ELECTION IS JUST NOT FAIR! (part 4)
What the person believing in free will must ask themselves is, ‘How can a man lost in sin, dead in sin and dead to God, possibly choose God?’ How can his case for free will stand when faced with the overwhelming array of Scriptures which declare that election is something done by God before the foundation of the world, before any man was ever born, that none of this was according to anything man would do, could do, or had done but solely according to the Father’s will? How can any man choose God when God Himself says that there are none who seek Him, none who desire Him, none who worship Him, by nature? How can a dead man rise and walk without the power of God? How can a man love God if God has not loved the man first? And if God has loved the man first, then any and every positive response to God from the man is a direct result—an outgrowth, or fruit—of God’s everlasting love upon the man, and nothing whatsoever that originated from within the man. There is no room for man to boast, that is, no room in God’s only Gospel for a man to boast. The great Gospel which teaches that salvation is by grace through a faith that is not from man, is not produced by man, not something which lays dormant in man like some Kundalini serpent waiting for him or God to awaken it, but is a gift given to him by God. It is not something that stems from within but that which is given from without; not that which arises from the heart of man but that which comes down from above. The saving faith which Grace provides is not that which comes from within you, but from without you and with out you! It does not require your assistance to be sent, or in its arrival, or to accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. The only Gospel God gives testimony to is that one which teaches that a man is not saved according to anything he has done, or has the potential to do, or has been enabled to do, but solely by the grace of God. The grace of God is not something which makes a man’s choice of God possible. Just like the adrenalin pumped into the lifeless heart does not give the heart a choice between pumping again or not, but is the agent which restores it to life again on its terms! So too, God’s grace bestowed upon a man unto salvation makes the man willing, it does not merely make a man’s willingness to receive God viable. Therefore there is no choice, as it were, to be made on the part of man. The choice belongs to God and He quickens, makes alive, those whom He wills. Man does not choose life, for he cannot, IT IS CHOSEN FOR, AND GIVEN TO, HIM by a merciful God: "...the Son quickeneth whom He will" (Jn. 5:21 cf. Matt. 11:27). This is in reference to those He raised from physical death as well as those who were dead in trespasses and sins. "It was in the power of Jesus to raise up any of the dead as well as Lazarus. It depended on His will whether Lazarus (see Jn. 11:43) and the widow’s son (see Lk. 7:12) should come to life. So it depends on His will whether sinners shall live. He has power to renew them; and the renewing of the heart is as much the result of HIS WILL as the raising of the dead." And we all know that the circumstances surrounding a physically dead person being raised to life could include nothing that the dead person did to deserve being brought back from the dead, nothing he did to make it possible, but solely something done outside of his capabilities and without any assistance or cooperation from him. In other words, the dead man could not refuse or resist his being made alive again by God. In fact neither Lazarus or the widow’s son had any awareness that they were to be brought back to life, no consciousness that such a thing would happen, until they were actually made alive again by the power of God. Likewise, the spiritually dead man is not aware of his state nor can he do anything to raise himself to spiritual life. This is something done completely outside the person, dependant on and performed wholly by Another. Not by a work of man’s for God would then be a discriminator of men based on what they had done. Speaking to believers, Paul the apostle states that the "...love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us..." (Titus 3:4,5). Salvation does not follow an act of man performed with the aid of God, but always as a result of the will and grace of God. If man has a free will and he must use it to choose for God before God can save him, would not this ‘free will act’ by man be correctly termed a work of righteousness? And if so, would not then the love of God have appeared in the wake of a man’s righteous work/choice and therefore make salvation something which is not according to God’s mercy but man’s obedience? Be not deceived! God has never started to love a man after that man has done something to attract God to him! God’s love for His chosen is everlasting: it has no beginning and no end (see Jer. 31:3). God is not a respecter of persons: His election is not according to works but according to grace. It is not according to what a man does, but according to what God has done. SALVATION IS ACCORDING TO MERCY NOT MERIT!! God not being a respecter of persons is the absolute bulletproof evidence that proves man has done nothing and can do nothing to make God choose him over another man who has failed to do the same. God not being a respecter of persons means that God’s election of a man is not according to anything a man has done, or is, that makes him to differ from another, but despite what he cannot do! IT IS NOT A MAN’S LOVE WHICH DRAWS HIM TO THE SAVIOR, BUT GOD’S LOVE OF THE MAN WHICH DRAWS HIM!! (see Jn. 6:44,65). Anything which IS OPPOSitE to the Scriptures OPPOSES the Scriptures. The love of God, in Jesus Christ our Savior, did not appear because of any man’s works but solely because of God’s mercy. So too, salvation does not come when a man chooses but because God has already chosen.
