As I continue with what I started, I want to encourage you to open your hearts and minds to ask for answers and understanding from God. I'm not writing about this topic because I think I know everything about this, not at all. I think I'm only at the surface and still I find it remarkable and exciting, like looking into a treasure chest and finding hidden jewelry or old gold coins. Today I'll write as a follow-up to my last post. Even though it's a new year and I should post something about it, I won't. It doesn't always have to be as expected. Enjoy reading... I will use Scriptures more for those who are skeptical about this topic.
3. The Incapability of the Human Will
There are a few questions that we have to find answers to. Can a person deny or accept Jesus as their Savior? Admitting that the person hears the Good News (Romans 10:17) and the Holy Spirit convicts him/her of the lost condition he/ she is in (John 16:8), does it have to do with the ability of the person's will to refuse or acknowledge God? What do you think about when you hear the words "fallen creature"? Why is it so difficult to define this? Some think that we speak about the word "fallen" because a human being doesn't live eternally anymore, he lost the connection it had with God, can get sick and has bad inclinations. And if he really tries hard enough, does good, stays flexible and positive he can change his state of happiness. In reality "fallen" means more than just those points jotted down before. It means depravity, which affected every particle of the human being: spirit, soul and body. He has become a slave to sin and it was "obeying the dark ruler of the earthly realm who fills the atmosphere with his authority and works diligently in the hearts of those who are disobedient to the truth of God." (Eph.2:2 TPT). He is unable to do what he wants to, which proves that he is not free. Sin is more than an action, it's a state of being. It blinded the understanding (2 Cor. 4:4), deceived the heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and estranged the mind from God (Col. 1:21). The will didn't escape and that's why it prefers what it chooses because of the condition of the heart. Because of that, "there is no one who seeks after God" (Rom. 3:11).
Let's say there's a lake and the water would want to rise by itself above its own level, can it do that? That's the same question as, can the human will revert man's inclination to sin or can that which is sinful create something that is pure and holy? The answer lies with "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me [Jesus] draws them to Me" (John 6:11). Then where is the freedom of the human being? There is a freedom to the lengths to which no one forces him to reject Jesus. But because he is subject to sin he "cannot please God". That is exactly why "if the Son sets you free, you are truly free" (John 8:36). The will is ruled by the mind and heart, which have been corrupted by sin, so if the man would want to turn towards God, it is God Himself who has to work "to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose" (Philip. 2:13). We can still believe in free will, but it means a will that is free to act according to its nature. To answer the first question asked: for a sinner to get saved God had to purpose it, Jesus had to purchase it and the Holy Spirit has to apply it.
The Father does more than purpose, that's why let's look into Ezra 1:1-3:
The Father does more than purpose, that's why let's look into Ezra 1:1-3:
In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you!"God gives the Israelites the opportunity to move out of captivity and return to Jerusalem, but the majority of them remained in the enemy's land. Who went? Look what it says further on:
"Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord." (Ezra 1:5)
Many people erroneously say: God has done His part, now man must do his. What part is that? A man by nature is "dead because of their disobedience and their many sins" (Eph. 2:1). Many preachers and pastors compare being saved with a sinner being a sick man laying on his bed and God being the doctor who puts a healing medicine on the table next to the bed. All the man has to do is to reach out and grab the medicine. But let's look to what the Word of God says about this: the sick man in bed is described as blind (Eph. 4:18), which means he cannot see the medicine, his hand is paralyzed (Rom. 5:6), which makes him unable to reach out and his heart not only doesn't believe in the medicine but is filled with hatred against the doctor (John 15:18). Jesus didn't come for those who can help themselves, but for those who are not capable of doing that: "to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness" (Isaiah 42:7 NIV).
You may ask then, why share and spread the Gospel if people are powerless to respond to it? Here's the reply: We don't preach the Good News BECAUSE WE believe that people are free and capable of receiving Jesus as their Savior, but because we are commanded to do so (Mark 16:15) and because "to preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us" (1 Cor. 1:18). "For the 'foolish' things of God have proven to be wiser than human wisdom. And the 'feeble' things of God have proven to be far more powerful than any human ability" (1 Cor. 1:25). The sinner is "dead in his sins and offenses" (Eph. 2:1) and a dead man is not able to want anything, which means that "no matter how hard they try, God finds no pleasure with those who are controlled by the flesh" (Rom. 8:8). It is quiet foolish if you think about it humanly: Preach the Good News to dead people who aren't able to do anything themselves. But God's ways are different than ours. "For in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross in order to save those who believe it" (1 Cor. 1:21). There's the story of Ezekiel, who spoke to dry bones or the story of Jesus calling Lazarus out of the grave. At God's Word the dead begin to rise. We speak and share the Good News because the message itself is the power of God that brings salvation to those who believe and because "those who were appointed to experience eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48, John 6:37, 10:16).
We have wavered from what we knew and thought we had something to do with our salvation, but looking back we see how others before us knew the reality: