Say what?

From a sermon to the people: “The Lord will not make you love Him; it’s entirely your choice to accept Him or reject Him.”

From a prayer to the Lord: “Lord, don’t let anyone leave here today without coming to know Christ.”

I have been in at least two churches (two fantastic churches, to be honest) in which variations on the above two quotations could be heard within minutes of each other, during that part of the service known as the altar call.

Both churches were not Calvinist, nor were they Arminian. Rather, they tread an arbitrary middle line that I used to believe was the golden path of truth concerning the events of salvation.

The quotations betray something about the speaker, however: While the acts of the Lord in salvation may be minimized when talking to man, it is difficult to approach the Lord in prayer and not give Him the glory He deserves.

But is the prayer honest? If a person really, truly believes that salvation can only be initiated by a person’s own choice and response to the Gospel, what say does God have in the matter? If He really does intervene so that no one leaves that room unsaved, what has that done to free will? And if there really is free will regarding salvation, the prayer is meaningless because God has nothing to do until someone chooses to believe, at which point the Lord acts in that person’s life.

Going along with that observation is the fact that the way in which Jesus taught prayer included a request that the Lord’s will be done. If it’s the Lord’s will, it is not our will; only He can guarantee that good will always result from His decisions, so why would I even want to waste my time arguing that I have all the will in the world when my will is only capable of evil and sin? There is none who seeks after God, there is none who do good… “Romans Road” tracks would do well to include Romans 3:10-18. That is the state man finds himself in.

It takes an act of God for a man to break that mold. If a man could believe and repent on his own, are those not “good” things? Are those not “seeking after God” things? If man is able to do those things of his own volition, than there are “some” who seek after God, “some” who do good. Do the Scriptures teach that?

Not by a long shot.

Praise God that the new birth is entirely by the will of God and not of man. I certainly wouldn’t trust myself even with a simple task like believing. After all, the heart is deceitful above all else; how far would its beliefs really get us, if God does not first act?

Thank you, Jesus; You truly are to blame for my salvation. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’m not one to pass the blame
But this is one I cannot claim
Even if I wanted to
There’s something happening
There’s something going on with me
And I think I like the view from where I’m standing

You are to blame
For anything that is good in my heart
You are to blame
For this change that has taken me by storm

There’s one thing I am wondering
What exactly do You see
That makes You want to stay?
I don’t deserve Your attention
Why would You ever mention me?
Why You’re treating me this way remains a mystery

You are to blame
For anything that is good in my heart
You are to blame
For this change that has taken me by storm

And I can feel like I can fly
Knowing I am Yours
And knowing that You’re mine
I cannot ask for more

“You’re to Blame,” MercyMe

1 thought on “Say what?”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Use your Gravatar-enabled email address while commenting to automatically enhance your comment with some of Gravatar's open profile data.

Comments must be made in accordance with the comment policy. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam; learn how your comment data is processed.

You may use Markdown to format your comments; additionally, these HTML tags and attributes may be used: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

the Rick Beckman archive
Scroll to Top