[Below is information that will be expanded in an appendix of my book, Who Was the Serpent in the Garden...? and the Waters That Covered the Earth. ® = Recommended reading, inquire; books of mine that I mention are available at this site or email for details.]
At Amazon.com, a woman commented ignorantly on some other woman’s favorable review of James White’s book, The Potter’s Freedom.® White’s book defended the Calvinist position and shot holes in the convoluted error of Dr. Norman Geisler’s book, Chosen, But Free (which even some Arminianists agree is so poorly written, that it makes the Calvinist position’s case stronger).
[See my, Who Was the Serpent? for an in-depth refutation of the theological and philosophical error in Erwin Lutzer’s Book, The Serpent of Paradise; and likewise, see my Does God Repent?, for an in-depth refutation of the theological and philosophical error of 2 other books, one by “Brother Andrew” and the other by Dr. Normal Geisler.]
“Free will choice is true regardless of whether or not a particular author defends that position well. I will never buy the lie that Jesus didn’t die for everyone. That’s NOT what I see in the Bible. Calvinism is false. And I don’t buy the lie that free will takes away God’s sovereignty one bit. It’s is Calvinists who deny the Lord the sovereignty to choose to grant free will to humanity. Would you rather have some come to you and love you out of free choice or because they are programmed to and have no other choice?”
I posted a detailed response to her comment:
Well, that is tragic then. It is not a matter of your “buying” something and Predestination is not a lie—and reality is not based upon what you “see” (or are willing to believe) in the Bible, and the truth is not based upon what people would “rather have”. True theology is a matter of your submitting to God. Modernists and liberated women don’t like being in submission to God (I am not saying you are a liberated woman, I am saying that mindset has contaminated the modern church’s thinking).
God is Sovereign, not semi-sovereign. It is a misperception and profound blunder to say that so-called Calvinists deny God Sovereignty to be less than God. God cannot be contrary to His own Nature and it is not “denying” God Sovereignty to accept His Sovereignty. That is a completely illogical and confused notion. Sadly, you do err, not knowing the Scriptures. You, whether you realize it or not, are a humanist who demands God to conform to your skewed notions of morality and you don’t understand God’s Nature.
God is Immutable. He is Holy. He is Sovereign. He is Omnipotent. He established laws and then judges people for breaking those laws. That is His Right. Have you not read the book of Romans? Who can resist God’s Will...? (No one). He is the Potter, we are the clay. Not only do you not understand theology, you don’t even understand the history of theology, nor that 98% of the Reformers and Puritans believed in what is referred to as “Calvinism”—even Martin Luther, who declared “free will” to be a myth, a misperception, false doctrine.
Christ chose His own before the foundation of the world. He told us, “you have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep.... No man cometh unto Me except the Father draw Him.... The wind bloweth where it wills and no man knoweth... so is everyone that is born of God... flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto you but My Father which is in Heaven.... There is none that doeth good, no not one, there is none that seeketh after God.”
Clay doesn’t choose its Potter. Sheep don’t choose their shepherd. Fruit trees don’t choose their orchardist. Children don’t choose to be conceived. Lazarus did not choose to be called forth from the dead. Order and read the book Does God Repent? - Can God Change His Mind?.
It is not a matter of you “not buying” some doctrine—it is a matter of you rejecting God’s Own Self-declaration. Your reaction and self-asserting notions are humanism, even if you fancy that what you believe is Christianity. True Christians are followers of Christ; not humanistic ideas—which change every day (based upon the brainwashing of the subverted church and Christians consumed with godless “political correctness”)... calling “good” what God has called abominations; and then saying, “Well, I don’t believe in a God Who wouldn’t... [do this or that].” That is humanism: man creating God in man’s image, in his own mind.
“Modern “Christians” claim that God / Christ is their Lord — not even understanding what Lord means. It means Master. Servants don’t “choose” which orders or decrees of the Master they will believe or follow. To claim to believe in “God” when what you believe is other than what the Word of God says, is idolatry... you are worshipping a false god. I say this not to condescend or insult, but to call you to actually submit to God so that He will reveal the truth and save you. God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble.
Christ Himself had no “free will” (that is, a will ‘independent’ of God’s Will). “The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him.” No one involved in the crucifiction had “free will”:
“27For of a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28For to do whatsoever Thy Hand and Thy Counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4)
The book of Exodus clearly shows that God repeatedly hardened Pharaoh’s heart—and then punished him for having a hard heart.
