Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?Indeed not. So in this post we'll introduce total depravity, and from there back into the argument for Once Saved Always Saved.
Total Depravity is admittedly a confusing title. It doesn't mean man's fallenness is total in the sense that he can't possibly get any worse, or that people can't be decent folks to one another. The total instead refers to the fact that man's fallenness is everywhere and in all places: his heart, intellect, emotions, volition, desires, reasoning, all that he is has been corrupted and ruined by sin. The result is that the natural man is no longer able to submit to God. He cannot, because he absolutely will not, bow the knee.
"No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."John says that nobody, not a single person, is capable of even coming to faith or Christ on their own. Of course we know people do come, so what is the solution to the puzzle? John says the Father first draws them. And a let's take a moment to mention that word draw (Greek helkō) is a forceful word rendered elsewhere as compelled or dragged. Here it's drawn because God is pulling us upward, like a bucket out of a well, inexorably, powerfully, overcoming our objections and breaking away the tendrils of our old nature. (incidentally this is the doctrine of regeneration, but we don't need to get into that yet.)
The result of those two truths is the third part of this verse: Jesus raises as such drawn on the last day to eternal life. Not might raise, or could raise, but will raise. All the fallen are doomed, but all those born again may be fully confident in His guarantee to save them.
"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot."Paul says that the fleshly mind, the mind consumed with this world and life, is hostile to God. It despises God, His nature, His ways, His plans. Look no further than todays evangelical atheists who believe there is good news and great freedom by being stupidly vicious and needlessly cruel to all those who love the Lord. The natural man does not submit to God's laws, he will not acknowledge that he's a created being in need of a savior. He flaunts the ten commandments, rejects the law when it tells him he is a sinner, he believes himself above it. He does not submit.
Because he cannot. Salvation is so far out of reach for the natural man that it's impossible for him to be saved apart from the work of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14
The natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.The natural, fleshly, every day, normal man does not accept the things of God. He will not believe, he flat refuses to, because they are folly to him. "Your savior who is supposedly all powerful came down, was beaten and killed, and you expect me to sign up to receive similar treatment? That's the stupidest thing I have ever heard." Christianity is folly. What is the man lacking? Understanding. he cannot get his mind around the weakness and foolishness of the cross because such things are spiritually discerned and he is spiritually dead, and the dead do absolutely nothing.
2 Corinthians 4:4
The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.Paul again reminds the Corinthians of another truth while he's at it: Satan has control of the minds of unbelievers and is using it to keep men from seeking after God. It's not enough that their own hearts are fallen, broken, misguided, prefer evil, refuse to submit, it's also true that Satan is actively working to feed them their desires and so see them perish. He has blinded their minds. As a result they are incapable of seeing the truth of the gospel and turning in faith to Him to be saved. No ability, no salvation.
Not Upon Their Own Free Will
More could be said about Total Depravity. We could add Is 64:6, Jer 17:9, Ps 51:5, Eph 2:1-5, Jn 3:19, Rom 3:10-11, Jer 13:23. Or more verses. Or we could go to Romans 5 and discuss original sin, but we won't, these four verses are enough to conclusively prove that the Bible states that man is by nature lost, incapable of getting back on his own, and can only be saved when God saves Him.
This corrodes the pelagian notion that we can either save ourselves, or prepare ourselves for salvation, neither of which is true. If you doubt that, go back and read John 6:44 again.We are therefore removed from the equation of salvation altogether.
It is a matter entirely in God's hands.
But as good as this is, the next argument is even better.
Next: Part III - The Immutability of the Decree of Election