GOD DOES NOT SEEK YOUR ‘CONSENT’ EITHER TO BIRTH YOU OR REBIRTH YOU . . . THAT PREROGATIVE IS WHOLLY HIS!

GOD DOES NOT SEEK YOUR ‘CONSENT’ EITHER TO BIRTH YOU OR REBIRTH YOU . . . THAT PREROGATIVE IS WHOLLY HIS!

Michael Jeshurun

When the Lord intends to save a man, He does not seek his consent or ‘permission’ but irresistibly draws him and sovereignly saves him!

Likening the new-birth to the wind that blows the Master told Nicodemus, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: SO IS EVERY ONE THAT IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT!” [John 3:8] “The wind bloweth WHERE IT LISTETH!” meaning it is SOVEREIGN in its operation and thus it is with the Spirit of God in work of regeneration in God’s elect. He sovereignly saves them without their say-so at the appointed time!

The words of A.W. Pink are worth quoting here – “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well” (John 4:6). Observe, particularly, that the Lord Jesus was beforehand with this woman. He was at the well FIRST! “I am found of them that sought Me not” (Isaiah 65:1) is the language of the Messiah in the prophetic Word centuries before He made His appearance among men, and this oracle has been frequently verified. His salvation is not only altogether unmerited by those to whom it comes, but at first, IT IS ALWAYS UNSOUGHT (see Romans 3:11), and of everyone who is numbered among His peculiar people it may be as truly said, as of the apostles, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16).

When we were pursuing our mad course of sin, when we were utterly indifferent to the claims and superlative excellency of the Savior, when we had no serious thought at all about our souls, He – to use the apostle’s peculiarly appropriate word —”apprehended” us ( Philippians 3:12). He “laid hold of” us, aroused our attention, illumined our darkened understanding, that we might receive the truth and be saved by it. A beautiful illustration of this is before us here in John 4.

Yes, the Lord was BEFOREHAND with this woman. He was found of one who sought Him not. It was so with the idolatrous Abraham (Joshua 24:3) in the land of Chaldea: the Lord of glory appeared to him while he was yet in Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2). It was so with the worm Jacob, as he fled to escape from his brother’s anger (Genesis 28:10 , 13). It was so with Moses, as he went about his shepherd duties (Exodus 3:1 , 2). In each instance the Lord was found by those who sought Him not. It was so with Zacchaeus, hidden away amid the boughs of the trees “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down,” was the peremptory command, for, saith the Lord, “today, I MUST abide at thy house” ( Luke 19:5). It was so with Saul of Tarsus, as he went on his way to persecute the followers of the Lamb. It was so with Lydia, “whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul” (Acts 16:14). And, let us add, to the praise of the glory of God’s grace, but to our own unutterable shame, it was so with the writer, when Christ “apprehended” him; apprehended him when he was altogether unconscious of his deep need, and had no desire whatever for a Savior. Ah, blessed be His name, “We love Him, because He first loved us!”

When I was a newly regenerated believer who was fairly new to the Faith I had a great zeal for the Lord (I still do) and had a great desire to ‘win’ as many as I could to the Lord. After all does not Scripture teach that “He that winneth souls is wise?” The whole verse reads – “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov 11:30) It was many years later before the Lord taught me that both the ‘righteous’ and the ‘wise’ in that scripture is none other than the Lord of glory! It is HE who wins the rebellious and God hating soul by His sovereign grace. You and I can no more ‘win a soul’ than we can raise the dead!

But to return, those days I was deluded into thinking that all it took was a ‘decision’ that someone could make to invite Jesus into their heart because THAT is what I was taught. And I had a great burden to win my then Roman Catholic girlfriend of six years to the Lord. And so I would pray for her as though everything depended on prayer and preach to her at every given opportunity to get her to ‘make that decision’ for the Lord.

Little did I know that she was a lover of the writings of one Krishnamurti who is a New-Ager and she had been reading his books. So one day when I was compelling her to make this decision for the Lord and explaining to her how it was all about HER CHOICE etc, she abruptly stopped me and said “Honey, what ‘CHOICE’ are you talking about? We do not even have a choice when it comes to our birth. IF I had had a choice in the matter I would’ve chosen a different set of parents and a different country to be born in. So what ‘choice’ or you talking about? We really do not have a choice!”

