“Do you believe God saves sinners even when they do not want to be saved?” You may think this is a strange question, but it was recently asked of me. The answer is, NO, but we must go to the Scriptures to understand what goes on in the salvation of a sinner. The Bible teaches that no sinner by nature wants or desires salvation GOD’S WAY – By free, sovereign mercy and grace in and by the Lord Jesus Christ alone! We read this in passages such as John 6:44 and Romans 3:9-18. These are just a few examples that show us the reality of man’s deprav-ity. Sinful man wants salvation, but he wants it on his own terms, like Cain of old, by works for which he can boast. When God saves a sinner, does he save that sinner even if that sinner does not want to be saved God’s way? No. When God saves a sinner, God alone, by His power and grace, makes that sinner willing to believe in, rest in, flee to the Lord Jesus Christ for all salvation – all forgiveness of sin, all righteousness, all eternal life, and all glory. He does this by the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth as He imparts to that sinner a new knowledge, a new heart, and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Hebrews 8:10-12). God the Holy Spirit, by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, convinces that sinner of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment so that under true, invincible, Holy Spirit conviction, that sinner is more than willing to run to Christ as fast as he can and hold on for dear life. The question, then, we all need to ask and consider is this – “Do I want salvation GOD’S WAY, by His grace in the Lord Jesus Christ?” All who truly desire THIS salvation have been made willing by the power of God.
--- Pastor Bill Parker
CHRIST’S GREAT WORK
What is His work? The work which the Father gave Him to do; the work covenanted from before the world began; the work that shall crown Him with glory and honor forever and ever; the work of fulfilling, of magnifying, and of honoring the holy law of God; the work of satisfying and of sheathing the sword of inflexible justice in His own heart; the work of vanquishing the powers of darkness, bruising the old serpent’s head, spoiling principalities and powers, taking away the sting of death, and removing the curse forever from all the election of grace. That is the work of God; that is the work of Christ, and it is freely given to the believer.
--- Joseph Irons, 1848
A MAN SENT FROM GOD
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John” (John 1:6). John the Baptist was not a seminary-trained preacher; he had no formal education. He was not instructed in the schools of higher learning approved by the religious hierarchy of his day. He did not seek after nor did he have the backing of the ecclesiastical authorities. He did not minister in a synagogue and he was not invited to preach within the temple walls of Jerusalem. If you wanted to hear God’s man proclaim God’s message you had to go out to the wilderness to listen to him. He refused to be identified with the leadership of Judaism, and the first time some of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to hear him preach and see him baptize, he used that opportunity to denounce those men who believed and taught salvation by works as being “a generation of vipers” (Matthew 3:7). His message was, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Had you lived in his day and desired to hear from God, he was the man you went to hear for he “was a man sent from God.”
Here we are today, more than two thousand years later. Have things changed with regard to those men God sends forth with His message and the established religious world? No, not really. The Lord’s servants still do not need nor seek after the approval of organized religion. They refuse to be identified with the highly regarded religions of our day which are anti-grace, anti-God and anti-Christ. Ecclesiastical leaders still despise the gospel of free grace. This world remains a dry and barren place full of spiritual error. In the religious realm, it remains true, “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). God’s servants continue refusing to be identified with those who despise the message of sovereign grace, no matter how powerful or influential those enemies may be.
Thank God there are a few “John the Baptists” who are sent of God with God’s message. They do not seek or want the approval, the education or the validation of this religious world. They are content to be taught of the Spirit and preach the gospel of Christ wherever God puts them. Speaking the truth in love with plainness of speech, from their hearts to the hearts of their hearers, they are out to impress no one, seeking only the glory of God and the welfare of their hearers. Like John, they are voices “crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” (Luke 3:4). Their desire is, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30), and their message is, “Behold the Lamb of God.”