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


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One response to “Say what?”

  1. Steve Avatar

    This is very well said. Good stuff to think about. Thanks.

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Rick Beckman