Back then as an Arminian, even though I was stumped I tried to reason with her saying that “yes, while we do not have a choice as far as our birth is concerned, we still do have a choice as far as the New-birth is concerned,” etc. But now looking back as someone who is established in the doctrines of Sovereign Grace especially the truth of The Total Depravity of man; I can clearly see how right she was even as an unbeliever and how wrong I was though I knew the Lord!

Concerning our ‘choice’ with regards to our first birth, Loraine Boettner writes – “It is almost universally admitted that God determines when, where, and under what circumstances, each individual of our race shall be born, live, and die, whether it shall be male or female, white or black, wise or foolish. God is no less sovereign in the distribution of His favors. He does what He will with His own. To some He gives riches, to others honor, to others health, to others certain talents for music, oratory, art, finance, statesmanship, etc. Others are poor, unknown, born in dishonor, the victims of disease, and live lives of wretchedness. Some are placed in Christian lands where they receive all the benefits of the Gospel; others live and die in the darkness of heathenism. Some are brought through faith unto salvation; others are left to perish in unbelief. And to a very large extent these external things, which are not the result of individual choice, decide the person’s life course and eternal destiny. Both Scripture and every day experience teach us that God gives to some what He withholds from others. If it be asked why He does this, or why he does not save all, the only available answer is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight.” – [Boettner in ‘The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination’] 

It was Billy Graham and other Arminians like him, with their prominent emphasis on “decision”, who brought this semi-Pelagian, unwarranted, but highly congenial exaltation of man’s will in salvation to world-wide acceptance. This delusion quickly overtook the “Fundamentalists”, Independent and Southern Baptists, Wesleyans, Pentecostals, Charismatics and virtually all who professed salvation in Christ.

This same ‘Rev’. Billy Graham once wrote a 170 pages book titled – ‘How to be born-again”. He might as well have written a book on how to be born. For in many ways the natural birth is very similar to spiritual birth!

And just as we had no say in the former, neither do we have any say in the latter! And as far as ‘choice’ goes, every man who comes into the world by natural GENERATION ALREADY MADE THAT CHOICE IN ADAM as far his eternal destiny is concerned! “In Adam all die!” (1Cor 15:22) To humbly accept this truth and preach it from the rooftops is to sign your ‘death warrant’ as far as any ‘success’ in the Ministry goes! This truth can only be received by truly regenerated men, the rest of the bench-warmers will trample it under their feet, and turn again and rend you if they could!

In natural birth, we know that the one who is BORN DOES NOT WILL TO BE BORN–in fact, he (as as my old girlfriend reminded me) has NO SAY IN THE MATTER WHATSOEVER! He does not decide the time, place, or circumstances of his birth. He has no power to determine the family into which he will be born etc. The analogy holds true with regard to the spiritual birth. GOD determines the time, place and circumstances. The sinner can no more resist this than can an infant resist and refuse to be born naturally.

This fact is shown so clearly in John 1:13 where speaking of believers it is said, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” i.e. “The new birth is “not of blood (by natural descent), nor of the will of the flesh (his own volition), nor of the will of man (the preacher’s persuasion), but OF GOD” [John 1:13] [A.W. Pink]  This verse kills the doctrine of those who teach that men are saved when they exercise their “free wills” and accept God’s “offer” of salvation.

God Sovereignly saves us in Regeneration and THEN CALLS US OR ILLUMINATES US BY THE GOSPEL. “Who hath SAVED US (regeneration), and CALLED US (by the Gospel) with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace etc”. [2Tim 1:9] As I always say we must beware of putting the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’!

A man does not believe the Gospel and GET SAVED but believes the Gospel BECAUSE HE IS SAVED!

This is the reason the Gospel is referred to in the Scriptures as a MYSTERY! Because only to the regenerate it is the ‘power of God unto salvation’. The rest can only behold it, wonder about it and perish! “BEHOLD, ye despisers, and WONDER, and PERISH: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in NO WISE BELIEVE, though A MAN DECLARE IT UNTO YOU”. [Act 13:41]

Regeneration is a ONETIME sovereign act of God whereas Conversion is always PARTIAL (on this earth) and CONTINUAL, and can be seen in different parts of our lives at different times. A genuine backslider does not need to be regenerated but he needs to be converted. A backslider no matter how far he has strayed is still God’s son and the Lambs bride! “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I AM MARRIED UNTO YOU”! [Jer 3:14] (my eyes well-up as I write this, for I was the greatest backslider of them all) Prior to Peter’s backsliding, the Lord told him – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, strengthen thy brethren”! [Lk 22:31,32]

And I may finally add that it is in conversion that we unlearn much of the error which we held on to initially after our regeneration. Errors such as ‘Free will’, Universal Atonement, The Pentecostal errors etc.

The path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect Day! [Prov 4:18] Hallelujah!

 

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7 thoughts on “GOD DOES NOT SEEK YOUR ‘CONSENT’ EITHER TO BIRTH YOU OR REBIRTH YOU . . . THAT PREROGATIVE IS WHOLLY HIS!

  1. Help me. The tenants of reformed theology as their bottom line require that God must see man without any redeeming qualities unless He by what appears to be arbitrary means chooses us. Yet scripture says that He is no respecter of persons, and that He would that every man be saved. How is that reconcilable? I understand that without His Revelation to us of Himself, or of good — He is good, and without His gift to us of free will we would be without hope and without any redeeming qualities. But apart from that His cruel death would make no sense if we are already pre chosen. Again help me understand.

      • Mike I have on many occasions asked God to make me wise in this doctrine. Having viewed your requested posts. These are my issues concerns and conclusions thus far.
        GOD AS A ‘RESPECTER OF PERSONS’?
        A “respecter of persons” is one who, acting as judge, does not treat those who come before him according to their character, but who withholds from some what is justly theirs and gives to others what is not justly theirs – one who is governed by prejudice and sinister motives, rather than by justice and law. The Scriptures deny that God is the respecter of persons in this sense; and if the doctrine of Predestination represented God as doing these things, we admit that it would charge Him with injustice. 
        All that we need do is to read Romans chapter one to see that God by His very creation has revealed himself to man, and that this revelation should create within man the desire to know God. So Paul says that man is as a result without excuse.

        When speaking of the partiality shown by God in respect to where a person is born and to whom he is born you say:
        Will it not be admitted by every candid individual that if the persons had changed places, they probably would have changed characters also? – That if the son of the godly parents had been the son of the infidels, and had lived under the same corrupting influences, he would, in all probability, have died in his sins?
        This understanding is not without its problems. Eli’s sons were wicked; David’s sons were not like him. Absalom was wicked and most likely was not worthy of God’s choosing. Jesus stated to the Sadducees concerning their question about resurrection: but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
        Luke 20:35
        In light of your doctrine of election of each individual before the foundation of the earth, what is Jesus meaning? For one to be worthy to attain, one must be involved not chosen before hand. Having said that I do not take lightly God’s choosing. He knows the end of man from his beginning, and therefore as God can justify that choosing without being a respecter of persons. By so doing neither does He violate His own word. His word is truth.

        You and or your site states:
        And if we are to believe that the world is governed by a personal and intelligent Being, we must also believe that these inequalities have not risen by CHANCE or ACCIDENT, but through purpose and design, and that the lot of every individual has been determined by the Sovereign good pleasure of God. “Even Arminians,” says N. L. Rice, “are obliged to acknowledge that God does make great differences in the treatment of the human family, not only in the distribution of the temporal blessings, but of spiritual gifts also,—a difference which compels them, if they would be consistent, to hold the doctrine of election . . . . If the sending of the Gospel to a people, with the divine influence accompanying it, does not amount to a PERSONAL ELECTION, most assuredly the withholding of it from the people amounts generally to reprobation”.
        The basic problem in this understanding is with the assumption that God is governing this world in this present age of humankind. Does God intervene? Yes. Does He rule? Not yet. He taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Not even believers (the chosen) are consistent in abiding His will in this age.

        When the Arminian admits that Christ died not for fallen angels or demons, but only for fallen men, he admits limited atonement and in principle makes the same kind of a distinction as does the Calvinist who says that Christ died for the elect only.
        Christ died even for those who hung Him on the cross. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Whosoever believe on Him shall have eternal life.

        So then He hath mercy on WHOM HE WILL and whom He will He hardeneth,” Rom. 9:15-18.
        No problem, He is all knowing — the end from the beginning He knows it all.

