I’ve continually heard for years that we have a part to play in our salvation. My question is this; if we are truly dead in our sins and if we are objects of Gods wrath before the new birth, which is what the scripture teaches, then how does a dead man do anything to play his part? And if he has a part to play how does that not leave room for him to boast before God? Paul warns us that no man has anything to boast in except the Grace of God in Christ.
Maybe you’ve heard the anology; we’re out there in the water, trying to keep our head above the waves and God throws the floaty device and we just have to grab it. Isn’t the scriptural reality in this presentation that we are just dead floating bodies in the water? Dead men can’t swim because dead men are dead. God doesn’t throw a life saver to dead men, he brings them to life, he plucks them out, he replaces the heart of stone with a heart of flesh, he makes something out of nothing, we are new creations.
We Christians, if we are honest with ourselves, we know we were dead in sins before God freely choose us by His grace through His Son’s work at the cross. Before being confronted with our sin nature and our depravity before our Holy Maker, we were full of pride, lust – and maybe not consciously, but according to scripture, we were God’s enemy under the influence of Satan’s regime. I think it’s easy for us to forget that truth and that is why we must remember our Lord who taught us to daily pray and confess our sin to him, lest we become conceited and full of pride. “Forgive me this day for my sins.” “Blessed are the poor in Spirit.” To be poor in Spirit is to walk with an attitude of humble Worship unto God for the saved man recognizes the reality that God saves the ungodly, the sick, the sinners and sanctifies them into His likeness. Apart from His grace no one would be saved. No one could ever deserve salvation otherwise His grace is meaningless.
Put God at the center of our salvation, for all of scripture declares that salvation is of The Lord. Time and again I read Romans from chapter 1 through and I see the scriptures revealing that the Father gave the Son in eternity past a people whom the Son has come to save. Gods will is that none that the Father gives the Son will be lost and none can come to the Father unless drawn. What I am saying is profound and yet controversial to the Arminian who’s emphasis is rooted in man’s capacity and not God’s. But it is good to meditate on such issues because we ought to long to hold on to what the scripture consistently teaches in context. God chose us, He gave us to the Son. God’s will is the only will that gets to be autonomous (libertarian free will) and our will, will always be creaturely and subject to its Creator. Whenever my will comes into conflict with His, He wins. We are drawn by God because we are His elect, we are saved by God for His own purposes and we can never lose this new birth, just like we can’t undo our natural one, nor would we ever think to want to undo either birth. I am affirming not Calvinism but a sound understanding of our Lord’s clear Word. I truly believe that this understanding of salvation is powerful, sound, historically orthodox and it’s my conviction that when we put God at the center of our salvation we regain the joy of our salvation unto good works, service to the brethren and love for God.
In my search of the scriptures to make my call and election sure, this sound understanding has truly been a blessing to me and an empowerment of the Spirit. His sheep hear His voice. The gospel is about a double imputation; our sins imputed upon the Son and the Son’s righteousness imputed upon His own.
In regards to the doctrine of Grace I’ve described above, I anticipate the standard Arminian objection; it likes to ask why preach the Gospel if God is saving who He wills. The scriptural response is this; the gospel must be preached, for The Lord commands us to do so and as we do we will share in the Might Works of His hands. Also, no one knows who the elect are except for God and it is the joy of the message bearer to sow the good seed of the gospel to all men as we are called to do. The reality is that the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God unto salvation.
We must be careful not to build a God of our own choosing. The God who is revealed in all the scriptures, read in a rational, simple and linear reading style manner is the God we serve. Many people don’t like the God who is revealed in the scriptures, a God who is placing all dominion under Christ’s feet. His elect will worship Him in Spirit and in truth and we must hold fast to His Word.
Grace and Peace in Christ