Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why are you a Christian? Or maybe, after our last article the question can be better asked as, “how” are you a Christian? Think about it. We showed last time that the Bible teaches that mankind, in this fallen state, is dead in sin and transgression. One of my dear Armenian friends made a comment to me after reading our last post that he thinks that “Calvinists” take the word dead too far. Too far? As I wrote in the last post; words mean things! When God uses the word “dead” to describe the spiritual nature of mankind what else can He mean other than, dead?

Being dead in sin has caused holistic depravity; there is no part of us that is not corrupted in our natural state. So it is more than clear that no man can save himself or even assist in his salvation. He has no power to save himself and no ability to do good. But not only does man lack the ability we also see that he lacks the will to do good, he does not want to do good nor does he even “want to want to”. “All” man has “turned away” from God and none of us sought and no man now seeks God. Paul could not possibly state this any clearer than he did in Romans 3.

So then, again, why are you a Christian? If you had no power to save yourself and you did not even have the will or desire to be saved prior to your conversion, how is that you are saved now? Understanding that we are dead to God removes the notion that “I made a choice” or “I choose to believe” or “I accepted Jesus”. You had no power to believe and no will to believe…yet, now you believe. How can this be?

Volumes have been written about this by far smarter and more educated men than I, so for now, I’m just going to list a few passages that teach how and why those of us who trust Christ are able and now want to do so. Read these scriptures carefully and let's begin to deal with them and others as we wrestle with this question. The first two are repeats from our last post, but read them again, pray and dig into study to help in your understanding, I'm doing the same. Over the next few posts I will pick some key passages and will exposit them and that, God willing, will help us understand how this all fits together.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, Colossians 2:13 niv

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:1-5 niv

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16 niv

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1:4-6 niv

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 niv

This ought to be enough to chew on for a while. Next time we’ll stay with this issue and bring other scriptures into the mix, I can’t hardly wait to teach on the golden chain of Romans 8!


Mark said...

John 6:35-44 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 "But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." 41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven." 42 They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, 'I have come down out of heaven'?" 43 Jesus answered and said to them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

Matthew 16:13-17 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He *said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Acts 9:1-6 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do."

The first passage says the father woos them... Oh, I am sorry, it says He draws them (like a bucket of water from a well). Who revealed to Peter that Christ was Christ? Look at Paul above, or the disciples, or Lydia, Abraham, Moses, etc... Did they choose God or does the Bible say God chose them? Does God choose some "major players" and allow others to fend for themselves?

I am enjoying the food for thought...

crystal said...

Gary, did you get my e-mail back with the profile info? I sent it to your myspace. Crystal