BY GRACE ALONE (PART 3)
With the exception of a small percentage of people, everyone is fully convinced they are worshipping the true God. People like what they believe, and are comfortable with the ‘God’ they have placed their trust in. Many, naively believe they have the true God, based on how sincere they are about what they believe. But is sincerity enough? Can we trust in our sincerity and that of others? Is sincerity the key to eternal life? Is sincerity more important than what a person is being sincere about? Does sincerity override the issue of the veracity of that which one is being sincere about? If it does, then truth simply would not matter at all. It is sincerity AND truth which salvation cannot do without! Sincerity is what brought death into man’s existence in the first place! Adam and Eve were sincere in what they believed, but they were sincerely wrong. The Christian has been chosen by God “…to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13). From this simple verse we see that what a person is being sincere about is what is at issue, and not simply the fact they are sincere. “It is dangerous to judge the value of something on the basis of misplaced 'sincerity,' which is often the opposite of godly sincerity. Godly sincerity must be paired with the truth, but worldly 'sincerity' does not require truth. Ironically, seeking has become more important than finding. Today, society does not care about the real outcome just as long as one is 'sincere’. Tragically, sincerity is not a guarantee of truth. A sincere zealot, Paul of Tarsus, had to be rewired according to the truth in order for his sincerity and zeal to be useful. Knowledge and truth must trump zeal and sincerity in all cases. Sincerity cannot sanitize syncretistic religious defilement, namely Christmas and Easter for example, which are firmly rooted in paganism… No zealous, sincere, carnal human being, equipped with a hopelessly reprobate mind, can decide what God wants, nor has the capability of living by God's standards. Sincerity without truth is worthless, but sincerity with God's truth is invaluable.” The Word of God does not teach that sincerity alone in whatever one wants to believe is enough, but that one must have sincerity AND TRUTH: "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity AND IN TRUTH..." (Josh. 24:14 cf. 1 Cor. 5:8; 2 Cor. 1:12). A man is sanctified not by his sincerity, but by the Holy Spirit AND BELIEF OF THE TRUTH! (see 2 Thess. 2:13). Sincerity without truth is to be dead in sins. No amount of sincerity will ever make what a man believes correct. If one has taken the wrong medicine, no amount of sincerity is going to make the medicine work in a way it was never designed to. Likewise, if one believes in false doctrine which can only define and lead you to a false god, no amount of sincerity is going to make a false god into the only true God.
It is in their own works and efforts that the lost are really trusting in, in their alleged pursuit of God. The credibility of what they believe is supported only by their sincerity and honesty along with the misinterpretation of truth. Their faith is in their own deeds, their own righteousness, which they believe is evidence that God is in their lives, and that how they live their lives will one day attain Heaven, an eternity of bliss, for them. They only love the god that commands them to do, so that he can then save them. The evidence for them that they are saved is what they do, rather than what God does. A perfect description of men dead in sins is the lost Jews who sought to establish a righteousness of their own according to a gospel which did not teach the Righteousness of God as the only acceptable righteousness (see Rom. 10). These Jews, like every enthusiastic, devoted and sincere religious person today, had a very great and sincere zeal for ‘God’, but their zeal was not according to knowledge, the right knowledge of who God is, and how God saves. Their sincerity, though quite real, was completely misplaced. There is no man on earth who lives a more sinister lifestyle than the sincere religious man who thinks that his doing will gain him Heaven and win the approval of God. Man naturally attaches himself to various doctrines and practices that he is sincerely convinced are of God, but the cold hard facts of the matter show, without a shadow of a doubt, that man’s efforts, his attempts to become acceptable in God’s eyes, are the very antithesis of God’s salvation plan. The fundamental need for grace reveals that salvation can never come by that which is deserved. Those who believe their works are essential to their salvation reveal an inbuilt disdain for the true God and His grace, and a perverted love devoted only to false gods and doctrines of devils.
GOD DOES NOT GIVE GRACE IN ORDER TO ENABLE A MAN TO DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR HIM TO GET SAVED, BUT GOD SAVES HIS PEOPLE BY HIS GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN WHAT HIS SON HAS DONE FOR THEM, FOR IT IS ONLY BY CHRIST’S OBEDEDIENCE THAT THEY ARE SAVED, “…BY THE OBEDIENCE OF ONE SHALL MANY BE MADE RIGHTEOUS” (Rom. 5:19). God saves His people by His grace without any assistance from them. Grace is the undeserved, unassisted way God saves His people from their sins. Contrary to lost man’s natural mindset, and what all of religion has taught him, man does not become Righteous through what he does. Man does not become acceptable by what he does, but is only made acceptably Righteous by grace alone, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6 cf. Eph. 1:4). Man does not get better, but only stays bad by nature. A man can never become Righteous by what he does, but must be made Righteous by the grace of God. SHOW ME YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS AND I WILL SHOW YOU YOUR SIN!! Good works simply will not cut it, for a man can only be, and MUST BE, MADE Righteous by the grace which imputes the Obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ to him. The fact that Righteousness is imputed by grace shows it can never be deserved by works. A saved man is purely the workmanship of God “…created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works…” (Eph. 2:10), not because of good works. Of course, no Christian lives a perfect life. We are sinners, but saved sinners. In Christ we are perfect because of His Righteousness which is imputed to us. “There's a difference in positional Righteousness and our practical righteousness. Legally we are counted as Righteous but practically we are not perfectly righteous until we are glorified in Heaven.” Those who believe they can strive to establish a righteousness of their own which God will accept, fail to understand the Biblical fact that shatters such thinking. The presence of one sin destroys any hope that one’s personal righteousness could in any way be acceptable with God. No matter what a man is, or what a man does “…we are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as flthy rags…” (Isa. 64:6). A man is not saved because of what he has done, but extraordinarily, supernaturally and exclusively by what God has done. A saved man is made alive to God to do good works, not because he has done good works. There is no more evil thing on earth than a man trying to get right with God by his own personal obedience. A man attempting to get right with God via his own obedience is an affront to God, a rejection of grace and mercy, an insult and show of disrespect to the Person and Work of the Saviour Jesus Christ. In contrast with how man sees himself, the Word of God states that man "at his best" is altogether vanity. In trying to reach God by his own obedience, man is utterly profitless. The Lord Jesus Christ declares that it is the Holy Spirit of God Who makes alive: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63). A man’s so-called good works do not, for they cannot, draw him to God, but only serve to create further discord and compound the hostility factor, and man’s natural status as enemy. The reality is that so many people actually hate the only true God Who saves not by what they do, but only by what He does. Trying to perform good works whilst spiritually dead will do a man no good whatsoever. To be saved, a man must be made alive by the Holy Spirit of God.
Prior to being made alive, a man is dead in sins, therefore, he can only perform dead works. Dead works do nothing but lay rigid alongside those who performed them. A saved man does not embrace his past deeds, but repents of his dead works which he once believed would help save him (see Heb. 6:1). “How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14). A lost man cannot serve the Holy God with works done before he is made alive by God. Only the works of the Lord Jesus Christ save. Jesus said: “…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by ME” (Jn. 14:6). How simpler could the Lord have said it? No one comes to the Father by who they are, or by what they have done. It is not by you, or by what you do, nor by adding what you do to what Christ Jesus has done, but only by Him. There is no other way to Heaven but by the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. ANY OTHER WAY IS NOT THE WAY. JESUS CHRIST, THE PERSONIFACTION OF GRACE, SAID HE IS THE WAY, THEREFORE, EVERYONE ELSE BY DOING EVERYTHING ELSE IS MOST ASSUREDLY NOT THE WAY! IF IT IS NOT THE WAY IT IS NO WAY. IF IT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY IT IS NO WAY. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO SALVATION, BUT GOD’S ONLY WAY. “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:4). “This includes all sorts of grace, adopting, justifying, pardoning, regenerating, and sanctifying grace; every particular grace of the Spirit, as faith, repentance, hope, love, fear, humility, self-denial all are gifts of God, and entirely owing to His free grace, and not to man's free will and power, or to any merits of his; and all come through the hands of Christ, and are given forth by Him, as the Mediator of the covenant, and in consequence of His blood, Righteousness, sacrifice, and merit.” False doctrines cannot describe, define, identify, and, therefore, lead anyone to the true Jesus of God’s Word. THE TRUE AND ONLY Way to salvation is Jesus Christ. Seen as man at his most noble and sincere, personal obedience in order to gain Heaven only attests to man’s appallingly hopeless, sinful condition, his spiritually dead state, his utter rebellion against God, and his denial and need of the Saviour Who saves only by what He does. A man doing his best, relying on his best, believing his best can get him saved, is a man in full-blown rebellion against God. A man at his best is a man at his worst (see Psa. 39:5). Religion is rebellion. Religion is Satan’s way! Religion is Satan’s twisted philosophy, and has become man’s ultimate opposition against the one true and only God Who saves only by grace through faith in Who His Son is and what His Son has done. Religion is all about man trying to get to God his own way. Religion is about man doing things Satan’s way not God’s Way. True Christianity is about man being brought to God by God, God’s Way: by grace through the gift of faith in the obedience of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Religion is nothing but the Satanic promulgation of unscriptural ideas and man’s attempts to do what only God Almighty can, and has, done.
