Not So Random Thoughts 41

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 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.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another—God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. But he who is out of doubt that his destiny depends entirely on the will of God despairs entirely of himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such a man is very near to grace for his salvation. (Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will)

Luther and Jesus teach us that the soul must be humbled and brought to despair of anything that self can do but look to God to do all that needs to be done. False prophets can be quite orthodox and speak of external things as if all depended upon correct doctrine and a belief of that doctrine is within our power or we need just a little help. A false prophet can be very religious and very sincere in many ways. A false prophet can be energetic and have a lot of zeal for religious things and conservative morality. A false prophet can be an excellent or even a great public speaker. A false prophet can demand hard things of others and of himself as well. A false prophet can speak the external things of the Gospel with great accuracy, but a false prophet cannot speak of the inward things of the Gospel because he cannot understand them.

But again, the question of how God brings a soul to despair of itself is not specifically addressed in the quotes above. If we know that the soul dead in sin is in bondage to sin, self, and the devil we can see something of what needs to happen. If we know that any soul can know nothing spiritual but what the Spirit opens the eyes to see, then we can know another part of what must happen. If we know that nothing good or spiritual can happen to the soul apart from the grace of God, then we can see another part of what must happen to the soul. We can know the state of the soul and what it must be delivered from (sin, self, the devil). We can know that the soul must be acted upon by the Spirit. We can know that all that God does to the soul in bringing it to conversion is by His grace. No one deserves to be convicted of sin and not one deserves to be brought to despair of self. No one deserves to be converted and no one deserves to be brought into the kingdom. All of these things can only come by the grace of God. This must be emphasized.

The gate is small and the path is narrow that leads to life and few find it. Oh, but what good news that broad gate and the broad way are. However, there are many on it and those many are on the road to destruction. It sounds so easy and so wonderful that all a person needs to do is believe some facts and they will go to heaven. However, while that is true in a sense, what does it mean to believe and what does it mean to be brought from a faith in self to a faith in Christ alone by grace alone? It is natural to the soul to believe in self and then to believe in self to believe in Christ. It is also quite natural in the natural scheme of things to believe in things in accordance with the appearance of things instead of the spiritual nature of things.

A true faith can only occur when it comes from a new heart given in regeneration. A true faith in Christ can only happen when a person does not have faith in self. A true faith in Christ can only happen when a person has Christ dwelling in him or her. True faith is not a belief in some true facts by an act of the will; it is what the new heart does when Christ dwells there. True faith is not an act of a natural man; it is the continual acting of a spiritual man who has Christ. Faith is what a person must have, but it is beyond the power of the natural man to do it. This requires the work of God.

The soul that desires to be truly saved must seek God to save it. The soul that desires to be truly saved must seek faith as a gift of God. The soul that desires to be truly saved must seek to be delivered from the bondage of sin, self, and of the devil. However, it is important to point out that no one will desire to be truly saved unless the Spirit has worked in that soul and has worked that desire in the soul by opening the eyes to certain things. No one desires to be truly saved at first but instead just desires to be delivered from hell.

The desire to be delivered from hell is not the same thing as a desire to be delivered from sin, self, and the devil. It is a work of the Spirit to bring a person from a desire to be delivered from hell to a desire to be delivered from sin, self, and the devil. If a person only wants to be delivered from hell that is nothing more than a desire that a love for self and the natural man can work up. That person does not even desire to be truly saved and cannot look to Christ for true salvation. A false prophet will most likely not make that distinction and as such a person will never know what s/he needs to be saved from in order to be truly saved. Beware of false prophets.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: