I have said it before and I will say it again…man cannot choose to be saved. Because that implies that he can know that there is a choice, but being dead in sin, he cannot even see the choice.
I finally had a long-anticipated meeting today, and part of the discussion was God’s sovereignity and total depravity, the cornerstones of the Reformation. Denial of either leaves us back in the pre-reformation days.
If God is not sovereign in who He saves, then He cannot be merciful. His mercy has has to be absolute, or it cannot be Godly mercy. He does not have small mercy. If we put a limit on the depravity of man, we necessarily put a limit on the mercy of God.
Rom 9:15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Rom 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
Rom 9:18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
It is clear that God’s mercy is sovereign. It is purely a matter of His will. And if that is true, then it necessarily follows that man is totally incapacitated when it comes to his own salvation. He cannot even know about his sinful state before he is convicted of his shortcoming before God.
That is why the Gospel is so very important. And that is why any Gospel message that excludes God’s sovereignity and man’s inability is of little more than entertainment value. Because one cannot arrive at a solid foundation for God’s love and mercy without relating it to the need for it.
My meeting today was fruitful. I reached agreement with my head pastor on these issues. He did mention fatalism as a possible objection, to which I replied: If Gods sovereignity is called fatalism, then so be it. But the real context is His love and mercy, not His condemnation and punishment.
It is fatal. We are dead in our sins. And if not for the unilateral decision from God to save us, we will remain dead. He saves us because He loves us. It is fatalism….ours without God.