FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 5)
God has chosen those He wills to be His own before the very foundation of the world. The Scriptures also teach of “…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). All was settled long before the world was even made, before man’s very existence. “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION might stand, NOT OF WORKS, BUT OF HIM THAT CALLETH;)” (Rom. 9:11 cf. Rev. 17:14). Salvation is not of man, but of God. “Jacob and Esau were under all considerations upon an equal foot, were just in the same situation and condition, when the one was loved and the other hated; or in other words, when the one was chosen, and the other rejected.” What possible recourse has any man whom the Lord rejects, when all are sinners deserving of nothing but the eternal Wrath of God. “They were neither of them as yet born, and had they been born, their birth and parentage could have been no reason why one was chosen and the other not, because in both the same; nor had the one performed a good action, or the other an evil one; so that Jacob was not loved for his good works, nor Esau hated for his evil ones; which confirms the truth of this doctrine, that the objects of predestination, whether to life or death, are alike, are in the same situation and condition: whether they are considered in the corrupt mass, or as fallen, they are all equally such, so that there could not be any reason in them, why some should be chosen and others left; or whether in the pure mass, antecedent to the fall, and without any consideration of it, which is clearly signified in this passage, there could be nothing in the one, which was not in the other, that could be the cause of such a difference made: so that it follows, that works neither good nor evil are the causes moving God to predestinate, whether to life or death; good works are not the cause of election to eternal life, for not only, this act of distinguishing grace, passed before any were done, but also these are fruits, effects, and consequence of it, and so cannot be the causes thereof; God does not proceed in order branches of salvation, as in calling, justification according to them, and therefore it cannot be thought He should proceed upon this foot in the first step to it; and which is ascribed to His free grace, in opposition to works. Evil works are not the cause of the decree of rejection, for this also being as early as the decree of election, as it must unavoidably be, was before any evil works were done; sin is not the cause of God's decree, but of the thing decreed, eternal death “…in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17 cf. Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:23a), otherwise all the individuals in the world being equally in sin, must have been rejected: it remains then, that not any works of men, good or bad, are the cause of predestination in either of its branches, but the Sovereign will and secret counsel of God: that the purpose of God according to election might stand: the decree of God, which is entirely free, and depends upon His own will and choice, stands firm and immutable, and is not to be disannulled by earth or Hell, for it stands not on the precarious foot of works: not of works: did it, it would not stand sure, for nothing is more variable and uncertain, than the actions of men: but of Him that calleth: Who is the unchangeable Jehovah; it stands upon His invariable will and immutable grace, whose ‘gifts and calling are without repentance’, (see Rom. 11:29).”
Clearly, God’s choosing man before the foundation of the world highlights the fact that no man could have chosen God, and that God’s choice was not based on anything a man did, or would do, and, therefore, could only have been made in accordance with God’s will alone. After the Fall all mankind was dead in sins and in need of being made alive— spiritual regeneration, so any claim that election was based on God foreseeing what each person would do is quite laughable. God’s election is not based on what He foresaw any man would do, but solely on God’s predestinating will. If this were not so, salvation would then not be by grace, but by what a man would need to do. It would be by a man’s works, and not by God’s elective, predetermining will and grace. Election would not be of Him that calleth, but by the ones who ‘call on Him’. It would be works and not grace which would make the difference, and God’s election would need to comply with our works, and follow, or be in agreement with, a man’s will, and not solely in accord with God’s Sovereign will. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God highlights the fact that the chosen of God required a sacrifice, for salvation could never have been by an act of obedience on the part of man, his own righteousness, and no man could ever do away with his sin, let alone the fact he is a sinner. All this leads us to the foundational Christian teaching that man died spiritually at the Fall in the Garden of Eden. That as a result of the Fall, man is dead in sins, without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world (see Eph. 2:1,5,12). This is emphasized by the fact that “As it is written, 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 cf. Psa.53:2,3). “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20); “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Prov. 20:9). “…all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The carnal mind is a caged mind, for the only thing that a man’s efforts at obedience can achieve is to remind him of his sin. Man’s inability to ‘get right with God’ is further evidenced in the language of the Lord Jesus: “…there are some of you that believe not…Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:64,65 cf. Jn. 3:27; 2 Tim. 2:25; Jas. 1:16-18), “…which is the same, as to be drawn by the Father (see Jn. 6:44); for faith in Christ is the gift of God, and coming to Him, is owing to efficacious grace, and is not the produce of man's power and freewill”. Coming to Christ is no act, or decision, born out of the will of man, but is a gift given by the Almighty God. In John 6:44, Christ said, "No man can come to Me, EXCEPT the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." (cf. Jn. 14:6; Jer. 31:3). The word except here 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 them, and, none can possibly come to Him unless the Father comes to them first. We see from the Saviour’s own words that none can come to Him unless a specific event occurs, and if that event, 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 the Lord 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 the Father 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). No man can means no man can do anything to come to Jesus. No man has ever been able to come to Jesus by what any single man, or any number of men, through any religious effort, or any organized religion, has ever conceived. None of man’s acts, thoughts, concepts, rules, traditions, religions, etc., has ever led anyone to the true Christ. A man coming to God is something which is solely and wholly because of, and done by, a Sovereign God Who draws those He wants by His love. “No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” (Jn. 6:44 cf. Psa. 65:4). “…I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3). As one has wisely stated: “We cannot think our way to God”, and we cannot work our way to Heaven. God is known only by His revealing Himself to us, and through His act of grace, and by His power, we bow ourselves to His Glorious revelation.
It is not man’s will which draws him to God, but solely the love of God which draws any to Him. “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus….That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30,31 cf. 2 Cor. 1:21,22). “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). It is God Who qualifies His people for Heaven. It is God alone Who makes His people “sufficient, renders competent, or worthy” for Heaven. No man can be saved by what he does, for just as natural man cannot receive the things of God (see 1 Cor. 2:14), so too, none can please Him without the gift of saving faith. The works which have been prepared for God’s elect to perform, are done after one is saved, and not before “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). The saved man is created in Christ Jesus to perform good works, and not because he has performed good works. Everything comes from God, everything comes before man. Salvation must be gifted to man by the only means it can come as a gift: purely by grace. A man is drawn to God by God’s love (see Jer. 31:3), and a man’s coming to the Lord is 100% attributable to God. It is a gift given to the man which draws the man to God. This proves that God’s love toward a man comes as nothing but a gift given, and is in no way something earned, or deserved. Despite, the vain attempts at distorting John 6:65, seen in the New International Version’s ‘unless the Father has enabled them’, the truth remains: “…no man can come unto Me (saith the Lord Jesus), except it were given unto him of My Father”. The gift of grace is according to the will and purpose of God, and not the works of any man. Grace does not enable, grace saves. Grace does not enable, or empower, a man to get saved, for GRACE IS THE POWER OF GOD THAT SAVES! The Word of God states that grace does not enable a man to get saved, but that it is in fact “…the grace of God that bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11). A man is saved by grace through faith. Neither grace, or faith, are a work of man’s, therefore, a man is not saved by anything he does whether, or not, he has been enabled to do it. A man is only saved by what God has done: grace. Grace is given not to enable, but to save. Grace does not enable a man to come, it makes him come. The Scripture reads: “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8), and not ‘by grace are ye enabled to be saved’. A man's being enabled by grace, strongly implies that grace is merely a tool of empowerment which a man may utilize in order to fulfil some condition upon which his salvation allegedly depends. By grace are ye saved is a clear statement which declares salvation comes by grace, and is by grace, in other words, by God Who gives it. A man’s coming to God is solely due to the ‘internal and efficacious operation’ of the Spirit of God. “The impulse to faith (as well as saving faith itself) comes from God.” The faith with which a saved man believes, is a gift from God, and does not originate within, nor can it be manufactured by man, for a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit (see Matt. 7:18).