Nebuchadnezzar, after his conversion, filled with the Holy Spirit declared,
“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He [God] doeth according to His Will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His Hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Daniel 4:35)
“The king’s heart is in the Hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” (Proverbs 21:1)
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23).
God hated Esau and loved Jacob before either were born; before either had done good or bad (Romans 9).
God does not merely have a crystal ball, He declares,
“The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” (Isaiah 14:24)
Far from God offering salvation to everyone, Scripture reveals just the opposite:
“11...Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” (Mark 4)
—in which Christ was quoting Isaiah 6:10:
“Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed”).
This is why Christ also said (fulfilling prophecy):
“18The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4)
God is not a man and God is not bound to think and act as humans think that He should... that notion itself is actually absurd if you even stop to think about it. God even declared:
“...thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them [truth] in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)
The average “Christian’s” “Christianity” is actually humanism which he projects onto God, expecting God to conform to man’s perverse notions (which become more and more perverse each year). God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever—and that is our hope (if He had ordained for us to conform to what He commands instead of thinking silly thoughts about having our own “free will”). He declares:
“For I am Yahweh, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6)
Christ didn’t heal everyone, He didn’t raise everyone from the dead, He didn’t forgive everyone’s sins, and He did not open everyone’s eyes—and no one can open his own eyes, forgive his own sins, heal himself, or raise himself from the dead. Dead people can’t open their eyes or choose anything. That is the meaning of Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (chapter 37), and that is what Scripture taught when Christ called Lazarus to “Come forth!” from the dead. Lazarus was dead. Dead people can’t hear. Dead people can’t even obey! Christ actually raised Lazarus from the dead before He called out, “Lazarus, Come forth”...! Dead people can’t choose anything, even as they can’t even hear or obey. They first have to be quickened to life by God—and God alone in Christ, before the foundation of the world, chose whom He would quicken.
“Free Will” is not “true” simply because you say it is. You will have to do better than that... and the Bible verses that you must use (that is, if you will use any) as support of what you “see” or “are willing to believe” must be in harmony with the whole of Scripture: God is not schitzophrenic; He does not contradict Himself, lie, change His Mind and He is never mistaken or confused; He does not speak senseless gibberish.”
* * * * *
A few additional thoughts: Again as I express in various places throughout my book Does God Repent?, the average person confuses the meaning of Scripture by misunderstanding cause and effect. A 7-year old may be able to go into a store to buy a $10 toy, but could he buy the toy had his father not given him the permission to buy the toy along with giving him the $10? Additionally, the father also informed the child which toy(s) he may and may not buy, and the father decided which toy store he would drive the child to. Furthermore, could the child have bought the toy had the father not conceived / sired him? That “permission”, that $10, the driving to the specific store, that siring are all the determination of the father. Furthermore, the analogy is imperfect (as all are) in that God controls every single detail; He does not merely give permission, but ordains. God says that we are spiritually dead. There is none that doeth good, no not one; there is none that seeketh after God.*1 All are like sheep having gone astray.*2 Christ said: no man cometh unto the Me except the Father draw him. To seek after God would be to do good, but God says that no one does either.
[*1 Psalm 14:1-3 / 51:1-3. Scripture also says in those passages that none understand, all have turned back away from God, all are filthy.
*2 Isaiah 53:6]
Sinful man (many “Christians” included) rejects what God says—which is the simple evidence that God has not ordained such a person unto salvation (to reject God’s Truth is to reject God for God is Truth). Without faith it is impossible to please God; faith does not naturally exist in any man: Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit (part of the “fruit package” of the Spirit) administered at the very time of conversion enabling the person to believe, and it is that faith that causes a person to cry out recognizing his need for and coming into conformity with the salvation that the Holy Spirit has affected.
Christ commands, “Believe!” but that is not something that man can do on his own; but God supplies the wherewithall to the elect that they might believe. When Jesus asked Peter whom Peter thought He was and Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” Christ replied, “flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto you, but My Father Who is in Heaven.” God hid Himself in His universe and incapacitated the eyes and ears and hearts / minds of all; but then God reveals Himself and opens the understanding solely of the elect whom He chose before the foundation of the world.
