Categories
Theology

Spurgeon on being “legally dead”

Spurgeon explains what it means to be legally dead before God (from a sermon on John 5:40, “You refuse to come to  me that you may have life”).

No being needs to go after life if he has life in himself. The text speaks very strongly when it says, “Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” Though it saith it not in words, yet it doth in effect affirm that men need a life more than they have themselves. My hearers, we are all dead unless we have been begotten unto a lively hope. First, we are all of us, by nature, legally dead—”In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death,” said God to Adam; and though Adam did not die in that moment naturally, he died legally; that is to say death was recorded against him. As soon as, at the Old Bailey, the judge puts on the black cap and pronounces the sentence, the man is reckoned to be dead at law. Though perhaps a month may intervene before he is brought on the scaffold to endure the sentence of the law, yet the law looks upon him as a dead man. It is impossible for him to transact anything. He cannot inherit, he cannot bequeath; he is nothing—he is a dead man…We ought all to weep, if we lay this to our souls: that by nature we have no life in God’s sight; we are actually, positively condemned; death is recorded against us, and we are considered in ourselves now, in God’s sight, as much dead as if we were actually cast into hell; we are condemned here by sin, we do not yet suffer the penalty of it, but it is written against us, and we are legally dead, nor can we find life unless we find legal life in the person of Christ, of which more by-and-by.

Read the whole thing.

Categories
Life

Colin Smith on “The Adjustment Bureau”

I saw The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon a couple months ago with my wife. We both liked it, but we both realized it made God look unpleasant, rigid, and frustrated by the way man responded to the “plan” he has for us. 

Over at The Gospel Coalition blog, Colin Smith writes a tremendous analysis of the film. Here’s the crutch:

The Adjustment Bureau suggests that you need to make choices that will deliver you from a dark and sinister God. But the real story is about how you need the sovereign God to deliver you from the dark and sinister power that inhabits your choices. The film suggests that your will is supremely good and that God cannot be trusted. But the real story is that God is supremely good and that you dare not trust your own will. The Adjustment Bureau suggests that the best plan for your life is the one that originates with you. The real story is that pleasures beyond anything you can imagine are at God’s right hand, and he is able to deliver you from the self indulgent choices that would keep you from them.

The Adjustment Bureau is a good film worth seeing, but it puts God in the place of man and man in the place of God. Its message needs not so much an adjustment as an inversion.

Categories
Theology

We Pray Because Only God Can Do It

If a Christian really believed that his friend had some ability, power, or goodness within himself to choose Jesus as Lord and Savior apart from the free, sovereign, electing grace of God, he wouldn’t pray that his friend get saved.  He would simply figure out more relevant or strategic ways to draw out what is already inside his friend.

If people had the ability in themselves to be born again, prayer wouldn’t do a thing.  The ability to save your own soul implies spiritual autonomy.  An autonomous soul cannot be influenced by anything.  Alternatively, by definition, prayer is pleading with God for him do something.

The new birth of a sinner is not an exception.  The problem is that people are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-5), and there needs to be more than an mere influence on their stone hearts.  There needs to be an ultimate influence.  There needs to be a complete heart transplant.

So, go to your friends and plead with them to look to Jesus (Rom. 10:13-17).  But plead to God that he might save their souls — by his grace he might grant them repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).

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Categories
Theology

Election is for Humility

How shall those who are the subjects of divine election sufficiently adore the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectually excludes it. The Lord’s will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more promotive of gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.

– Charles Spurgeon