The Scriptures say that Christ’s people are “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). “It is not any faith that will avail, but that which is of God's operation; (saving) faith is not naturally in men, all men have it not (see 2 Thess. 3:2); and those that have it, have it not of themselves, it is the gift of God; it is what He works in them, and by His power performs. Nothing can prepare for grace but grace. Neither can we bring forth good things any otherwise than as Sarah’s dead womb brought forth a child; it was not a child of nature, but of the mere promise.” “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (Gal. 4:28 cf. Rom. 4:19,20; Gal. 3:22). A gift is always in the power of the giver, never the receiver. A gift given is a completed act. Couple John 6:44, John 6:65 and John 6:37, and we see that any “…human ‘decision’ to believe or not believe rests ultimately in God’s elective purpose. All that brings men to Christ is the Father’s gift.” “…except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:65 cf. Phil. 1:29), “…plainly shows that by the Father's ‘drawing’ (see Jn. 6:44), was meant an internal and efficacious operation; because in recalling the statement here, He says it must be ‘given to a man to come’ to Christ.” No man can do anything prior to being saved because man needs to be made alive, or born again. A new creature must be created, and the only Creator is God. A born again man cannot be procreated by man, but can only come into being by the workmanship, the creative power of God (see Eph. 2:10). Nothing can be done by any man to come to Christ, or even to desire Christ, for this must be given to a man not only before he can come, but SO that he will come. “Salvation cannot be by any works of men, since all their works are either wrought for them, or in them, by God; SALVATION IS A WORK WROUGHT FOR THEM WITHOUT THEM; and sanctification is a work wrought in them by God, of His good pleasure; and all their good works are fruits of His grace.”
Verses such as Romans 5:18 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the Righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”, are best explained by the following Scripture: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22 cf. Jn. 5:21). If the free gift is understood to have been literally given to all men, then no doubt all without exception would be saved. Since there is no evidence to this, but abundant evidence that shows not all men are saved, the Scripture, rightly understood, means “…the Righteousness of Christ being freely imputed without works, as it is to all the men that belong to the last Adam, to all His seed and offspring…” The Lord warned that if Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die. The fact that God’s warning to Adam—prior to his eating the fruit—that he would surely die if he ate of the forbidden fruit, then it is of a certainty now that he has eaten it he, along with all mankind, is surely dead (cf. Gen. 2:7). It is the Spirit of God Who quickeneth, or makes alive, vivifies, the sinner (see Jn. 6:63). “…the body, without the spirit, is dead; it is a lifeless lump: and it is the Spirit of God that quickens dead sinners, by entering into them as the Spirit of life, and causing them to live…” Just as a seed, or the body of a man is not quickened, made alive, unless it first die (see 1 Cor. 15:36), likewise, a man cannot be made spiritually alive if he was not first spiritually dead: “And you hath He quickened, who were DEAD in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). “And you, being DEAD in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:13 cf. Rom. 5:6; 6:13). Ephesians 2:5 makes it even clearer: “God…Even when we were DEAD in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).” Being made alive by God is synonymous with being saved by God. “…this may be said to be done with Christ, because He is the procuring and meritorious cause of it, by His death and resurrection from the dead; and is the Author and efficient cause of it; and He is the matter of it, it is not so much the quickened persons that live, as Christ that lives in them.” God makes His people live with, or by, Christ. ‘He makes together live’ is how the original Greek has it (see also Col. 2:13). MAN’S NEED TO BE MADE ALIVE HIGHLIGHTS THE INDUBITABILITY OF HIS CURRENT SPIRITUALLY DEAD STATE. Anyone who denies this denies the Word of God, revealing their allegiance to the word of Satan (see Gen. 3:4).
