As a Calvinist, I believe in Irresistible Grace. This means that when God calls us to join His elect, we always will answer Him. Why do I believe in this? The answer is simple: God is sovereign. He has decreed all things and has predestined us. For these reasons, we cannot resist His grace. And because of my belief in this, I don’t agree with the use of the Sinner’s Prayer. There have been countless people who have spoken the Sinner’s Prayer who are not saved today. Repeating some words is not equivalent to salvation. Rather, it is God’s calling on your life that saves you. Instead of deciding to follow Him, we acknowledge His calling on our lives.
A couple of days ago, people around the world celebrated Christmas. For the majority of us, we received gifts. If you didn’t or if you didn’t get what you wanted, just remember that the birth of Christ was the most wonderful gift of all (I wrote about this last week. Click here to read it if you haven’t). One gift that I received was a beautiful Charles Spurgeon Study Bible. As I was reading through it, I found a passage that goes along with what I just talked about. There are a few main points that popped out for me that I will be writing about. Found in Luke 12:8-10 (CSB) it reads;
“And I say to you, anyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God, but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
1. Acknowledgment over acceptance
Luke 12:8 (CSB) reads, “And I say to you, anyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God…” These are Jesus’s own words. He didn’t say ‘anyone who accepts me will also be accepted.’ Instead, He said that anyone who acknowledges Him and confesses Him before others will also be acknowledged before the angels of God. We don’t accept His calling because we cannot resist His grace. Acceptance implies that there is a choice involved. So instead we acknowledge Him and confess Him to others. And when the day comes, Jesus will also acknowledge us.
This is important to understand because it shows why our actions as Christians are so important. We must follow His commandments because we love Him. And we must love Him because He saved us. And so after our acknowledgment of His calling on our lives, we must confess Him. We must live like Christians because we are Christians! It is such a shame when a non-believer is shocked after learning about a Christian’s spiritual life. And so if you don’t already, I urge you to constantly be conscious of your actions and words. Remember that when we confess Him to others, so will He confess us to the angels of the Lord.
2. What He means by “deny”
Luke 12:9 (CSB) reads, “but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.” God does not call everyone. He only calls His elect. Those that He does call will always answer Him. But what about the others? Those that are not the elect will always deny Him. Sure, there may be a time when someone “accepts” God. But if you aren’t chosen by God Himself, you will eventually fall away and deny Him. And so there are two groups of people. Those that are of the elect and who acknowledge His calling and those who have not been called and so they deny Him, His existence, and His authority,
I understand that some view God as evil if this is true. I sometimes catch myself thinking this. However, I always remind myself of something. No matter how good you live, everyone that has ever lived has sinned. There is no escape from it. That is because we are totally depraved. Alone, sinning is what we desire. For that, we don’t deserve life or heaven. But instead of the alternative, God sent His son so that some may be saved. The fact that anyone has been saved shows that God is good. In addition to that, what right do we have to question our Creator? If He chooses to use some people for honorable uses and others for dishonorable, that is His choice. We as His creation have no right or authority to question that.
3. The penalty for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
Luke 12:10 (CSB) reads, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” This final portion is huge. Jesus Christ says that those who speak against Him will be forgiven. However, anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. I have heard James exclaim about how people today constantly blaspheme the Holy Spirit. After reading this, I now understand why it is such a big deal. We must be certain that our actions and words don’t blaspheme against the Spirit.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, blasphemy is defined as “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.” I feel like too often, the Holy Spirit is not given enough credit. Ephesians 1:13-14 (CBS) reads, “In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.” God promised and sent the Holy Spirit to be our Helper. When we heard the Truth, we believed because of the Holy Spirit. Until we take our promised inheritance, the Holy Spirit will remain with us to keep us so that we do not fall away. The Holy Spirit is so much involved in our lives as Christians.
This makes it so much worse when people blaspheme Him. I mentioned earlier the Sinner’s Prayer. While not necessarily all the time, it does certainly blaspheme the Holy Spirit often times. I personally prayed the Sinner’s Prayer with James back when we were both Arminian, and I believe that I was saved from then on. However, so many times have people prayed this prayer and then ended up falling away from the faith. We must always understand that this prayer and words do NOT save us. It is God’s predestined and sovereign choice to save us. This only is possible through Jesus Christ’s work on the Cross. And it is the Holy Spirit who melts our hearts of stone so that we may acknowledge that calling.
Because of this, I cannot lead people through the Sinner’s Prayer. There is no acceptance because there is no decision on our part. Instead, we acknowledge Him. If you are not a believer and you feel like God is calling you to be something different, acknowledge it. Pray and seek Him. Ask for help. Don’t repeat vain words. And if you are leading someone who is an unbeliever, remember these things too. Don’t let your actions or words be the thing to “save” him or her. Instead, let God take control and lead the unbeliever to salvation.
Conclusion and Application
I urge you to remember these things and ponder them in your heart. Remember, we don’t accept Him because there is not a choice for us. Instead, we acknowledge His calling on our lives. Because of this calling, we love him and therefore we follow His commandments. Again, I urge you to be conscious of the words that you speak and the actions that you perform. Let your words and actions confess He who has called you. And remember again that those who have not been called will deny Him. Because God saved some who weren’t deserving at all, He is good. And finally, remember the penalty for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Never forget the part He plays in the Christian life and salvation. It is He who leads someone to salvation, not some words or your decisions. Remember all these things and may we all glorify Him who has called us out from darkness!
Soli Deo Gloria.