Christ declared to the cripple man, “Arise, take up thy bed and walk.” It was not “free will” that caused the man to do so. Had he free will he would have done so long ago on his own. Being cripple, though he had the will, the will was not free to accomplish what it wanted. Even as Lazarus had no ability to “obey” the command to come back from the dead, so the lame man had no ability to arise and walk. This is where the average person misunderstands cause and effect. The reason that sinful man confuses cause and effect is because the carnal mind rejects the things of God and realizing it or not, desires to diminish God’s Glory and instead delusionally glory in man himself. Christ said, “without Me ye can do nothing.” Was He exaggerating? Similarly, God commanded, “This is the Way, walk ye in it” and “I have set before thee life and death, choose life that thou may live.” Again, misunderstanding cause and effect, the average person thinks that he has the ability to choose. But he does not. All are dead in sin and have no desire or ability to choose life... God chose before the foundation of the world, and for those whom God ordained unto salvation, upon conversion the Holy Spirit then enables the elect to walk in God’s Ways if and when they walk in the Spirit (are in submission to God).
The delusional person (who has no clue that he is delusional: for that is the essence of delusion) still resisting Truth, will claim that indeed he desires to do good and seek after God. The bottom line is the average person is only willing to do what he thinks is good (not what God says is good) and he is only willing to ‘seek after God’ on man’s own terms. This is not doing good or seeking after God but delusional self-aggrandizement cleverly disguised as ‘spirituality’. God said that there is no one who does good or seeks after God. Those persons who say that they do call God a liar.
Sinful man, again not understanding cause and effect, thinks of God in terms of sinful man’s notions and delusionally imagines that God must conform to what man thinks is good. The average person thinks that God is a cute little puppy dog on his leash who follows behind him for a pat on the head. God said, “thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them [Truth] in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21) God is Good. God is Immutable. God is not considered to be good simply by His doing things that sinful man adjudicates as being “good”. Good is defined by what God is and does. Whatever He does is Good, for He can do no other. Though some things that God says and decrees may not “seem” “good” to sinful man, sinful man’s perspective is wrong and does not change reality. This is why in Psalm 2 God laughs to scorn those who think that they can cast off the boundaries that He established. God declared that the Canaanites were so vile that they were to be exterminated, man, woman, child, and suckling infant. What would modern man think of that? Well, it certainly did not seem “good” to those Canaanites, but God did not create the vessels of wrath to please the vessels of wrath. Christ declared, “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18:7).
The truth of this passage applies in general, but Christ was specifically speaking concerning Judas betraying Him. “It must needs be” that evil enter the world. Why? —because God so decreed it and it is Good: for that is His Plan. Understand: Good does not mean, “a happy party for everyone.” Good is “whatever is pleasing in God’s Sight.” If man does not agree with God concerning what constitutes good, then it is man who is wrong and in rebellion against God and utterly unregenerate. Understand also: Theology is God’s Truth. The prefix Theo means “God.” Any change of the focus from God to man, any diminishment of the Theology that God reveals in His Word, is not Theology and it is not Christianity—it is humanism. Humanistic false doctrine begins in small areas, like a trickle in dyke, and if not checked, it will erode until it bursts forth altogether.
Why must there needs be offences that come into the world? —because God determined there were to be villains in His Drama. Does the clay or the broken pottery have any right or power or wisdom to question the Potter? If it thinks it does, it is delusional and in rebellion. Some persons thinking themselves “Christians”, it seems, reject the Truth of God’s Word of out misplaced feelings in “Spiritual Survivor-Guilt Syndrome”. Rather than rejoicing that God chose them and glorifying God, they reject God and God’s Truth and instead embrace humanism and those whom God Himself declared to be His enemies. King David, on the other hand, said that he counted God enemies as His own enemies. That is submission to the Will of God.
Sinful man blames God for commanding us to do things that we are not capable of doing and yet still holding us responsible for them. This is simply further demonstration of their rejection of God (which is actually evidence of God having rejected them, giving them the delusion that they are the ones rejecting God). God does not require any person to fully understand Theology in order to be saved. However, God does require each to believe that what God has said is true, even if he cannot understand it. This is not anti-intellectualism. Understanding the Truth of Scripture is an exclusive club. Faith is the key that unlocks understanding, but that key is given to “members only”—and God doesn’t pass keys out to just anyone. Once one trusts God and in faith believes that what He says is true, then he is admitted to membership and as he diligently studies God’s Word, conforming his life to what God’s Word reveals to be how we should live, then that person is blessed with greater and greater understanding, when he walks in it.