The person believing in free will is no doubt firmly convinced in himself that he believes what this (Titus 3:4,5) and other Scriptures like them are saying. But the reality of the situation is that believing God has done His part and Jesus has done His part by dying upon the cross, and all that now remains is for man to do his part—to choose God—in order to complete this triumvirate, denies the grace and mercy of God as that which alone makes the difference between heaven and hell, and replaces it with a righteous work of man’s which usurps the rightful place of God’s benevolence. The system of ‘salvation’ which decrees that none are saved without a free-will decision by man, makes salvation conditioned upon what a man does and not solely on what God has done. Therefore it is a gospel of works and not God’s Gospel of grace. Suddenly, we no longer have the situation that salvation is of the Lord but as the direct result of a corporate effort between God and man. Man acts and God responds; a sort of cause and effect deal. But the cause and effect principle does not work with God in the matter of salvation, for He is BOTH the cause AND the effect. It is not a case of man saying, ‘I want you to save me’ and God then saves him, but rather God saying, ‘I want to save you and behold I have done it!’ But if one listens to the free willer, we suddenly have salvation being not only impossible with man but also impossible for God unless man, through his ‘free will’, ‘lets God in’, rather than the Scriptural logic of salvation being impossible with man but only possible with God. No longer is it God’s power behind a man’s willingness to come to the Lord, but according to the free willer man’s willingness is the sole power behind his decision to be saved. The doctrine of free will negates, it nullifies and blots out, the doctrine of salvation conditioned solely on the grace and mercy of God revealed in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ the Savior. Paul said that he did not frustrate the grace of God seen in Christ’s death, by conditioning his salvation on any work of his: "I do not frustrate (neutralize or violate) the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal.2:21 cf. Rom. 11:5,6). What Paul is saying is that if Christ is not, by His Person and Work, the Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end), the Author and Finisher, of all of salvation, then He is no Savior at all. If any part of salvation is due to, or conditioned on, anything a man does then grace is frustrated, salvation is by works and Christ has died in vain (see Gal 5:1-4). In other words, if any part of salvation is achievable, any condition which can be met, by anything or anyone other than by Christ and what He has done—what has been provided in and by Him—then Christ’s death was all in vain. The doctrine that bases or conditions salvation on what a man must do, is a doctrine which neutralizes and violates the doctrine of salvation by grace and trespasses upon what Christ has done. The Scriptures say, "And being made Perfect, He became THE AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION unto all them that obey Him" (Heb. 5:9).
Christ has said, "No man can come to Me, EXCEPT the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." (Jn. 6:44 cf. Jn. 14:6; Jer.31:3). The word except is a conditional word meaning if not, unless or before. None can come to Christ BEFORE the Father draws him. None have a hope if God does not draw, and, none can possibly come to Him unless the Father comes to them first. We see from the Savior’s own words that none can come to Him unless a specific thing occurs and if that thing, God’s drawing the man by His love, does not occur then it is impossible that any man can come to the Savior. Obviously that which must occur before a man can come to Christ is not a free-will decision on man’s part, for He has just said that no man can come, meaning that in and of himself no man can possibly come to God before, if not or unless, God has acted first. The absolute certainty that a man cannot come is inseparably linked with the fact that no man wills to or wants to come. If this were not the case, we would have the nonsensical situation of a man wanting to come to God but not being able to because God had not come to him first. Such a scenario would conflict with the words of Jesus: "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (Jn. 6:37). The drawing of a man by God is done by their being taught of God, shown clearly in the verse which immediately follows John 6:44: "...And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath LEARNED of the Father, cometh unto Me" (Jn. 6:45). Just as a net full of fish being drawn to shore or into the boat is not in the boat or on the shore until the drawing is completed, so too, none can be said to be in Christ whilst the drawing (dragging) is taking place but only after the process is completed. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the Propitiation for our sins" (1 Jn. 4:10). The love that motivated God to send His Son to die for His chosen is not their love for Him for "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8), but rather His love for His people: "We love Him, BECAUSE He first loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19). God’s love for His people guarantees their love for Him. Christ’s dying for those God had given Him was not due in any part to their character, but because of His desire for their welfare. Christ is not saying in John 6 that none will ever come to Him, but that none can come to Him of their own accord, confirming His words to the apostles in Matthew 19 that salvation with man is impossible, if that one vital ingredient is missing: The will of God, the love of God, which draws the man to Him. That vital ingredient, or catalyst, to man’s coming is not the fictional free-will decision of man for God, it is not man’s choosing God, but the one thing Jesus speaks of as making a man able to come, nay that which assures he WILL come, to the Savior is the drawing of the man by the power of God. "Nothing outside of God Himself moved or influenced Him to save sinners. It was His love and purpose to glorify Himself that caused Him to save sinners." So we see in this Scripture that no man can come to God unless God draws the man to Him. In order to draw a person, God must first have loved and chosen that person before the world began: "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an EVERLASTING love: therefore WITH LOVINGKINDNESS HAVE I DRAWN THEE" (Jer. 31:3). This was not done because of anything that person had performed, or was foreseen would perform, but was done before the foundation of the world according to God’s will, purpose and grace, leaving no possible room for anyone to boast and say, ‘God chose me because I chose Him’, or, ‘He chose me because He knew I would choose Him and not reject Him.’ The doctrine of free will is that which makes God a respecter of persons and salvation a reward rather than a gift! The chosen ones are they whom Jesus refers to as "..the children which God hath given Me" (Heb. 2:13) and never as ‘those who have chosen Me’. Further on in the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "...no man can come unto Me, EXCEPT it were GIVEN unto him of My Father" (Jn. 6:65 cf. Matt. 13:11). The word except here is the same used in John 6:44. Jesus is saying that none can come to Him before this grace is given—NOT CHOSEN—unto him of the Father. If there was anything that man could do to get himself into a saved state and remain so, grace would not be needed and these two statements of Jesus would be wrong. It is of interest to note that after Jesus had told the people this, "From that time many of His (professed) disciples went back, and walked no more with Him" (Jn. 6:66). "Many may be expected to be offended by the doctrines of the Gospel. Having no spirituality of mind, and really understanding nothing of the Gospel, they may be expected to take offence and turn back." God’s elect people on the other hand will never leave Him or abandon His Gospel, for they have the same mind-set as Peter’s: "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (Jn. 6:68). People think that all Christ has done is paid for sin and the rest is up to man. No, my friend, Christ has done far more than just pay for sin. He has ENSURED that all for whom He died, all whose sins have been imputed to Him, all who have been given His righteousness, can stand before God as righteous and acceptable. Christ saves a man, He keeps the man saved and in right standing with God, not based on what the man has done, is doing or will do, but solely on His Person and His Work on the behalf of the man for whom He died.