People say ‘God saves by grace, yes, but we must make our decision before salvation can take place’. ‘God has done His part, but now we must do our part’. Many simply refuse to believe that a saved man is wholly a work of God. What they fail to understand, in fact, what fails to resonate in the minds of all men, by nature, is the fact that NOTHING CAN BE DONE BY A PERSON WHO IS DEAD IN THEIR SINS. The main problem with lost men is their ignorance of the fact, or their refusal to believe, that man is dead in sins, and cannot/does not even seek the true God. A man who believes Satan’s lie that man is not spiritually dead, naturally believes that he can choose his way to Heaven. Satan’s God-opposing lie that man would not surely die is the foundational principle behind the doctrine which states that man can choose God, or that man can, by good works, come to God. As we have seen in our study thus far, from the words of the Lord Jesus no less, no man can come unto Him unless it is by an act of God, the free will, of God. Salvation is impossible for one who is without God, and, therefore, without hope. You cannot believe that salvation is conditioned on what a man does if you do not believe the lie of Satan that man would not, and did not, die in the Garden. You can never see the truth, let alone believe it, from Satan’s vantage point, or that of a lost man. This is the miry bog which all mankind is in: that in his deadness man does not see himself as dead, but perfectly able to come by his own ‘free will’ to God whenever any man, whosoever he may be, so chooses. This is the lie of Satan that deceives all men, by nature. How can a man choose, or do anything when he is dead? The gateway to all truth concerning man, God, and of how God saves, is the indomitable truth that man would, and did, surely die spiritually just as God had warned/promised Adam.
Believe man is dead in sins, and you will see that there is no other way to God, but through the will, grace, mercy and love of God upon whomsoever He has chosen before the foundation of the world unto salvation. Believe that natural man is spiritually alive and can receive the things of the Spirit of God, and you will trust in what you can do to come to God. Believe that natural man is spiritually dead and cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, and you will only look to God for your salvation. The quintessential description of mankind, after the eating of the fruit, and the warning that spiritual death would be the immediate outcome of such a gross sin, is that all mankind are dead to God, for they are all “dead in sins” (see Eph. 2:1,5), and, therefore, have “no hope, and without God in the world” (see Eph. 2:12). The Biblical doctrine of the spiritual death of man is a most vital doctrine, for without it the door remains wide open for a man to think he can do something to come to God of his own volition, and by his own works, and, consequently, causes him to be susceptible to, and completely at the mercy of, the misinterpretation of John 3:16. Such an abhorrent anti-Christ teaching leads to the lie which states that without the spiritual death of man there is no need for his regeneration, his being made alive in and by Christ; no need for man to be made a new creature in Christ by the workmanship of God. Moreover, if man is not spiritually dead, and, therefore, in need of being made alive by God, then such thinking proclaims that God’s warning was a colossal lie, and that Satan was the one telling the truth! This is what is missed in all the arguing back and forth as to exactly what occurred in the Garden of Eden. Those who argue that man is not spiritually dead, and, therefore, incapable of coming to God by will, or works, are firmly on the side of Satan, for he was the originator of the lie that man is not spiritually dead, for he claimed man would not surely die. If Satan’s claim was that there would be no spiritual death, then what in the world do you think God warned would occur if Adam ate of the fruit? Obviously there are only two alternatives: either spiritual death did occur, or it did not occur. Either God was right, or Satan was right. Either God was lying or Satan was lying. If you do not believe in the veracity of God’s warning to Adam, and the full ramifications of its consequences for all mankind, then you simply cannot believe the Gospel of the grace of God.
