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We here at the Lion and Lamb Ministry get asked this question quite frequently, so, here is the big question that divides many Christians: Does it lie within the power of the will of man to accept or reject The LORD Jesus Christ, as Savior and King?
So...when the Gospel of Grace is preached to the sinner, does it, ultimately, lie within the power of that person’s own will to resist or accept God’s plan of Salvation, by accepting The LORD Jesus Christ, as their God, King, and Savior?
It is how we answer THIS very question that establishes what and how we understand the Fall of Man. That man, in his natural state, is fallen...to this the great majority of Christians will agree. Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so, death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned". Now, here’s where it gets sticky. Very few today even know what “fallen” means! How far down is “Fallen”? To determine a Christians understanding of "fallen” is often a very difficult task.
Now, what a good deal of religious people believe is that Man is no longer in the condition that he was in when in the Garden of Eden, "So God created man in his Own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" Genesis 1:27 , "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" Genesis 1:31 . But now, after Man sinned, (and the Bible tells us, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" Genesis 2:17 ; "And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it..." Genesis 3:17 ), many of the religious have the general idea that Fallen means that man is no longer immortal, that he gets sick and contracts diseases, and that man from one generation to the next inherits evil “tendencies” and sins, BUT, that if he uses his strengths to the best of his ability, somehow, SOMEHOW, he will be able to want to accept God’s plan of Salvation, and attain eternal life in God’s Heaven.
Wow! How WRONG that is! Diseases, sickness, and even death, are nothing in comparison with the moral and spiritual effects of the Fall of Man! Our conception of the terrible calamity of the Fall of Man should be based on the Holy Scriptures, and not on what we want to think or how we feel about the issue. When the Scriptures say that man is totally fallen, lost, and helpless, The Scriptures are saying that the entrance of sin into humanity has affected every part and ability of a man’s being. Psalm 51:5 tells us, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me", and then in Psalms 58:3, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies". Now go to Jeremiah 17:9 , "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?", and Mark 7:21-23 tells us, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man". And of course Romans 3:10-11 , "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God".
Total Fall, Full Fall, No Climbing Back Up Fall, means that man is, in spirit and soul and body, the slave of sin, (..."Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" John 8:34 ; "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 ), and the captive of the Devil, "...according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" Ephesians 2:2 . And so..."the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead" Ecclesiastes 9:3
As a result of all of the Fall, man is not able to attain his “dreams”, have his grand ideals materialize, and THEN hold onto them. The natural man cannot do the things that he wants. Why? Because SIN...making up the very essence of man’s being...is manifesting itself in moral inability, thereby paralyzing him and stifling his efforts. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 ; "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so, death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Romans 5:12 . And most importantly, "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" Romans 8:7-8 ; "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" 1 Corinthians 2:14 .
So, what we have before us is that Fallen Man, Natural Man, is NO Free Man, but instead, the servant of Sin and Satan. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" John 8:44 .
You see, Sin is more than an act or a series of actions. Man is not a sinner BECAUSE he sins, Man sins BECAUSE he IS a sinner.
Since The Fall, Sin is Man’s very make up. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Psalm 14:1-3 ; "For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their INWARD part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue" Psalm 5:9 ; "For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity" Psalm 10:3-7 . Sin has blinded man’s understanding, “there is none that understandeth”, Sin has corrupted the heart, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”, and Sin has alienated the mind from God, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God”.
The natural man wants the things he or she does, and man’s will chooses those things, as a result of the condition of the heart, AND because “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" Jeremiah 17:9 ; “There is NONE that seeketh after God" Romans 3:11 .
So, we ask again, does it lie within the power of man’s will to accept or reject the Lord Jesus as Savior? The answer is NO! Man’s “will” cannot choose God, on its own. Period!
Man’s will has not escaped the servitude of Sin. Man’s will is the servant of Sin and Satan. Therefore, the will is NOT free. ONLY "...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!" 2 Cor. 3:17 .
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )