#226, COMING TO CHRIST WITH THE WILL, #13
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:13.
Again, we need to be reminded how crafty Satan is. He is a master at using over-reaction to miss the truth. A while back I read a pamphlet where the author pointed out the fallacy of Calvinism. He pointed out that the Calvinists over reacted to some passages of Scripture, for instance ROM 8:30, which says, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." He charged them with fatalism based on their interpretation of the verse, waiting for God to justify, waiting for God to do, while they do nothing but live on in sin. That was his complaint and his proof that Calvinism was absolutely wrong; they taught the sovereignty of God and did not teach responsibility of man.
Then the author went to say that they teach REV 22:17; "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." The entire emphasis of his point was "Whosoever will." He used that to show that the sovereignty of God, election, and predestination were wrong. His over reaction went so far that he was a humanist.
Within the bounds of our text, see the perfect harmony between the sovereignty of God and the freedom of the human will. Scriptures clearly teach there is no salvation without the act of the will, but that doesnt mean I am free will. It does not mean that I come against the sovereignty of God. We also see that the Scriptures clearly teach that the act of the freedom of the will is a gift of God. Now, we start to see the harmony between the sovereignty of God and the free act of the will in salvation.
Satan wants us to over react; he wants us to condemn one or the other as wrong. The result is both views are wrong. Watch what our text says. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:13. When God works in us to will and do of His good pleasure -- it is a gift of His sovereign grace. Then we serve Him as a free act of the will. Notice the chronology; He gives us the will so it is the act the will to do. Anyone who teaches that we are saved because God compels us against our will, is just as far off as the person who teaches humanism.
God makes us willing, so that as a free act of the will, we do His good pleasure. The Lord in Paradise had no pleasure in putting a restraint on Adam that he could not sin. God wanted Adam to give service from a motive of love and not from compulsion. That is why Adam was able to sin. God only finds pleasure in service from a desire to serve Him motivated by love. Therefore, God works in us to will so when we do, we do it as an act of my free will. There is no compulsion.
Now, we begin to see the harmony between the sovereignty of God and the free act of the will. There is no salvation without the free act of the will, but dont forget that is a gift of God. There are the two necessary elements.
Lets consider the context in which we find our text to understand this idea more specifically. Going back to Verse 8 we read about how the Lord Jesus humbled Himself, became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross based on the desire to do the will of the Father. Jesus was not there because the Father compelled Him to do anything. The Father was so well pleased in Jesus totally submissive act, when Jesus voluntarily stepped into Gods wrath. The Father was so glorified by such submissive obedience that He enthroned Him and highly exalted Him.
Then we read in Verses 10-11 of the great manifestation of glory that the Father gave the Son for that act of willful obedience. Next, I want you to see the context of our text. Verse 12 says, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Paul told us in PHI 2:1-2, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." He is saying we must be likeminded with the mind of Christ, which means my mind is in subjection to the will of God. It is out of my will, not of compulsion, that I am to be likeminded.
Notice that our text begins with the connecting word For, so lets read Verse 12 again to see the continuity and full meaning. "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." God gives us the will.
The heart of man is possessed of three principle faculties: the understandings, the affections, and the will. In the previous messages we have considered coming unto Christ with our understanding and our affections. We are dealing now with the will. These three faculties are all put into exercise by saving faith. If we lack any one of the three, we are lacking salvation.
All of these have become corrupted by the rebellion that was born in the Garden of Eden. The sad consequences of this are revealed in ROM 8:7-8; "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." We must understand that to see the significance of our text. It is God who works in us to will because our will has been corrupted. That totally banishes all humanism, which makes man the sovereign, teaching that "You decide, you choose." That is not the gospel. The Word of the Lord teaches that He has chosen whom He will save, Cf. EPH 1:4-5, and by His sovereign grace He makes us willing servants of His, and of the gospel.
1CO 2:14 says, "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." Can you expect to see the free act of the human will in accepting Christ when the things of the Holy Spirit are deemed to be foolishness? That is why we need the renewing of the mind, the understanding, the affections, and of the will as a sovereign gift from God before there is any salvation.
