1. Do the scriptures teach that all natural men are unwilling (before regeneration) to repent, believe, and recieve?
2. Do the Scriptures teach that all natural men are unable (before regeneration) to repent, believe, and recieve?
I recently started a thread on the topic on Revelation chapter 7 about the doctrine of "Salvation is of the LORD" ...also known as Unconditional Election. (Grace Planned)
But, to understand this doctrine more clearly, it is important to understand the doctrine of "You Are Unprofitable" ...also known as Total Depravity (Grace needed).
And the doctrine of "I must bring them" ...also known as Irresistible Grace (Grace Applied).
I. First, the doctrine of "You Are Unprofitable" ...also known as "Total Depravity" (see Romans 3:12)
A. Natural Man Is Unwilling
John 3:19-21 "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
This passage clearly says...
"everyone that doeth evil hateth the light..."(By nature, all of us do evil and therfore we also hate the light... see Romans 3)
"neither cometh to the light..." (This is all of us by nature... see Romans 3)
Now, who then comes to the light?
"he that doeth truth cometh to the light..." (By nature, none of us do truth... see Romans 3)
How is it that some will come to the light and others will not and some will do truth and others will not?
The scriptures clearly state...
God must first give repentance, if someone is going to be willing to acknowledge the truth.
2Timothy 2:25 "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
There is none that seeketh after God
Romans 3:11 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."
Doing truth and coming to the light, is to seek God and it also pleases God. No natural man is willing to come to or do the truth. This is because he is unwilling. As our Lord has said previously, "...every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
John 3:32-33 "And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true."
Let's consider what it says... "No man receiveth his testiomony." Yet, in the very next verse it says... "He that hath received his testimony..."
We have already established the reason why no man receiveth his testimony. We have aslo established that it really means what it says. Praise God for His Word.
Next, we we will see that natural man is unable to receive our Lord's testimony. Then finally, we will see what must happen first to the person "that hath recieved his testimony."
...to cause him to be able and willing to receive the testimony of Jesus Christ our Lord.
B. Natural Man Is Unable
Romans 8:7-8, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
Please notice the phrase "...neither indeed can be." This clearly speaks of the inability in the mind of natural men. So, the next time you hear a preacher say, "Come to Jesus and get born again like us. All you have to do is change your mind."
...This directs the sinner to the wrong source of hope. His mind is hopeless, God is his enemy, he hates the nature of God (Magnified in the Law) Therefore, he cannot be subject to the law of God and he cannot please God. The sinner must be directed to the mercy of God (revealed through the preaching of Jesus Christ Crucified) for true saving hope. His mind cannot please God.
2Timothy 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
It doesn't matter how much he reads his bible or how hard he tries to be a christian, He must be born again. He must be born again. As we read in 2 Timothy, God must first give repentance, if someone is going to be willing to acknowledge the truth.
John 8:43 "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word."
"Cannot" is a word of inability to hear God's word. (such as through reading, meditating, memorizing, and from preachers. Only God's sheep hear His voice.
Joh 10:26-27 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
1 Cor. 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
"Receiveth not" speaks of unwillingnes and "Neither can he know them" speaks of inability to know the things of the spirit of God. (Such as the Gospel and Grace of God)
Matthew 7:18, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
"Neither can" speaks of inability to bring forth good fruit. (Such as repentance, faith, coming to the light, doing truth, humbly confessing sin, forsaking sin... etc.)
John 3:3, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
"He cannot" speaks of inability to see (He has no Sight of Faith, Sight of Hope, Sight of Love until he is born again)
II. Second, the doctrine of "I must bring them" ...also known as Irresistible Grace.
In this doctrine we will see that the Elect are mercifully and graciously Enabled. They are made Willing to repent and believe by the regeneration from God's will. (also known as the new birth)
John 10:16 "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Some may ask, "How does someone believe, if they are unwilling and unable to?
1John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
Some say that you have to believe and then you will be born again (after you repent and believe). According to this verse, whosoever believeth... is born of God.
This makes it clear... that you cannot believe, if you are not born of God. (even for a split second) The scripture makes it clear that you are born of God, if you are at this moment believing. So, to say that believing or repentance must be done first as a way to cause God to regenerate you, contradicts this scripture.
This does not destroy man's responsiblity to repent and believe. Men are to repent and believe the gospel. God commands all men everywhere to repent. They are to confess and forsake their sin. And God's word makes it clear that those who do this shall have mercy and be saved. But, if you say that repentance and belief are the cause of regeneration (the new birth), rather than the fruit of it... You are preaching a works gospel that gives room for men to glory and boast in their so called free-will-abilty to bring down mercy from God. This is called decisionism evangelism. This is similar with Catholic evangelism. (and other cults)
It leaves room for the unregenerate heart to say,
1. "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." (Lk 18:11)
2. "...Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me." (Jer 2:35)
3. "Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou." (Isa 65:5)
The prayer that God delights in, is very different.
1. " Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. " (Lk 5:12)
2. "God be merciful to me a sinner." (Lk 18:13)
3. "Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily." (Psa 86:3)
4. "I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee." (Psa 41:4)
The new birth is an act of God's mercy that no man can cause or merit.
John 5:21 "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will."
Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Notice the words in the last verse of this passage in Ezekiel. You have the words walk, keep and do. Prior to these words, you have the word Cause.
Now prior to the word Cause, you have the words I Will repeated numerous times.
It was His will. It wasn't from your will. He caused it. You didn't cause it. We love Him, because He first loved us. Praise Him for His mercy. Come, Let run to His throne of Grace and wash His feet with our tears! Praise Him for His mercy!
Psalm 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
The end. God bless you! -Abraham
P.S. I edited it so that I might add the scripture
Psalm 110:3 in the 2nd doctrine heading.