Monday, April 26, 2010

Why do some come to Christ and not others? Part 3

The Judgment

31"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32"All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

Being on God's "right" is a place of favor. How does a person get himself in God's favor? This question should lead you to remember the definition of grace; undeserved favor. And it is exactly that.
How does a person make himself "blessed of My Father"? This very phrase tells a lot. Jesus doesn't say, "Come you who earned my Father's blessing by choosing Me." It is clear that the Father chose to bless this group of people and pour out His grace on them.
Notice that is also says, "inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world". This leaves me wondering; Where were you in the time of the foundation of the world? Well theres only one place you could possibly have been, and that is in God's omniscient, gracious foreknowledge, heart and mind. Not just the forknowledge of information, but knowing you intimitely "from the foundation of the world". Isn't that awesome? Well, only if you care to be known by God at all.

The passage goes on to explain how these people who were foreknown by God, live a life that evidences that they have been "blessed of My Father". They live this way because of the unmerited favor of God upon their lives. God chose them, prepared a kingdom for them, poured out His wrath upon His Son on their behalf, formed them in their mother's womb, pulled them out of grip of demons, covered their sins, caused them to be born again with a new heart that is alive to God, walked with them every step of the way as a new creation in Christ, disciplined them and formed them into the image of Christ, and will bring all of them to glory in the end. Amen

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why do some come to Christ and not others? Part 2

John 17 - starting at verse 1 "When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent....."
v6. "I have manifested Your name to the people whom You gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your word."

Jesus also continues in His prayer to the Father and mentions that all whom the Father has given Him have believed and have kept His word. He also says that He has guarded them and kept them.

I find it interesting that shortly after I became a disciple of Christ, I truly believed that I just got tired of the party scene and finally decided to give my life to Christ. While all of that was true, I now know, thanks to the Holy Spirit's illuminating grace, that I belonged to the Father long before I chose to belong to Christ. It truly is a beautiful truth that the Father gave me to the Son, who took my wrath on the cross and stands at the right hand of the throne of God interceding for me. He is my advocate who defends me to my accuser, Satan. The Father then drew me to the Son by His Spirit, granted me the gift of faith and caused me to be born of God.

It was only by this gift of faith that I could believe God when He said how depraved I was. It was only by this gift of faith that I could believe God when He said that Jesus is the only way. It was only by this gift of faith that I could believe God's very first promise to me; "anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved". It was only by this gift of faith that I agreed with God about my sin and that I needed to turn from it or it will destroy me.

Praises to our merciful God!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why do some come to Christ and not others?

Another way to ask this question is, "Why do some get saved and not others?"
This, interesting enough, fits right in with where i left off on my last post. This question brings up a lot of other good topics of discusion. Not for the sake of debate but truly for the study of scripture to really see what it says about our God and how we are to respond to HIM.

Today while I was on my lunch break, I decided to do a mini bible study on this question. I was drawn to the book of John as I was listening to a Jonathon Edwards sermon in my truck. I stopped the cd and started reading John. I started at John 6:37 where it reads,

"All that the Father gives me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out."
Then i kept reading and I ran into verse 44 which reads "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him."
In this passage we see not only how people come to Christ, but we also see today's modern view of God in salvation debunked. First let's look at what is proved to be false by this passage.

1. That Jesus is somehow powerlessly hoping, begging and waiting for sinners to come to Him and be saved (without much luck since not many are saved in the end). That He is some sort of "Bruce Almighty" type god who can't mess with mankind's "free will". This gives the implication that man's will is supreme over God's will and that God "can't touch that one". As if it is completely up to mankind to initiate, independant from God, the union with Christ for salvation.

2. That we who are in Christ, somehow decided to get smart and finally answer the call of Christ by our own will power and determination. How many Christians are full of pride because they believe they made the choice to follow Christ by their own determination. That they finally "let Jesus come in".

3. That others, who have not "made that choice" are more deserving of God's judgement than we are.

Now let's look again at what it does say. Notice the repeated phrase, "comes to Me". Who comes to Christ? Who does not come to Him? Who is able to come to Christ? Who is not able?
Look what it says, "No one can come to Me...". Why do you suppose Jesus says this? Well because it's true of course. It is this very same Jesus who revealed this very same truth to Paul. Paul penned this truth to the Romans in Romans 3:11 when he says "No one seeks for God". So here we see the problem. No one can come to Christ because no one wants to. That is what is lacking in the human will, namely, a desire for God. But He also continues by saying "No one can come to Me unless the Father, who sent Me, draws him".

John gives us an insight earlier in his book as to how people "recieve Christ". He says "But to all who did recieve Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (1:12). This couldn't be any clearer in stating that when a man beleives or receives Christ, they are "born" because of the "will" of God. It was not brought about because of the will of man or a decision of man but because God determined it to happen. This should humble us to say that God is the only seeker. That Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. Jesus accomplished the task for which the Father sent him. Not that He came and died and rose again for the hope that some would seek Him. Look at the whole passage in John 6 starting at verse 37;
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For i have come down from heaven , not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my FAther that everone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and i will raise him up on the last day.
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven" They said , "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?How does he now say, "I have come down from heaven?" Jesus answered then, "Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

To be continued...