Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Journey to the Primitive Baptist Church

I have been asked by several people how I ended up in the Primitive Baptist church.  The answer is simple, yet to those who are unfamiliar with the doctrine they preach it takes some explaining.  I can say that the journey has not come without some costs.  Fellowships I treasured are not what they used to be, although I pray earnestly that they be restored.  The Lord is graciously answering that prayer by and by.  I have seen some people come to embrace what the Primitive Baptists teach that I never would have thought would believe it.  I guess I include myself in that statement.  Most of what people ‘think’ Primitive Baptist believe, is in fact, not what they believe.  I have heard some rather bizarre things that people outside the Primitive Baptist adamantly and assuredly proclaim we believe.  I’ve heard all the snake handling jokes and the outhouse jokes.  I can assure you we only handle snakes after they’ve met our garden hoe or shotgun.  And we actually have a very nice new sanctuary…air conditioning and indoor plumbing included.  We don’t believe we are the only ones going to Heaven.  We actually believe there will be people out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation…and denomination!  We believe there will be people there that lived their life never believing what we believe.  We do believe in predestination and election, but most likely we don’t believe them the way people think we believe them.  We don’t just preach about predestination either.  We realize 98% of the bible is about how to live and 2% is about how we were saved.  We do keep that in mind.  We don’t walk around with our noses in the air wearing shirts that say ‘chosen’ on them.  There is more humility in the primitive baptist people I know than any group of people I have ever met.  I have found the Primitive Baptists are too often the victims of misunderstandings and gossip.  Tragically, many will never darken the door of a Primitive Baptist church simply because what someone, who actually knew very little about us, told them.  The only thing I know to tell people that erroneously misjudge who we are and what we believe is…come and see.  What you will find is love and humility.  You will find the scriptures taught and explained in a way that you most likely never have.  At least that’s how the churches I’ve been to are.  I spent the first thirty years of my life outside the Primitive Baptist Church.  So how did I get there?
Where do I begin?  I guess at the beginning…I remember being in a church service and hearing a preacher tell a story about the time his mother died.  It was a sad story, very sad.  I was about 6 years old…and I loved my momma!  I remember crying as he told his story, not really understanding why I was crying.  Sometime before this I had asked someone how I would know when it was time for me to be ‘saved’.  My older brother had already accepted Jesus and been baptized.  So, how would I know when it was time for me?  I’m sure they told me many things but all I remember is them telling me that I would just “feel” it and probably would be crying.  Well after the preacher’s ‘momma’ story, I was sure doing some crying. I thought to myself, “This is it!”  When the preacher asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus I shot out of that pew like a cannon!
Fast forward to about age 12.  I was in my room listening to some gospel song about Jesus, his suffering, his death, his resurrection, and hell.  I became emotional, thinking about what Jesus did on that cross.  I thought of my sins, knowing that I deserved every degree that hell had to give.  My mind went back to that time when I was 6.  I wondered, “Did my decision that night come from a desire to surrender my life to the Lord, or was it based more on emotion that came from thinking about my momma dying?”  It was the beginning of many years of questioning and scrutinizing my salvation.  So that night I decided I needed to ask Jesus into my heart again, but this time I would really mean it.  Surely I would find some relief in that.  Shortly after that, questions starting sneaking back into my mind.  I thought, “I know this last prayer wasn’t based on my emotions about momma…but, how would I ever know if I really meant that sinner’s prayer that I was told was the gateway to my salvation?”  What if a part of me was just seeking salvation because I was afraid of Hell?  What if my decision had more to do with self-preservation than self-denial?  These questions would haunt me for many years.
Fast forward to age 27.  I was still praying the sinner’s prayer every now and then…just to be sure…just in case I didn’t really mean it the last time…hoping this next time would leave no doubt in my mind.  But each time I had the same result.  I knew then that no matter how sincere my prayer was, if I was honest with myself, I could always find a touch of selfishness in that prayer, just a hint of motivation by fear.  My prayer would always be a prompted by a combination of feeling sorry for my sins, and being terrified of burning in Hell.  I have heard some sermons that describe Hell so vividly…the unquenchable fire, the torment.  Those thoughts were always on my mind when I prayed that prayer.  So the doubt would always be there, no prayer could ever be 100% sincere.  It would never be 100% about complete surrender and repentance of my sins.  Would a prayer partially motivated by self-preservation be acceptable to a holy God?  How sincere is sincere enough?  Besides that, so much of my life was a rejection of Jesus Christ, how could one instant of accepting undo all the past and future rejections?  The confusion was real.  I had trouble finding answers.  Everyone I talked to seemed so mechanical.  They would just smile, tell me it’s normal and not to worry about it.  They’d say, “Everybody doubts their salvation from time to time, it’s just the Devil’s way of confusing you”.  I never was offered any scriptures to support that…it was just sincere advice.  I needed something more than that, something I could sink my teeth into, something real, and something undeniable from the scriptures.  I wasn’t much up for accepting something as truth just because someone else did.
That undeniable truth wouldn’t come to me for several more years.  So overtime, my doubts about my own salvation became tolerable by just frequently praying the ‘sinner’s prayer’.  Hoping it would be ‘good enough’ for God.  It was all I knew to do…when doubt came in, I would just pray it again.  While dealing with the confusion of my own salvation, a new burden came on me.  A burden that revolved around the idea that people all over the world, every day, every minute, were going to hell.  However, that final eternity was avoidable, it was fixable, there was something that could be done about it.  I became overwhelmed with the thought of other people suffering for eternity while I just went through my daily routines.  School, work, play…all the while people were speeding towards any moment…anytime…death could come on them and…poof…no more opportunity to avoid eternal damnation.  Wow, what a burden.  People are actually going to hell!  I began to think, “What can I do about that?”  I’ve always heard people talk about ‘leading someone to the Lord’, but I never had…but shouldn’t I be trying to…I mean isn’t that a Christian’s responsibility to share the gospel in hopes that someone will accept it…and really mean it.  So I tried to start evangelizing the best I knew how.  I’d take a few minutes every now and then to stop someone on the street and ask them about their salvation.  I’d talk to telemarketers, I’ve chased people down in parking lots, I’d go knocking on people’s door, I even talked to a guy I was in a wreck with while we waited on the police!  If someone didn’t respond to the gospel I presented to them, I’d just repackage it to suit more where they were in life, in hopes they could relate to it better and be more open to it.  That’s the least I could do considering what was at stake.  But realistically, only about 1% of my week was devoted to presenting the gospel in hopes someone would accept Jesus.  Then the burden got heavier, I mean really heavy.  Almost drove me insane.  I walked around, all day, thinking…what about that person…or that one…or that one?  Some tried to sell me the ‘you don’t have to worry about everyone, just the ones the Spirit burdens you for’ line.  But as was usually the case, no scripture was given to support that line of thinking.  Besides, I felt burdened about everybody!  It fell into the sincere advice category for me.  I would see someone and think ‘they’ve probably heard the gospel before, but maybe I can present it in such a way that they really get it.’  Maybe my method can change their eternity.  I was pretty persuasive…I could do it.  Nope.  No matter how polished my delivery was some people were just angered when they heard the gospel.  But on the other hand, sometimes I noticed when I was clumsy and awkward…people listened to me with tears in their eyes.  I’ve seen many times people having an obvious love for the Lord but would be totally convinced their salvation was brought about by good works.  How can someone truly be saved if they didn’t even understand the truth about ‘how’ to be saved?  What a tragedy!  These people would spend their whole lives loving and serving the Lord only to find out Hell would be their home because they ‘misunderstood’ the scriptures. 
This went on for about 3 years or so.  I remember sitting at the circus one day with my family.  I was in a huge auditorium.  Thousands of people.  In the midst of the ‘greatest show on earth’, all I could think about was eternity.  What about the guy that took our tickets, the person that sold us the snacks, the person in front of me, the trapeze artist, and the lion tamer…where will they spend eternity?  How can I sit here laughing and enjoying myself when so many people around me are possibly going to hell?  This was my breaking point.  Is this really how a child of God should feel about evangelism?  How could I eat, sleep, spend time with my family, doing anything fun….when people were going to hell!  This is where I knew something wasn’t right.  It was a burden I couldn’t bear.
It was time for me to seek the truth.  No more taking people’s word for it, no more giving creditability to a preacher just because he had more degrees than a brain surgeon.  I had to know for myself.  It was time for me to seek the scriptures.  It was time for me to search out the truth of the salvation I had heard offered and offered so many times before. 
 I began the journey of untangling my mind by trying to understand the process of the salvation I knew and had always been taught.  I wondered, if it is like I’ve heard it before…that you have to repent, believe, confess and accept Jesus in order to be forgiven…at what point do I actually become forgiven?  At what point does Hell cease to be my home and Heaven become my new one? Is it when I say ‘Dear Lord’, or ‘amen’, or sometime during the prayer?  Was it instantaneous in the moment I mentally committed to him?  I remember as I struggled with this thought…I would see someone come down front on Sunday to accept Jesus.  I studied these people, I watched them closely.  The preacher would pray with them, he was asking them to say the same prayer I had said so many times before.  Then he would present them to the church.  The belief was they stepped out of the pew a ruined condemned sinner, but right before our very eyes were changed.  Sins put away, born again, a new creature…right before our very eyes.  Problem was…nobody really seemed to care.  People were packing up their purses, looking at the bulletin, leaving to go the bathroom, chatting with their friend...Hello! This person just had their sins forgiven and was born again right here!  Pay attention!  Rejoice!  Truth is, I wasn’t all that moved by it either.  It just didn’t seem right, or real, something was amiss.
I remember a preacher saying one time that if you got hit by a log truck, every aspect of your life would be different.  He then pointed out that Jesus was so much bigger than a log truck and if you truly had an encounter with him every aspect of your life would be different!  What a great tactic to make people ask their self if they really, really, really meant that prayer!  It was the last thing I needed to hear.  I didn’t need any encouragement to analyze my ‘sinner’s prayer’.  I sure didn’t feel like I had that kind of encounter with Jesus.  Not when I was 6, 12, or 27.  I really didn’t feel any different after I asked the Lord to save me than I did before I asked.  I loved him and wanted to serve him just as much before the prayer as after.  I didn’t ‘feel’ anymore forgiven afterwards either.  I pretty much felt the same after as I did before.  The people that went down to the front of the church to accept Jesus didn’t seem to feel all that different either.   I loved the Lord.  As long as I could remember I loved Him and wanted to do right.  I never had a log truck moment.  When I first heard about Jesus and what he did on the cross…I never doubted it.  I believed it was true the first time I heard it.  I believed the Bible was God’s word.  I wanted to follow it, always have.
I was discussing this with a friend one day and he asked me what I thought a person needed to do to be saved.  I said have faith and…he interrupted me.  He asked “where did that faith come from?”  I just looked at him sort of confused.  He said, “God gave it to you”.  We didn’t discuss it much more, but his words stuck with me.  This was the first time I ever even slightly considered that eternal salvation is brought about solely by the work of the Lord.  That maybe, all the things that I believed were the causes of the new birth were in fact actually the effects of it.  It was the first time I even considered that I might not have anything to do with my being born again.  But that was strange to me…it was something I would have to look at closely.  A lot of questions flooded my mind.  But I was at my wits end…I was ready to consider anything as long as it was scriptural.  This became my motto…”The scriptures are sufficient”.  If the bible said it, I would believe it.  Even if it cost me the fellowship of the people I loved and respected.  I tried to erase everything I had ever been taught, I tried to erase every preconceived notion I had about who God was, the salvation of man, the structure of the church, etc.  I started over.
