Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Preaching to the Dead

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins. Ephesians 2:1 NIV

A common expression among those advocating our use of free will to "choose" Christ, is that predestination makes us into mere robots. Now who wants to be a robot, with no will of its own? No one I know of. After all, we have free will, to do good or bad. If it is true that our names were written in the Lamb's book of life, before the world was made, it is because God foresaw how we would use this will.

It is an appealing argument, as many false ideas are. We can rest upon it. Of course God did His part. We must give Him some of the credit, after all. Those who use their free will to opt for Christ are better than those who did not choose Him. At this point the free will people will balk. We are all sinners, as they say. "the ground around the cross is level."

Isn't it wonderful how God uses such physical things to illustrate how we are born again? He gets right down to it, saying we are born of incorruptible seed, that we are children who may call Him Abba or Daddy, shocking as that may seem. If we stay with the physical, we can't go wrong. So I will give an illustration that remains physical. Until we are made alive in Christ we are dead. Being dead is much worse than being a robot, isn't it?

My friend,Brother Gadd, used to describe preaching to a bunch of dead people. No response is possible. They must be alive to respond. Why it is like saying you must be born before you can say "Abba, Father." This is pure Aristotelian logic. It is either raining or not raining. You are either dead or you are alive before you respond to His words.

This is so radical, but here goes. God makes you alive before you choose Him. Paul, on the road to Damascus road, had been a party to the stoning of Stephen, had seen Stephen's face look like an angel's. When the risen Christ confronted Paul, he said "Why do you kick against the goad?" He was talking to a new believer, still resisting the call.

I don't remember being born. Who does? But I remember when I learned to acknowledge my earthly father. It was, of course, years later. First I was born, then I called out to him. Am I going to far in this? Am I giving God all the credit? I hope so.

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