Each of these faculties, i.e., the understanding, the affections, and the will, are greatly influenced and subordinated to each other. Ones understanding of something is greatly affected by ones desires; your affections are greatly affected by those things you understand. Ones will to do something is in turn affected by ones understanding and affections in the matter.
All of these faculties must work together for salvation just as they worked together in the fall as we see in GEN 3:6. "And when the woman saw [perceived or understood] that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, [there was the exercise of her affections] and a tree to be desired [there was the moving of her will] to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, [there was the exercise of all three faculties which possess the heart of the man] and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."
The first happening was when Eve saw and understood the fruit of the tree was edible. The exercise of her affections took place when she found the tree to be pleasant to see. The moving of her will occurred when she desired it. She exercised all three faculties when she ate the fruit.
The need for intellectual knowledge comes first. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" ROM 10:14. Then the affections must be attracted. Finally, they need the desire.
The work of Divine grace upon the soul renews all three of these principle faculties: the understandings, the affections, and the will, putting them into exercise coming to Christ by saving faith. We see in ACT 8:36-37, "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" This was a matter of coming to Christ with saving faith. He wants to know what obstacles separate him from Christ. Verse 37 continues, "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, [with all the faculties which possess your heart, your understanding, affections, and will], thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." The whole heart must be in one accord; all three faculties must be moving in the same direction. First, he must understand what he is doing in making the public profession that he is dead to sin and alive to Christ. It also means his affections are not longing after the things of this world. His affections have been renewed. Then the will puts repentance into action.
Coming to Christ is clearly an act of the will as we see in JOH 5:40, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." However, that tells us also what our nature is as a result of the fall. They were not willing to pay the price. The terms seem severe, and the affections were not such that they could count the cost and pay the price. Therefore, they were not willing. Do you know who He was talking to? It was the Pharisees who were not willing to pay the price in order that they might have life.
The will is not active until God works by His grace enlightening the understanding and quickening the affections. Our text says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:13. God makes us willing before we can do His good pleasure. There is Divine order in Gods plan of salvation. It is important to understand that God is a God of order. There is a distinct Divine order. Each of these three principle faculties: the understandings, the affections, and the will, have their respective function in the exercise of saving faith, even as the three Persons of the Godhead in providing salvation.
We need to understand how each of the members of the Godhead has their distinct function in our salvation as each of the above faculties have their function. 1PE 1:2 so beautifully sets forth this Divine order; "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, [which was the original cause of our salvation by One who was able to produce its effect,] through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience [by working `...in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.] and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: [Whose obedience and suffering merited salvation for His church.] Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
Being elect according to the foreknowledge of God is the intimate, loving relationship that the Father had for His people from eternity. This was the original effect of our salvation. It was not the Holy Spirit who did the choosing; the Father did the electing, but the Holy Spirit works sanctification. The third member of the Godhead is found in the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. The Father elected, the Holy Spirit sanctified, and the blood and obedience of Christ purchased.
Now, we see how the verse preceding our text and our text flow together in this principle. "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:12-13.
Neither the Fathers eternal love for His church, nor the Sons meritorious work actually save the sinner, until the Holy Spirit "...worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Even so the sinner is not saved when his understanding is enlightened and his affections are fired. There must be the act of the will, surrendering to God and coming into Christs service. That act of the will is one thing that is so missed in todays preaching of the gospel.
It is not a matter of saying, "I am willing to be saved." It must be, "I am willing to obey." That is the key; it is an act of the will to be willing to enter into His service, entering the kingdom. We are talking about the key to salvation. We must be willing to serve the Lord. It is very important to understand that. MAL 3:17-18 says, "And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
As God enlightens the understanding to see the rebellion that is in the heart, and renews the affections by the work of regeneration, the heart is made willing to come into the service of Christ. That is where the act of the will becomes the key to our salvation. That is the point where it becomes personally ours.
We see this in PSA 110:1-3; "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth." That is talking about His scepter, His ruling in the midst of His enemies. Then it says His people shall be willing. Willing to do what? It is to serve under His golden scepter. His enemies are the rebellious, but He will rule with a rod of iron over them. That kingdom was given to Him as the reward for His humble obedience unto death, even the death of the cross as we read in PHI 2:8- 11.
