Sunday, February 13, 2011

Irresistible Grace Overcomes Desperate Depravity

You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Excerpt from “The Glory of God in Salvation: Grace Received” – 2011-02-13
Because of the fall - sinful humanity is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately corrupt. Our wills are not free; we are enslaved and in bondage to our fallen nature. Given the choice, will choose ourselves over God.

Humanity’s rebellion against God is total not in its depth but in rather in its width. Human beings are not entirely sinful, but sin has extended into our entire being. The effect of the fall is that sin has infected every fibre and part of our person – our physical body, our thinking, our emotions, our spirits and our will. Even when it appears that we are doing things which are morally good, the sin in our hearts and our souls warps our motives, thoughts, intents and agendas away from God and towards the fulfillment and satisfaction of self. This is what the Bible calls sin.

Romans 3:23 says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 then says: "The wages of sin is death.” Because of the fall, we are all helpless and dead in our sin. Because sin extends into every area of our lives, we are therefore totally deserving of the punishment of eternal death. Since we all are “dead” in our sins, it is impossible for us to desire to make the moral and spiritual choices which God requires, whether it be for salvation or for everyday life. This is our natural condition apart from God’s grace. Terrorism, racism, war, abortion, aberrant sexuality, political division, cultural immorality, and spiritual self-centeredness are all proof of this.

Because we are totally depraved and dead in our sins – we can only receive salvation by God’s grace. Ephesians 2:4-5: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved.” Since we are dead in sin, we cannot respond to God unless He enables by His grace us to overcome our sinful rebellion. It is by the powerful intervention of the Holy Spirit that radically depraved sinful hearts are awakened and then respond to the call of salvation. In John 6:44 Jesus said: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”; John 11:12-13: "To all who did receive 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"; Romans 9:16: "So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." We respond to the grace that God extends us – even in our total depravity, when we dead in our sins – because God’s grace cannot be resisted. By His grace, His sovereign will is always sovereign over our fallen, sinful self-will.

When we finally understand the depth of our sinful, fallen nature – we then begin to understand the depth of God’s sovereign grace.