So, why does God command us to do things, that we are incapable of doing, and yet still hold us responsible? —to show us our utter need for and dependence upon Him. Why would someone reject this truth? —because such a person is a humanist who refuses to give God the Honor that He alone deserves, and instead, wants to think of himself more highly than he ought, thinking that he knows better than God and that he does not utterly need God: he just needs “an extra helping hand every now and then” and when he needs it God is expected unquestioningly to supply it, and the rest of the time, mind His Own Business. This is a humanist. There are many different levels of humanists. God commanded what was the only acceptable form of worship and sacrifice. Cain offered what he wanted, with the attitude: “This is what I am willing to offer—take it or leave it.” God left it. That is why many—many who think they are Christians, will hear Christ on the Day of Judgment declare: “Depart from Me ye that work iniquity,* I never knew you.” This verse is not referring to those who did not care whether they were godless or not, and lived utterly immoral and secular lives; this passage is talking about many who thought that they were Christians, even serving Christ! The problem is, they will be shown to be humanists: for their “theology” is perverted and is devised with what man determines to be the worship that God should accept, and it is filled with sinful man’s notions of what constitutes sin; not what God said constitutes sin.
[* Actually, the Greek word is lawlessness. The average Christian may think, “But I am not lawless. I pay my taxes, don’t run red lights, don’t shop lift, etc.” Lawlessness does not refer to what sinful man considers violations of man’s law. Lawlessness refers to man rejecting and ignoring God’s Law: God’s boundaries of morality; the acceptable method of worship that God commanded; all the things that God commanded that we do and all the things that He commanded us not to do. Yet sinful Christians are deluded into thinking that God abolished His Own Law—even though Christ said that He did not; and even though God promised to write it upon our hearts so that we keep it. Why would God write upon our hearts something that He was going to abolish? That makes as much sense as some boy getting a tatoo of the name of his girlfriend on his arm even though he plans on breaking up with her. Yes, people are sometimes stupid. God is not. Christ even said that those who violate the least of God’s Laws and teaches others that God’s Law was abolished and that they too can ignore His Law, those persons will be called the least (they will have the lowest status) in the Kingdom (that is, if they are truly converted and are received into the Kingdom).]
Sinful man wants to exalt himself, though possibly not in exclusion to God, but in addition to God. However, God says that He will not share (give, relinquish) His Glory to another—that is, He will not share any part of it with those who think that it is theirs by right or their own ability. However, God does say, “Humble yourselves in the Sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up” and “God resisteth the proud but giveth Grace to the humble” and “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased” and he that “humbles himself shall be exalted” and “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” It is not a matter of intelligence. It is a matter of the will. If the will is hell-bent in opposition to God’s Truth—it is because God has so bent it. God declared that He incapacitated the hearts, eyes, and ears of all so that they would not repent or be forgiven or be saved; and He restores the hearts, ears, and eyes of the elect so that they do repent and are converted.
God says, “All we like sheep have gone astray”—and none can return from going astray unless God Himself draws them to repentance. Christ said that His sheep hear His Voice and follow Him—but not of their own ability. Christ said, “1I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. .... 4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. 5I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15) Creatures do not “make themselves” Christ’s sheep by following Him; rather, those whom God has ordained to be His sheep follow Him because that is what God has ordained. “No man can come to Me, except the Father Who hath sent Me draw him” (John 6:44). “All whom the Father giveth Me shall come to Me” (John 6:37). Scripture records that God declared that He would—
“...make the heart* of this people fat,* and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:10)
[* This Hebrew word for heart can also mean mind, intellect, and will. A fat heart is not healthy. Over-abundance becomes a disability. A fat heart causes laziness, indifference, illness, disease.]
