From: Jamie Smith
Consider two scenarios: 1. Christ saved me. 2. My independent faith in Christ allowed Christ to save me.
The default setting for all humanity is unbelief. Ro 11:32: “For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all.” The “all” He locks up is the same “all” upon whom He has mercy. How does one change from being stubborn to being disposed toward God?
Q: What caused you to open up to God?
A: I decided to believe.
Q: But what causes such a decision?
A: I heard the Gospel and it convinced me.
Q: But why did it convince you and not others?
A: Because I want the truth. I want to be saved. They don’t.
Q: But why do you want that and they don’t?
A: Because I decided to make a free-will decision to believe and they didn’t.
Q: Do you see the circular reasoning?
What is the ultimate force behind faith and the generation of it? Continuing to ask ourselves “Why?” until the root is discovered is good exercise.
I have an opinion concerning that exercise and it is based in Scripture. Change cannot be of ourselves. Ro 3:11: “Not one is understanding. Not one is seeking out God.” Left to ourselves, we would not seek God. We are unable to decide to begin the process of understanding and seeking God.
What is causing one to open up to God and the other to remain stubborn? 1 Cor 4:7: “For who is making you to discriminate? Now what have you which you did not obtain [passively receive from God]?...” What have we that was not given us?
Deciding to seek God cannot be of our own will. Jn 1:13: “who were begotten, not of bloods, neither of the will of the flesh, neither of the will of a man, but of God.”
The original force and generation behind our faith is God’s spirit. God chooses for Himself who will seek Him. He chooses the time, place and circumstance in which His spirit will bear the fruit of faith in any individual. Spirit must create and invigorate. Faith is a fruit. Faith is not antecedent to spirit. It is not a root. God’s spirit is the root.
Adherents to the “free-will” philosophy unknowingly deny the above Scriptures. They will tell us that humans can seek God apart from God. That they can discriminate. That they have faith that was not simply obtained. That their faith is “out of the will of a man.” Yet Scripture denies every one of those possibilities.