God calls us out of our darkness and into His light. It is a part of the human experience. Every human is created with a yearning to seek his or her Creator. We each have a piece of our heart that can only be filled with the perfect peace of the Spirit of God. Every person has a choice: either life or death. It is WHAT we put our faith in that is important. Are we willing to deny ourselves and take up our cross for His sake? Or, are we complacent in our current state of separation from God? It boils down to a denial of self and a renewal of mind. We must lay down our pride and let God have His way with us. He won't attempt to drive a vessel that has another captain, rather He says, "your will be done." He desires us to choose Him and He desires us to lay down ourselves to see Him reign in our bodies, in our minds, and in our spirits. He doesn't force Himself on us. He doesn't need to. He is that He is. It is our responsibility to reach our hearts out to Him. His salvation is sufficient and efficient for all who call on His name. "For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13. Is a calling on His name a surface level state of mind? Is it like a telephone call where someone mindlessly picks up the phone and make the call? Or is it the heart of the man that is measured by God? Does it not say in Jeremiah 29:11-13, "11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." God is saying that a man must use all of his heart, not some, not most, but all. Our hearts must be fully devoted to finding the answer to our depraved state. Romans 2:14-15 says, "14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them" God's law is written on the hearts of man. We understand our fallen state. Adam and Eve knew their sin when they covered themselves because of the law. They knew they violated His word by disobeying His command to not eat of the tree. Just as we understand our fallen nature, we must not choose to hide from the Truth in sin, but allow God to expose ourselves with the piercing Word of God. He seeks, and we seek. It is concurrent. Why does God seek if He already knows? He seeks so our seeking will not be in vain. He is constantly seeking because He constantly IS. His presence is everywhere, so His presence is constantly seeking. Without His presence we could not find Him. Our seeking would be in useless. He intends for those who seek earnestly and fully to find Him and according to His Word, those who seek Him with all of their heart will find Him. So did God give us the ability to seek Him with all of our heart? Or are we robots who have no ability or desire to choose the more perfect way unless God makes the choice for us? We are created to seek, we are created to yearn. There is no other purpose that we are created for: our yearning is for the Creator and our yearning cannot be successfully fulfilled by any other thing. So, again, does God draw us? Yes. Are we responsible to answer that drawing? Of course. Does the choosing itself save us? Absolutely not. It says in Ephesians 2:5 that, "even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" We have been saved through His glorious Grace. Why do people ask if I am receiving the glory for choosing Christ? I receive no glory in recognizing, through His calling, that I have a NEED to be saved-- Him showing me my sinful state is Grace and my putting my Faith in Him is what saves me and justifies me. Do you receive the credit for going to the doctor when you are sick and the doctor fixing you? Or does the Doctor? The doctor of course! You just recognized your sickness because of the sinfulness of your heart and chose to walk in the light of your own conscious. God calls everyone to Him. "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (John 12:32 ESV)." More references to God's plan of salvation being sufficient and efficient for all: Romans 5:8, Romans 6:10, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 2 Corinthians 5:15, Hebrews 7:26-27, Hebrews 9:11-12, Hebrews 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18. Belief and obedience go hand in hand. In the Gospel of John, believe and obedience were almost never used exclusively. Our response to His calling us is this: putting our faith, hope, and trust in the person of Christ and repenting of our sins, confessing of our sins, and turning away from our former life-- then we will be sealed with the Holy Spirit. If man has no stake in the matter, then why did God create us the way that He did? If we have no free will, then what is the purpose of the Cross? Free will is defined as this: the freedom, through our God created consciouses, to seek God and to replace our will with His. Free will could be defined as free choice.
God started the chain of free will in the Garden of Eden. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16, 17 ESV)"
The Law is the definition of free will. They had a choice: to follow God's decree, or eat of the tree and die. So, why did Adam and Eve fall? They were "good" according to God. "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31 ESV)" So man, in his goodness, chose death over life. They actively chose to rebel against the command of God. God made man the way He did for a reason: since the beginning of time, He has wanted to see us choose Him over ourselves. The humbling of ourselves is the key to the disease of humanity. Jesus states, "Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24, 25 ESV) So, we must lose our life in order to find it. Losing our life means denying our self: replacing our will with His. When we, as human, can get to the point where we understand that, we can walk free from the bondage of self. Oh what a path to walk when man is free from himself. (Note: Jesus states "whoever", not "only a select few.") God calls the man. Man calls to God. In mans genuine call to God, God saves the man. There MUST be a part that the human plays in his salvation. But Blake, no one seeks God! "no one understands; no one seeks for God." (Romans 3:11 ESV) But, is this an absolute statement? I will send you a link:
I hear people say because we, as humans, are dead in our trespasses, that our being dead makes us unable to choose God. That is, it makes us totally dead to everything. That man has no choice but to do evil acts (Romans 3 is quoted a lot, but people take that passage out of context and forget to read the rest of the book of Romans.) But, if that was the case, then why would David state, "Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." (Psalm 34:14 ESV) Why would David say that if he knew man had not the ability to turn from his evil ways and do good? If a person can show me in scripture where it states that man is "unable" to seek God, then i want to see it. The fact is this: its not in there. If that would have been the curse that God put on man, then why didn't He say it? Rather, God states that death was passed on to the generations to follow. "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19 ESV)" why didn't God say that man would now be unable to seek and unable to find me? The same applies to the Philippian jailor. I will quote the whole passage.
"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here." And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God." (Acts 16:25-34 ESV)
If man had not the ability to seek God, then why would Paul say "believe in the Lord Jesus" if man had no ability to believe or seek? Paul knew that man had the ability to seek God and the ability to choose Him. YOU believe on Christ: which brings glory to Him and takes it off of the man. So was the jailer saved if He was seeking? Or was he seeking to be saved? But Blake, unregenerate man cannot seek to be saved since no one seeks God! That's a lie from the pits of hell that has infiltrated the Church's doctrine and I lament when I hear my brothers and sisters say things like that. From the beginning, God gave man the choice of whether to follow His voice or to disobey Him and walk in disobedience of the law written on man's heart (Romans 2:14-15). The jailor believed and he was saved. Just as he believed and was saved, every man has to ability to believe and be saved. I challenge you to re-evaluate the way you believe if this is what you believe. Pray with an open heart. I will continue to pray on your behalf brother or sister.
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