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June 9, 2022 12:01 am
Scripture tells us that mankind fell in the garden of Eden. But how far did we fall? How deeply does sin penetrate our souls? Today, R.C. Sproul considers the reality of our radical fallenness.
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John chapter 6, Jesus says something was rather shocking. No one has the ability to come to me. Excess Bellamy asked this question does man in and of himself, according to Jesus, have the ability to come to Jesus. No, that no one has the ability to come to Jesus vectors these rules going to explain as we continue this series chosen by God.
But before we get to his message today I'm doing here the studio by Dr. Steven Nichols who is the president of Reformation Bible college and the author of Dr. Strohl's biography Steve II know you have a funny story related to Dr. Strohl's book chosen by God. Would you share that with us. I do and I be glad to.
So I was thinking a friend of mine to meet RC and introduced them set up their time together and so my friend Jake's hand meets a man says Darcy. You know the first time I met you I read you and it was chosen by God and then he says in the first time I read that book I got so angry I threw it against the wall. Actually, RC said you got the first one to tell me that. But you know really that actually points to something and it points to what especially this lecture is about and we talk about man's radical fallenness were talking about a doctrine it's been held for centuries. Total depravity from the time the reformers goes back to Augustine before that and it goes to Paul before that but it's also a doctrine that it seems like in every age it's met with resistance if not outright rejection.
We like to think of ourselves as good or at least capable of good and what this reminds us of his were not.
And so we know RC was very helpful in teaching us who God is, he was also helpful in teaching us who we are and we need to see ourselves as fallen or we will never understand what Christ was doing on the cross and will never cry out for it unless we see our thank you Steve for sharing that with us and with that in my much joined Dr. Spruill for his message titled man's radical form in this in our last session in our study of predestination.
We looked at the concept of free will and at the end of that lecture I set forth some ideas that were originally presented by Jonathan Edwards and also by St. Augustine some references to Luther and to John Calvin as much respect as we may or may not have for these great teachers in the history of the church. I think we would all recognize that none of them individually, and all of them collectively are to be regarded as infallible teaching authorities so we need to go to the next step as we examine the core question of man's moral ability or lack of it and listen to what our Lord himself takes us because though we may be prone to disagree with Augustine or Luther, Calvin, or any other great teacher. Far be it from us to stand in opposition to the teaching of Christ himself.
So in this session I want us to give some attention now to some very crucial statements that Jesus made regarding man's ability or the lock up and turn our attention.
First of all to the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, where Jesus says in verse 65 and he was saying. For this reason I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it is given to him by the father. Let's look at that verse. No one can come to me unless it is given to him by the father. The first two words in this statement. No one or some translations raise no man, no person no one that statement if we apply the categories of logic to this and the laws of immediate inference, and so on. We see that this statement is what we call a universal negative that is to say it is all inclusive.
What Jesus is saying is, without exception, there is no human day who whatever it is he's going to say about them. That is can come to him unless it is given him the father.
So this is an absolute is a negative absolute wet understand that now the next word is also crucial to our understanding. It is the word can. No one can know the word can place the word is used here in the Greek text is less ambiguous than the word can is in our language because in our language. The word can is often mistaken for what other work may that's right, we've all been corrected by remember when we were children and going to school and we put our hands up and say teacher can I sharpen my pencil and she would always say, I'm sure you can and you also may and she would then take that opportunity to teach us that lesson that seems so difficult for us to learn of the difference between the word may suggest permission, and the word can.
The word can has to do with ability. So what this verse is saying is that to say that no man can is to say that no one has the ability to do something. If I say no one can run 30 miles an hour.
That means no one has the ability to run 30 miles an hour or 300 miles not how fast people can run right now what is it that no one has the ability to do Jesus talking about her. No one has the ability to come to me. Excess Bellamy asked this question does man in and of himself, according to Jesus, have the ability to come to Jesus. No, do some men have the ability to come to Jesus and of themselves. Note no man can come to Jesus. No man can come to me last now we see a clause that follows that we call an accepted clause unless introduces an exception unless points to what we call in philosophy, a necessary condition, but what is a necessary condition.
A pre-requisite something that has to happen before something else can possibly happen is when a prerequisite is so Jesus is saying that there is a necessary condition that must be met before anyone can come to him now.
