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Monday, April 21, 2014

Humbling, saving truth

Posted by Gary on June 22, 2007

Colossians 1:13-14
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

In the early 1990′s I was granted by God to understand and embrace the Doctrines of Grace, simply put, the fact that God is sovereign and man is totally incapable of saving himself. This truth is a bone that I cannot seem to release from my teeth. By bone I mean what I come to chew on again and again in my dealings with man in his need. Man has a bone to be picked with if he is going to be saved and as I look on a Godless, unsaved world I am more convinced than ever that the message that man needs to hear from the Church is that God alone saves: we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:5) and are incapable of even the slightest movement toward God without Him first choosing us (Ephesians 1:4) than granting (John 6:65) us to come to Him.

I am weary of hearing man speak of his “free will”, how blind we are to the fact that we are not free but slaves to sin (John 8:34), until the Son sets us free (John 8:36). My challenge to the one who claims to be free in regard to spiritual things is to stop sinning. If you have a free will then exert the freedom and stop sinning.

The passage quoted from Colossians above is another clear proof of the slavery of man making clear his need of God to rescue him. The Bible tells us plainly in these verses that mankind can be reduced down to two categories, those who dwell in the domain of darkness or the kingdom of the Son of God. Notice the two words, “domain” and “kingdom”, what is implied in both? That the inhabitants of these two realms have a ruler over them. Man is continually boasting that he is his own master, that he is free in regard to God and Satan, that he can actually maintain a place between the two of them and does not have to choose one or the other unless he decides to. Blind, foolish man, you don’t see the truth about yourself. Domains and kingdoms are by definition places that have a ruler over them, the inhabitants of these places are not in charge, their king/master is.

Who rules the domain of darkness? Satan. The Kingdom of the beloved Son? God. Let every man know that he resides in one of these two places at this very moment. You are not the captain of your destiny man and you are not free to go wherever you will, you are one who is ruled. Satan being the deceiver is quite willing to let man think otherwise though. He does not insist on drawing attention to his lordship yet, he is actually quite willing to give man enough rope to blind his eyes to the truth that he has been captured.

The modern day Church has not been of help in this matter. The gospel often preached is peppered with untruth. We actually exalt the will of man in the modern gospel and tell men that God has laid His will down at our feet to allow us to do what we will. There is no question that being damned or saved involves a choice but this doctrine teaches us two things: First, fallen man will choose nothing but damnation if left to himself and second, that a man’s decision to be saved is always preceded by God’s choice of Him which requires God to free him from the bondage of his sin and the domain of darkness in which he is imprisoned.

Listen to the language in these verses…are we told that a person makes a choice to leave the domain of darkness and then waltzes out as it were into the kingdom of Christ? Is this simply a matter of exerting his will and “viola” he is in a new place? Not according to the Bible, “For He rescued us…” Salvation is not man moving himself from one kingdom to another, it is God breaking into one kingdom and unshackling a person and blasting His way back out through the enemy’s territory, carrying the prisoner on His shoulder until the gate of His kingdom is reached and the prisoner is safely inside.

Another interesting word is chosen to describe salvation; sinners are “transferred” to the kingdom of Christ. Transferred? This a term that we use with prisoners isn’t it? Prisoners are transferred from one facility to another. Do these prisoners transfer themselves? Do they motion and prison doors open and do they gesture to electronic gates and find them to open wide simply because they want to leave? No, for a transfer to take place an officer must go in who has authority to move the prisoner. In no way can the prisoner be said to have effected their transfer, it has been done by others who have the authority to do so.

A great many people will never be rescued because they refuse to accept the fact that they are not free but prisoners. Far from seeing themselves subjects of one kingdom or another they believe they are their own masters. It is only when God opens the eyes of an unsaved person that they come to see the truth about their status. It only when someone sees that sin and Satan have taken them captive that they will cry out “Christ, save me, rescue me.” The gospel is generally scorned and rejected and this is because men do not see the truth about their condition and standing. Jesus is rejected as Savior because most do not see themselves in danger and in need of rescue.

To be saved I must first be humbled by God, it is necessary for Him to strip me of every notion that I possess any goodness or freedom apart from Him. This humbling does not produce resentment in the one being saved, it is a blessed humbling, a humbling that saves. Once I have been saved I do not resent being told that I am a creature that must be ruled by one or another. I do not resent being told that I have no power or willingness, it is true and I know now that it is true and I embrace it, grateful to Christ that He rescued me.

If these things are true, who then receives the glory for man’s salvation? God alone. How can a man who was a prisoner boast of having to be rescued from a domain that kept him enslaved? Any other view of salvation makes it possible for man at some level to say that he did something to contribute to his salvation, he can boast of his choice, his willingness, his decision to enter the kingdom of Christ. This must never be for it is not so.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

1 Corinthians 1:30-31But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.””

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