Christ quoted this a little differently:
“For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:15)
Those who do not understand cause and effect (and those who are too blind to read the Old Testament or who reject it as “passé”) falsely imagine that the people closed their own eyes by their own will; but Isaiah reveals that God was the One who did it—and Christ reveals that the method God used was to cause them to think that they were closing their eyes of their own will. However, Scripture also reveals, that concerning those whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), Christ declared,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18)
Christ came to administer deliverance, healing, sight not to “everyone”, but only the elect: Those whom Christ chose before the foundation of the world. Christ came not to save “every last one”—but all whom He chose: the “many” (Matthew 20:28) and “few” (Matthew 7:14) depending on the perspective being explained. Christ didn’t heal everyone. He didn’t raise everyone from the dead. He didn’t feed everyone. How each person lives is life is merely evidence of how God chose.* Every tree is known by its fruit. Trees don’t choose to bear fruit: They naturally bear fruit because their Creator designed them to either bear or be barren.
[* Actually, God does not “choose” as man chooses. Though the Bible sometimes translates Hebrew and Greek words indicating that God chose, the proper term should be “determined”. God is Perfect and Immutable, and therefore, there can be only one way. If He could have done something another way, He would not be Immutable. Nothing can be “more perfect” than something else. While indeed two identical things can be perfect (such as two coins coming off the assembly line), two things that are entirely different cannot be perfect in the same way, for the same purpose. There can be only one Perfect Immutable Way. This is God. It is not a weakness for God not to deviate from His Immutable, Perfect, Holy Nature. Man is simply confused quite often. Thus, God has no “choice”, that is, “alternatives” which He weighs and thinks about and then makes a final decision of one thing over another. God does not think as you or I do. God has no brain. He is Spirit. He is Wisdom. He is Pure Intelligence. Thus, when Scripture says God chooses, it means He perfectly and immutably determines, ordains, establishes. See my book, Does God Repent? for more detailed thought.]
So many “Christians” think that all these Scripture verses* are like the scales of a fish, or the skin of an animal, and all the guts and bones that are cut off and thrown away as if they are merely needless packaging or useless parts. Scripture declares that the Word of the Lord is Perfect. Nothing is useless (not even the genealogies). Someone who is blind and doesn’t want to go anywhere thinks that a roadmap is “useless”. Those in blindness throw away what they consider skin and bones—when in reality those things are sometimes the very heart, nerve center, or life’s blood of the Scriptures. God has given them up to delusion.
[* —any passages they don’t like, they simply shoot down with their carnal “silver bullet”, declaring, “Oh, God abolished all those laws.” Yet, they can offer no proof and they simply ignore the fact that Christ said that He did not come to abolish it, that not one jot or tittle would pass away, and that those who keep and teach it shall be called “great” in the Kingdom, but those who violate and teach others to violate it will be called “least” in the Kingdom (if they are even admitted). Christ expanded the interpretation of God’s Law back to its intended meaning (as illustrated in the 10th Commandment itself) that all sin begins in the heart and sin is sin even if it is not translated into actions. God said that He would write His Law on our heart. Those who think that Paul abolished the Law are spiritually cross-eyed; and even if Paul had so said, which he did not, he had no authority to abolish what Christ said would not be abolished—so why do they follow what they erroneously “think” that Paul said instead of what Christ said? Who then is their god? In reality: their belly—themselves. They pick and choose the interpretations (no matter how spurious) that please self, that vidicate sinful desires; what self wants. Their Bible is made of “Silly Putty” which they mould into the shape they want, and imprint whatever image or words they want it to say. See my, S.T.E.C. on Romans to see what Paul actually says. Only someone who cannot follow a simply storyline can believe the opposite of what the Word of God says.]
Delusional, sinful man thinks that he is good. He thinks that the things that he considers “good” make him good for having done them; or at the very least, he thinks that he actually chooses to do good, or desires to do good, even though God declared that no one does. However, if man himself thinks that man defines what is “good” or “not good” (which perversely changes in society continually) man therefore imagines himself to be god (to not merely “know” but to determine what is “good and evil”). However, man cannot “do good” because his nature is evil and his mind is at war with God. The act cannot be separated from the very nature and motive of the doer. A parrot can bark, but that does not make it a dog. A parrot has a parrot nature and cannot do anything other than what is in its nature. So it is with sinful man.
Tell me, if a corrupt politician or mobster robs and kills other people, and then gives a portion of that “blood money” to the church, is that a “good work”...? Of course not! If a demon, wanting to appear as an angel of light or a minister of righteousness, undertook to do things that “appeared to be good” in order to fool people into thinking he was of God so that people would follow him, could those things that the demon did actually be “good”...? Of course not. He who has an evil nature (whether man or angel) can only do evil. Even if something that an evil person does “appears to be good” it is not good: It is counterfeit even as “fool’s gold” and counterfeit currency are not real money.
Scripture tells us,
“15...unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him,* being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1).
[* God reveals: “He that saith, I know Him [God], and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (I John 2:4)]
Okay, need one more dramatic proof? If a loving husband comes home from work and brings his wife a lovely bouquet of roses, she is delighted. Is that a good work? Of course it is. What if the same husband, gave the same bouquet, to the same wife, but he did so because he had an affair and was feeling guilty and to hide his guilt he bought her the flowers? Would that be a good work? Of course not. Okay, we have isolated motive as a factor in determining the goodness of the act; now what about nature? What if the same woman received the exact same bouquet of roses delivered to her, the flowers having been sent to her by a deranged psychopath rapist who has been stalking her! Would she be delighted? Would it be a good work? Of course not and of course not. But why? —it is the same bouquet. Because it is the doer and the motive, not merely the gift. The same applies with our earlier allusion to a corrupt politician or mobster. No matter what someone with an evil nature does, it is evil; even if it deceptively has the appearance of “goodness.” Man cannot atone for his own sins—and it is preposterous to think that he can atone for sins of which he is not really remorseful or repentant. Scripture tell us that even “the plowing of the wicked, is sin” (Proverbs 21:4). Anything that a wicked person does is sin; that’s all he can sow: wickedness (even though some people may confuse it with goodness; as Christ exposed the Pharisees of being “white-washed sepulchres full of dead men’s bones). If all that a farmer has in his bag to sow are thistle seeds, that is all he can sow, that is all he can reap from what he sows. The problem is, most people (Christians included) have an unrealistically and perverse sense of their own “goodness”—because they foolishly compare themselves to other persons more wicked than themselves, rather than comparing themselves to God Who is the Holy Standard Who declared: “Be holy for I the Lord your God am Holy.” That foolish, delusional comparison of a man to another more sinful than himself is like someone thinking that he is healthy, not by comparing himself to a truly healthy person, but by comparing himself to a rotting corpse—and that is what God says that we are until Christ quickens and cleanses us!
So it is with works and us and God. Our nature is sinful. It cannot do good; though it deludes itself into thinking that it can—in direct opposition to what God has declared. The carnal mind is irrational. How ludicrous. A human deluded into thinking that God is pleased, when the sinful human basically declares, “You are a liar God, I am good regardless of what you say. I can do good, regardless of what you say. I choose You regardless of what you say and without your actually having any say in the matter. Here is my worship, aren’t You pleased with me?” God is not a hen-pecked spouse! God, unlike unfortunate Jacob, does not have thrust upon Him a bride that was not of His choosing.
Sinful man, again, misunderstanding cause and effect, misunderstands origin and result. There is something known as God’s General Grace. God said that He causes the sun to shine and sends the life-giving rains on the just as well as the unjust. That is General Grace. Unrepentant sinners get to breathe oxygen in the air and benefit from the law of gravity even as do those of God’s people whom God regenerates. However, there is also that which is known as God’s Special Grace—and that entails all goodness: being ordained unto salvation, having the Holy Spirit to convict of sin and bring to repentance, to lead into the Truth, to fill with the Fruit of the Spirit, to empower man to obey God to do what is right so that man will then receive God’s further blessing, the promise of answers to prayer, God’s special protection, etc. That is all Special Grace and God bestows it solely upon the elect. Not only did God say that there is none that doeth good, no not one (apart from His Special Grace), but He also declared that anyone’s attempted “goodness” apart from His Special Grace, that “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags...” (Isaiah 64:6). The Hebrew word translated unclean here means, “polluted, contaminated, defiled” and the Hebrew word translated as filthy rags literally means “soiled menstrual cloth”. In fact, the word translated rags in Hebrew means “a covering” but can also imply “treachery”—as other places in Scripture in which God says evil people “cover violence as with a garment” and as Scripture declares that “he who covers his sins shall not prosper.” Man’s attempt to cover or atone for his own sins is sin itself; even as Cain burying the corpse of his brother Abel whom he had murdered. Only Christ can cover our sins: for God declared: “The soul that sinneth it shall die” and the only remedy for that is the death of the “Just (sinless) for the unjust (sinful).” All false theology diverts glory from God to man, and it is no longer theology, but humanism.