What does he identify in this verse as the necessary condition for anyone to be able to come to him unless the father gives it to him or other translations unless it is granted by the father. Another translation raise unless the father enables him hello's words don't all mean the same thing to grant means to get permission to give names to give a gift and to enable means to empower right so there is a certain ambiguity here about what that necessary condition is and there's another question that is still hanging out here and that is if a necessary condition is provided not now wanting about coming to Jesus in any situation. If a necessary condition is provided in a situation does a necessary condition, guarantee that the result you want will in fact take place now. That's why we make a distinction between necessary conditions and sufficient conditions. A sufficient condition is a condition that if it is Matt guarantees the result, it suffices. So all of this verse is teaching is that in terms of man's natural ability.
None of us has the ability, in and of ourselves to come to Christ.
Unless God does something still not sure exactly what it is that God does and were still not sure that if God does it, it will guarantee that people will, all we know is that whatever it is that God does is a necessary condition for a prerequisite.
Okay well if classical Arminian approach to this were semi-Palladian approach to this is that nobody can come to Jesus unless the father entices him or woos him again that usually tied into some notion of preventing grace or the influence of the Holy Spirit to woo and to entice in the word draw here is interpreted to mean to woo or to attract justice honey draws bees and lights draw moths, but the idea is that the drawing that God does is still resistible and those who respond to the enticement. Those who respond to being wooed are then redeemed. According to Arminianism and those who do not respond to being drawn are subsequently lost. The Augustinian interpretation of the verse is that the word to draw means more than simply to entice or to woo. Now let's see how this Greek word is used elsewhere in the New Testament if we would turn our Bibles here to James chapter 2 verse six we will find the same Greek word used in the New Testament. Also read the verse, but you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court and ask you to guess which word is used in this verse that is exactly the same Greek word that is translated by the word draw in John six anybody have a guest dried malice to supply these semi-Palladian interpretation, but you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally will you into court. Let's look at another one is look at acts chapter 16 verse 19 which I will read when her master saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. Can you guess again which word in this text is the same Greek word again. It's the word dried again substitute, entice or woo, they seized Paul and Silas and wooed them into the marketplace before the authorities. This text clearly indicates an act of force in dragging Paul and Silas in to the marketplace that would make you wonder why it is that the translators use the word draw, rather than the word drag.
I can only guess and I'll try to guess in a moment but first let me just go further whenever we have out as to the precise meaning of a word in the Scriptures.
The first thing we do is we go to the Greek then after we go to the Greek were still dependent upon the science of linguistics and lexicography in order to have an understanding of the meaning of that term. At the time it was used in the writing of the documents. I think it's safe to say that in the academic world. The most highly respected linguistic and lexicographic resource that the church is overhead for the meeting of Greek words is skittles theological dictionary of the New Testament in kindles theological dictionary of the New Testament the word that is being translated draw here in this text is defined by Kindle as meaning to compel by irresistible superiority. I might add that the framers of the dictionary were anything but Calvinistic.
But they recognize that the classical that is the meaning in the Greek language of this verb is to compel the force of this verse is the force of divine compulsion, and if that is true, then I would say that verse in that verse alone is sufficient to end the debate forever with respect to man's ability or lack of it to incline himself to choose Jesus Christ because Jesus himself says that no man can do it unless the father compels him to do it and that is pure Augustinian-ism only stated much earlier than St. Augustine. But if that isn't sufficient with respect to man's ability. Let's look earlier in chapter 3 of John's Gospel, where John describes the encounter Jesus has with the Pharisee theologian Nicodemus, which he says in verse three Jesus answered and said him, truly, truly, I say to you, unless what does that word indicate what's coming.
A necessary condition and less one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God know what has to happen. According to Jesus, before a person can see the kingdom of God. He has to be born again. So regeneration precedes seeing the kingdom of God is that a legitimate interpretation of this passage is that nobody can see that all unless they are first what born-again regenerate goes on to say Nicodemus's puzzle. How can a man be born when he is old he can enter second time in his mother's room. Born Kami Jesus said, truly, truly, I say to unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
So regeneration is a prerequisite for entering and seeing the kingdom of God semi-Palladian's have people choosing Christ before they are regenerate semi-Palladian's have people in their human nature cooperating with the prevailing price responding to this ruling and enticing and attracting of God the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is not yet in them having regenerated them so the bottom line is the Arminian position has people who are not yet born again. Seeing and choosing the king of the kingdom of God boggles the mind doesn't. That's why the axiom Augustinian theology is this regeneration precedes faith regeneration the same as a necessary condition for faith, even as Paul elsewhere teaches us in Ephesians 2, when he says that while we were dead in sin and trespasses. God has quickened us. That is, made us alive in Christ.