My first step was to try and prove by the scriptures that what I had always believed was, in fact, true.  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t find the sinner’s prayer in the bible.  I couldn’t find an example of someone ‘accepting’ Jesus or find a verse that said I had to in order to go to Heaven.  Nowhere did I see where Jesus, the apostles, or any of his disciples preached a sermon about people going to hell because they neglected to ask Jesus into their heart.  Nowhere did I find them giving the ‘if you died tonight where will you spend eternity’ speech.  Nowhere did I find them telling someone that because of your decision, you have now become a child of God…forgiven…and changed your eternity.  What I did find were things that seem to go against what I believed.  The preachers of the bible didn’t answer questions the same as we answer them.  They didn’t use ‘hell’ scare tactics.  I found where people would ask Jesus what they had to do to inherit eternal life.  He never told them what people were telling me and what I was telling other people.  He never said ‘accept me’, or ‘pray this prayer’.  I found Jesus telling people they weren’t his sheep…and never telling them how to become a sheep.  Christ himself, the greatest preacher ever, never once told someone they were going to hell unless they gave their heart to him.  He told people they couldn’t understand his speech…not that they wouldn’t…but couldn’t.  He told them the reason they couldn’t hear God’s words was because they were not of God…but he never told them how to be ‘of God’.  That would have been a great ‘invitation’ opportunity, wouldn’t it? 
Up to this point in my life I believed that Jesus died on the cross to make mankind savable, and all we had to do to have our sins put away was to believe, repent, confess, and accept him as Lord.  So in order for my sins to be put away two things had to happen.  Jesus had to die on the cross, and I had to accept him.
In my pursuit to prove my former beliefs to be true, I ran across Hebrews 1:3 one day.  It says that when he had ‘by himself purged our sins’…hold on just a second.  That said he purged our sins by himself, didn’t it?  Purged as in…past tense…already done?  Well, that would shed some new light on him saying, “It is finished” as he died on the cross.  But, I thought he needed my permission.  I thought he needed my acceptance of him in order to purge my sins, and if my time on earth ran out before I had done so, then hell was going to be my home.  It takes his work on the cross and my acceptance to have my sins forgiven, right?  But there is no denying what ‘by himself’ meant.  It meant he didn’t need my help or any way.   Otherwise it wouldn’t have been done by himself.  Likewise, there was no way around ‘purged’ being in the past tense.  It was completed before I ever even had a chance to give him permission.  I thought of it this way.  If someone came to me and said, “I cleaned the windows by myself”.  If I believe their statement to be true, there are two things that I can’t deny.  One is that the windows have already been cleaned.  The other is they didn’t need any help doing it.  I believed the bible to be true, so I couldn’t deny the fact that the purging of sins had already been done, and that he didn’t need anything on my part to make that happen.  It seemed very clear that my sins were washed away at Calvary…not when I got ready to let him.  They weren’t dangling out in spiritual space waiting to be zapped away by the blood of Jesus when I got good and ready to let him.  They were already gone, washed, purged.  The idea that my salvation had nothing to do with my desire or effort was undeniable.  Although, I didn’t know or understand much about that belief, I did realize that I couldn’t be part of the salvation equation.  I decided to keep looking just in case.
I came across Romans 5:19, “by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous”.  How many people does it take to make a man righteous?  This said one!  I thought it was two, Jesus’s work on the cross and my willingness to accept his offer of salvation.  Is it possible that the eternal forgiveness of my sins was solely the responsibility of ONE!  It sure seemed to be adding up that way.
So at this point, I am very open to studying more on how the eternal salvation of man is the work of God alone.  But there are still questions…if that’s true…either everyone will be in Heaven, or Jesus didn’t die for the sins of everyone.  Hard question right there!  Aren’t we all jumping up and down, waving our hand at God like a 1st grader with the right answer…saying here I am, pick me pick me?  Don’t we all want to be forgiven and saved, isn’t that in our nature?  Isn’t there something inside everyone that desires to be a child of God, and we as evangelist just have to find a way to persuade them to surrender to it?  Won’t most everyone choose God?  Maybe some just haven’t had the gospel presented the right way?  Maybe some are just being stubborn and need more time?  Maybe some are so distracted by their circumstances they just can’t focus on that right now?  Maybe some are not intelligent enough to get it?  Maybe some will never hear it?  Then I came across several verses that helped me sort through this.  1 Cor. 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness…”  Okay, I thought.  So if by perishing you mean the people that are going to hell, then preaching about Jesus and the cross will always be foolishness to them…wow!  This was totally in opposition to most churches.  Isn’t one of their objectives to get the lost alien sinner in the doors so they can hear the gospel and be saved?  How in the world do you get someone to ‘accept’ something that the bible tells us will be foolishness to them?  Haven’t I been walking the streets all this time looking for the ‘perishing’ with the hope that I can show them the cross and have them accept it?  The bible says they won’t!  The very tool I was using to save the perishing is a tool the bible tells me is ineffective on the person that has never been born again.  How did I miss that all these years!  The rest of the verse was just as interesting to me, “but unto us which ARE saved, it is the power of God.”  I couldn’t deny that part either.  If the gospel is powerful to someone, they didn’t need to be saved, they ALREADY were saved!  I have heard the preacher say so many times, “If what you’ve heard tonight moves you and you feel the Lord calling you, come on down and give him your life so you can be saved from your sins”.  The bible said if the gospel moved you, you ARE saved!  The only conclusion I could come to is that the gospel is not effective in bringing about the new birth.  It is an absolute necessity for those that have already been born again though.  It is their guide in this life and it should be the desire of God’s children to spread this gospel as far as the Spirit burdens them too.
So those that are going to hell aren’t jumping up and down crying out for God…they think everything the gospel is about is foolishness.  Sin, Jesus, salvation, forgiveness, etc….all foolish.  I thought back about the times I presented a well-polished gospel invitation, only to have it utterly rejected and laughed at.  I also thought about the times when my goofy and awkward gospel presentation moved someone to tears.  Why would the gospel move one person and not the other?  Was one of them more intelligent, or have a better mind for long term investments?  Was one more distracted by the cares of this life than the other?  I thought about the times someone spent 30 minutes telling me how much they loved the Lord and wanted to serve and obey him, but thought their salvation was dependent on their good works.  It seemed that my experiences were becoming more understandable as I studied the scripture.
I read through Psalms 14 and Psalms 53 and got a great picture of what these people that are perishing in 1 Cor. 1:18 look like.  I didn’t see anything in those verses that even remotely resembled a desire to surrender to God. They hate him, don’t seek after him, and reject him.  Their works are filthy and abominable…and not one of them does anything good.  That truth brought some light to the question, “How could a loving God send someone to hell without giving them a chance for escape?”  I began to understand that if God did in fact offer salvation to man…man in his wickedness would reject God.  It goes against man’s sin nature to surrender to a holy God and to try and live a life avoiding sin instead of indulging in it.  It would be like asking a pig to fly.  Pigs can’t.  Their nature limits and prevents that from happening.   If salvation is an offer to man, then there will be no man in Heaven.