We find the kingly service of Christ in our text and the verse before it. He will make us willing in the day of His power to serve Him. The order of the Spirit in taking possession of the three principle faculties of the heart: the understandings, the affections, and the will, corresponds with the three great offices of Christ. I want you to see the perfect harmony brought forth in the Scriptures. Christs three offices are Prophet, Priest, and King. Lets see how they correspond to the three faculties of our heart.
In His Prophetic office the Lord Jesus is first dealing with our understanding; He teaches. He opened the great truths, which were sealed with seven seals. The first step of salvation is to open our understanding. REV 5:5 says, "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." He opened our understanding of the Word, the seals of His Word. Now, He brings forth the knowledge of sin and the need of salvation. That was the first step in His Prophetic office, which unfolds the understanding of the gospel and the way of salvation.
As these seals were opened, the affections were stirred by the revelation of Christs priestly work. We can see this in REV 5:7-10. "And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."
Do you see how their affections and emotions were stirred by the revelation of the priestly office of Christ? The emphasis of the verse is "for thou wast slain." After the understandings were enlightened, and the affections fired by such a revelation of Christs redeeming love, there was the call unto all creatures to surrender to the power and dominion of Him that sat upon His Kingly throne. There is the third office; the will must be renewed to delight to serve under His Kingship. There is a difference between being willing perhaps with reluctance, and a burning desire. The latter is an act of the will from the desire of the heart, delighting to do His will. Our blessed Lord would have no delight in any service out of compulsion, or a slavish fear for the consequences of sin.
After these things we read in REV 5:11-14, "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne [in His Kingly office], and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." Do you see His kingly office? It is comparable to the new desire to come, worship, and serve that King. Desires are kindled to bring forth His glory, honor, and worship Him.
Again we have seen all three of the faculties coming into exercise in the exact order of the three great offices of Christ. We see understanding in His Prophetic office, the affections being kindled in His Priestly office, and finally we see the joy in, and desire to, worship Him as King who sits upon the throne.
Where is that throne? That throne is the heart of the humble and contrite, i.e., those who have unconditionally surrendered to the golden scepter of Christ. We read in ISA 57:15, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." We need to understand that the whole plan of salvation, Jesus purpose in coming down from heaven to pay the price of sin, is to be exalted upon the throne of the heart of the humble and contrite. The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that His kingdom was not of this world. Where is it? Jesus said "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you," LUK 17:20b-21. It was the work of the Lord Jesus to reconcile the Father with the rebellious, fallen generation so that the kingdom of Christ may be established in the heart of the humble.
Who are the humble? PHI 2:8 says, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Are you and I humble if we are still in rebellion? No. The humble are those who have their will changed so they have a desire to do what is pleasing unto the Lord. Our text says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." There is humility. We now have a desire to do what is pleasing unto the Lord and the throne is established.
" . . . to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones," is the place of His glory. This is where the Father is glorified; it is in establishing such a throne for His Son. Will the Lord Jesus Christ have a bride presented to Him who has no desire for Him? The desire of Christ and the reward of His whole plan of salvation are the marriage union with the bride. That is Christs reward. Is the Lord of heaven and earth, the Father, going to give His Son a bride whose heart is not with Him? No. So the Lord, by the work of regeneration, works in us an understanding of our fallen condition, the plan of salvation, and an affection worked by that Priestly office which sees what Christ has done for His church.
How does a husband excite the love of his wife? It is by showing her his love for her. That is how God excites the love of His church. He reveals unto them what Christ has done for them. Then, we see a desire and a marriage union. It is the Spirits work to prepare that throne by "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," 2CO 10:5. When you and I learn to understand the obedience of Christ and how the Father was glorified by such obedience, then we begin to understand how the Son is glorified by our obedience. It is Christ being revealed in us. We must show forth that law of love for that is wherein the Son is glorified. It is so precious to see the harmony between the Scriptures.
When we want to quote Scriptures which say "Whosoever will" we must not just use select ones. Lets look at another one; REV 22:17 says, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Precious Scriptures, but they must be held in context. We cannot stop with this one verse but see also MAR 8:34; "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
"Whosoever will" let him come to what? Whosoever will come to a Saviour, who tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. Where? We are to follow in the way of the cross. Keep these two verses in context, and they clearly are in harmony with MAT 11:28-30; "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." When our understanding has been enlightened and our affection fired and our will has been broken, then as an act of our own free will, not out of compulsion or to escape hell, we want to come and take that yoke upon us. Why? It is wanted because we want to serve Him out of a motive of love. Do you see the act of the free choice of man as the connecting link that actually makes salvation yours? It is coming into His service, voluntarily; it is your choice, your desire, and your decision. Yet it is a gift of Gods sovereign grace when we are made willing. It is God who gives you the desire by a faiths view of the love of Christ.
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;" in other words, look what He did. He humbled Himself, stepping into the Fathers wrath to take away the penalty of our sin. We are to look to His obedience and learn what He had to obey. God has no pleasure in a compulsory service. It is not pleasing to God in any way for a person to come to church on a Sunday because Dad said, or even out of compulsion because God said they must. Doing so with a heart of rebellion is not pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. We must attend church because it is our desire to do it. It must be a pleasure for us to come to worship Him and do what is for Gods glory. The Lord is glorified when one is able to fall down to worship Him before His throne from a heart of love. If it is not a voluntary act, but done out of compulsion, it is not pleasing unto our Lord. Those who do not understand that do not understand the gospel. It is a vitally important point.
Hell fire and brimstone are the portion of those who remain in rebellion and enmity to God, but Christ does not drive His people with a whip. The Lord Jesus is a shepherd. He does not drive his people, whipping them into submission. Yes, I realize that the Scriptures certainly teach that there is hell fire for those who rebel as a deterrent against sin, but that is not what we use to lure people to Christ.
Christ leads His flock as a shepherd. There is a big difference. If one sheep doesnt want to follow, it can stray away into distant places, but our Blessed Lord came to seek and to save those who become lost in the fields of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ is a shepherd who goes on before us. JOH 10:27 says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." The sheep do not run ahead of Him, nor does He drive them with a whip. They follow because the Lord has given them a new desire, a new will, and they long to fall down at His throne and sing His praises.
Our text says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." The Father draws those whom He loves unto the Son with love as the motive. We see this in HOS 11:4; "I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them." Do you see what the Lord does? He makes it our desire to draw unto Him with cords of love. He shows us the love He has had for us from eternity and the love of the Son. This fires the affections.
God is sovereign, but there is a freedom of mans actions. We see the consistency, or harmony, between the freedom of mans actions and Gods sovereignty in 2CO 8:16-17. "But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you." The Lord instilled an earnest care in Titus heart, which motivated him to act freely even though the exhortation gave him the earnest desire. God put it there.
Titus was made willing by God who put the earnest care in his heart through the exhortation of Paul, but he was willing of his own accord to perform the work. It was not done grudgingly.
No person comes to Christ to be saved until the will is dissolved in Christs will, having been made willing to consent to the severe, self-denying terms of the gospel. Do you see the discerning mark of the gospel? It is severe. We serve under self-denying terms. That is why it takes a gift from the Father to be able to serve Christ. It is not pleasing to the flesh; it crucifies and kills the flesh.
LUK 14:26-27 says, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." The Lord is touching those natural things that come the very closest to a mans heart. Remember that the word hate means to love them less in the original Greek. They must take second place, and those are severe terms. If you have a mother and father that are unbelievers, they may cut you off, disown and reject you, because of your service to Christ. If that happens, you must be willing to make that sacrifice. Those are the severe terms of the gospel and the reason we need the Fathers gift to make us willing to will and to do.
We must be willing to meet those terms willingly. We cant sit looking over our shoulder, crying over all that we have lost and given up, while trying to go forward to follow Christ. We need patience, and patience as it is used in Scripture means to cheerfully endure and give up all this to obey without a grudging demeanor. That is the act of the will that is the connecting link of salvation; if we do not do these things, we cannot be His disciples.
No person can ever follow Jesus in the way of the cross until the understanding has been enlightened, and the affections have been drawn after Christ as we see in SON 5:8-10. "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand."
