Saturday, December 20, 2014

23 Questions On Coming To Christ

by Unknown

Below, you'll see 23 simple questions designed to help you decide what God has said in the Bible about how we come to Christ. Some of the verses answer the questions explicitly, while others offer implicit principles for your consideration.

Granted, some of the either/or answers may not necessarily be mutually exclusive. (You can make them mutually exclusive by adding before each question the phrase, "In this/these verse[s]...") Yet, taken as a whole, these verses are a powerful witness to God's sovereign rule over our salvation.

All Christians believe humans make choices. The issue is how do we choose Christ - by internal, self ability and desire, or external, God-given ability and desire? And, if God gives His ability and desire to us, can we resist, or does He prevail?

1. Was your will free from Satan's control, yes or no? 
"So ought not this woman...whom Satan has bound...for 18 years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?" (Lk. 13:16) 
"the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." (2 Tim. 2:26) 
2. Was your will free from sin's control, yes or no? 
"His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, & he is caught in the cords of his sin." (Pr. 5:22) 
"whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (Jn. 8:34) 
"For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity." (Acts 8:23) 
"you were slaves of sin" (Rom. 6:17) 
"For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, slaving various lusts and pleasures" (Tit. 3:3) 
"they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage." (2 Pet. 2:19)  
3. Is God sovereign & in control over humans' wills including yours, no or yes? 
"you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." (Gen. 50:20) 
"But I will harden his (Pharaoh's) heart, so that he will not let the people go." (Ex. 4:21) 
"And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians." (Ex. 12:36) 
"And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen." (Ex. 14:17) 
"But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand" (Deut. 2:30) 
"For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them" (Josh. 11:20) 
"God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech" (Jud. 9:23) 
"the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, 'Go, number Israel and Judah.'" (2 Sam. 24:1) 
"The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets" (1 Kings 22:23) 
"that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom" (Ezra 1:1-3) 
"the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God" (Ezra 6:22) 
"He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants." (Ps. 105:25) 
"A man's heart (will) plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." (Pr. 16:9) 
"The king's heart (will) is in the hand of the LORD...He turns it wherever He wishes." (Pr. 21:1) 
"Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger...I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge...Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so" (Is. 10:5-7) 
"For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?" (Is. 14:27) 
"Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure'" (Is. 44:28) 
"I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever" (Jer. 32:39) 
"I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me." (Jer. 32:40) 
"I will give you a new heart (will) and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart (will) of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Ezek. 36:26-27) 
"For His dominion is and everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, "What have you done?" (Dan. 4:34-35) 
"For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done." (Acts 4:27-28) 
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28) 
"Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" (Rom. 9:19) 
"But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills." (1 Cor. 12:11) 
"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13) 
"Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'" (Jas. 4:15) 
"For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled." (Rev. 17:17) 
God Is in Control of ALL Things,
and Sovereign Over ALL Things

Wow! Could God possibly make it any clearer that He controls our wills? What we're saying is: God is in control (of ALL things, even salvation.) He is sovereign (over ALL things, even salvation.) Most Christians acknowledge He's in control only in a general, vague sense. But, He tells us He's in control of every minute detail of His universe, even your decisions, and the number of hairs on your head.

In the Fall, Did Adam & His Offspring Lose
Their Desire and Ability to Come to Christ?

4. After Adam and Eve sinned, did they move toward God, or hide from Him?
"Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God" (Gen. 3:8)
5. Did Adam initiate contact with God, or did God initiate contact with Adam?
"Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, 'Where are you?'" (Gen. 3:9)
6. As a fallen sinner, were you just spiritually sick, or spiritually dead?
"for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:17) 
"you...who were dead in trespasses and sins...even when you were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ" (Eph. 2:1, 5) 
"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive" (Col. 2:13)
The spiritually dead can't raise themselves. They must be raised by God.

7. Could you spiritually see the gospel, or were you spiritually blind?
"yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive & eyes to see & ears to hear" (Deut. 29:4) 
"I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand...For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." (Mt. 13:13-15) 
"Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.'" (Jn. 12:38-40) 
"to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins" (Acts 26:18) 
"there is none who understands" (Rom. 3:11) 
"But their minds were blinded." (2 Cor. 3:14) 
"But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
The blind can't see, until God first gives them sight.

8. Could you spiritually hear the gospel, or were you spiritually deaf?
"yet the Lord has not given you a heart to perceive & eyes to see & ears to hear" (Deut. 29:4) 
"I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand...For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them." (Mt. 13:13-15)
9. When you were spiritually dead, blind, & deaf, did you desire & seek God, yes or no?
"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Gen. 6:5) 
"men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." (Jn. 3:19) 
"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light" (Jn. 3:20) 
"haters of God" (Rom. 1:30) 
"There is none who seeks after God." (Rom. 3:11) 
"I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me." (Rom. 10:20)
10. Are unbelievers not sheep because they don't believe, or do they not believe because they're not sheep?
"But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep." (Jn. 10:26) 
11. When you were spiritually dead, deaf & blind, were you born again by your will, or God's will?
"who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (Jn. 1:13) 
"it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." (Rom. 9:16) 
"of His own will He brought us forth (birthed us) by the word of truth" (Jas. 1:18)
How much of a part did you have in willing your own physical conception? None! Your parents conceived you by their own wills. As it is with physical birth, so it is with spiritual birth. You didn't ask to be birthed. The Father birthed you.

Then, the question arises, "If fallen, dead, deaf, blind sinners can't come to Christ, then how do they come to Christ?" Does God give the new birth because they believed, or so that they can believe? In other words, is faith the cause of the new birth, or is the new birth the cause of faith?

To believe that fallen, dead, deaf, blind sinners repented and believed to be born again is like getting the cart before the horse. Logically, they must have first been spiritually born again, before they could repent and believe in Christ.

Well, whether faith or the new birth comes first is irrelevant - because God gives not only the new birth, but also faith and repentance, so He gets all the credit, as you'll see below...

12. Did God predestine your adoption & inheritance according to your will, or His will?
"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world...having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4-5) 
"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will" (Eph. 1:11)
13. Did God choose you because you would believe, or so that you would believe?
"God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (2 Thes. 2:13)
14. Whose choice made the ultimate difference, the apostles' choice, or God's choice?
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit" (Jn. 15:16)
15. Whose will made Paul an apostle, his own will, or God's will? 
"Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God" (1 Cor. 1:1)
16. Did God call you according to your purpose (will,) or His purpose?
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom (not "what") He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:28-29) 
"who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began" (2 Tim. 1:9)
17. Who opened your heart, you or God?
"He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures." (Lk. 24:45) 
"The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul" (Acts 16:14)
18. How many of the lost does God call/draw, all or only some?
"Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." (Mt. 11:27) 
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (Jn. 6:44) 
"Moreover whom He predestined, these he also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." (Rom. 8:30)
19. How many of those whom God calls/draws respond, some or all?
"And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48) 
"whom He called, these He also justified" (Rom. 8:30) 
"concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Rom. 11:28-29)
20. Who did your repentance come from, you or God?
"Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." (Acts 5: 31) 
"God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." (Acts 11:18) 
"those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth" (2 Tim. 2:25-26)
21. Who did your faith come from, you or God?
"...those who had believed through grace" (Acts 18:27) 
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8) 
"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer..." (Phil. 1:29) 
"God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (2 Thes. 2:13) 
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17) 
"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." (Heb. 12:2) 
"to those who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God" (2 Pet. 1:1)
22. Who made the difference in your decision for Christ, the evangelist or God?
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." (1 Cor. 3:6-7)
23. Who made the difference in your decision for Christ, you or God?
"that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus...that as is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.'" (1 Cor. 1:29-31) 
"For who makes you differ? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1 Cor. 4:7) 
"But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10) 
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)
If you made the difference in your decision for Christ, then you'd have reason to boast, wouldn't you? Many credit God for 99% of salvation, and themselves for the other 1% (their decision.) Will you give Him ALL the glory?

Man Gets the Credit for Sin,
But God Gets the Credit for Salvation 

Ever since Adam and Eve's Fall, their offspring are spiritually dead, deaf, and blind. And, they freely, willingly, voluntarily choose sin instead of God. So, the Bible always makes man responsible for his sin. God is never responsible for man's sin.

But, ever since Adam and Eve's Fall, God (by His undeserved grace) initiates contact with some sinners. He gives them new birth, new desire and ability to freely, willingly, and voluntarily choose Him. So, the Bible always gives God the credit for salvation. Humans are never credited with having achieved salvation.

Undeserved Grace 

Praise Him that He's chosen to save some because of His undeserved grace. He could have justly chosen to save none. That's what He did for the fallen angels. They have no plan of salvation, no opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved. They don't deserve it, and neither do we!

He could have justly left Adam and Eve and all the rest of us to perish in hell. He didn't have to design a plan of salvation. He doesn't owe salvation to anyone. He freely chose to redeem a people for Himself, to the praise of His glorious grace.

So, who made the difference in your conversion: The evangelist, you, or God? Who gets the credit and glory for your decision for Christ: The evangelist, you, or God? God made the difference, didn't He. Yes, God gets all the credit and all the glory for saving us, doesn't He?

Dear saint, if He has given you the gifts of new life, repentance, and faith, then won't you humbly bow down low right now, to thank Him, and worship Him!

Witness with Confidence in God's Power to Save Sinners!

So, we can witness with confidence in God's power to change sinners because He makes the difference - no matter how hard-hearted the hearers are, and no matter how skilled an evangelist you are. Now do you understand Calvinism, Arminianism, so what?

Now, go and take the good news of Christ crucified and raised, to all nations. Make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. Surely He will be with you always, to the end of the age...