Not So Random Thoughts 54

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. 4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in 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)

The enormity of the deception that has happened to the professing Church in our day is most likely way beyond human comprehension. It is God Himself who turns people over to a darkened heart and it is God who gives people over in their sinful hearts to more sin. A deluded heart grows more deluded and a deceived heart is given over to more deception. Those who deny God in their hearts with the things of religion are given over to more and more religion and as such are given over to more and more darkness and less of the truth of God even while they are perhaps more and more religious. Those with proud hearts are given over to more pride in the things of their religion. While open sin is punished by hardening of the heart, it may be that the things of religion are used to harden even more.

We also live in a day where Arminianism and Pelagian thinking is by far the majority. This is true even among those who profess to be Reformed. It is not just that Arminian thinking is openly espoused by people, but Arminianism can control the heart when the head holds to Reformed creeds. The sleep inducing fog of Arminianism has to do with the power of the will. The proud heart wants to love and trust in self. The proud heart wants some little island of power that leaves something up to it. The proud heart will not have God to be sovereign over it and will not have a God be fully sufficient. The proud heart will not give up all rights and all power to God; though it may be clouded in the things to religion to think it has done so.

If we think of lawlessness as man following his own will and strength of will, then we can see how the things of religion are used by men in such a way as to be utter lawlessness. At the heart of the Arminian system is utter lawlessness because man is not following God as the sovereign God depending upon Him in all things, but instead man is following self and depending on self to follow God. How utterly and completely deceptive this is. The intoxicating mist of Arminianism is so powerful that it takes the mind and heart of men away from God and they are turned to trust in self and the things of religion that men have come up with. The Arminian system is built on the free-will of man rather than the sovereign grace of God and as such is directly opposed to the Gospel of the free-grace of God.

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.”

What we can see from this passage (Romans 9) is that it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs. Rather, it depends on God who has mercy. This is at the core of the Gospel and of all that pertains to Christianity. Does it depend on man or on God? Any system that puts the weight on the will of man or on the running (working) of man is directly opposed to the grace of God. It is not grace plus just a little of the will of man and it is not grace plus just a little of the efforts of man. It is grace alone. Indeed this is a narrow gate and a narrow path. Indeed the false prophets oppose this in many ways. Those at the end of the passage in Matthew 7 (as quoted at the top of the page) looked to themselves and their own religious works rather than grace alone. God’s grace is indeed to the humbled and the broken. As long as people trust in their own wills and that just a little, they will not rest in Christ alone and they will not look to grace alone. Trusting in our own will and our own effort, even if it is just a tiny bit, is at the heart of lawlessness.

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