Being close to the truth is not close enough and close enough is not good enough. One can be assured of this for the Lord Jesus has said: "...Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice" (Jn. 18:37 cf. 1 Jn. 3:19). One is either pregnant or not pregnant, one is either in the house or outside of it and one is either of the truth, believing in the truth, or believing in a lie. If a man claims that he cannot choose God in and of himself, that this choice can only be made after he has had the grace of God bestowed upon him, and is convinced by this that he believes in salvation by grace, then he is only fooling himself. Salvation is not initiated by a choice made by man even with the grace of God. Man’s ‘decision’ is not the starting pistol that sets salvation running towards him. Salvation comes because of the will of God, motivated by the love of God, and according to God’s timing: "...in the day of THY power..." (Psa. 110:3). It certainly does appear to lost man, that a person’s conversion is due to their life-changing choice or decision but in reality, in God’s eyes, GOD is the one Who made the choice, and before the world began, and what we actually witness in the conversion of a man is the result of the choice which God alone has made. The dead man who has been raised again to life cannot be said to have played any part in his revival. God, by His power, decrees that the man should rise and according to God’s will the man is raised. The man rises not in obedience to God’s command but as the direct and guaranteed result of God’s command. It cannot be said that the man rises because of his choice. It cannot be said that Lazarus arose and came out of his tomb by any free will choice he made. In order for Christ to receive ALL the glory, which was the case in the raising of Lazarus, there must be no room for Lazarus to boast in the fact that he is alive again. The spotlight must be solely on Jesus. Lazarus was made alive again by the power of God. It was something which was bestowed upon him, not something offered to him and conditioned on his will to be alive. Just as man played no part in his physical creation, so too man plays no part, nor is there any requirement for him to, in his spiritual re-creation. The revival comes in the day of God’s power, not man’s. God’s command that a person arise from the dead, be it physical or spiritual death, is the catalyst for life and nothing else plays any part in it. God speaks and it is done. It is how He has created everything and it is how He saves those whom He has chosen by His grace before the foundation of the world.
My friend, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is THE issue. It is a life and death issue! This matter of Sovereign election is not something, which man in his natural fallen state has wrongly termed unfair, that can be mistaken by a person who is truly saved. The glorious and Sovereign election according to the will and purpose of God, according to His mercy and grace, is part of God’s Gospel, therefore essential to the preaching of it, and is precious and dear to every saved person, having been heard and believed at the time of their conversion, for to be converted is to be changed from one attitude or belief to another.The lost man’s attitude/belief is that election is not fair and therefore he concludes that a man needs to make a free will choice in order to be saved. Such a doctrine states that it is not God who makes the difference between saved and lost but man’s free-will decision for God.
Why it is a fatal error to not believe the truth of Sovereign election by the free grace and will of God and other Gospel essentials such as the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, the eternal security of a man whom God has elected unto salvation, and that unless one is submitted to the Righteousness of Christ one cannot be saved, is that not believing these truths, or even being undecided as to whether one believes them or not, shows that one is believing something other than the Truth of God, which naturally contradicts His truth. That which does not come from God is that which opposes Him and what He has said. The person who believes in that which God has not said is in ignorance/darkness, which is what a person in a saved state is brought out from in the first place. Either way, they are not believing the Truth. Belief of the truth, which is revealed in the doctrine of God, which every true believer abides in, is what distinguishes a saved person who has been brought out of darkness into God’s marvellous Light, from a person who is lost and sitting in darkness. The state of every man by nature is shown clearly in the following verse: "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18 cf. Jn. 1:5). The blinded heart cannot pump the blood of eternal life. None can be born again and yet remain in darkness and ignorance of what the Gospel is, for "...if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Cor. 4:3). If the Gospel is hid to any man, he cannot see it and he is therefore ignorant of it. This is evidence that he is lost, for God has not revealed His truth to Him. The truth of God is revealed to His elect and to others it is not given: "...it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given....he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it" (Matt. 13:11,23). Just as in physical birth one is brought out of darkness (the womb), so too, to be born again (spiritual birth) one is brought out of darkness (ignorance of the truth) into God’s marvellous Light—where knowledge of His Truth lies. Ignorance is an unmistakeable sign of lostness. Ignorance is the womb, if you will, from which a man receives no sustenance but is brought out of when he is given birth to by God through His Truth (see Jas. 1:18). The Bible teaches that one cannot believe in the true Christ whilst in ignorance of Who He is and what He has done. One is not born as long as one is in the womb—one is not born again as long as one is in ignorance. Only after one has heard of the true Christ can one rightly claim to believe in Him: "In Whom (Christ) ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the Word of Truth, THE GOSPEL of your salvation: in Whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13). This Scripture shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that one cannot believe in the true Christ who has not had that Christ revealed to them via the word of truth, His doctrine: His Gospel. The only hope for sinners is revealed in God’s Gospel Message: "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before IN THE WORD OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL" (Col. 1:5). The message of the sure hope of Heaven lies in the doctrines of the Gospel and none can bear fruit unto God before they hear His Gospel and know the grace of God IN TRUTH (see Col. 1:6 cf. Matt. 13:23). One cannot believe and trust in Christ until after one has heard His Gospel and none are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise who have not believed that glorious Gospel, wherein Christ and His Righteousness are revealed, and rejected all others (see Rom. 1:16,17). One cannot have true saving God-given Faith, if one does not believe the one, true, God-given Gospel. One cannot have true saving faith if one believes that one was saved whilst believing in another gospel, because true saving faith trusts only in one Gospel and believes only one Gospel to be the truth, and only one Gospel that can save. This would be like a person who wrongly imagined twelve inches to be a certain length, then upon discovering how long twelve inches really was, they nevertheless insist that their previous appraisal was just as accurate as that deemed by the ruler! None are saved whilst insisting they were saved before hearing and ‘believing’ THE Gospel, for the very Gospel of God which such people claim to believe, denies that such a thing is possible! Such people often base their salvation on a variety of experiences and see such life-changing and morally reforming episodes as unquestionable proof of spiritual rebirth, despite the absence of the Seed of God by which a man is born again: the Gospel. God recognises only one Gospel as His and so do all His people. The Gospel of God will have no part of a person who professes his love for it and yet is married to another gospel. One must be dead to all other gospels before one can savingly and rightly be joined to God’s Gospel. The Gospel of God cannot be yoked together with one who believes he was saved prior to hearing and believing it and who will not reject every other gospel he previously believed in. This would be like having two wives, a case of spiritual bigamy if you will. Equally, none are saved who insist that such a person is saved or says that a person who has not heard or does not believe THE Gospel, is saved regardless. For they are saying—contrary to what the Gospel declares—that one can be ignorant of the Gospel—wilfully or otherwise—and be nonetheless saved. Salvation, then, would be something based on a person’s sincerity and ‘genuine desire for God’ rather than on God’s genuine love for a person, shown by His revealing His Gospel to them and providing the faith to believe it. Any gospel that is not THE Gospel simply cannot save. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16).
The true Christian Faith is not a religion, nor is it primarily a lifestyle. True Christianity is all about a message—God’s Message—the Gospel, in which the Righteousness of Christ is revealed. This Gospel reveals the spiritual condition of man and God’s way of salvation. Salvation is deliverance. It means to be rescued or freed from a place of danger and brought to a place of safety. It also means to be preserved, to be kept. Salvation is God saving, or rescuing, a sinner from the eternal punishment rightly due unto his sin and transferring him to a state of eternal safety and security, where the law no longer demands punishment and Justice is satisfied. Now, how does He do this?
Before we answer that we need to find out why salvation is necessary in the first place and to do this, we need to revisit what God says about the spiritual condition of man. In the Book of Genesis we see the account of Adam and Eve. God made Adam and Eve perfect, free of sin, and gave them a beautiful garden to live in and enjoy, with wonderful trees providing succulent fruits. Their life was one of tranquil days of love, happiness, contentment and of peace with God. God said they could eat from any tree in the Garden but warned that "...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. 2:17). Death, previously unknown, would enter their lives—not merely physical death, but of greater significance, spiritual death. To their shame Adam and Eve did eat of the forbidden fruit and death did enter their lives that very day, just as God had promised. Physically, they did not die immediately but the ageing process of decay and corruption, the breakdown of their physical bodies, did begin that day. However, they did immediately die spiritually. They were no longer acceptable to God for they had become sinners and were unclean in His sight. This death, both physical and spiritual, has passed on to every person ever since. The Scriptural evidence for this is abundant. "...by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men..." (Rom. 5:12). This is because Adam, the first man, was made the representative of all mankind by God. As their representative, Adam’s sin was imputed (charged) to them, his descendants, the entire human race: "...by one man’s disobedience (the) many (those he represented) were made sinners..." (Rom. 5:19). The fact that both you and I sin offers undeniable proof that we are sinners and shows that we come from the sin seed which began with Adam. Just as a grass seed will only produce grass, so too, the sin seed will only produce sinners. And every sinner needs a Savior.
