Truth of the Matter is….

I honestly thought the first chapter was riveting!  I also had in my mind that chapter two couldn’t possibly be just as good.  WRONG!  I have read it three times this week and came away with something new each time.

I am an avid believer in predestination.  As a family, we’ve been learning more and more about this topic.  This chapter hit the nail on the head!  There are so many great quotes but, this section was one of my favorites!

The modern-day gospel says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you life.  Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.”  Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, “You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life.  Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you  could never do.”

The former sells books and draws crowds.  The latter saves souls.  Which is more important?

In the gospel God reveals the depth of our need for him.  He shows us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to come to him.  We can’t manufacture salvation.  We can’t program it.  We can’t produce it.  We can’t even initiate it.  God has to open our eyes, set us free, overcome our evil, and appease his wrath.  He has to come to us.” (pg. 32)

Most American churches are NOT teaching this.  I am so very thankful that we go to a church that truly preaches the gospel.  There is not set prayer in the Bible.  There is no box to check or lines to repeat to become a Christian.  So many have been deceived.  The portion in the Bible where Jesus preaches the sermon on the mount breaks my heart.  To know that so many have been deceived and honestly feel they are headed down that narrow path.  As David mentions, Jesus wasn’t preaching to the atheist or the irreligious people.  He was speaking to the devoutly religious people of that day.

“According to Jesus, one day not just a few but many will be shocked-eternally shocked- to find that they were not in the kingdom of God after all.” (pg. 38)

Friend, this is true for our churches today.  Maybe even for someone reading this book or blog.  It’s not about a prayer, a walk down the isle or “accepting” Jesus. It is truly about surrender.  Surrender of our sin, taking up our cross and following Jesus.

You cannot accept or invite Him…

“Jesus is no longer one to be accepted or invited in but one who is infinitely worthy of our immediate and total surrender.” (pg. 39)

A deep sigh is coming from the depth of my heart and soul.  I honestly feel the need to write this tonight.  Please, please if you have a question about your salvation turn to Him.  Pray and seek out the Word of God.  I know many who are deceived, who believe their salvation is their choice.  In a me-centered world we have to surrender our lives and hearts to the One who is worthy.  He calls us and brings us to Him.

My favorite quote is near the end of the chapter on page 39.

“We seek after him, and we discover that he is indeed the great reward of our salvation.”

The greatest reward is truly our salvation.

“Oh God, open eyes, open hearts…do your will and have your way.”

Please visit Marla’s blog if you are interested in the Radical read-along.

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19 thoughts on “Truth of the Matter is….

  1. We were drawn to many of the same quotes this week…thank you for your unique insight. God is worthy of our unadulterated surrender, may we have the courage to give it to Him.

  2. Amen and Amen. There is a good sermon I have somewhere on just this topic. I will try to find it and link it to your post. And as far as my salvation, I contributed NOTHING. God put life in these dry bones! I can claim none of it and I am content with that. He is even more magnified by this Truth of Scripture.

  3. Enjoyed your post. I also believe in predestination and loved this chapter. I kept reading quotes out loud to my husband, and before long I was just reading the whole chapter to him. I LOVED it!!

  4. and to observe that surrender is now regarded as optional, or the best choice but not necessary for our salvation. this chapter put words to the unease i’ve been feeling as i look at the modern church. this is a call to prayer for the health and salvation of our churches.

  5. But isn’t surrender a choice? At some point you have to choose to let him have control. Isn’t that what free will is all about? Yes I think he chooses us and he opens our eyes but I think we have to reciprocate that choice.

    Just curious of your viewpoint. Thanks for the post!

  6. Calvinism (predestination) is a kindergarten-maturity “me, me, me, me-too!” club where impoverished souls get to elevate themselves above “the damned.” And of course, everybody but the few in their club, if they don’t make some silly mistake, is damned.

    Don’t fall for that hate filled bile, Jen. Besides, it’s atheistic. And unpatriotic.

    Surrender is for Slaves. Stand up like a free human. That’s the American way of Life and Liberty.