Nothing can be done by the man who is dead to God, who does not even seek God, or desire Him. While lost man does have within him a desire to worship, desiring a god is not desiring the God. Desiring a higher being does not automatically mean one is desiring the Highest Being. Many see this desire for a higher being as the ultimate evidence that man is not spiritually dead at all. However, the fact that no man by nature seeks the true God is the most compelling, conclusive, and convincing evidence of all that man, far from seeking the Highest One, is trapped in, and by, his sinfulness into seeking nothing but the gods of his own imagination. Man does not have a desire to seek the true God which can only be awkwardly expressed by a seeking after false gods, for Scripture says there is no man that seeks God at all. There is no desire to seek the true God at all. There is no man “that worships the true God in Spirit and in truth, or prays to Him with the Spirit, and with the understanding; who seek Him with their whole hearts, earnestly, diligently, and constantly; who seek Him in Christ, and under the assistance of the Spirit; who seek after the knowledge of God in Christ, communion with Him through the Mediator…” Therefore, man’s seeking after false gods can in no way be rightly construed as evidence of some misplaced love and desire for the true God. No truer description could be given of what spiritual death is than being without the true God, without any hope of coming to Him, and, therefore, only seeking gods which have no life. No dead body reacts, and no spiritually dead person can ever respond in any positive sense toward the true God. Man, by nature, is in a permanently negative state when it comes to the true God, a state which man can never change. Man must be made alive by God, he must be born again of God. He must be made a new creature in Christ. Once this is done all is done. Being made alive includes believing, being drawn to God by God, through His love. Being made alive, saved, born again, is loving and seeking the true God, and no other, and being given all that is required for salvation. Being born again is a work of salvation. It is a supernatural work of God. The only thing that precedes it is the will, purpose, grace, mercy and love of God the Life-Giver. Were it not for God none would travel the road toward Him. Man can do nothing to make himself alive, or be born again, for man is dead in sins, and has no desire for the true God, and, therefore, absolutely no way of coming to the true God. Christ said: “And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:40). In an effort to show that such a thing as a man seeing and believing in the Son is something quite impossible for any man by nature, the Lord Jesus later said: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:44). Once a man is made alive all is done. Man can do nothing before being made alive, and there is nothing for man to do after he has been made alive, in terms of getting saved, being saved, or remaining saved. This is salvation by grace. Salvation is the Lord’s work by grace through faith, and these both are gifts from God. Salvation is by grace, and at no time does it stop being by grace. There is nothing man can do before he is saved to get saved, and there is nothing he needs to do, or could do, after he is saved to remain saved. Grace is like the train which takes a man to Heaven, a train which has a predestined course and which cannot be derailed. The grace of God is not some crutch given to a man by which he will be able to walk into Heaven, but is the means, the vehicle chosen by God which transports a man right into the Presence of God. Man needs do nothing in terms of making any effort to forge his own way to Heaven, for the train of grace does it all. Some might interject at this point and say, ‘Yes, but man must stay on the train’. This is true, but what fool would ever jump out of a moving train wherein he has all he needs? Moreover, grace protects its recipients. To be saved by grace is to be reserved and preserved by, and for, God by the power of His grace (see Psa. 37:28; 97:10; Eph. 2:8; 1 Pet. 1:5; Jd. 1).
There is nothing, and no one, concerning which God takes a neutral stance, therefore, whatsoever the Lord wills is what the Lord does, and this covers everything including every aspect of a man’s life (see Zeph. 1:12; Psa. 94:7). “For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom. 9:15). A proper understanding of grace and mercy unlocks every mystery of salvation, and of Who God is, what God has done, and for whom He has done it. God does not sit idly by, nor is He simply a bystander concerning anything and anyone in the entire universe. Everything is according to God’s will and purpose, the intention, or decree of God “…Who worketh ALL THINGS after the Counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11 cf. Prov. 16:4). This verse “…should be translated ‘according to the decision [or plan] of His own will’. The apostle not only gives prominence to the absolute freedom of the decision of the Divine will, but calls attention to the saving plan lying at the basis of the saving will as it manifests itself”. Everything is in accord with what God wants. There can be no injustice in mercy, or grace, for these are things which are not granted “without method, or conscious decision”, but are consequent to the express will of God, and the fulfilment of His purpose. God’s will is eternal, therefore, there is nothing which can influence it, nothing which can cause God to alter it, or change that which He has predetermined (see Num. 23:19; Dan. 4:35). There are no outside influences which affect God’s will one way, or the other. God’s Sovereign will affects who atonement was made on the behalf of, and, therefore, what exactly was done by Christ upon the cursed tree. The misrepresentative teachings that God loves everyone, and Christ died for everyone, coupled with the lie that salvation is ultimately dependent on a man choosing God, run contrary to the most important Gospel doctrines which the Bible contains, and, as a result, present an alternate gospel, another gospel, which is nothing but a false gospel that cannot save. Any gospel which differs from God’s only Gospel is a false gospel, for all false gospels operate on the basis of works, and are grounded in the lie that man is not dead in sins, and can, therefore, do something to either get saved, or stay ‘saved’. Only God’s Gospel is the true Gospel, for it is the only Gospel which teaches salvation by grace, through faith, ALONE.
