This Week's Focus Passage

Do not argue with God

Focus Passage: Romans 9:20

‘Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?’

Charles Spurgeon put the problem very well when he said that we were all born Arminians. The idea that we are in control has been innate in man since Adam was convinced by the Liar that he could become equal to God. It is a reasonable argument to conclude from Spurgeon’s remark that he was suggesting that there is much of innate pride involved in the natural man’s allegiance to a teaching that is so conspicuously unbiblical. The natural man wants nothing of any dependence outside of himself. Why is man so loathe to ask for help from another? Is it not conspicuously because of his pride in independence? Macho-man—and macho-woman—can do just fine without any outside assistance, thank you very much! Yes, indeed, we are all born in pride and conceived in pride; we came forth from our mother’s womb as prideful individuals. This seems to be at the root of the Arminian’s free-will teaching whether it will be admitted or not. Man’s ‘free-will’ was asserted by Adam and Eve in man’s first opposition to God. It was, not too long afterward, that Cain expressed his free-will in deciding for himself what should be acceptable in God’s sight as an offering unto Him. Could we not easily imagine—anachronistically, of course—Paul saying to Adam and Eve and Cain, ‘Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?’ In these cases, is there any difference to be found between what is called by so many by the name of ‘free-will,’ and self-will? Pray tell us, what is the difference?

And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw nigh unto me, and with their mouth and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that hide deep their counsel from Jehovah, and whose works are in the dark, and that say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Ye turn things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as clay; that the thing made should say of him that made it, he made me not; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, he hath no understanding? —Isaiah 29:13-16

The afore-cited passage from Isaiah 29 is the Old Testament passage to which allusion if given by Paul in his letter to the Romans, and chapter 9. Please, give attention to the context in which it is found. Let it be made clear that we are not suggesting that those embracing Arminian views are necessarily among the false teachers of whom we read in Scripture. There are many deceived, and there are many deceivers. Who the deceived are, and who the deceivers are, the Lord our God knows, and He alone. Nonetheless, the tenets of the system of teaching to which we refer are themselves contrary to the emphatic teaching in the Scriptures regarding the sovereignty of God in all things, especially including the salvation of His elect people. ‘Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.’—2 Timothy 2:19. There is wheat among the chaff, whether it be in the Roman Catholic Church, Fundamentalist Baptist churches, or any other church of the living God through Jesus Christ. He has His witnesses in every corner of the visible church. Those that belong to Christ have the seal of the Holy Spirit, ‘The spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God,’ Romans 8:16.

Nevertheless, this does not preclude the importance of Truth. Believers in Jesus Christ not only have faith in Him for their salvation, but they also have faith in His Word; they have faith in the Scriptures of God; the Holy Bible. Not only so, but this faith in the Word of God is an evidence that there is faith in the incarnate Word of God. The Scriptures teach us: the apostle Paul teaches us through the Holy Spirit, that we have nothing but that which we have received—1 Corinthians 4:7—it is only God who has made us to differ from unbelievers. We were dead in trespasses and sins, but God made us alive in Jesus Christ. He has placed believers in Christ from before the foundation of the world. Where then is the boasting? There is no ground for boasting. We believed because Christ was crucified for us, and because of His meritorious satisfaction at Golgotha, we have received the gifts of repentance and faith, enabling us to believe. We have been made alive by the regenerating power of that ‘Wind’ that blew where He listed. Why then do you glory as if thou hast not received these things apart from any personal activity. It must be suggested, if not out-rightly stated; one of the greatest needs to counter the teaching that man must add to what the Lord has done in order to complete all that is necessary for his salvation; the need, I say, is humility. Humility is that which contrasts most deeply with pride; the two cannot co-exist. Any that question the biblical reality that man has, through his sin in Adam, rendered himself totally depraved and helpless in every area of his life, is under the deception of Satan. In particular, his will has been so affected that it wills only that which satisfies his lust and the pride of life. He cannot come to God through Jesus Christ for salvation, because he will not. This truth should humble every man and every woman, knowing that we have absolutely and totally incapacitated ourselves from laying hold of God through Christ Jesus unless, and until, He lays hold of us through the powerful activity of the Holy Spirit. ‘Without me, ye can do nothing!’ Paul’s question is answered by Isaiah 64:8, ‘But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.’

David Farmer, elder,

Fellowship Bible Church


Join us Sunday at