Why do we begin a book entitled ‘By Grace Alone: (Rejoicing in the Sovereign grace, mercy and goodness of the Sovereign God in the salvation of His people), with the spotlight predominantly on man and his sin? Why begin a book on grace and mercy by focussing on man and his sinful and corrupt human nature? Why begin a book on the grace and mercy of the Beautiful God with the ugly spiritual deadness of man? To fully understand and appreciate Who the true God is, what He is like, and why His Gospel of salvation by grace alone is so awesome, one must understand how far man has fallen and how his sinful nature evidences the utter corruption of mankind, and the fact that man by nature is destitute of the only true God, and, consequently, without any hope of doing anything which will get him saved, or increase his chances of being saved. To correctly understand the problem, immediately rules out an endless number of propositions claiming to be the answer. Knowing the correct method of calculation will set you well on the way to believing in the only right answer. Man with inappropriate methodology will never arrive at the correct answer. Man without God is a man without hope. Man without God is man without hope in the only true God, and man without hope is a man without the means, ability or capability of doing anything to come to God. Many have a particular dislike of the phrase spiritually dead. My question to such people is what else would you call being without Christ, without God and without hope in the world? Spiritually alive? Partially spiritually alive? To put it as succinctly as possible, man by nature is man WITHOUT! Without God, without the Saviour and without hope, not some hope, or most hope, but without ANY hope. A man without God, is a man without the Christ, is a man without any hope is a man without any life. Man by nature is “…without Christ…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:13). What is the difference between a dead man and a man who has no hope? NOTHING! One who has no hope cannot even will to become saved, according to God's Word, for to have no hope is to be without any inherent desire for the True God, hence “…there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). Man's not having any hope of salvation is evidence of the absence of the Presence of God in his life, and man's being utterly without God is what it means to be utterly without hope. Man's having no hope, no desire to even seek God, is punctuated by the fact that he is also totally without God.
Man's helplessness and Godlessness rules out any way a man can possibly profit by anything he does via his alleged free will, for even if man did have a free will, God's Word would still declare, that man, by nature, is a child of Wrath, is without God, is without any desire for the True God, and, therefore, is without any hope of salvation in this world. Now how can a man who is dead in trespasses and sins, who is without God and without hope, possibly have a free will by which he, at any moment, can choose to activate himself and make a positive decision for God! Whether or not man has the ability to do this or that is not the issue. The issue is that man is dead in trespasses and sins, therefore, cannot come to God because he does not and cannot seek the only true God. Man’s deadness to God does not prevent his religiously seeking after false gods, it simply keeps him blind to Who the true God is, what the True God has done and how the true God saves. This hopeless state has rendered any free will man could, theoretically, be in possession of, as completely unprofitable. Not only can man not get to the only true God by what he, the man, does, but man cannot even will to do anything that would make God save him. Man's 'free will' is powerless. It is substanceless. How can a man who is dead to God have a free will that can turn him to God? How can a man who has no hope, who is without God, possibly choose God? How can a man who does not seek God ever choose God. How can a man who is dead to the true God, ever, by his own alleged free will, choose the God he does not seek, or even know? The doctrine of man’s free will is like the empty wagon, which, though making the most noise, remains empty of any substantive hope or promise. Moreover, those who teach the false doctrine of free will are like “…wells without water…” (2 Pet. 2:17; cf. Jd. 1:12). Man's alleged 'free will' wouldn’t/doesn't change a thing, for he is still without hope, still without God. What good is free will to a man who is dead in trespasses and sins, dead to God and without any hope? Only by God can a man be born again. Even if man did have free will, he would still need to be saved by grace alone, for salvation is a gift. Again, man’s free will or the absence of it, is not the issue. The issue is not what a man has, but what he is: “…dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Whatever man has, or does not have, the Scriptures declare that he is a spiritually dead creature without hope and without God. Consequently, salvation purely by grace alone is a man’s only hope. The extraordinary thing is that man while dead in trespasses and sins DOES NOT EVEN REALIZE THIS! This is one of the reasons why a man dead in sins believes he must do if he expects to be saved. The hopeless sinner tries to get saved by precisely that which has made him hopeless. How can anyone get saved by that which is without hope? This is why a man without spiritual life, is a man without any hope.
The clear Message of the Scriptures is: A man without hope is a man without will. If a man had a will by which he could come to God, then he would not be without hope. However, being without hope, it is right and Biblical to conclude that no man has any free will that would give him any hope, or even any right to think he has any hope, in regards to knowing and choosing, let alone seeking the only true God. Man is not without the will to choose lemonade over beer, or to help an old lady instead of beating her over the head with a milk bottle, but he is without the will to choose the only true God and be saved His Way. Where is the proof for this? It is seen in the fact that man’s way, as displayed in all his religions, is always works. God’s only Way of salvation is by grace alone. Lost man believes that the key to salvation is man choosing God. Simply believing that man has the ability to choose God, is somehow seen as the only evidence necessary to conclude that any man who did choose God would always choose the true God. Nothing could be further from the truth. How can free will help a man who does not and cannot even seek the only true God? How could, and why would, any man choose the only God he cannot even seek? There is NOTHING of human origin that can help a man who is without Christ, without God and without hope in the world. How can the alleged free will of man help him in light of the Biblical fact the Lord Jesus states: “NO man can come to ME…” (Jn. 6:44). No man can do anything to come to the only true God. NO man can seek Him, no man can choose Him. Man can do good and bad, but he cannot do anything about the fact he is a hopeless sinner dead in his sins. MAN CANNOT CHOOSE AGAINST HIS NATURE! And that nature is forever at enmity against the only true God. The entire concept of ‘free will’ is an overt attack on some of the most fundamental doctrines of God’s Word, election, predestination, free Sovereign grace, etc. No one can choose their way to God. If a man could choose then he would not be without hope. If a man could choose God, then there would have been no need for God to have chosen any man before the foundation of the world. If all a man had to do was choose to respond positively to an altar call he would not be without hope. If man had the potential to choose God by free will, why then did God do the choosing before the foundation of the world? How anyone can reasonably, successfully merge the doctrines of being able to choose by a free will and being without any hope is beyond the realm of Scriptural logic. It would be like being dead and alive at the same time. How can anyone even imagine they have some hope prior to being made alive by God? How can anyone have any hope before they are made alive? How can a man choose whilst laying dead in trespasses and sins! How can a man choose God whilst being alienated from God, whilst being an enemy of God in his mind. How can a man reconcile himself to God whilst having no desire for the true God. “And you, that were sometimes alienated in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled In the body of His flesh…” (Col. 1:21,22). How can a man engulfed in trespasses and sins possibly choose God. How can anyone possibly reason within themselves that they have some hope, any hope, after reading these undeniable Biblical facts. To be without God is to be without hope, any hope. No hope within, and no hope without. A man without hope is a man without any hope within himself, within others or with God, for prior to being saved a man is dead in sins, a child of Wrath and an enemy of God, not a seeker of God. No hope, a state of hopeless helplessness and helpless hopelessness is what each and every man is in by nature. Though the old saying ‘Where there’s life there’s hope’ may be true in the physical realm, when it comes to man’s spiritual state there is no life at all. Where there’s no life there is simply no hope. Being physically alive in no way suggests that there is any hope of spiritual life for the man who has not God.
In order to appreciate the Awesomeness of God, how great He is, and how wondrous His grace and mercy are, one must understand the sinfulness of man, his Fall in the Garden of Eden. Man died spiritually in the Garden of Eden after he had eaten of the fruit which God had forbidden him to eat. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:16,17). The fact man tried to hide himself from God after having eaten the fruit instead of running to Him for help, evinces the depth of exactly what happened to man’s very nature upon his having rebelled against God by sinning against Him through the act of disobedience. “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8). The original Greek has “tree”, singular. “Shame, remorse, fear—a sense of guilt—feelings to which they had hitherto been strangers disordered their minds and led them to shun Him whose approach they used to welcome. How foolish to think of eluding His notice (see Psa. 139:1-12). The sinful conscience flees God’s Presence.” Man’s ignoring, bypassing, the commandment of God—the only commandment he had received from God—was such a deplorable, evil act, such a horrendous act of betrayal, that it sent man into an immediate downward spiral of sin, into the very depths of spiritual darkness and deadness. Being without God and without hope, Adam and his wife, even in their vain attempts at recovery—clothing themselves with fig leaves (see Gen. 3:7), hiding themselves from God, as if distancing themselves from the Presence of God would, somehow distance themselves from their guilt (see Gen. 3:8)—succeeded only in compounding their situation. According to the fact that they surely did die, Adam and Eve had now become hopeless and without God, and so, whatever they could imagine, whatever they could do, nothing would be of any assistance to them. Where once there was love in their hearts for God, there now existed an evil enmity against God. This is the curse of sin. Sin, and ensuant death, has rendered man utterly incapable of willing or working his way back to God. This is what sin does when applied to man. Instead of running to God for forgiveness, all man did was seek the answer to his dilemma by turning to himself. By clothing himself and believing he could hide himself from God. Looking within, man tried to cover up his sin and shame, by clothing himself, hiding himself from God and living without Him. People are still doing this today, particularly by clothing themselves with, and hiding their nakedness within the transparent walls of religion. Avoiding God is like trying to live without your head. Man’s sin has clearly cut him off from all communication with God, and from his ever seeing the only road that leads back to God. Man’s desire for God had instantly evaporated the moment he sinned against God. Sin immediately extinguished any desire man had for God forever. Every sin is a sin against God, and to sin against God has the most dire and eternal consequences attached to it. “…the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23 cf. Rom. 7:5). Ever since man first sinned, every moment of his existence in sins is a moment spent sinning, and he is deserving only of a merciless Hell! Sin is trivialized these days. It is laughed about and even encouraged within polite society. It seems that as long as one is a ‘nice person’ just about any sin can be excused particularly when it is done in the name of charity. But the fact of the matter is that sin is the gravest of issues, for sin is rebellion against God, and has violently thrown man head first into a Godless existence. A man dead in his sins is a veritable juggernaut that is unrestrainedly headed toward a Godless eternity where only the fiery Wrath and fury of God awaits him.
The only chance of hope for a man exists outside of himself. It does not come from within him, for he is hope-less. There is nothing he can think, nothing he can will, therefore, nothing he can do that will procure his salvation. There is no hope whatsoever in a man’s best works, for the Word of God declares man at his best is nothing but vanity. There is no hope in anything a man, by nature, can conceive of, for “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). “A proof of the corruption of the will.” Man is corrupted by sin, he does not understand God, he does not know God, he does not seek God. The saved man is a blessed man. By grace he does know God, he has been given an understanding from God which is why he seeks the only true God: “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me…” (Jer. 9:24). “…surely every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:11), the Scriptures say, therefore, whatever a man does is completely without profit. Only by the Spirit of God is a man made alive to God, born again by God (see Jn. 6:63). Only by God can a man profit. Only by the will and grace of God will a man profit. Man is, by nature, without hope. This means that nothing he does, nothing he says, nothing he can imagine can ever move him one millimetre from his state of hopelessness. Hopelessness follows man wherever he goes and whatever he does. Hopelessness is ingrained in man, and pervades his every thought and every action. Man, by nature, is cursed, and this curse is within him, it is part of him, and in every part of him: mind, body and soul. Man can never be rid of his hopelessness and vanity by any human means. Hopelessness sticks to man, it lies within man, it is a natural part of him. Like a fly on flypaper, there is no escape. Only grace can change this situation, and only the will of God can make that grace come. Hopelessness is part of man’s character, and prevails over everything he does. “…man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). So too, any attempt by man to get saved only serves to highlight his hopelessness. That is what being spiritually dead is, being without hope and without God: completely bereft of that which salvation cannot do without. Prior to salvation there is no hope, no intermediate state of limbo, only death. A man without is a man who does not have. The essential need for God’s grace indicates that whatever a man is, or can do, it is grossly inadequate when it comes to salvation. Salvation by grace requires the supernatural power of God, not a man’s feeble means and ways.
Sin has established a permanent untraversable chasm that lies between man and God. Man sinned when he disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden, and the flow-on effect of that initial sin continues to this day when a man tries to do in order to rectify his spiritual condition. In eating the fruit, Adam and Eve thought they could better their situation by becoming as gods, instead, this act made it irreparably worse. The glaring problem with man trying to do to get saved is the fact that man cannot undo the ramifications of doing what he has done to be as gods, by now trying to be obedient. IT’S TOO LATE FOR OBEDIENCE! You can close the barn door after the horse has bolted, you can fix any loose boards, and give it a new paint job, you can tidy it up as best you can, BUT IT WILL NEVER GET THE HORSE BACK! The only obedience needed is to acknowledge the fact that only the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ can save a man out of his accursed state. This can only come by the means of grace. Jesus will return “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). Obey the Gospel of grace alone through faith in the Righteousness of Christ alone, and you will be saved. Evidence of man’s hopeless sinful state is seen in the fact that no man by nature even seeks the true God (see Rom 3:11). Man is religious. Man seeks false gods, and has an oversized appetite for that which is not true, but he cannot and does not seek the true God. This is such an enormously powerful statement and one which can be quite puzzling when we look around us and see religion abounding everywhere with people trying to ‘find God’. Temples and ‘churches’ everywhere filled with people whom most suppose are seeking the true God, are really hiding from the true God behind the dark veil of man-made religion. Moreover, the god, or gods which man is in the process of seeking cannot possibly be the true God, for He states that no man seeks HIM! No man can seek Him, for no man knows the true God until the true God reveals Himself through His Gospel. So, what good can ‘good works’ do when man by nature performs them in light of his love for a false god. Man’s love for ‘God’, is not a misdirected love, but a love which can only love false gods. Only the saved man loves the true God because the true God loved him first (see 1 Jn. 4:19). The love a saved man has, just like the faith a saved man has, does not emanate from him, but is a gift given to him by God. In all his religious ways, no man seeks or can seek the true God. No man understands or can understand the true God. No man knows, or can know, the true God unless the true God reveals Himself to a man by His Gospel (see Rom. 1:16,17). There is nothing within a lost man that can motivate him to seek the only true God. This is why man needs a Saviour, the only one Who can reveal the truth, and the true God to him. Jesus said: “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). No one can seek that which one does not know, therefore, the Father can only be seen when the Son chooses to reveal Him (make Him known). “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, THEY are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Salvation is purely God’s work by grace alone, and not by any works of man at all.
No one can find God, “Canst thou by searching find out God…” (Job 11:7). Even if lost man could ‘bump into’ the only true God in his futile search for God, he would never recognize Him as the true God. “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” (1 Cor. 2:14). “…the world by wisdom knew not God…” (1 Cor. 1:21). No man, by nature, understands who God is, and so, cannot seek Him (see Rom. 3:11). Man at his wisest still does not/cannot know the only true God. “…man at his best is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5). A lost man cannot find God because he does not seek God because he does not know Who He is. The Word of God says, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God…no man can come to Me…ye have not chosen Me…” (Rom. 3:11; Jn. 6:44; 15:16). Despite all of these Biblical facts, man by nature who cannot see the truth of these unchallengeable statements, who cannot hear the truth of these irrevocable declarations, continues to vainly believe that salvation is conditioned on a decision of man’s to come to God and accept Him! Natural man has blindly pinned all his hopes on his hopelessness. “God is not to be found out by human search; that there is a God may be found out by inquiring into the book of nature, by considering the creatures that are made, who all proclaim some first cause or maker of them, who is God; but then it cannot be found out what God is, His nature, being, and perfections. The world at best is but a shadow of God, and therefore cannot discover Him in His magnificent and royal virtues, no more than a shadow can discover the outward beauty, the excellent mien, and the inward endowments of the person whose shadow it is. A Heathen philosopher, being asked by a certain king what God was, required a day to give in his answer; when that was up, he desired a second, and still went on asking more; and being demanded the reason of his dilatoriness, replied, the more he had considered the question, the more obscure it was to him: the world by wisdom, or the wiser part of the Heathen world, knew not God (see 1 Cor. 1:21); though they knew there was one, they knew not who and what He was; and therefore in some places altars were erected to the unknown God, (see Acts 17:23): and though some of the perfections of God may be investigated from the works of nature, such as the power, wisdom, and goodness of God, (see Rom. 1:19,20); yet not all His perfections, such as His grace, mercy proclaimed and displayed in Christ; nor indeed His counsels, purposes, and decrees, which lie in His eternal mind, are the thoughts of His heart, the deep things of God, which none but the Spirit of God searches, knows, and reveals; and since Zophar's request was, that God should show to Job ‘the secrets of wisdom’ (Job 11:6), these may be meant here, either evangelical wisdom, the wisdom of God in a mystery hid in His heart from everlasting, and the mysterious truths and doctrines of it, things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive of; these are not to be found out by human search, but are by the revelation of God; or else the reasons of the proceedings of God in Providence, which are out of the reach of men, dark, intricate, mysterious, unsearchable, and past finding out”.
