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Sunday, July 21, 2024

If I’m Not Elect, How Am I Responsible for Not Believing?

Audio Transcript

Welcome again to the podcast. As you web page via the brand new APJ ebook, you’ll see a number of the methods we’ve talked about election and predestination over time. The fallout of this doctrine of God’s sovereignty over who’s saved ultimately results in many, many questions on whether or not that is honest or unfair and whether or not election excuses the non-elect from their unbelief. You’ll see these themes compiled on pages 355–64.

We’re proper again into this theme at the moment in an e mail query from a listener named John. “Hi there, Pastor John! I’ve usually heard nonbelievers blaming God for not electing them and giving them a brand new coronary heart to have religion. How can I persuade them that it isn’t God’s fault however their very own unbelief? My good friend’s son professed to be a Christian and even evangelized folks and led folks to God. However later, whereas in school, he realized he was not a real believer and left the religion. He now blames God for not electing him. How would you counsel this younger man?”

Nicely, let me make clear instantly that I do agree with the premise that there’s such a factor as unconditional election by God — specifically, that everybody whom God decisively saves, whom he brings out of darkness to gentle, brings out of the bondage of sin and unbelief, he doesn’t determine to do this on the spur of the second, as if there have been no plan. Quite, he saves in accordance together with his infinite knowledge and plan, which he has had in thoughts without end. Ephesians 1:4 says, “[God] selected us in [Christ] earlier than the muse of the world.” So, when he saved me, he saved me in keeping with an electing plan.

Bodily Free, Morally Certain

So, the query being requested is that this: Why are folks whom God doesn’t save in keeping with his function and plan nonetheless accountable? That’s, they aren’t in a position to relieve themselves of the duty to consider and belief God as a result of God has not deliberate to avoid wasting them.

“God has his smart and holy causes for why he doesn’t overcome the rebel of everybody.”

Now, I believe a useful place to start in speaking in regards to the accountability of individuals to embrace and treasure the reality of God that they’ve entry to is to tell apart two sorts of incapability, as a result of the form of objection we’re coping with right here is that somebody is saying, “I’m required to consider, however I don’t have the flexibility to consider. And never being able to consider means I’m not accountable to consider.” These two sorts of incapability that I’m speaking about are ethical incapability and bodily incapability.

Bodily incapability is if you’re required to do one thing, however you wouldn’t have the bodily potential to do it. For instance, you’re chained to a pillar in a burning home, and also you’re commanded to comprehend there’s a fireplace and to get out, however the chains bodily hold you from transferring. So, in that case, we might say that you’re not accountable for remaining in the home. You could have wished with each will in you to maneuver and get out, however you have been bodily unable.

However there’s one other form of incapability, which we name ethical incapability. You’re not bodily restricted or restrained, however your ethical preferences — what you expertise pretty much as good and dangerous, pleasing and displeasing, fascinating and undesirable — are so robust in a single course that you could be be unable to behave opposite to these preferences. So, this time, you might be within the burning home, and you aren’t bodily restrained in any respect, however you’re keen on what you’re doing on this home at this second. You find it irresistible a lot, you favor it a lot, you want it a lot, you discover it so pleasing that you’ll not even consider each credible testimony that the home is on hearth and you will need to get out, and also you die.

So, you might be bodily free, however you might be morally certain. You might be in bondage to behave in keeping with these overpowering wishes and die.

God’s Sovereign Grace

Now, I believe the Bible teaches that if you’re not free within the bodily sense, you aren’t accountable to behave in keeping with the reality. You might be bodily unable to see or do (Romans 1:18–23, if we had time to speak about it — I’ll allow you to look it up). However if you’re not free within the ethical sense as a result of your wishes are so corrupt and so opposite to reality, you might be nonetheless accountable to behave in keeping with the reality (Romans 2:4–5). Duty to forsake sin and belief Christ shouldn’t be nullified due to our sinful wishes, as a result of they’re so robust that we’re morally unable to show away from sin.

In election, God freely selected, graciously selected, to set folks free from this bondage of ethical incapability — to set folks free from loving evil a lot that they’re morally unable to decide on the great. None of us can be saved if God had not finished this for us. The ultimate and decisive reply to why I otherwise you believed in Jesus and have been let loose from our bondage to the love of self and sin is the sovereign grace of God. Because the apostle Paul mentioned, God made us alive after we have been useless (Ephesians 2:5). God granted us to consider (Philippians 1:29). God overcame our hardness in opposition to him (Ephesians 4:18). God gave us the flexibility to see the glory of Christ and the true and fascinating Christ hanging on the cross (2 Corinthians 4:6).

“You can not use non-election as an excuse for loving the darkish greater than the sunshine.”

He does this for hundreds of thousands of individuals, and it’s owing to nothing in us. It’s free. God has his smart and holy causes for why he doesn’t overcome the rebel of everybody. The truth that God does — in his mercy and the liberty of his grace — overcome the sinful corruption and rebel and resistance of many doesn’t imply he’s obliged to do it for anyone. No person deserves it, and no one has a proper to complain if he doesn’t do it for them.

Closing Verdict

So, let’s think about an individual coming to me as a pastor and saying to me, “Pastor, I consider that God has not cherished me and has not set me free from my sin and my unbelief as a result of I’m not elect. And subsequently, I consider God is to be blamed. He’s responsible of evil.” I’d say to him, “How are you aware that you’re not among the many elect?”

Now, maybe he would say, “As a result of he hasn’t taken away my rebel,” to which I’d say, “However that doesn’t show you’re not elect, as a result of he would possibly take away that rebel within the subsequent hour or the subsequent day or 12 months. So actually, how are you aware that you’re not elect?”

“Nicely,” he would possibly say, “possibly I don’t know for certain I’m not elect, but when I’m not elect, then I’m not accountable to consider,” to which I’d say, “Why don’t you consider and obtain Jesus proper now? You possibly can’t say it’s since you’re not elect — you don’t know that. And you may’t know that ever, until the day you die. You possibly can by no means say with any authority, ‘I’m not elect.’ You don’t know. However you may know that you’re elect as a result of solely the elect obtain Jesus. So, inform me proper now, why don’t you consider and so show that you’re elect?”

Now, I don’t know what he’s going to say at this level. He is perhaps sincere and say, “As a result of I don’t discover him very enticing. I don’t discover Jesus compelling.” Or “I don’t discover his lifestyle that he requires of me to be fascinating.” Or “I don’t like Christians.” Or “I don’t suppose the Bible is true.”

I’ll say, “That’s proper. That’s proper. And if these are your final phrases, they are going to be your condemnation on the final day — not the very fact that you’re not elect. That reality won’t enter into your judgment in any respect. You have been offered with Christ — essentially the most useful, stunning individual within the universe — and also you didn’t discover him to be true or fascinating. That would be the case in opposition to you on the final day. You can not use non-election as an excuse for loving the darkish greater than the sunshine. You may be self-condemned.”

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