We know we have been saved by grace alone, no true believer would argue with that point. But when we consider on what basis God showed His grace to us, that’s when we run into problems with other believers. Many look for pre-existing conditions in the sinner, which God foresaw would be there, and on this basis He shows grace. There are however a lot of problems with this position. First it subjects God to a condition in man. And makes the person the first mover in salvation. We must also remember, God is under no obligation to save anyone. He owes us nothing. If we were to operate in this mindset in our approach to God, we need to be reminded of Rom 6:23 “for the wages of sin is death.”
For God to save us based on some previous act from us which He sees in us in advance, is not only to water down the message of grace, but to distort the very meaning of grace. Why does God show us grace? And where does He find the reason to do so? God finds the reason and basis to show grace in Himself, in His own gracious nature. In seeing it from this vantage point, doesn’t it exalt God and make His grace truly magnificent? To think there was nothing in the creature to merit His grace! We were goners, lost and dead in our trespasses and sins. Yet God chose to show and give His grace to these unworthy objects!
I would rather place my salvation in the hands of God than my own. He is the Author of my salvation, not me. I know there are believer’s out there, who would disagree with me on this point, but I think a failure to embrace the doctrine of election, will water down and distort our view of the gospel of grace. I don’t believe it’s a salvation issue that’s at stake here, but a purity of the gospel issue. It is possible for Christians, who think solely of the human responsibility aspect of salvation, who love the Lord, and are even used by the Lord, but this is no excuse for ignoring or rejecting the deeper issues of our salvation, and it will have a huge impact on how you preach the gospel, and how you live your life.
Instead of looking to God save sinners, we will be looking for the sinner to come to God. Does the sinner need to come to God? Absolutely! But we must also recognize that the sinner cannot come on his own. He needs God’s grace. Not only can he not come, he will not come, unless he is first drawn by the Father, to the Son, through the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said in John 6:44. If our confidence is in sinners accepting Christ? It is in the wrong place. But if our confidence is in God to change and draw the sinners heart, then we are thinking more correctly.
Your doctrine and what you believe, will have a serious impact on how you share the gospel with others. You will resort more to methods and pressure tactics in trying to get sinners to repent. But if you realize only God can reach them, you will look to Him to change the sinners heart and you will operate more in a spirit of faith. Now I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t command right action from the sinner to the gospel message. We should command all people to repent and believe the gospel, Mark 1:15. but as we command, we must remember who causes and stirs someone to belief and repentance, it is the God of all grace!