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!
I met George Kimmell on January 2, 2017. We literally ran into each other in a stairwell. It was his first time in this building, and was looking for a way out, after seeking employment there. I was walking up the stairs with my guitar in my hand, having just finishing up with a bible study/worship session at the Maples Rest Home,and he was walking down the same stairwell. As we walked outside I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to question George about how his life was going. This young man of 23 years (see him on facebook with his son)was open and honest, telling me that he has lived a terrible life, and without getting into much detail, he told me that God would not like the things that he has done. I told him that God accepts you where you are, and as you are, that you do not need to be perfect, or clean yourself up in order to come to Him. He asked me a couple of questions, which I answered, and his comment was: “That makes sense.” He accepted Christ right there on the curb, leaning up against the back of my blue Buick, which I still drive. No one had ever offered him the Gospel before. I drove him home, and now the mother of his child, the ten month old boy and George attend our church. His life has been transformed in this short time, being promoted to a full time employee status at Sam’s Club here. I did nothing but show obedience to the word. God did everything. I still look for more opportunities like this to share with people, but only with God, drawing the souls to Him, can this be meaningful. I was amazed that I had all of the right words for George. I was even more fully amazed that George did not reject God’s offer of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. When I first met him he told me that he listened to nothing but heavy metal rock and roll. Just recently he shared that he does not do that any longer, but listens to Christian Rock. The Holy Spirit changed him, because I never even mentioned once that he should change. God is so Good. Be Blessed, Brian. You authored this post that I am replying to on my birthday… AJM
Hi Anthony what a marvelous thing it is to be used by God in bringing someone to Him! Our steps are ordered of the Lord! Miss you my friend!
This was a reminder that it is all of the Lord, and we are to respond to the call.
Yes indeed! Peace to you and yours!