Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Have you ever pondered in the quiet place of your heart; "What is my responsibility before a Holy God"? I mean, does He save you w/o regard to your behavior? Is it due to what family you are from? Does your eternity hinge on the Church you are affiliated with? If you are "good enough", is God somehow obligated to bring you to heaven? And if so, Who really is God? In who's hand is your future anyway? What is your part, and what is His part? Do you even have a part? If your eleven year old son asked you these questions, would you have an answer? Does it matter?
For the last couple of weeks, we at Emmanuel have been establishing the dilemma between the Free Will of man and the Sovereignty of God. We (in America) predominantly believe that if our good out-weighs our bad, we are in like Flinn. We are taught it is up to us. Then what do we do with verses like these form John 17? "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world:" vs 6. "all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee." vs 7. "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me;" vs 9. "keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me," vs 11. "those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost," vs 12. Eph 1:4 says that: "he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:". I see a pattern developing here. And now, fasten your pew-belt. "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;" Romans 9:11.
Clear as mud? Are we then but pawns? If God chooses us, where does our choice come in? And if He elects some to be saved and other not, how can He hold them accountable? Next week we will try to lay this out as we ask from our hearts, and answer from Scripture.
Nugget: We won't settle this here, but perhaps we can give peace in the controversy. The problem ultimately is this. Many of us "Will" not come to Christ until He explains a few things to us. We reserve the right to our own destiny till He satisfies some celestial curiosity. The Truth however, is this: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1st Cor. 2:14. In fact, "For as far as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9. If this is true, how can finite man demand to understand the mind of God who's mind is "unsearchable"?
The man with more religious material still in print than anyone else in history - Charles H Spurgeon, said: "FROM THE WORD OF GOD I GATHER, THAT DAMNATION IS ALL OF MAN, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. AND SALVATION IS ALL OF GRACE FROM FIRST TO LAST. HE THAT PERISHES, CHOOSES TO PERISH; BUT HE THAT IS SAVED, IS SAVED BECAUSE GOD HAS CHOSEN TO SAVE HIM."
Some of you may be saying that I am contradicting myself, but I am not. These are two sides of the same coin, as the Sovereign God who determines the end, determines the means. Tune in next week as we attempt to accept God's sovereignty in the matter, rather than trying in vain to reconciling it to our satisfaction. "O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33.