Again, although this book will present a fairly detailed word study of John 3:16, it will only be a relatively small part of our study of the verse in question. Our goal is to present this verse in the context, not merely of the chapter it comes from, nor restrict it to the Gospel of John only, but of the whole Gospel of God. We shall look at John 3:16 from the perspective of what God says of Himself, and compare it with the Godly concept of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, in addition to looking at John 3:16 in the light which the doctrines of God’s Gospel provide. In doing so we shall also expose the lies of Arminianism, and the false teachings of Scriptural miscreants who teach not grace, but works as that which salvation cannot do without.
The three main tenets of those who have an erroneous understanding of John 3:16 are: (1) God loves everyone without exception; (2) Christ has died for all without exception; and (3) salvation is essentially reliant upon a man’s ‘free will’ decision. It would be an injustice to a proper study, and Scriptural exegesis of this verse if we were to ignore the false teachings that have been apportioned to it, where those teachings actually lead, and whether they originate in the Word of God, or in the minds of lost men. The three main doctrines which come from a false interpretation of John 3:16 are the mainstay of what is commonly known as the Arminian gospel. A gospel which is so anti-grace, so anti-God, as to beggar belief that anyone claiming to be a Christian saved by grace could ever possibly even entertain the thought of believing. This author has written extensively on all three of these gross lies, and the false gospel from which they are derived, in my book “Thou Shalt Surely Die”, providing a proper Scriptural exegesis on what the Word of God says concerning them. However, I felt it important to write a book which explicitly deals with the three lies in light of a verse which is so familiar to people, and yet has been so misrepresented by men, who have failed not only themselves, but those who flock to hear them. Speakers and authors who are of the Arminian persuasion have failed dismally in presenting a faithful rendering of John 3:16, and instead have brought with them nothing but “a tissue of lies, a travesty of the truth”, which have done nothing but lead people into a love embrace with, and a devotedness to, false gospels. The reader will be shown that the entire Gospel of the grace of God is all about God saving His people from their sins, according to His purpose and grace, and not man’s decision and works. We shall show that God’s promise of salvation for all those He has given to His Son is connected to His love and purpose in giving them to Christ, and in Christ’s dying for them, which makes atonement not something which must be accepted by the individual, but that which has been done on the behalf of those given to the Son to die for. Christ reconciles God’s elect children, scattered throughout the world, to God by His atoning sacrifice. This is what Christ was sent to do, this is what Christ has done.
Almost everyone who calls themselves Christian readily confesses that salvation is by grace, yet many stop short at a salvation that is by grace alone. There are usually two words which clarify what a person means by saved by grace that are usually tacked onto this phrase. Saved by grace alone means that the person believes that all of salvation from its inception to the end of eternity is by the grace of God. Scripture speaks of Christians being “…kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation…” (1 Pet. 1:5 cf. Psa. 97:10). Note the language in this verse and compare it with Ephesians 2:8: “…by grace are ye saved through faith…” (cf. 1 Pet. 1:9). ‘By the grace of God is a man saved through faith unto salvation.’ Clearly, the power of God is the grace of God, and the Gospel of His grace is His power unto salvation “…I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…” (Rom. 1:16 cf. Eph. 1:19). A man is saved, or kept, by the power, or grace, of God through faith. Man is saved by the power of the grace of God, and he is kept by the power of the grace of God. Man is saved by grace unto obedience, unto good works, and not because of obedience, or because of good works (see Eph. 2:10 & 1 Pet. 1:2). There are others who say ‘We are saved by grace, BUT’. Their idea of grace is not at all aligned with the Word of God. They contradict the very essence of what it is to be saved by grace by modifying grace, thereby, cancelling it out as the sole means of salvation. For many, ‘saved by grace’, makes perfect sense, and yet they have no idea what it really means. They temper true Biblical grace with the works of man, thereby, revealing their lost state (see Rom. 9:31-10:4). They make God’s act of salvation reliant upon man’s act of believing, or doing something such as performing good works, or expressing sorrow for sins, etc., in order to elicit salvation from God. What they are essentially saying is that what God has done by grace is not enough, and that salvation cannot take place without man’s complying with God’s ‘proposal’ of salvation. They see salvation not as a proclamation, not as a predetermined act, not as a promise to the elect, but as an offer to all without exception, thus placing the difference between a saved man and a lost man squarely in the hands of the individual. The act of salvation by grace can never be separated from the fact that salvation is of the Lord, that salvation belongs to the Lord, is fully conditioned upon the Lord’s will, and that He subsequently gives it to whomsoever He chooses. The failure of many in correctly understanding the meaning of the word grace is exacerbated by the fact that they have an incorrect view of what salvation actually is, and entails. Their view of God, Who He is and how He saves, is at odds with the Scriptures, with what God says of Himself, and so their view of salvation, Christ’s atoning death, grace, etc., does not agree with the Word of God, which evidences the fact that its only source is the carnal mind of lost men. Natural man’s view of grace will always be a perverted one, he will always be influenced and guided by the spirit of error, for he does not subscribe to the Biblical teaching that all men are, by nature, “…children of Wrath…dead in sins…without Christ…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:3,5,12).
Salvation by grace alone cannot do without election. No one can elect themselves, or choose themselves, to be saved, for all are spiritually dead. Salvation and election are by grace alone, and, therefore, cannot be based on any man’s works be they good, or evil (see Rom. 9:11). “There is none (by nature) that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11), and so the electing, the choosing, must be done by a Sovereign God according to grace, for it cannot be done by man. Importantly, salvation is not about man doing something, and then God reacting with grace to save that person. Salvation by grace is wholly a salvation by God, motivated solely by God, therefore, is not preceded, or prompted, by anything which a man has done. God is not playing games here. He is extremely serious and quite adamant when He declares that there are NONE who seek after Him. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE STATEMENT CONCERNING MAN'S 'FREE WILL' FOR NONE HAVE, OR CAN, OF THEMSELVES, WILL TO SEEK AFTER THE TRUE GOD. The Scriptures state quite succinctly that man has no hope, therefore he can have no free will to choose the true God. Let a man have all the so-called free will he wants, the Scripture will still say NO HOPE! Let a man believe and preach that man is not spiritually dead to God, the overruling Scriptures of God will still say he has NO HOPE and is WITHOUT GOD in the world! Again, what good can free will do for man when there is no man who seeks after God? No man seeks the True God, for all men are, by nature, SPIRITUALLY DEAD TO GOD. And who is there to deny this when it is God Himself Who has said it? This being the case what good would any remaining post-Fall spirituality do for a man when it has never, can never and will never lead any man to seek after the True God? Man has an inbuilt hatred for the True God, and in no way desires Him. This hatred is seen in, and highlighted by, the fact that no one who believes in free will has ever chosen the True God, the Sovereign God, Who has predestinated all those whom He has chosen. The free willer hates the true God, he hates election, and the doctrine that man is in a helpless and hopeless mess subject to, and at the mercy of, God’s will. NOBODY HAS BEEN GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE GOD BASED ON THEIR WILL, FOR ALL ARE DEAD TO GOD. What madness is this which says that God has given an opportunity to everyone to choose Him, WHEN SCRIPTURE STATES THERE IS NO ONE THAT EVEN SEEKS HIM!! God means what He says and He says what He means. So whatever it is that man is doing in all his religious pursuits, and whoever his ‘free will’ is choosing, there is one thing of which we can be certain he is not doing or choosing, and that is seeking after and choosing the True God, thus evidencing man's spiritually dead and lost state.
