The Twin Causes of Error – Sermon Application #1
There are many people who claim to be Bible-believers in our day, but among these there are countless souls who have relied on human reason and have ended up espousing unscriptural errors. We can see a biblical example of this kind of error in Matthew 22:29 where the Sadducees used human reason to deny the resurrection. Pastor Vradenburgh focused our attention on how errors of this kind have corrupted the pure faith of the professing church.
Application to the doctrine of regeneration:
When human reason corrupts the doctrine of regeneration, it removes the supernatural aspect entirely. Just as the Sadducees, the rationalists of Jesus’ day, denied the supernatural, so many deny that a miracle of God is necessary for someone to believe the Gospel. Paul said to the Christians at Philippi, “unto you it is given…to believe on [Christ].” (Php. 1:29). To the Romans he wrote that “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3). To the Ephesians he said of faith, “it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). The new birth in Christ is not a work of human achievement but of divine creation. As the Scripture says, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:10). What a marvelous miracle which has occurred within us! Let’s take some time to recognize and acknowledge that salvation is a work of God for which He alone receives all praise and glory!
Application to evangelism:
The more credit that man is given in his own salvation, the more that evangelism will seek to appeal to man instead of God. If we understand the doctrine of regeneration correctly, we will know that God has sole power to regenerate a sinner. The Bible tells us that “there is none that seeketh after God.” (Rom. 3:11); and Jesus said to His disciples, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (Jhn. 6:44). Thus, the salvation of a sinner rests entirely in the power of God. With this in mind, evangelism efforts will reflect a dependence upon God’s power to save. Rather than putting trust in our ability to persuade, in our personality, in our likability, in our friendliness, we will go to the Lord in prayer and put our trust entirely in Him. If we are to have any genuine fruit in our evangelism, we must be on our knees crying out to the Lord for the salvation of sinners. We must be awakened to the horrible fate of the damned and empowered by the Holy Spirit to travail in prayer for their salvation. We must be awakened to how powerless we are in evangelism and how powerful God is when we begin to pray: “as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Is. 66:8).
Application to the doctrine of eternal security:
When we preach that salvation is a work of God, there are some who suspect an open door for license. After all, if our salvation doesn’t depend upon how we live, then we might as well go on sinning. If we are eternally secure in our salvation, having already received eternal life, then what is to restrain us from evil? This may sound convincing, and we know that anyone who preaches free grace rightly will be accused of it (Rom. 6:1), but this reasoning fails to understand the inevitability of transformation. Describing one in a regenerated state, the Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). The reason sinners want to sin is because they are dominated by the sin nature, but the born-again Christian, having been given a new nature in Christ, desires to be free from sin and will fight to obtain greater and greater victory over it. This transformation is inevitable. As the Scripture says, “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as [God] is pure.” (1 Jhn. 3:3) Thus, eternal security opens no door to license, but on the contrary, secures us in a state of grace wherein we pursue increasing holiness.