    “I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

  7. Great post! It’s freeing to know that the work of God in our lives IS the work of God, not of ourselves. I was listening to a sermon by John Piper the other day, and as he was praying, he mentioned the parable of the sower and said very simply, “God, You make the soil good.” God alone prepares our hearts for the truth of His Word, and He alone makes us fruitful. It’s very reassuring to know that it’s not about our power but about His.

  8. Great thoughts, Jen. Keeping God’s sovereignty at the forefront of salvation is something I’m very passionate about, but I’m also continually reminded that there’s a divine tension held in Scripture that we ought not try to fully resolve–God chooses us, opens our hearts to the gospel, and saves us…but we still have the responsibility to trust Him and devote our lives to Him. But what a small “price” to pay for such unspeakable grace!

    As far as Calvin goes, I may not agree with everything he said (but then again, he wouldn’t agree with all of “Calvin”ism); but I can’t fault Him for trying to put the divine before the finite. From my standpoint, the only false god he’s guilty of worshiping is the supremacy and sovereignty of God in all things.

    P.S. Personally, I don’t put too much stock in what Thomas Jefferson had to say about theology. I find it ironic that a man who didn’t believe in a personal God (he was a deist who ignored the parts of Scripture he didn’t like) insulted a man who believed in an all-powerful, all-sufficient God. I’ll take Calvin’s theology any day. 🙂

  9. I definitely agree, Jen. That said, There is definitely a choice involved, although I think “Irresistible Grace” is a very interesting concept. I believe that only God, through the Holy Spirit, could create such a strong urge in one’s soul to bring them past themselves to the understanding that, without God, they are nothing, there IS no good, and they are lost and eternally damned to hell…and thus start the process of regeneration. But I also think that He would not allow us to blindly follow him…but in His infinite wisdom, He certainly knows what we will choose. After all, He is omniscient. Okay, so I’m really having a bit of trouble putting my thoughts into printed words here…so I’m going to go chill out and chew on it for a bit, and come back and hopefully finish my thoughts when I don’t have 3 kids yanking on me 🙂

  10. Thanks for the comments friends. I am prayerfully going to respond to you all! I love that this topic has so many digging in and learning! Romans 8 was a great read today!! So full of truth!

  11. Every good thing is from God (James 1:17). Anything good in us is of God. The mere ability to love God (and others) is because He has put that love in us (1 John 4). It’s ALL about God. His sovereignty. His work in and through us.

    We don’t just sit in the lazyboy of life and God does this work in and through us. No, He lovingly and graciously comes to us, draws us to Him, but then we are given a choice and action is required.

    Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8) – Action – Draw Near

    If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10) – Action – Confess/Believe

    If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23) – Action – Deny self, Take Up Cross, Follow Him

    Rote prayer – no. Checking a box – no. Does Jesus live in our heart? Um, no. But the Holy Spirit does take residence in us, including the heart. It’s more about surrender, and following Christ. When Jesus called the disciples, He said, “Follow Me.” He says the same thing to us – in 66 Books and through His Holy Spirit and those same 66 books give us the outline for how to follow Him. And, it’s not something WE can do, but He can do in us. Praise to His Glorious Name!!

  12. Jennifer,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. I appreciate your voice in the discussion. (I replied there.)

    While I agree that it is God who loves us first, I also believe salvation is a free gift offered to all who are willing to repent and believe. There is no one rote prayer that brings salvation. But there is a simple way (Romans 10:9) to be saved. The rest, I believe- the surrender, the death to self, the carrying of the cross- is the process of working out one’s salvation (Phil 2:12-13), sanctification.

  13. Just thought I’d give a quick, ‘atta girl, to you. Seems we share commone beliefs. I found you while searching for images to use in a post on my blog about grace. Found it a treasure to not just find a picture, but a cool little site as well. Hope to connect with you here in the blogging world.

  14. My heart breaks for the spoken truth. We can not deceive God for there is nothing he does not know about us.
    My prayer today is that God should forgive me totally for my wrog doings for I want to make irt to heaven.

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