        Grace, from its own nature, must be FREE and the very INEQUALITY OF ITS DISTRIBUTION demonstrates that it is TRULY GRATUITOUS.

        In Matt 11:25 we read of a prayer in which Jesus said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” In those words He thanked the Father for doing that very thing which Arminians exclaim against as unjust and censure as partial.
        Perhaps I will continue our dialog by stating that I would never accuse God of being unjust or partial.
        Why does it say that it rains on the good and the evil alike? In fact in the case of the rich man and Lazarus his gifting was greater to the rich man. It appears that the rich and wise are granted more mercy so that they are even more without excuse. And to harden the heart of those who have been granted so much is totally justified when they give no honor to God who has been so gracious. But the claim that the choosing of a soul for hell before one is even born into sin is not the act of a just God. To on the other hand choose some to salvation before they are born would of necessity make one a respecter of persons, whereas to do so after they have either received or rejected His grace would make Him just.

        Now I will end with this: For man who is fallen to choose one beggar to bless over one other is expected of the fallen human race. For God to chose me over you without reason of our positive or negative response to His Revelation to us no matter what that revelation may be. It could only be the creation itself as stated in Romans 1. For we are responsible to God for only what we have been given. “To whom much is given much is required.”
        But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
        Ezekiel 33:6
        Actions are required by the very scriptures themselves.
        My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
        James 5:19-20 NASB
        If any among you — the elect brethren— strays from the truth. What is the truth? Could be Jesus – He is the truth. Could be the Word – Thy Word is truth. Could simply be a twisting of the word leading, if not turned back, to ones own destruction. How can this be if a man has nothing to do with his election?

  2. Jerry Parks,
    Your entire “argument” is flawed from the beginning when you state “…His gift to us of free will.” There is no such thing as “free will” especially when it comes to salvation; please base your statements on Scripture and not wishful thinking—see John 1:13; John 15:16; John 17:9; Acts 13:48; John 6:65 and a few hundred more. You claim to believe that God is no respecter of persons and then proceed to flatly state that He is and that He saves people according to their own goodness. By doing so you have mocked Him. You have based a man’s “salvation” on his “free will”, his innate goodness, and his supposed ability to seek after and “find God” on his own terms, his own manner and his own time, all of which are opposed to the teaching of Scripture. Rom. 3:10-18 is a most excellent portrayal of this, but it has been redacted from every Arminian’s brain. Arminian style “salvation” is based upon fanciful conjecture, flawed ‘reasoning’ and has zero basis in Scripture no matter how it may be massaged to fit their wishes. The “god” of Arminianism is a wimp, a powerless benefactor in the imaginations of lost men seeking to justify themselves before their peers and in their own minds. This “god” of the Arminians is neither all-knowing, all-powerful, nor capable of keeping those who deem themselves “saved” by him. This “god’s” will is subjected to that of man, as seen in every discourse presented by his disciples. This Arminian “god” is antichrist that teaches and upholds all things evil and is the pied piper of hell. “There is no fear of God before their eyes” can be said of all who claim to have been “saved” by an act of their “free will”, who know no repentance, no humility before God Almighty, who freely mock Him, falsely accuse Him, and assign ‘attributes’ to Him that that are totally foreign to Him. Perhaps God will grant you, Jerry, the gift of repentance.

    Darrel

  3. My dear friend Jerry, thank you for your comments and queries. But I will admit that it is not in my power to convince anyone of the truths which the Lord has taught me. The best I can do is point people to articles which have been penned by much older and well instructed brothers than me. And having done that I can only pray that if someone is indeed the Lord’s sheep that He will open their eyes to the truth of His absolute sovereignty and discriminating grace. As a rule I do not debate, argue or get into discussions concerning the truth which I hold and preach. I shall pray that God will clear whatever doubts you might have. Peace.

  4. The heresy of free will has caused many to stumble. There isn’t a verse in all of the bible that states man has the ability to choose Christ. The bible is clear, no one can come to Christ unless the Father draws them [ see John 6:44] .
    Sinners must be born again by God, and that is a work of God the Spirit, not man’s free will. John 3 makes that clear, as does John 1:13. God elects those He saves, as 2 Thess. 2:13 states – But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

    May the Lord grant you ears to hear and eyes to see. He will teach His elect His truth.

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