Most people readily admit that they are not perfect, but a source of comfort for many is that they see themselves as only minor sinners. Most people’s assessment of themselves is along the lines of, ‘I am basically a good person. I know I’m not perfect but at least I’m not as bad as that person’. They judge themselves by comparing themselves with others they deem not to be as moral or charitable as they, and according to this standard, they judge themselves to be basically good people, and, to the religiously minded, right with God. Everyone can find someone who has sinned worse than they have, with whom they are keen to compare themselves. Many do not see themselves as having committed any serious sin, which they consider to be something like murder, armed robbery or other such crimes of extreme violence. Man, filled with an ignorance based optimism produced by his natural fallen condition, sees reason to be hopeful, mainly because of the sins he has not committed, but turning a blind, yet convenient eye, or remaining in wilfull ignorance, to those which he has done. To think like this is to miss the whole point. While it is true that some have sinned more than others, and to worse degrees, the reality, not to mention the gravity, of the situation is that we have ALL sinned against God: "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). We may be able to impress one another with our moral lifestyles and charitable natures and be seen by our fellow man as righteous, but in God’s eyes all are sinners and all come far short of His standard of approval, His glory. Man has missed the mark, or target, and as for having registered points with God by his feeble attempts to make amends for his sins, by doing ‘good’—man isn’t even on the scoreboard! Man in his lost state is under the impression that if he does his best then God will accept him, for what more can a person do than his best? This is the sin that deceives every man by nature (his unsaved state). The fact that we are not perfect shows conclusively that we are sinners in need of a Savior, and that we can do nothing to save ourselves. This also means that even at his best, no man can turn to God and choose Him, for no man seeks Him. God says, "...every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity (unsatisfactory)" (Psa. 39:5); "...they are together become unprofitable..." (Rom. 3:12 cf. Jn. 6:63; Rom. 7:18). The best a man can do to recommend himself to God falls far short of the perfection which God demands: "...we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (good deeds) are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities (sins), like the wind, have taken us away" (Isa. 64:6). Notice that this verse of Scripture is not talking about our bad deeds being unacceptable, for that is something which is obvious to all, but that our very best deeds are as filthy rags in the sight of the Holy God. Religion teaches that our best deeds will recommend us to God, but God says that even at our best we fall far short of His Standard of acceptance. This is because we are sinners and all we do is imperfect and therefore unacceptable to a Perfect God. God’s accepting man in this condition would be unfair to His Holiness. If our best deeds are as filthy rags, one can only imagine how our worst deeds appear in God’s sight. It is obvious that man needs something far greater than his best deeds, and someone far greater than any mortal man could ever be, in order to be saved—made acceptable in God’s sight. The doctrine that teaches man is dead to God and consequently that there is nothing he can do to recommend himself to God, including choosing God with so called ‘free will,’ is so vital to knowing the true God that if one does not believe this, then one joins with the Arminian in believing and promoting Satan’s lie to Eve that she would not surely die (Gen. 3:4) for they say, ‘we are not surely dead’. Thus they are guilty of saying that Christ’s death was in vain: "...if righteousness (right standing with God) come by (obedience to) the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21). This obedience includes choosing and coming to God based upon one’s so-called free will, which in the context is an act of obedience on the part of man upon which he has conditioned salvation. When speaking to the most religious people of His day, Jesus said, "...ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Matt. 23:28). Man judges according to the outward appearance but God judges according to what is in man: "...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7), and at the core of every man is the sin seed: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9).
No matter how ‘good’ a man can become, all his efforts fail to address the root problem: his sin nature. If I may use the following illustration, man trying to get to God by what he does is like a man who has one foot nailed to the floor. No matter how much the man struggles or runs, the best he can ever do is go around in circles! He never gets anywhere because the root problem, the reason why he runs around in circles and never achieves anything, has not been addressed! For a solution to all this, the root problem must be addressed, which in this case is that his foot is anchored to the floor. The fact that we are sinners, with no redeeming quality, is that which condemns us and it is a fact which none of us can change. It is the root problem and for it to be dealt with effectively, it must be dealt with by God His Way. Nothing we do, don’t do, or stop doing can alter our sinful nature one bit. A rotten apple, no matter how fragrant it’s aroma may be, can never alter the fact that it is ROTTEN!And no one is going to accept a rotten apple to eat, no matter how fragrant it is! So too, God will never accept an imperfect and sinful man, no matter how many ‘good things’ he might do, because his good deeds are all imperfect and can never do away with his rotten sinful state. No matter how many times a person believes they have obeyed the speed limit, this can never undo, or make up for, the instance when they broke the speed limit, and the full penalty must be paid. That you have broken the law cannot be excused simply because you had, up until that time, not broken it. Man’s condition, and the fact that he can do nothing to change his state before God, is highlighted by God Himself in the following verse: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). The Word of God also says, "...verily every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity" (Psa. 39:5); "...there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:12); "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Eccl. 7:20). Where there is imperfection there is sin and where there is sin there can never be perfection, and therefore no grounds for acceptance with God. One must have all his sin removed and perfection put in its place, in order to be right with God. Despite all of man’s enthusiastic religious endeavors, including the erroneous belief that he can choose God at any time, the Lord says, "...There is NONE righteous, no, not one: there is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE THAT SEEKETH after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become UNPROFITABLE; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE" (Rom. 3:10-12). Now if man did have a free will, he would have the capacity to choose God. The whole purpose of God in giving man a ‘free will’ would have been so that some at least would choose him. And so in light of this, would it not be proper to say that some, by choosing God, have done a good thing? But how can any have done this good and noble thing, choosing God, when we have just heard that God Himself states that "THERE IS NONE THAT DOETH GOOD!!" Quite a dilemma isn’t it?