Those who assert “truth is my god” have the cart before the horse (and while that may keep the wheels clean, the cart will go nowhere: it is sterile thought / illogic). God, the True God, is Truth. God determines what Truth is. If man thinks truth is his god, then man is actually declaring himself to be god, for in his mind, fallen man alone determines what truth is. Since rarely can sinful men agree on anything, this reduces god to the billions of gods of the Hindus, since god is actually made in each man’s mind (and therefore, man himself is god, though he delusionally projects godhood onto the creation of his own imagination and psychotically deems that to be “spirituality”). Reality is what God has revealed it to be in His Word. Truth is what God has declared for God is Truth. Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth”. God defines Truth, Reality, and establishes right and wrong, good and evil by His determination and God established His Law commanding us to recognize what He declared to be right and wrong—and that Standard of Morality never changes; regardless of what false prophets declare. God declared, “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray” (Jeremiah 50:6). The Word of the Lord shall endure forever. Christ said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away” and
“17Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.* 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. 19Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least Commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5)
[* —the most insignificant pen stroke in the mechanical writing of the Law of God.]
Is all fulfilled? Have heaven and earth passed away? Why then do you think that God’s Law has been abolished and violate it with indifference? Understand. This is not teaching a works-oriented salvation. That is a knee-jerk reaction of misperception due to being removed from the truth so long. Scripture does not teach a works-oriented salvation and it is does not teach a works-oriented perdition. God chooses. However, if someone does not care whether he violates God’s Law or not, or if a person does not care whether he is the least in the Kingdom—quite possibly he won’t be: for that is possibly evidence that he is unregenerate. As we saw. John declared that he who says He knows God and does not keep His Commandments is a liar; that is, he does not know God. Will God admit to the Kingdom those who do not know Him? or those whom Christ said that He had never known? Works do not save. True works are an evidence that one is saved. Those who do not submit to God and worship and obey Him according to His dictates, those who do not humble themselves before Him and submit to Him, do so because He has not given them a nature capable of so doing.
Those who are unconverted are deluded into thinking that apart from God that they can do good. As we saw, “good” is not determined by the act alone, but by the nature and even the motive of the doer. There is such a thing as “counterfeit” works; even as there is such a thing as “wax fruit.” Children commonly “play house” or “play doctor” and their antics are very real in their minds, though sometimes an adult observing has to hold his nose to keep from laughing. So it is with sinful men who are deluded into thinking there is any goodness in them or that they can choose to do good. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
“1...Why do ... the people imagine a vain thing? .... 3Let us break Their [God and Christ’s] bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us. 4He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5Then shall He speak unto them in His Wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.” (Psalm 2)
Scripture says that “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Man does not choose to repent; man does not turn his own heart back to God. God declared that there is none that doeth good, no not one, there is none that seeketh after God. God’s Grace—even as the Good Shepherd Himself—seeks out the sheep to lead them to repentance. A repentant Israel (symbolized by Ephraim) declares, “turn Thou me, and I shall be turned” (Jeremiah 31:18) Similarly, Jeremiah reveals: “Turn Thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned” (Lamentations 5:21). Scripture tells us that it is in God that we “live and move and have our being” and “that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.” God is the origin and the destiny* of all (the Alpha and Omega: the eternal Beginning and the never-ending End) and He hath done all things after the Immutable Counsel of His Own Will and for His Own Good Pleasure, and none can rightfully question Him. God did not first create the clay and then consult with the clay how to construct and order His Universe. Such haughty Christians would do well to again read God’s rebuke of Job (chapter 38 and elsewhere).
[* —that is, He has created and determined the destiny of all that exists. This does not mean that all will share in Him as their final destiny; but that God has ordered all (regardless of whether sinful, feeble-minded men agree with or believe what God has decreed).]
He that hath ears to hear (that is, ears that God has opened) and he that hath eyes to see (that is, eyes that God has opened)... let him hear and see. Let him follow (obey) Christ and examine himself whether he be in the faith. If a “believer” is not producing the fruit that Christ commanded (“if you love Me, keep My Commandments”; “even as I have kept My Father’s Commandments and abide in His Love”)—he is none of His.