Okay when we were dead and then tells us that, therefore, it is by grace you are saved through faith and that is not of yourselves but is the gift of God. So we see faith is the gift of God.
That is the result of the Spirit's work of regeneration within us that God himself supplies the necessary condition to come to Jesus.
That's why it is Sola Grazie by grace alone that we are saved now.
Jesus says that which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not marvel that I said to you that you must be born again to say why should this surprise you, your theologian, Nicodemus don't you understand the fundamental point of man's fallen nature that that which is born of the flesh is flesh elsewhere tells us that the flesh profits. What nothing but if we believe that God entices us to Christ, and all we have to do in the flesh prior to our regeneration is cooperate or assent to that, if we can in fact cooperate, and ascend to premeeting grace to the end that we enter into the kingdom of God and are redeemed forever and were doing that while were still in the flesh. Then I ask you, what would the flesh profit, not just something everything your eternal salvation I'll call speaks about this himself. In chapter 8 verse seven of the book of Romans started verse five. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those are according to the spirit, the things of the spirit.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do it well. Here the apostle tells us something about man's moral inability in the flesh. He says that man in his fallen state in the flesh is hostile to the law of God, and he does not obey the law of God, he is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed what can a baby so that father man. The apostle is saying here is he not cannot obey the law of God and those who are in the flesh cannot please God, I might add to that if God only wound us to Christ and left it to us to make the final decision. I can't think of anything that would please God more than that we would respond positively to that enticement to that willing apostle here tells us that in the flesh. There's nothing man can do to please God, but now here's is the cross crushing point verse nine. However, you are not in the flesh but in the spirit. How we know somebody's in the flesh or in the spirit you are not in the flesh but in the spirit. The next word is crucial if what does if indicate a necessary condition.
Indeed, the spirit of God dwells in you. Now how many regenerate people have the spirit of God dwelling in them.
All of them okay so if you are regenerate, then you are no longer in the flesh.
If you are in the flesh, you are not regenerate secular so when he speaks about those in the flesh is speaking of unregenerate people and it's unregenerate people who cannot please God, who cannot obey God who cannot do or be subject to God who experienced this dreadful situation of moral inability about which we have been speaking but if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him figures on the say. However, if anyone does have the spirit of Christ, then he does belong to Christ, so that the crucial prerequisites for salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit. That is the necessary condition. The prerequisite for faith to be present. That's why we insist that the first step of our justification, that which quickens us from spiritual death and makes us enables us to come to Jesus at all is the gracious work of God the Holy Spirit and is never the fruit of Ephesians chapter 2 Paul didn't say that we are asleep. He didn't say we are comatose know. He said that we are dead in our sins and trespasses. We will never seek God apart from the Holy Spirit's work.
Glad you joined us for Renewing Your Mind on this Wednesday as we continue Dr. RC Sproul series chosen by God's classic teaching on the doctrine of predestination is one of our most requested series because it deals with the topic that is widely misunderstood in the church we like to help you continue your study.
Contact us and request all six messages onto DVDs. When you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries. You can do that firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at 800-435-4343 Dr. Steven Nichols remains are in the studio with me and Steve before the lesson today. You mentioned that your friend have read RC's book chosen by God and and wanted to throw it against the wall, but the truth of the matter is that RC would've thrown that book against the wall when he first heard about this doctrine right you're actually rightly. In fact, always converted his freshman year in college and it's really a couple of years till he can fully embrace the doctrine of election and predestination and what we come to call the beloved tulip the doctrines of grace. He struggled with this doctrines any struggled with this doctrine. In particular, and that underlies what were studying this doctrine this week technical. Thank you for being with us today and tomorrow. Dr. scroll address a question that always seems to come up when we talk about election does God create unbelief.
I hope you join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind