Does unregenerated man have the ability to seek after God and to do that which is acceptable and well pleasing in the sight of the Lord?
By nature, does man desire to seek after righteousness or does he desire to travel in the ways of the world?
What caused Moses to desire to suffer affliction with the children of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season?
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.”
Do you believe that God gave Moses that faith?
Faith is the gift of God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT of God.” (Ephesians 2:8).
We believe that the Scriptures teach man is totally depraved: that man by nature will not seek after God. “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalm 14:2-3).
Paul was inspired to write these words: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12).
Please keep in mind that the Lord inspired the writing of the Scriptures which are the revealed word of God.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in RIGHTEOUSNESS”
(II Timothy 3:16)
“Knowing this first, that no prophesy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old times by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
(II Peter 1:20-21).
Consider this Scripture which shows the condition of man in the creation: “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” (Romans 8:20)
Who are we to question God?
Why was man made subject to vanity?
“Nay but, 0 man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”
Again, notice that this Scripture proves man’s nature is to run after evil: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
The hog’s hide may be cleaned by being washed, but his nature is to go back to the mire.
“. . . according to the proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
(II Peter 2:22)
Man may reform himself outwardly, but he cannot change his heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Scripture teach that God changes the hearts of His people: “A new heart also will I GIVE YOU, and a new spirit will I PUT within you: and I WILL take away the stony heart OUT OF YOUR FLESH, and I WILL GIVE you a heart of flesh.”
We believe this means the Lord gives to His people a tender heart.
Jesus said, “Ye WILL NOT COME to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40.
Jesus knew those who did not believe in Him and this Scripture shows that man by nature CANNOT BELIEVE in God: “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 6:44)
Let us quote the 65th verse “And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME UNTO ME, except it WERE GIVEN unto him of my Father.”
Do you really think that the expression, “Come unto me” means to believe in Jesus?
Peter told Jesus that he would not deny Him.
Why and what caused Peter to do the very thing that he said that he would not do?
Dear reader, do you believe that you could do a better job than Peter?
Do you believe that you could endure and not yield to the temptation that Eve did, and not fall?
“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
(I Timothy 2:14)
As for the case of Peter, We believe that the Lord withheld His Spirit from Peter and left him to himself in the flesh. This shows that by nature man is not able to keep himself by his own strength. We would all fall unless the Lord upheld us by His hand. The Lord taught Peter that man is not his own keeper.
“WHO ARE KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
(I Peter 1:5)
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”
These Scriptures show that the Lord orders and directs the steps of His people.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.”
“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”
What a comfort it is to know that the Lord upholds His people by His Mighty Power!
What caused Joseph to refuse to yield to the temptation of Potiphar’s wife? (see Genesis 30:7-9)
The blessing and guiding Spirit of the Lord is what kept Joseph from falling. By nature Joseph was not better than David, who was a man after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22)
Why did David yield to that temptation which caused him so much grief the rest of his life?
The 51st chapter of Psalms shows that the Lord blessed David with repentance for his evil. We quote the 4th verse: “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
The Lord left David to himself, and Almighty God supported Joseph by His Spirit. Man yields to any temptation when he is left to himself in the flesh. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and when sin is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:13-15)
The expression “when he is drawn away of his own lust” means that God withdraws His Spirit from one and he is left in the flesh as in the case of David and Peter (discussed earlier).
We trust the Lord has blessed us to prove by the Scriptures, that man by nature will not seek after God; he will not do anything that is acceptable in the sight of the Lord, and will run after evil, unless the Spirit of the Lord quickens and enlightens him, directs and guides him into the pathway of the redeemed of the Lord.
Dear reader, had you rather do that which is acceptable in the sight of the Lord rather than enjoy the pleasures of this world?
Do you desire to meet with those of like precious faith which causes you to rejoice and sing praises unto the Lord?
If you have this desire, it is some sweet evidence that the Lord has sanctified your heart in obeying the truth.
What a wonderful blessing!
By Woodrow W. Hudson