Speaking only to His disciples, the Lord Jesus said: “…Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God…” (Mk. 4:11 cf. Matt. 13:11; Col. 1:25-27). “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:7-10). Man by nature does not know God so how can he possibly be seeking God. Lost man’s natural ignorance of the only true God—Who He is and how He saves—is seen in the false doctrines they believe in. By nature, no man knows the only true God. How can one seek out that which one does not know, and cannot possibly conceive of? Moreover, how can one be seeking out the true God, when following the descriptions arrived at by mere human conjecture, or the untruths presented in false gospels? How can lies, or lies mixed with truth, ever lead one to the true God? Attempts made by the spiritually dead in finding the true God are always fruitless, for their methods are always based upon what they do and in accord with their carnal thinking. Counterfeit translations, false, corrupt, versions of the Word of God are created by those who know not the truth. They have purposely changed, and even removed whole Scriptures from the Bible. Whole Bible versions have been written to combat the doctrines of the Gospel of salvation by grace alone, instead, teaching that salvation hinges on a man’s free will rather than God’s Sovereign will. The translators and promoters of such perversions are the harbingers only of the illusion of truth, and an illusion never saved anyone.
The true God cannot be found, He cannot be acknowledged as the true and only God by mere human effort. God cannot be found. God can only be revealed, and it is only God Who can make Himself known. Just as a man cannot call out to the God he does not know, so too, men cannot find the God they do not believe in. “How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). Most religious people are genuinely sincere and wholeheartedly determined in their quest to ‘find God’, however, no amount of sincerity and unwavering resolve is ever going to make a square peg fit into a round hole. The true God cannot be found, but only revealed by His Son Jesus, and He does this only “…to His saints” (Col. 1:26 cf. Matt. 11:27). Jesus said: “All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him” (Lk. 10:22). The only ‘God’ man does find is the falsely called gods of man’s imagination. The only gods man has ever found are the ones who always demand works before salvation, or works as a way to maintain salvation. Such gods as these have no Scriptural foundation. They do not exist, and, therefore, cannot save. The Lord God says: “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me…there is none beside Me, I am the Lord, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:5,6). “That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else” (1 Kings 8:60). God says of Himself: “…I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me” (Isa. 46:9 cf. 1 Chron. 17:20; Isa. 43:10,11,13; 44:6-8; 45:5,6; Jn. 17:3; 1 Tim. 2:5). The true God is the only God Who saves by grace alone through faith alone, and not by works at all.
The precise similarities among the false gods of religion are endless: The most common denominator among all the man-made false gods of religions is that they require an effort, or a lifetime of efforts, on man’s part before salvation can allegedly be gained and secured. People are required to choose a god before they can be saved. They are required to serve him so that he can save them. The only true God is unique: NO ONE IS LIKE HIM, AND NO ONE SAVES LIKE HIM. God chooses His people in order to save His people by His grace through the gift of faith. There are none like Him. “…a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law…it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith” (Rom. 3:28,30). “…there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we by Him” (1 Cor. 8:4-6 cf. Eph. 2:10). Man seeking ‘God’ sincerely by commitment, devotion, and by his own obedience is the strongest evidence that shows he remains dead in sins and that he does not know the true God at all. One can be involved in a religious pursuit, but man by nature can only seek out false gods. The world by wisdom does not know the true God, and so, it cannot possibly be the true God that a lost man seeks. Many who remain lost believe they are Christian, however, they do not know, believe or judge by the Gospel of God, therefore, it is not the only true God whom they know and seek, but only counterfeit gods of the imagination. A lost man cannot seek the only true God, for he is dead in sins and an enemy of God. The man who knows and is loved by the true God is always sought for and found by Him, “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and WILL deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day” (Ezek. 34:11,12 cf. Lk. 15:4,5; Jn. 6:37). The Word of God says He searches for His sheep, His sheep do not search for Him. God seeks only them, for they cannot seek Him. You cannot seek God, you cannot find God, for He can only be revealed. The sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice, “My sheep hear My voice…” (Jn. 10:27 cf. Jn. 10:14,16). Jesus said: “…Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice” (Jn. 18:37). “…no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). “..His essence and glory, His mind and will, His purposes and decrees, His counsels and covenant; His Gospel; the grace and love of His heart to His chosen people; what He has prepared and laid up for them, and will make them partakers of to all eternity; ‘and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him’; both Himself, and His Father, and the grace and glory of each, which He does by His Spirit; Who is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; and which entirely depends on His own Sovereign will and pleasure.”
The true God cannot be found, but He does reveal Himself to His people. Look outside the framework of true Christianity, and you will only discover people who have found gods that condition salvation on what people must do. All false ‘Gods’ must be prodded and motivated by a man’s love and works before they can ‘save’ any. The true God is the only God Who saves not by any works done by man, but only by His grace through faith. Seeing that the only gods that have come from a man’s mind are those which demand works before salvation, it is quite easy to see the enormous difference which exists between them and the only true God, for the only true God saves only by His grace through faith without works. Both grace and faith are gifts. Salvation is a gift which cannot be merited. The saved have no faith in their own works, but only in what God has done. The saved want nothing to do with their own righteousness, but only want the only Righteousness which saves: the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. All true Christians agree with Paul the apostle: “And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9). Only true Christianity teaches the utter hopelessness of man even at his best, that salvation is all of God and because of God, that salvation is all by grace, and not at all by works. True Christianity teaches the grace that saves which subsequently produces works, while religion teaches the lie that works produce salvation. God cannot be found, for He can only be seen and embraced when He reveals Himself. The Word of God teaches salvation by grace, religion teaches salvation by works. It is not a bridge of works that leads a man to God, but only the bridge of grace. The bridge of works built by man must be crossed by human effort, the bridge of grace created by God for Hs chosen people is a smooth flowing travelator which needs no effort on man’s part.
Man is dead in his sins, he is blinded to the truth of God, to Who He is, what He has done and how He saves. “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3,4 cf. 2 Cor. 4:6). The lost do not believe the Gospel, and so, cannot know the true God. There is no true God outside the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Man without God, man who is blind to the truth that is the Gospel of the grace of God, has no recourse but to think that he himself must make an effort; that he must do in order to please God so that he can be with Him. This blasphemous thinking deceptively teaches a man that if he must do something, he can do something, which does away with the Biblical teaching that without God a man is without life and is, therefore, without any hope. The deceptiveness of ‘You must do’ is more often than not met with the assumption that one can do. This nonsense, or course, is overridden by the Biblical fact that a man without God is a man without hope. A man without hope CANNOT DO! Religion teaches that without God, man can do; Jesus Christ teaches “No man can come to Me…” (Jn. 6:44 cf. Jn. 15:5). A man who is blind to the truth will believe in anything but the truth. A blind man has only his perception of what the truth is, but never the actual truth. A blind man must be given sight, he must be made to see before he can see. In his deadness and blindness lost man has missed the truth. In his deadness in sins and blindness to the truth of God, the God Who is truth, man ‘sees’ nothing but the lie that if only he can reform his life well enough—cease to sin and begin to obey—according to his own, or some religion’s standard, to live a life of abstinence and obedience, then all will be well. As one man has wisely written, “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse what is true”.
Lost men may feel they have in some way made up for their past sins by doing ‘good’, but how can any man, let alone all of mankind, make up for the original sin of disobedience against, and rebellion toward, God. How can man make up for, what can he do to offset the curse of sin? How can that curse ever be lifted? HOW CAN A MAN EVER MAKE UP FOR THAT WHICH HAS KILLED HIM!! A lost man is a hopeless man who is without God striving by his own efforts to get saved. A lost man is a fruitless man who is dead in sins striving by his dead works to get saved. And you can be assured that a man who strives by his own efforts to get to God, is a man who is without God and who will never get to God. The saved man has a sure and certain hope which has been given him by grace. The Christian does not strive by any effort of his own to get saved or remain saved, but rather rests comforted and secure in the grace of God and in the Person and Work of His only Begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ. The spiritually blind see everything but truth. They see every god, but the God of truth and His only way to redemption. God states that HE is the SAVIOUR, and none else: “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour” (Isa. 43:11). The Word of God unmistakably proclaims: “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8). Seeing that salvation is by grace, and God is the only Saviour, then it makes absolute perfect Biblical sense that salvation comes only from God alone by grace alone. ONE Saviour Who saves only ONE Way! Therefore, the only way to be saved is by grace through the gift of faith: “For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). A man is only saved by that which he cannot boast of.