved.
The gospel is impossible apart from divine intervention and enablement. When God saves us, He makes the dead alive, He removes our spiritual blindness with sight, He opens our heart to respond, and He gives us a new nature which desires God. If it is not technically correct to say God overrides our will, He most certainly does change our nature and our will. Sovereignty is diametrically opposed to everything natural and fallen in us, and it is completely consistent with what the Bible teaches.
Men naturally reject the sovereignty of God and only supernaturally do they receive it. Do you resist it? We should not be surprised. The doctrine of the sovereignty of God is one which no one would naturally believe unless the Scriptures clearly taught it and the Spirit of God changed our hearts to embrace it. Do you wish to know the truth of the matter? Study the Scriptures, and ask God to give you understanding. He can be a cosmic psychiatrist, a helpful shepherd, a leader, a teacher, anything at all. For a very simple reason—they want to be God themselves.
Rejecting or resisting the sovereignty of God in salvation is a very serious matter:. It shows that you know not that God is God. If you knew this, you would be inwardly still and quiet; you would humbly and calmly lie in the dust before a sovereign God and would see sufficient reason for it. It is from low, mean thoughts of God that you do in your minds oppose His sovereignty, that you are not sensible how dangerous your conduct is, and what an audacious thing it is for such a creature as man to strive with his Maker. In the Bible, the sovereignty of God is not a negative truth, a problem doctrine which one should avoid if possible; it is a positive doctrine which encourages, comforts, and motivates.