(Adapted from a sermon from Pastor Mark Driscoll: Religion Saves and 9 other Misconceptions – Predestination)
This is Jesus’ Heart:
- Thoughts of peace toward us, not evil, to give us a future and a hope (Jer 29:11)
- No pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze 33:11)
- Wishes all people everywhere to be saved (1 Tim 2:4)
- Not lazy, but patient, giving us time to choose Him (2 Peter 3:9)
- Not wishing any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)
- Come to Me and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28)
- Believe in Me and be saved (Acts 16:31)
- Commands all people to repent (Acts 17:30)
- The wages of sin is death, but I give you life! (Rom 6:23)
- He who comes to Me will not live in darkness, I have come to give you light (John 12:46)
- I came so you may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10)
- Come to Me! Come to Me! Come to Me! (Rev 22:17)
But He also says:
- If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the Word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. (John 12:47-48)
- Yet you refuse to come to Me that you may receive life! (John 5:40)
- You stiff-necked and stubborn people, you always resist the Holy Spirit! (Acts 7:51)
- All day long I have stretched out My hand to a disobedient and contrary people! (Rom 10:21)
This is the point:
God is good, God is patient towards you, God desires for you to be saved, God invites you through Jesus Christ.
“Some people will still refuse, reject, resist, and disobey Jesus. Every non-Christian that goes to Hell has no one to blame but themselves. They cannot blame God that He did not love them, that He didn’t pursue them, that His Spirit didn’t convict their conscience, that Jesus was unwilling to receive their repentance. Your blood is on your own hands and your eternity is your own responsibility. You have no one to blame but yourself because we are all sinners, by nature and choice (Rom 3:23).
We are Totally Depraved, not Utterly Depraved. We could do more evil, more frequently, with more intensity – if it were not for the restraining power of God, the threat of rule of law, as well as our own conscience (which is a part of our image-bearing of God).” – Pastor Mark Driscoll
-> -> -> God’s heart is love, God’s invitation is Jesus, but still some refuse Him, why? <- <- <-
This is what God says of our natural hearts (apart from being saved by Jesus Christ):
- We are wicked (Jer 17:9, Mark 7:20-23)
- We do evil continually (Gen 6:5)
- Our thinking is hostile to God (Rom 8:7, Eph 2:16)
- Our speech is used to deceive others (Rom 3:13, Jer 17:9)
- Our actions make us enemies of God (Rom 5:10, Col 1:21)
- We are slaves to sin (John 8:34)
- We do not seek God (Rom 3:11)
- All have turned away from God (Rom 3:12)
- We are not “good enough” (Rom 3:10)
- We do not fear God (Rom 3:18)
- We are unable to understand the greatness of Jesus (Rom 3:11, 1 Cor 2:14)
- We think God’s ways are foolishness (1 Cor 2:14)
- We are children of wrath (Eph 2:3)
- We are Spiritually dead (Eph 2:1)
And to clarify further:
- We are Slaves of Sin = If you sin at all, you are a slave to sin (this is true for everyone). Slaves cannot will themselves to freedom, they have to be liberated.
- Our minds are Hostile to God = Not indifferent, not just in disagreement with, but hostile to Him. We are enemies of God.
- We are Spiritually Dead = Dead men don’t make decisions. They cannot choose God, they cannot will themselves to be alive in Christ.
This is why we need Jesus! Being saved from sin is a necessity for humankind!
So after knowing this information, what can we do then if we cannot naturally choose God?
- Ask -> Pray to God and ask Him to help open your heart more to Him every day.
- Believe -> Believe that God really did love us and have compassion on us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ (who is fully God and fully man), to die on the cross in our place, paying the full amount of debt that we owed because of our sin. Jesus didn’t have to pay for our debt, but He did anyway because He loves us despite our mistakes and flaws. Jesus said that “Whoever believes in Me WILL be saved” (Mark 16:16, John 5:24).
- Continually Repent -> Know that we all sin, and if it weren’t for God’s love and compassion, we would be dead in our sins and apart from Him. We are not “better” than non-believers, in fact, on Earth we are all in the same sinking ship (we will all die because of sin). We are not “better” than anyone, we all need God’s help just the same. Be humbled knowing that we all need God the same amount, not more, not less. (Rom 3:23)
- Daily Give Thanks -> But we have Good News!! We are saved from the debt of sin and are reconciled back to God once again! Give thanks, sing out to God! Our joy forever rests in Christ Jesus! We weren’t left in a pit of sadness knowing that we fail Him, Jesus came to rescue us and give us new life in Him! (John 10:10, 2 Cor 5:17)
(*Note – these are just good practices except for the “Believe” statement. Salvation only comes by faith alone in Jesus, not by works aka “doing things”)
One last footnote…
It is normal for first-time and even seasoned believers to doubt their salvation (we still live in a world broken by sin), but having doubts does not change your justification (status of being saved by God). Once saved, always saved. If at any point in your life you believed in Jesus to save you, you are forever saved. Again, Salvation only comes from faith (trusting) in Jesus, not in works (aka “doing things” such as prayer or baptism) and that includes thoughts of doubt.
- Feelings =/= Salvation
- Actions =/= Salvation
- Thinking you are “good enough” =/= Salvation
- Only trusting in Jesus = Salvation
- “Doing things” = Evidence of being saved by our faith in Jesus
“We do things, not to be loved, but because we are loved and want to love back” – BenBRockN