Man is lost in a wilderness of his own making, a darkness, in which God does not reside. Natural, lost, man has no ability, NO FREE WILL whatsoever to even seek the true God, so how pray tell can a man who is yet to be made alive by God possibly make a free will decision for God! Man is NOT a neutral creature. Contrary to the world’s view, an eternally lost man is not some innocent victim of God’s not having chosen him to salvation (see Rom. 9:19), but is his own worst enemy having sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, and forever incurring the Wrath of God. No man deserves to be chosen unto salvation, but to remain in his Hell-bound state. Again, man is not a neutral creature, but to the contrary is one who is dead to God, and is by nature enmity against Him. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:6,7). Man’s spiritual deadness reveals his eternal enmity against God. There can be no enmity against God without a man’s being dead in sins. “Paul doth not say it is an enemy, but in the abstract, it is enmity, which heightens and intends the sense: an enemy may be reconciled, as Esau was to Jacob; but enmity cannot be reconciled; as black may be made white, but blackness cannot. The expression here is as forcible as possible. As truly as ‘God is Love’, so truly, essentially, and unalterably is the ‘mind of the flesh’, the liking and disliking of unregenerate man, ‘enmity’, ‘hatred’, ‘personal hostility’, towards the true God and His real claims. Enmity is the opposite of Agape, love. Without regenerating grace, without the power and Spirit of God, unless it is written upon the heart by the finger of God; for carnal men are dead in sin, and so without strength to obey the law; and besides, the carnal mind, and the law of God, are directly contrary one to another. Where is man's power and free will? no wonder the carnal mind does not bow to the Gospel of Christ, when it is not, and cannot be subject to the law of God. Hence we see the necessity of Almighty power, and efficacious grace in conversion.” The original Greek speaks of ‘The disposition of the flesh’ being at enmity against God. Man is naturally disposed “to exercise sinful affections”. “…the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11). “…the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart…” (Eccl. 9:3). The spiritually infertile, eternally hostile, carnal, mind of man, which is at enmity against God, is a place “Where Biblical logic is the enemy, and God’s truth is a menace”. “Romans 8:6,7 teaches that the will follows, or obeys the dominant interest of the mind. If it is the flesh, then death follows; if it is the Spirit, then life and peace follow.” Man is naturally at enmity against, he hates, the true God, and has nothing but hostility toward Him, so how can any man ever seek and desire the true God whilst in such a state. How can a man choose God when all men, by nature, are enmity against God, and, therefore, children of Wrath? Is it any wonder, in light of such Scriptural fact, the Lord Jesus declared: “No man can come unto Me…” (Jn. 6:44).
All those who hate election are subscribers to the satanic lie that man is not dead in sin and dead to God. Consequently, they believe that, as with everything else in life, man has the freedom, ability and capability to choose God. What they fail to accept is the fact that man is dead in sin and cannot choose God, nor can he even seek Him, for his will is in bondage to sin, and at enmity with God, heavily biased against the True God and toward false gods. Christ said "...Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (Jn. 8:34; cf. Rom. 7:24; 2 Pet. 2:19). The word servant here means slave. Paul the apostle teaches that all saved men "...were the servants of sin....being…made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17,18,22; cf. 2 Pet. 2:20). To be made alive is to be made free. As a slave to sin man is without Christ, he is without God and, therefore, without any hope in the world. By nature all men are sinful sinners and children of Wrath. Nothing more and nothing less. In addition, natural man fails to understand the crucial truth that God only saves those whom He has made alive from the dead, and not those who claim they never were dead (see Rom. 4:17). Just as one must be alive to die, one must also be dead in order to be made alive. Those who endemically raise the issue ‘What about those who have never heard the Gospel’, also fail to call to mind the sobering fact that man is not a neutral creature, no man is innocent, for all are conceived in sin (see Psa. 51:5), all are accursed creatures, by nature, for all carry within them the sin seed, and thus are fully deserving of nothing but God’s Wrath. The saved man is a most grateful beneficiary of God’s mercy and grace, for he knows that he has been spared from an eternity in Hell only by what God has done—by His will and works—and saved to a life which will be everlasting in Heaven with the Almighty God. The chosen of God are sinners who are saved by grace alone.