The Conditions for Salvation
Remember, that the conditions of fallen man's salvation are two -- and no more -- namely, perfect atonement for sin, and perfect obedience to the law. Both of these conditions Christ has completely fulfilled, in the stead, and for the infallible salvation of every soul that comes to His blood for cleansing, and to His righteousness for clothing. "To what end, then serves faith?" To let thee into the knowledge, possession, and enjoyment of this free and finished redemption!
WITHOUT ABILITY BUT WITHOUT EXCUSE
Man in his natural-born condition before God is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1-3). Though very much alive physically, intellectually and morally, he is dead spiritually; that is , dead to the true knowledge, love and worship of God. Man, by birth and nature, is spiritually dead, totally dead! He is totally devoid of spiritual life, understanding, strength and ability -- dead!
However, man is fully accountable and without excuse before God. Although no man can ever savingly know God apart from a sovereign, spiritual, supernatural revelation of God to his soul (Matt. 11:27; 16:13-17; II Cor. 4:6; Gal. 1:15,16; I John 5:20); no man can savingly come to Christ except he be sovereignly and effectually drawn to Him by God the Holy Spirit (John 6:3-44); and no man can savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ except god sovereignly and freely give unto him the gift of faith (Acts 18:27; Eph. 2:8,9; Phil. 1:29), yet any man can read and hear God's Word, and it is through that Word that God reveals Himself to sinners, and draws sinners to Christ, giving unto them that faith which unites the soul to the Savior in saving union (Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 1:21; Rom. 10:1-17).
No sinful man can give unto himself eternal life, but any sinful man may obtain Christ and life if he sincerely desires it (HIM); and how he treats the preaching of the Gospel shows whether he is sincere or not. One thing is absolutely certain: any man who neglects the preaching of the God's Word, that means which He has ordained to save sinners, shall be without excuse when he stands before God in that great day of judgment ... lost, guilty, condemned, and sentenced to blackness and darkness of hell forever without excuse!!!
THY PEOPLE SHALL BE WILLING
Salvation does not come by the free-will of man, as so many suppose. As the scriptures say, "...children not born of the will of man or the will of the flesh...but of God;" ..." (salvation) is not of him that wills nor of him that runs, but of God who shows mercy;" "of His (God's) own will He gave us birth through the word of truth" (John 1:13, Rom. 9:16, James 1:18). However, this does not mean that a man is saved against his will nor that he is to "sit and wait" for something to happen. The truth of God's sovereignty in His grace is never to be taken as an excuse for not seeking the Lord with all one's heart. "O, but I must wait until God gives me the grace of faith before I can believe," says one. This is true, but the only evidence that one has been given such a grace is that one believes. What I am saying is this: the scriptures never give us a reason for waiting to believe God. If you are waiting for some special event to occur in your life before you believe God, you will likely wait for the rest of your life. Do you know the gospel? Then, believe it! Be done with every excuse for your unbelief and rest your soul on Christ right now; commit the care of your never-dying soul to the once-dying but ever-living Savior, Jesus Christ.
Coming to Christ
John 6:37, 44, 65
Holy Scriptures contain many exhortations and invitations regarding coming to Christ for salvation.
Consider a few. "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:22). "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1). "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28). "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37f). "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
Coming to Christ is in these texts equated with looking to Him in faith, acknowledging that no help is to be found in self, and that all that is desired is found in Him.
And we would add that at the very moment one begins to come to Christ, he has fully arrived at Christ.
Here is Christ's doctrine on this subject in John chapter 6.
I. "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me" (v.37a). Here is an unmistakable affirmation of the glorious doctrine of election to salvation. Those whom Christ calls "All the Father gives Me" are those whom the Father in grace chose in Christ to salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-5).
Here also is an unmistakable affirmation of the glorious doctrine of the effectual call to salvation. Christ declares "All the Father gives Me will come to Me". Elsewhere we read the manner in which they will be effectually called (2 Thessalonians 2:13): those whom "God from the beginning chose ... for salvation" will come to Christ "through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." Every one of God's elect will come to Christ for salvation! None will be cast away!
II. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (v.44). Here is an unmistakable denial of the heresy of salvation by an act of man's freewill. Man is completely incapable of coming to Christ of his own will.
Christ elsewhere declares, "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life" (John 5:40). In comparing these two texts, we observe that man of his own will is unable to come to Christ only because he is unwilling to come to Christ.
Man is unable to come to Christ because he is "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). He is prevented from coming to Christ by virtue of being in "the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:26; Ephesians 2:2f). He is unwilling to come to Christ because, as Christ said, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do" (John 8:44). We are all therefore by nature "slaves of sin" (John 8:34; Romans 6:17, 20). Consequently, "There is none who seeks after God" (Romans 3:10). And none is either willing or able to come to Him whom he will not seek.
However, the Father in time "draws" to Christ all that He in eternity "gives" to Christ. He draws men to Christ through His gracious influence, not by forceful coercion. "Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power" (Psalm 110:3).
III. "No one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father" (v.65). Every aspect of coming to Christ is freely performed by the one coming, but graciously granted by God. God opens the heart so that it may voluntarily heed the gospel (Acts 16:14). God grants the faith with which the gospel is believed (Ephesians 2:8f; Acts 18:27; Philippians 1:29), and the repentance with which the heart is turned from Satan and dead works to Himself (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25f).
This doctrine of Jesus Christ so offended His nominal disciples that they would no longer follow Him (vv.60 66). But it so blessed His true disciples that they would not depart from Him (vv.67-69). Will you receive it? Have you truly come to Christ?
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17))
Those that love and preach the message of God's sovereign saving grace in Christ alone are often accused of not believing "whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely". I say, how can anyone whom God has taught by His Holy Spirit believe anything other than this? It is clearly taught in scripture! The unregenerate falsely say that because we accept the truth of God's electing grace, we preach a message that excludes some men from coming to Christ even if they want to. The problem is not the call to come, but man's willingness and ability to come. When the Lord Jesus cried in the last day, that great day of the feast (Jn. 7:37), "if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink," why did men refuse to come to Him to drink of the water of life? I will tell you why: they did not want to come! Men by nature are just not willing to come to Christ as He is revealed in scripture! (Jn. 5:39-40)
Now hear the sweet message of God's grace to an undeserving people: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." (Psalm 110:3) Those whom the Holy Ghost effectually calls willingly come to Him as spiritual beggars in need of a Savior! They come because they now see the hopelessness of salvation without Christ the Mediator between God and themselves. They have been given a new heart to come to Christ for mercy. They willingly come to Christ as their Surety, their Representative, and their Substitute before God.
I leave you with these questions. Do you want to come? If you do, believe me, it is not because you decided to exercise your free will, because your natural will is the slave of sin! Will you be saved by His grace alone? If you will, it is because you have seen your works of self-righteousness to be unacceptable before God because of sin. Do you know by faith that the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus can robe you for justification before God's law and is the only covering of eternal hope? Will you come to Christ as the One who was made a curse for you at Calvary? If you will, COME! If you have no desire to come to Christ like this and you perish in your sins, it is your own fault. But, if you willingly come, it is because you see by faith your need of Christ for life by His shed blood, because God has shown mercy by giving you a new heart to come, and has been pleased to not leave you to yourself.
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD FROM GOD?
Have you ever heard from God? Have you? Has that voice that's got authority ever spoken to you? Have you ever heard Him? When some man was preaching, have you ever heard God speak to you? Just like He said "Lazarus come forth," did He speak to you? That's salvation. We need to shut men up to listening to God. There is no power anywhere on this earth to bring dead people who are dead in trespasses and sin out of their graves and give them life except His voice. Listen to Him.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (I Cor. 1:18)