God Saves the Helpless
Helpless:(help'lis), adj. 1.unable
to help oneself; weak or dependent. 2. deprived of strength or power;
According to many theologians, God offers helpless sinners a general invitation
to accept His Son. Did you catch the contradiction in asking helpless people to do
something? Great. Then you're already far ahead of trained professionals.
3:11 says that, "Not one is seeking out God." Is this anyone's
fault? No. Romans 11:32 says, "God locks up all together in
stubbornness." We are all born stubborn, and apart from divine
intervention, we stay that way.
may be upset by the previous paragraph, wondering why God would purposely make
all humankind stubborn. It will greatly help to know this: It's also God's
intention to have mercy on the same all He locks up in stubbornness (this is the
second half of Romans 11:32). Anybody can rescue someone halfway in a
boat. God actually rescues those who fight Him all the way.
Acts, chapter nine, an extremely stubborn and helpless (to save himself) person
named Saul of Tarsus is en route to Damascus to arrest and kill Christians. Here
is a perfect field for a demonstration of amazing grace; don't think God hasn't
thought of it.
he could even say, "Praise the Lord," Saul was on the ground beholding
Christ's glory. This was not a "general invitation" to fall off a
horse. Saul (Paul) wrote later: "The grace of our Lord overwhelms" (1
Tim. 1:14). "Overwhelms" reminds me of Niagara Falls, and causes me to
now wonder: Does a person walking out from under Niagara Falls need to
"make a decision" whether or not to get wet?
became the rule for salvation, not the exception. He told Timothy he was "a
pattern of those who are about to be believing on Him" (1 Tim. 1:16). This
doesn't mean that everyone gets pitched off a pony. But the principle is
the same: Salvation operates in spite of us, not because of us.
think we need to get unhelpless long enough to call on God. Nonsense. Remember?
"Not one is seeking out God." We are so helpless that God has to give
us the very faith we need to seek Him (Romans 12:3). Don't I believe in the
free will of man? No. I believe in the free will of God.
is what the so-called "general invitation" doctrine is saying: God
pulls into your driveway and, finding your house burning down, honks the horn a
couple times. Being a hands off God, He then closes His eyes, plugs His ears and
starts humming loudly to Himself so He won't be tempted to influence your
decision to either get into or not get into His car. From this point on, it's
entirely up to your strength and your wisdom to open the door and
get in. Never mind that you're upstairs lying unconscious on the floor (see
"helpless," Rom. 5:6). And you better hurry, too, because this buggy's
moving on. Once God pulls out of the driveway, your chance to get in the car is
over. (As if God leaves Christ's work on Calvary to chance!)
really crazy part about this "general invitation" business is that
those who believe it call it "salvation by grace." Hmm. Sounds to me
more like "salvation by being strong enough and smart enough to get into
God's car while God is closing His eyes, plugging His ears and humming to
Romans 5:6, layman's terms This is salvation by grace:
God pulls into your driveway and, finding you nowhere in sight and your house
burning down, lays His own neck on the line and runs up the stairway, through
the flames and into your bedroom. Finding you unconscious on the floor in your
underwear, He picks you up, carries you out of the house, down the sidewalk and
out to His car. At the car, He cradles your limp frame in His left arm while
opening the door with His right hand. Then He straps you into the front seat
next to Him, slams the door and starts off to glory. Once you come to, He does
let you say "I believe! I believe! I confess Your name!" Due to His
gracious nature, He also lets you check the rear-view mirror for Him
occasionally, run the power windows up and down and fool with the radio. This is
called being a "fellow worker with God" (1 Cor. 3:5-9).
people being saved? The logical conclusion is this: Personal belief and
confession are reactions to salvation, not causes of it.
We believe because we are saved, we are not saved because we believe.
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