I love my father and mother; I love my wife and children; I love my life, but I love them less than I love Christ, "the chiefest among ten thousand." In other words, you cannot find anything with which you can compare it. You love Christ more, enough more to give up everything else for Him. Those are the severe terms of the gospel. The desire to serve Christ must surpass all other pleasures. If it does not, you cannot enter His kingdom; you cannot serve Him. The Lord Jesus Christ will not take second place in our heart. He wants the throne.
There is nothing akin to Christ in the unregenerate soul. JOH 15:18 says, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." Now, do you see why we need the Lord to give us a new will and a desire to serve Him above all else?
In Ruth 1:14-18 Naomi is found returning as the prodigal son to her fathers house. She faithfully admonished her two daughters- in-law to count the cost. The Lord Jesus tells us to count the cost in LUK 14:28-33 and decide if we are ready to serve Him. Are we able to give up everything? Can we put our Isaac on the altar?
RTH 1:14 tells of the test. "And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her." She had told them to return to their fathers house, their idols, and kindred. Orpah was a borderline Christian. She had followed Ruth to that point. She had to give up everything. Naomi cautioned her that she was at a crossroads. Who would she serve? Orpah went back, but Ruth "clave unto her."
When Naomi pointed out the difficulties in the self-denial needed to enter Canaan, Orpahs faith was like the stony ground hearers. As the Lord said in HOS 6:4; "O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away." Orpah had a desire and a will; she followed Naomi of her own free choice until she came to that border between Moab and Israel. When she came to the line, she had to make a choice. She could go back to her fathers house, the idols, and to her family, or she could cut the fleshly cord, and go with Naomi and Ruth to serve the God of Israel.
Now, we see that her desires were like the morning cloud. She looked back and her heart yearned as Lots wifes heart. She became as a pillar of salt. It takes the grace of God for the will to become dissolved in the will of God, giving up the past to have salvation. It comes to the point where it is a free act of the will one is able to cut off everything of the flesh. The sacrifice comes from the heart freely. That is the free will of man that God gives "to will and to do of His good pleasure," PHI 2:13.
In Ruth we see such a blessed contrast. There we see true understanding and affection constraining her will. RTH 1:15-18 tells us, "And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. [Notice Ruths present state of mind.] And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her."
Do you see the test of the will and the deliberate act? If anyone tells you that you can have salvation without a deliberate act of the will, they do not understand salvation. That deliberate act of the will is quite different from the general preaching today. It must be a deliberate act of self-sacrificial service.
Every genuine work of grace is clearly identified by our text. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," PHI 2:13. We must clearly see the difference between the choice that is being preached today and Scriptural teaching of the free act of the will. It isnt because I chose; God chooses, and He gives the grace to will and do His pleasure.
When there is a genuine conversion, there is a complete, unconditional surrender to the Kingship of Christ. That is where we see the fulfillment of salvation in our heart. It is unconditional surrender. REV 14:4b says, "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." They are those who are robed in white robes who follow the Lamb, who were redeemed from all iniquity.
It is not enough that I come once to Christ, I must live in and upon Him daily. One cannot walk up the aisle once and accept Jesus to be saved, and then go on and live in sin. There is no salvation in that. That is not the act of the will that Scripture teaches. It is a matter of living in Him and upon Him daily.
GAL 2:20 says, "I am crucified with Christ: [That means everything of self has been cut off, killed.] nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." If we see our text in context, it teaches that we live by the faith of Christ. PHI 2:1-2 says, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."
We need to look unto the faith of Christ as He stepped into the wrath of the Father, an act of willful, deliberate obedience, before we are able to step into crucifixion of self as an act of deliberate obedience. HEB 12:2-3 says, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
We must be likeminded and living by the faith of Christ. His faith is ever before us, and when we see what He has done to purchase our salvation, we are able to walk in His steps. "...nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
It is through our will being dissolved in the will of God that we are built into a spiritual House. 1PE 2:4-5 says, "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Human nature disallows the foundation of our hope. It is so precious, but natural man does not see any value in it. See the simulation between you and Christ; He is the foundation stone, but we are also "lively stones." We are reflectors of Christ; we reflect the perfect image of Christ because Christ is in us. We become the light of the world because Christ shines in us. Jesus builds us into a spiritual house whose sacrifices are acceptable to God. That is the key to salvation. It happens when our will is dissolved in His will. Amen.
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