The standard by which we are to judge ourselves is the one that God has set: perfection—and if we are honest, we will admit that we are imperfect. We all fail the test no matter how ‘good’ we are or how much better than others we believe ourselves to be. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our being (perfectly). The Lord Jesus says: "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law..." (Matt. 22:37-40). No one, not even the most religious person around, could ever say he has loved God perfectly and his fellow man as himself. So we see then that, far from being guilty of only ‘minor sins’, we all stand guilty before God of the greatest sins. Consequently, the concept of ‘minor’ sins is a false one. Moreover, to break even one of God’s laws is to be guilty of violating the Law as a whole: "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (Jas. 2:10), and God has made clear to us the penalty for sin: "For the wages of sin is death..." (Rom. 6:23). Sinners cannot be saved by their obedience to the Law of God, for we have rendered it impossible that any of us should be justified and saved by the Law, in that we have broken the law and thus exposed ourselves to the penalty of the Law: "...cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to them" (Gal. 3:10).
Society often gets into an uproar when a judge lets a criminal off with just a warning or hands down a light sentence. The judge that does this is actually perverting justice, he is not a just judge. He might be showing mercy, but that mercy comes at the expense of the justice he claims to be a servant of. When someone commits a crime, they should pay the full penalty that the law demands for that crime. God’s Justice, on the other hand, is never perverted, or left unsatisfied because of His mercy. While it is true that God is a God of love and mercy, it is just as true and vitally important to note that He is also a Just God, a Just Judge. God never sacrifices His Holiness to His love and mercy. God never shows mercy at the expense of His Justice. God did not even spare His own Son from being delivered up unto death when the sins of His elect were charged to Him (see Rom. 8:32). God declares of Himself: "...The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...WILL BY NO MEANS CLEAR THE GUILTY..." (Ex. 34:6,7) and "...there is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Saviour..." (Isa. 45:21). In order for God to be the Savior and at the same time Just, without perverting His justice, His law must be obeyed perfectly and His justice, which demands full payment for sin, must be satisfied. How could this be accomplished? How could God save anyone based on perfect obedience and full payment for sin when no man is able to meet these demands? Therefore, how could God remain Just and at the same time be the justifier of the ungodly?
God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. Jesus was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the agency of God the Holy Spirit. He was not born of the seed of man and therefore did not carry within Him the sin seed, which is resident in every man (Lk. 1:31,35). He did not descend from Adam but came down from Heaven and was therefore without sin. Consequently, He and all that He did, was wholly acceptable to God (Matt. 3:17). Just as Adam is a representative, so too is Christ. But while Adam is the representative of all mankind, evidenced by the fact that all have sinned, Jesus Christ is the Representative of all those God gave Him—those whom God chose to save—through faith in His Gospel. The fact that Christ was not the representative of all, but only of those whom God gave Him, His elect, is evidenced and made obvious by the fact that not all believe/will believe His Gospel. These, and these alone, are the ones Christ laid down His life for. Writing to believers, the apostle Paul said, "...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (faith); whereunto He called you by our Gospel..." (2 Thess. 2:13); "As Thou (the Father) hast given Him (the Son) power over all flesh, that He (the Son) should give eternal life to as many as Thou (the Father) hast GIVEN Him" (Jn. 17:3). Being chosen by God for salvation was not something that could be earned or merited, it was not a reward, for the choice was made by God before the creation of any man, solely according to His Will: "(God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS, but according to His own purpose and grace, which WAS GIVEN US in Christ Jesus BEFORE the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9 cf. Titus 3:5); "...He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world...Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, ACCORDING TO the good pleasure of HIS WILL" (Eph. 1:4,5). "The elect of God are chosen by Him to be His children, in order that they might be made to believe, not because He foresaw that they would believe." Faith, like everything else pertaining to salvation, is a gift given by God, it does not originate within ourselves: "For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it (faith) is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9). There is no such thing as a self-made Christian: "For we are HIS workmanship created in Christ Jesus..." (Eph. 2:10). Saving faith ALWAYS believes THE TRUE Gospel, never a false one, for it is the faith that comes from God (2 Thess. 2:13,14). The faith which does not save, which does not come from God as His gift, is that which believes that salvation can either come before or without belief in God’s only Gospel. The Faith that God gives finds comfort, refuge and security ONLY in the doctrine of Christ. The faith that God does not give finds comfort, refuge and security in anything but the doctrine of Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Substitute of all those God chose to save, of all those the Father chose/elected and gave to Him. As their Substitute, He lived the life of perfect obedience to God’s Law that none of them ever could, thus providing the obedience they needed to become right with God: "...by the obedience of ONE (Jesus) shall (the) many (those He represented) be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19). As their Substitute, He died and was resurrected, thus paying the penalty in full for their sins: "(Jesus) was delivered for our (those He represented) offences, and was raised again for our justification (acquittal)" (Rom. 4:25). Jesus blotted out "...the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (those He represented)...and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (Col. 2:13,14). God’s Word says that all the sins of those for whom Christ died were transferred to Him, and that His Righteousness would be charged to them: "For He hath made Him (Christ) to be sin (a sin offering) for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21 cf. Rom. 4:6,8). He Who did no sin was charged with the sin of others, and they who did no righteousness, were charged with the Righteousness of Him. God will not, indeed cannot, charge sin to those for whom Christ died, for all their sin has been imputed to Him and His Righteousness to them! All those for whom Christ was made sin are those who will never perish, for they have been made the righteousness of God in Him (see Gal. 3:13), and they are loved of God just as much as Jesus is (see Jn. 17:23). Just as Adam’s sin was imputed to all he represented, thus condemning them, Christ’s Righteousness is imputed to all He represented, thus justifying them (making them righteous). Man is judged a sinner even before he is born, before he has done any evil, for he carries within him the sin seed and is conceived in sin, going astray from the womb (Rom. 5:13,14 & Psa. 51:5 & Psa. 58:3). Ever noticed that children, even at a very young age, don’t need to be taught to do wrong, IT JUST COMES NATURALLY!? All those Christ represented (lived and died for) WILL BE SAVED: "Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgement came upon all men (all he represented) to condemnation; EVEN SO by the righteousness of One (Christ) the free gift came upon all men (all He represented) unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience (the) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall (the) many be made righteous" (Rom. 5:18,19). The imputation to Christ of the sins of God’s chosen people and Christ’s Righteousness being imputed to them, is the only way that God can remain Just and at the same time be the Justifier of sinners. The penalty for the sins of God’s chosen has been paid in full in and through Christ’s death, and the perfect righteousness for their justification has been established by Christ’s perfect obedience unto death. "To declare, I say, at this time HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: that HE might be Just AND the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). Man could never be justified by his imperfect righteousness, but only by the perfect Righteousness of a Substitute, Jesus Christ. God’s Law has been fully and perfectly obeyed by Christ, His atoning blood has been shed, and the resulting Righteousness charged to all those whom the Father gave Him. "...David...describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works....Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Rom. 4:6,8). There is no reason for those chosen by God to perish, and therefore none of them ever will, for their sins have been charged to Another and they now have the Righteousness of Christ. God’s Justice has been fully satisfied by Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of His people. Christ’s death on the cross was His offering to the Father on behalf of all those the Father gave Him to die for and redeem. This sacrifice was accepted by God and thus all for whom this sacrifice was made are shown to be the chosen of God, the redeemed of God, the elect of God, THE BELIEVERS in God. No one for whom He has died shall be cast into Hell, and, He has died for no one who is cast into Hell. To be truly saved, one must EXPECT NOTHING MORE and ACCEPT NOTHING LESS than Christ’s glorious Righteousness as that which ALONE is necessary to attain and maintain a state of salvation from beginning to final glory.
The popular, yet false, belief that there are many religious paths one can travel but that all lead to the true God, is a lie from Hell which continues to deceive people to this day. How can one group, for instance, that teaches that Jesus is not God and another that teaches that Jesus is God, both be right and leading people to the same God? Likewise, how can one who says that Christ’s death has accomplished eternal redemption for all for whom He died be teaching the same jesus whom the Arminians say only made salvation possible, attainable, for all if only they would choose him? Once something like this is pointed out it becomes clear that all the different religions, even the multitude of ‘christian’ denominations, do not lead to the same god, let alone the True God, for not only do they differ greatly in what they say about God and the way to salvation, they often totally contradict each other. There are many wrong answers that can be given to 2 + 2, but there is only one correct answer. So too, there are many false gods and many false christs in religion’s supermarket, although this can never erase the fact that there is only ONE TRUE God and that there is only ONE TRUE Christ. Just as your answer to an equation will reveal whether you know the correct one or not, what you say about God and about Jesus Christ will show whether you believe in the True, or in one of the many counterfeits which cannot save. God warns that many "...pray unto a god that CANNOT save" (Isa. 45:20). Only ONE road leads to God: "Jesus saith.., I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (Jn. 14:6) and "I am the Door: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved..." (Jn. 10:9).
Religion, even that which professes to be ‘christian’, claims to know what it is that man can do to ‘make his peace with God’. But their teachings about salvation are false, for they all teach that man must, thereby implying that he can, do something in order to get saved and/or stay saved. ALL OF RELIGION CLAIMS THAT THERE IS SOME INHERENT QUALITY IN EVERY MAN THAT CAN CAUSE HIM TO REACH OUT TO GOD, OR THAT THERE ARE DEEDS MAN CAN DO WHICH WILL RECOMMEND HIM TO GOD. This is the identifying mark of religion’s false gospel. Religion has lied to man in saying that by a man’s will and work he can come to God. The Lord Jesus says, "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." (Jn. 6:44). Notice that man’s coming is not according to his choice, but exclusively that of the Father’s. Man’s inability to come to the Lord proves conclusively that there is nothing intrinsic in him that can prompt a choice for God. Jesus is saying that no man can come to God unless God has come to the man first. He did not say none will come unless they choose Him but that none CAN come unless the Father draws them. True Christianity is not about what we must do to get saved, but about what Christ has done to save His people from their sins. The word religion comes from the Latin word religare meaning to tie up, or to bind. Religion binds you to a system of laws and duties which must be obeyed if you are to see Heaven and if disobeyed will condemn you to Hell. God declares in His Holy Word that man cannot do anything to get saved—HE CANNOT CHOOSE TO BE SAVED—or stay saved, that