We are faced with an embarrassment of riches, as it were. God obviously wanted to make this doctrine very clear -
Throughout Scripture we are continually confronted with the fact that we must come completely helpless,
bringing nothing to the table in our own salvation. Regeneration, salvation and justification
are by grace alone, through the gift of faith. Therefore all the glory belongs to God alone.
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks,
are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be
stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
While there appears in our eyes that non-Christians have much outward goodness,
In God's eyes there is no spiritual goodness left in man with which he can summon up faith.
Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19 - And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone."
Titus 1:15-16 -
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their
consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient,
unfit for any good work. We all start out as unbelieving and impure in God's sight. Therefore there is no hidden purity with which faith can
suddenly be summoned up from. We need to be made pure before we have purity of faith in God. We need to be made
into the right kind of tree before we bear the good fruit of faith.
Paul goes on in Titus:
For we ourselves (believers) were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures,
passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving
kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to
his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through
Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)
We cannot come to faith on our own because we are enslaved to our sinfulness, which cannot do what is right.
John 8:34 - Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin."
Paul agreed: For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. (Romans 7:18)
We are not born neutral in relation to God. We are born enemies of Him.
Psalm 51:5 - Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Genesis 8:21 - the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man,
for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth."
Apart from effectual calling and subsequent regeneration by God, a person cannot (morally speaking) come to faith,
because He will not come to faith in his sin.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - The natural person 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.
1 Corinthians 1:21-24 - For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God
through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we
preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and
Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Deuteronomy 29:2-4 - And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.
Matthew 11:27 - no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
John 14:16-17 - And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of
truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.
Romans 9:16 - So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
I realize that many will say Romans 9 speaks of nations, not individuals. But this exegesis will not hold up.
Obviously God is talking about both here. The plain reading of this verse will not allow us to take a purely corporate/
national election here for the simple fact that over and over in this context, including in this very verse, actual individual
lives and wills are in view, including our own.
After the fall man did not immediately die physically, even though God had said that "on the day you eat of (the fruit) you
shall surely die." (Gen 2:17) This can only mean that Adam and Eve died spiritually in the fall. This would lead to their
physical deaths. (Gen. 3:19) As they died spiritually, their spiritual ability to do good and fellowship with God was
completely lost. Only by regeneration (a new birth) can spiritual life, and thus faith, begin again. And if we are
alive, we breathe. If we have spiritual life, we breathe the life of faith, and God keeps his own and loses none.