The age old question, “who chose who”. This one will be a defining post of my view on the salvific process. When it comes to salvation and becoming a Christian, there are two distinct views on this. There is the Calvinistic view of predestination or the Armenian view of free will. As I continue to grow in my knowledge of Scripture and what the Bible is clear on the subject of soteriology, I find myself with a completely different view point from my first view at salvation.
My salvation was strange in the fact that I could not remember when it happened. I said, the ”sinner’s prayer”, so was it then I was saved? Was it months after when I realized I was not producing fruits of the Spirit and repented and recommitted myself to become a follower? Either way, I am saved and a follower. Was it my prayer or was it a knowledge that was growing in me by the Holy Spirit that drew me in?
The Bible is so clear on predestination and the depravity of man. I am not a pure Calvinist but I do have a Calvinistic bent to my soteriology. How can people believe that it was anything they did that brought them to God? As if it was a choice. We have free will but the free will we have is to sin. I say this, that in the freedom of choice we have, you can choose to follow God or you can choose not to. Choosing not to follow will bring you to the unpardonable sin of unbelief. Therefore your free will either leads to salvation or leads to sin. The Armenian stance is that it is all up to man and his choice to enter into the Kingdom and the atonement of Christ’s blood was for all mankind. Can someone please show me that in the Bible or where the “sinner’s prayer” gets you in?
What I read in my Bible in John 6:44 says “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” Key words, the Father who sent Me draws him. It appears to be saying that outside of God, the Father, drawing or pulling man to Himself, man cannot obtain salvation but only through the Son by the influence of the Father. We were predestined and we were chosen before the foundation of the world says Ephesians 1:4 “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before [Him. In love”. It is not us accepting Christ but Christ accepting us. Any works that we could do for salvation would mean that we have the power within ourselves to be saved rendering the work of Christ on the Cross useless. As if we are doing God a favor. Man cannot rationalize his way to God. If he could rationalize, he would be smarter than God.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit that enlightens us, softens our hard hearts and gives us the knowledge of our own depravity and the guilt of sin. Matthew 5:3 at the Sermon of the Mount , Jesus says that blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus shows that people who know their own depravity and sinful rebellion against God are the ones who are poor in spirit and know they need forgiveness before they will enter the kingdom. Knowledge of your broken state is the beginning of the salvific process. How did you get the conviction and knowledge that you are in need of forgiveness? You figure it out all by yourself? It was the Holy Spirit moving and drawing you to the Father.
Man is inherently sinful since the fall and is in no position to save himself. Not by works, not by any thing he might say and not by any intelligence of his own can man save himself. There has to be a brokenness and a spirit filled knowledge of your depraved state. It is when you are completely empty of self at the mercy of God and understand the need for your forgiveness is when the heart is ready for the occupation of the Holy Spirit. Not words that you might say, raising your hand at church, walking the aisle or a prayer but the heart felt knowledge of your current self in relation to God.
So who choose who? God’s sovereignty versus man’s freewill. It is the Sovereign Grace of God but it is the responsibility of man to adhere to the calling or prompting of the Holy Spirit. Not in a charismatic way but desire to know God, people coming to you with the Gospel message, guilt inside that you know needs forgiveness or just having an insightful inventory of your life and gaining knowledge of your depravity are all ways the Holy Spirit works. God is drawing you. So, is it man’s freewill or man’s responsibility? That is the question…..