salvation is 100% God’s work from start to finish—from beginning to final glory—and that no one is saved who believes contrary to this. Can the reader not see that the doctrine of free will leaves room for a man to boast that he has done something to begin a process of salvation, even if he attributes his decision for God to God, and that only the doctrine of God’s Sovereign election is that which removes any ground upon which man can boast? Salvation by grace is NOT God enabling the sinner to do something which will recommend him to God. Salvation by grace is God doing EVERYTHING that was necessary to ensure the SALVATION of His elect and MAINTAIN it. This is why salvation is according to the promise of God and not the deeds of man. In order for salvation to be by grace, it must be by the faith given by God, not by a work done by man: "Therefore it is OF FAITH, THAT IT MIGHT BE BY GRACE; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed..." (Rom. 4:16). Everything outside the Gospel of God seeks to usurp, or at the very least share, the glory for salvation which alone is God’s. Only God’s Gospel gives Him ALL the glory for salvation. What better news could there possibly be for man than to learn that God, Who demands perfection, does not save sinners based on their imperfect efforts—He cannot, for they can never meet His requirements—but on the perfect obedience unto death (the Righteousness) of Jesus Christ? The Bible does not say that obedience is unnecessary, that one can simply believe in Christ and then live as one pleases (see Rom. 6:1,2). Obedience is very important in the life of a saved sinner, but that obedience is not what saved him or keeps him saved! To believe that it is, is to believe another gospel which denies the completeness of the Righteousness of Christ to save and maintain salvation and says that one needs to, at least to some degree, establish one’s own righteousness in order to get saved or ensure one remains saved. The saved man is "...complete in Him" (Col. 2:10). The Christian is "...sanctified by God the Father, and PRESERVED in Jesus Christ..." (Jd. 1 cf. Psa. 97:10). The word preserved here means to keep an eye on, to guard from loss or injury; "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO (not because of) good works" (Eph. 2:10). Anyone who bases their salvation, or believes it to be in any way to any degree dependant, on what they do and don’t do, shows that they are not submitted to the Righteousness of Christ, but instead are seeking to establish a righteousness of their own (see Rom. 10:1-4). A salvation conditioned to any degree on a man’s obedience would be unsustainable. Unless it is all conditioned and reliant on Christ it cannot even exist, let alone last. Again, a believer’s obedience is important, but it is only by the obedience of ONE, Jesus Christ, that a man is made righteous and that state of righteousness is sustained (see Rom. 5:19).
This is the Gospel that saves. This is God’s Good News. Only those who believe the Gospel, which reveals Christ’s Righteousness alone as that which saves sinners and keeps them saved, will enter into Heaven with nothing to fear. Those who do not believe this Gospel shall be damned—condemned to Hell forever (Mk. 16:16). Scripture says that the day is coming when "...the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, AND THAT OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST" (2 Thess. 1:7,8). No matter how many ‘good deeds’ a man may perform, they can never be a substitute for his ignorance/disbelief of the True Gospel. The righteousness, or good works, of man, which includes his so-called free-will decision for God, coupled with belief in a mere handful of Bible truths, is no safe conduit to salvation but rather a raging torrent that will take him to the waterfall and drop him to his doom. Man’s righteousness is not the Perfect Righteousness of Christ’s, therefore his sins remain charged to him. Those whom the Lord is not willing should perish, never will perish, for they have been provided with a Savior Whose Righteousness alone saves. God has given them to Christ, He has committed and entrusted to the charge, or care, of Christ the Savior, all those whom He is not willing should perish and they shall all be saved. These are God’s sheep, they hear His voice and believe and follow Him. Just as the Father has given them to His Son, so too, He has given His Son as Savior to THEM!
A cursory reading of the Scriptures often leaves a person with only a superficial understanding of what God is saying and not the proper one. Those who refuse to study and ‘dig deeper’ into a verse or doctrine, display an attitude of prejudice. He who does not reason from the Scriptures, reveals a bias against that which he fears he may discover will prove what he believes to be wrong. He who will not reason from the Scriptures is a slave to that which he holds to, which he is not willing to have examined and therefore not permit it to be challenged, even by the Light of God’s Word. He has pre-judged something based on inadequate, insufficient, or false, information, refusing to allow himself to view ALL the evidence. Such a person reveals an unteachable spirit and an unwillingness to stand corrected and see God’s Truth. He is enslaved to the traditions of men and religious institutions, wilfully ignorant of what God’s Word is saying. Such a person is in a religious comfort zone. All he has is a vain religion, the god of which cannot save him. "To act without clear understanding; to form habits without investigation; to follow a path all one’s life without knowing where it really leads, SUCH IS THE BEHAVIOR OF THE MULTITUDE."
The only ‘qualification’ required, in human terms, for one to be saved is: "..believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31). The very next verse in this chapter reveals that those who gave this answer to the man who asked, "What must I do to be saved?" "...spake unto him the WORD OF THE LORD..." The context of this chapter shows that the Word of the Lord which they taught the man was indeed the GOSPEL (see Acts 16:10). The only way one can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to hear God’s only Gospel wherein Christ and His Righteousness is revealed: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). True saving faith will not come by hearing any other gospel—which is filled with words other than God’s Word. The Scriptures make clear that saving faith is not something that comes from man, but is a gift given to man by the grace of God which believes in no other gospel but God’s unique and only Gospel (see Eph. 2:8).
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth....for THEREIN is the righteousness of God revealed..." (Rom. 1:16,17).