THIS IS PART 2 OF 3. WHY MANY TODAY CAN NOT BELIEVE.
Part 1 [https://sbcopenforum.com/2014/08/23/against-fuller-and-the-idea-of-moral-inability-why-israel-missed-the-messiah-and-why-many-cant-believe/] was about how the Jewish people missed the Messiah.
Now of course they all did not miss the Messiah, and not all people today will reject the Gospel. But the reason most of the Jews missed out on the Messiah was because they sinned against God and that caused their spiritual thinking to become futile and their foolish hearts to be darkened. Hard hearts toward God and blinded minds toward spiritual truth are the inevitable and certain consequences of sin. This is not just true of the Jewish people, it is also true of people today and everywhere.
Sin destroys. It ruins. It makes one unholy and unfit for fellowship with God. The answer for sin is in part 3. For now, let us look at the state of the Gentiles and why they are blind to the Gospel truth.
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
Notice the parallels with Romans 1:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would bedishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
In dishonoring God, by sinning against Him, by disobeying His commands, by failing to show Him proper worship, by failing to be grateful to Him, man becomes futile in their thinking, darkened in their hearts and understanding, and are ignorant of spiritual truths and thus excluded from life with God. They are not, as Ken has Mr. Fuller saying, willfully rejecting that which they know as true, but like the Jews before them who rejected the Messiah, they are ignorant of the truth of the Gospel. It is an understanding that is spiritually grasped, and they can not do so due to the consequence of their own sin.
That it is the truth of the Gospel they are ignorant of is quite clear in Scripture as we see from 1st Corinthians 1 and 2nd Corinthians 4:
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it isthe power of God.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
They fail to see Jesus as a savior. The Jews failed to see Jesus as the Messiah. Yet the Jews were looking for their Messiah to come. Sin has as a consequence spiritual blindness. Sin has as a consequence a hardening of the heart.
Back in 1st Corinthians 1 we read:
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did notcome to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preachChrist crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because thefoolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Look back to the Romans 1 quote. Man exchanged the truth of God for a lie. They eschewed the wisdom of God for their own wisdom. This first happened in the Garden, when man decided that they knew better than God and disobeyed. And all of Adam’s sons and daughters follow in those footsteps, disregarding God and instead seek to serve themselves first.
1st Corinthians 2 tells us this:
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
Why can a natural man not grasp the things 0f the Spirit? Why are they foolishness to him? Because he is suffering from the consequences of his sin and rebellion: his thinking is futile and his heart darkened. He can no more reverse these consequences by an act of his will, than he can reverse the effects of gravity when he jumps off a tall building. The difference is that usually when you jump off a tall building, you know what the consequences will be.
All of our moral choices have consequences, some we know about, some we ignore, and some that we are ignorant of and are most unintended. We deserve to suffer for our poor moral choices including the negative results that come our way.
We read in Galatians 6:
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Now who among us has not sown to the flesh? We all have. And the corruption we reap, among other things, is a spiritually futile thinking mind and a darkened heart that leaves us ignorant of spiritual truths and unable to grasp them.
So the question Ken/Fuller asks that is Heaven shut up to a person even if he would want it is a foolish one. Heaven is shut up to every sinner, the way through Jesus foreign to their thinking, their own desires contrary to serving God and their own will unable to rectify their dire state.
So we read in Romans 8:
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who 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 toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Can’t here really means CAN NOT. Those who have sinned and turned away from God [all of us] have as a consequence to sowing to the flesh the reaping of the corruption of futile thinking and darkened hearts. They are hostile to God [His enemies -see Romans 5] and serve themselves, caring not one whit for what God wants from them. They have exchanged the glory of God for an idol or idols and serve them and their lies instead of the truth.
Jesus tells us in John 6:
Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them,“Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
That no one can come unless drawn by the Father does NOT mean that they could come if they were willing but since no one is willing, no one can come unless drawn as Ken/Fuller surmise.
Rather it is dovetailing with the rest of God’s Word that recognizes the spiritual condition of fallen man: blind and futile in spiritual matters. They can not come because they are UNABLE to grasp the spiritual truths of the Gospel. They are IGNORANT with DARKENED HEARTS and SPIRITUALLY FUTILE THINKING MINDS. They are fools who say in their hearts, there is no God like the one Christians believe in, so I prefer to invent my own god.
Notice as well the inability of the grumblers to see spiritual truths. They see Jesus as a descendant of a man, someone whose family they know. And yet, there stood before them their long awaited Messiah, the King of Kings, God in the flesh, the Holy and Righteous One, and they are totally blind to the spiritual truth. Totally! I mean TOTALLY!!!
Now if the people of God failed to grasp Him as He stood right there in their presence, is it hard to grasp that ungodly Gentiles might not grasp the spiritual truths of His saving words?
Another way to look at it is to see them as fellow citizens, so to speak, of the dominion of Satan, willing and active in a world they imagine is the very best possible that they, through their own cooperation, can make even better.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Though willing participants along with that evil prince, since they enjoyed, some more, some less, indulging in the desires of the flesh and mind [God is not mocked, sowing to the flesh reaps corruption], they were also called slaves to those lusts:
Romans 6 tells us: Do you notknow that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
Galatians 4 tells us: However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.
Matthew 6: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.
The power of the Gospel is not dependent on the will of man. For every person,by their nature, is fallen, a hater of God, blind to truth, and focused on their own self imaginations. Those who hear the Gospel, do not automatically grasp its truth and then have a will in their salvation. The Gospel is only powerful when we speak it and the Spirit carries it into the heart of a person and brings him or her to submit to the Lord.
Part 3 is on how God overcomes our fallen, blind hearted, futile thinking mind and drivers us from the dominion of Satan and transforms us into the Kingdomof the Beloved Son.