The previous five parts have established a foundation for understanding Divine History. Part one noted a consistent means of salvation throughout history. Secondly, Scripture must be interpreted by a literal historico-grammatical interpretation approach. Thirdly, God’s promises to Israel in the Old Testament were unconditional and are yet to be fulfilled. Fourthly, the church began on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and not before. Fifthly, the only way to understand God’s plan is to know the completed canon of Scripture. This sixth segment identifies that man is born spiritually dead and how he is able to receive salvation.
Man is born separated from God in a helpless and hopeless condition (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). He is spiritually dead. There is nothing he can do to gain acceptance before God unless God reveals Himself to man and man chooses to trust in God’s revealed will for salvation. Note the following principles:
· Man is born in sin and he possesses his body of sin until death or the rapture Rom. 6:6, 12; 7:24; 1 Cor. 15:51-57. The body of the unbeliever will control his life in sin, because the unbeliever cannot please God in any way. Even the body of the believer retains the sin nature and causes a battle in the soul of the believer who trusts in Jesus Christ. That body of sin will tempt him to sin unless he is totally dependent on God’s Spirit, which Scripture calls the filling of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
· Spiritually, he is not able to please, to satisfy, or to approach God in any way because of his sin and God cannot look upon sin Gen. 2:16,17; Rom. 3:9-10; Eph. 2:1-3. Man is spiritually dead. The unbeliever cannot understand the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14) and cannot satisfy the righteousness of God from his works (Is. 64:6).
· The unbeliever does have faith, because many trust in other gods, themselves or some system of doing to gain an afterlife Acts 17:18-23. The unbeliever does not trust by faith in the right object of salvation. The unbeliever trusts in many things just like a believer, like flying in an airplane, but rejects trusting in the divine provision of Christ’s shed blood for atonement.
· The unbeliever cannot understand the things of God apart from God’s convicting ministry John 16:8-11; 1 Cor. 2:14. The unbeliever’s spirit is dead, therefore it will reject any revelation from or conviction of God’s revelation.
· God provides the way of salvation through Christ’s death Rom. 5:8. Even in the rejection of man, God provides that way because of His love. God’s love is not dependent on a proper response. God’s love acts regardless of the response. Our godly love is only in response to His love for us (1 John 4:19).
· God the Holy Spirit convicts of the whole world of sin, righteousness and judgment John 16:8-11. The conviction is made to the entire world. Conviction is necessary for man to see his lost state and separation from God. Conviction allows for rejection. God is bigger than some people think. God handles the rejection of some people, likely a majority of people, because His love is infinite and He gives regardless of whether man responds to the conviction, or not. God’s conviction shows that God’s grace provision is sufficient, but not necessarily efficient. God allows man to reject God’s provision. Rejection requires the Justice of God to leave man in condemnation and the ultimate consequence of the Lake of Fire.
· Man can be saved by faith alone in Christ alone by God’s grace Eph. 2:8-9. God provides the way of salvation through Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of the world. Man must exercise faith in Jesus Christ. God the Holy Spirit then takes that spark of faith and regenerates the human spirit so it can relate with the infinite God (Titus 3:5).
· Man is redeemed from sin by the precious blood of Jesus Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19. Man can do nothing for salvation. Faith becomes the spark, choice, or decision God then takes to carry the man from spiritual deadness to spiritual life.
· When man exercises faith in Christ, he is only saved when the Holy Spirit regenerates him, not because of the decision made John 1:12-13; Tit. 3:5. Man’s faith does not save him, but without faith man is not saved. God does not force the issue. God could force the issue, but then free will would not be involved. God allows the human response to be the point where God sovereignly regenerates man to spiritual life.
· God is not obligated to man regardless of what man does; God is only obligated to Himself and His Word Rom. 9:14-16. God is no respecter of persons. He does respect His own perfect character.
Man is born spiritually dead. Through God’s conviction, which is the only way man could understand that he needs salvation and is the only way man could understand what he needs to do for salvation, man chooses to reject or accept God’s plan. Man could not be saved unless God draws Him. He could not understand unless God revealed Himself. When man understands and humbles himself in totally dependence on the mercy of God, God obligates Himself to His character and regenerates man according to divine will.