Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Bondage of the Will and the Gospel Call (Part One)


(The following blogpost was orignally published on 12/29/05.) 

Jesus responded, "I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. (John 8:34 HCSB)

By these words, Jesus exposes the true spiritual condition of His Jewish audience as well as the condition of all people after the Fall. Every individual is in slavery to sin,

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23 HCSB).

And this slavery is not one of external compulsion, "but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;" (James 1:14-15a NIV). This "evil desire," which leads to temptation and sin, making us all slaves to sin, is present within every person, for God has testified that "the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth" (cf. Genesis 8:21). It is the natural intent of our heart- our desires, or, to say it another way, our will- that is the source of our enslavement to sin as well as our natural alienation from God and our hostility toward Him (cf. Colossians 1:21).

And it is for this reason that we declare so strongly that any system of philosophy that would make the cooperation of our 'free-will' necessary for our release from the bondage of sin is a distortion of the biblical gospel. As Martin Luther taught:

Free will, after the fall, exists in name only…”

For anyone to come to faith in Christ for salvation, God alone by His grace alone must transform his or her will so that he or she will no longer hate the light of the gospel (cf. John 3:20), but instead he or she will come to the Light "so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God" (John 3:21b NASB). For anyone to come to faith in Christ for salvation, God the Father must do a special work in drawing him or her to Jesus His Son, as Jesus Himself declared, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44a HCSB). For you to be saved, God must first "remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26b HCSB)

Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. (II Peter 1:10 HCSB)

Examine your heart in the light of Scripture. Do you "hunger and thirst for righteousness" (cf. Matthew 5:6) or do you "love the world," that is, "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life" (cf. I John 2:15-16 NASB)? If you are in love with the things of this world system, I beg you to call out to Jesus to save you: you will certainly not be disappointed,

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13 KJV)

And if you have called upon Jesus for salvation, you can be sure that it was God who placed this desire for salvation in your heart,

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13 NASB)

To the glory of God alone.

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