Where did I fit into this new understanding?  I didn’t feel the way the wicked are described Psalms 14 and 53.  If God offered me salvation, I would take it, wouldn’t I?  I have never felt a desire to reject God as my maker, or Jesus as my savior.  I have often rejected their teaching by foolish choices I made, but never have I doubted that God was God.  I knew I was a sinner in desperate need of a savior.  I didn’t feel like I was the person described in Psalms 14 and 53.  What made me different?  Then I came across Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.”  I believed the Spirit of God was dwelling in me.  Why was it there?  Was it because I asked him to give it to me?  Was it because I confessed him as Lord?  I thought, but if I was perishing, according to 1 Corinthians 1:18, I would think it foolish to ask for his Spirit, right?  1 Corinthians 2:14 told me that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.”  So a person that hasn’t been born again, can’t receive things that come from the Spirit of God?  That’s what it said.   1 John 4:15 told me that “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”  These were lightbulb verses for me…I had it backwards all this time.  I confess Jesus is Lord because God already does dwell in me not as a means to get God to dwell in me.  The scripture said he sent his Spirit into our hearts…NOT because I wanted to be his son…but because I was his son.  I also read in Ezekiel 36:26 where he will give us a new heart and a new spirit.  Wait?  I always thought I was supposed to give him my heart, you know, give your heart to Jesus so you can be forgiven…the bible says there was a “giving of a heart”, but it wasn’t me giving him my filthy one…it was him giving me a new one…not because I asked, but because I was his son…according to Galatians.  I realized that I received his Spirit and a new heart first and as a result of that I had a desire to confess him, follow him, and serve him.  When did I receive that Spirit? Don’t really know.  John 3:8 says concerning the new birth, that the Spirit comes on people like the wind blowing.  You don’t know when it’s coming or where it’s going next.  At some point in my life the Lord gave me a new heart and spirit.  I recognized it later on…acknowledged it.  Just like a natural birth...babies don’t know who their parents are right when they are born.  Sometime later though, maybe 6 months, maybe 12…a child can begin to recognize who their parent is…but they were the child of their parents long before they recognized it.
I felt the burden begin to be lifted, I was on to something here.  I could not deny these few scriptures I had found, although I relentlessly tried to prove them wrong.  I had to come to the conclusion that the people that loved the gospel, Jesus, his commandments and teachings and had faith, did so because they had something inside them that not everyone had.  It was the Spirit of God.  Galatian 5:22 told me what type of things the Spirit of God produces.  I read about love, joy, peace, and faith just to name a few.  There was my evidence.  If I had faith, it was because the Spirit of God was dwelling in me.  I thought back to what my friend asked me that day, about where my faith came from.  Faith is produced by the Spirit, just like an apple is produced by an apple tree.  If you see the apple, it evidence that the tree that it’s hanging on is an apple tree.  Likewise, if you see the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Gal. 5:22, it is evidence that the Spirit is dwelling in that person.  I had been told so many times that if I had faith the Lord would give me his Spirit, but here I read that faith can only be produced if you have the Spirit.  So if I have faith, wouldn’t I already have the Spirit?  Doesn’t all mankind have the ability to exercise faith, thus showing that all men must have the Spirit to some degree?  Paul states in 2 Thessalonian’s 3:2 that ‘all men have not faith’.  I believe God put his Spirit in me, because without that Spirit to produce faith, I would have never wanted to believe in a God I couldn’t see, or lay hold to the hope of Heaven when I had never seen it either.  Now it was making more sense.  When I wake up with a fever and achy muscles, I go to the doctor and he tells me I have the flu.  My decision to go to the doctor didn’t give me the flu, neither did I get it when the doctor proclaimed that is what I had.  I had the flu first, then the symptoms came and the doctor could recognize them and help me deal with it.  We are infected with a virus first…we feel the effects of it second.  That’s what I had been missing.  I had the causes and the effects of the new birth backwards!  I believe, repent, and confess him because I AM born again…not in order to be born again.
The quickening power of the Spirit is not limited to my abilities, resources, and willingness.  He puts his Spirit in whom he desires when he desires.  My role is to just recognize those that bear the fruit of the Spirit and help them understand why they feel what they were feeling.  I thought about those people that I have seen go down the aisle believing they were going to get their sins forgiven.  I realized they were showing the symptoms of the Spirit of God dwelling in them long before they came down the aisle.  Maybe it was years before when they started to feel sorrow over their sins and realize their need for a savior.  Maybe it was a week before, or while they were sitting in the pew that morning.  Nonetheless, the Spirit had already given them spiritual life.  Spiritual eyes and ears to rejoice in the gospel.  A spiritual heart that wanted to seek, understand, and know God.  They were no longer unable to embrace spiritual things as those in Psalms 14 are.  They were different.  The voice of the Son of God had commanded them to come forth into a spiritual life.  They just needed to be told what had happened to them.  Why they feel the way they do.   Why the gospel stirs their Spirit.  It’s because they are one of His and have been made alive in Christ!
I understood.  God did not look down on a sea of people jumping up and down begging him to forgive them, but only taking this one…and leaving that one.  He was not a cruel God that turned his back on a repentant, sorrowful sinner.  He looked down and saw total rejection.  A mass of people that were God hating with no desire to bow a knee to anybody but themselves.  And in his mercy he chose a people out of that wicked group and made them his sons and daughters.  A people out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation.  He sent his Son to pay for their sins.  And because they are his family, at some point in their life he puts his Spirit in them, making them a new creature.  A creature that now can have faith, and spiritual love and peace.  A creature that no longer sees the gospel as a foolish thing, but a powerful testimony to the mercy they were shown.
I thought about my experiences in the past.  I believe from a young age the Lord mercifully put his Spirit in me.  Others it may be at the end of their life.  I thought about all the people that I have met that truly loved the Lord, but couldn’t articulate why they were saved.  I thought about the mentally challenged.  I thought about all the times I had laid in bed wondering if I had really meant that prayer.  I thought about Helen Keller, who was deaf, dumb, and blind.  Who when asked about God, communicated she had always known him, but didn’t know his name.  It made sense to me now.  God chose a people when they were ungodly and his enemies.  He didn’t chose based on their good works, because they had no good work.  He chose to send his Son to die for their sins, and chose to send his Spirit into their hearts making them a new creature.  Man’s nature, or lack of intelligence, or geographic remoteness cannot limit the quickening power of the Spirit of God.  The salvation of man wasn’t in my hands after all.  I do desire to share the gospel though, but not to try and save the perishing, but to present the power of God to the saved. 
At this point in my life I am more confident than ever that the things I believe are true.  There is not enough time to present all the scriptures that convince me this is true.  There is hardly a page in the bible that I can’t find proof of the sovereignty of God in salvation.  I see it very well in my experiences too.  I have exhaustively studied the scriptures that seem to contradict what I believe.  I have yet to find one that cannot be put in full harmony with it when rightly divided and properly applied.  I no longer have to skip over or ignore parts of the bible to keep the scriptures from being broken.
Praise God that everyone that has ever had a desire to be saved, is already saved!  Thanks to the sovereign choice of God in choosing, saving, and regenerating a multitude that no man can number.  This belief is often called cruel, even by some of God’s own people.  But I say how cruel it would have been for God to offer salvation to man, already knowing that it would be rejected by all.  In his sovereignty and mercy, he chose a people to make his own, and not one will be left out.  Is God unrighteous for not choosing all?  God forbid.  For he simply left them in the fallen state they were already in.  They don’t want to be saved…not even if he offered it to them.  He cannot be charged for putting them in a condemned worthy state.  Man deserves hell because of man.  God made man holy and upright, it was man that brought condemnation on himself.  Their condemnation is just and something we all deserve.  In his mercy, he chose to redeem some…to adopt them into his family and give them a seat at the King’s table.  The only reason we want to be saved is because we ARE already. 
If anyone reads this and has a true love for God in their heart, a recognition that they are a sinner that deserves the judgment of God, a faith to believe in spiritual things they cannot see, a love for their brethren, a desire to do right, a willingness to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God…these are evidences that you are his and he already dwells in you.  No need to ask him into your heart, for he is already there.  All glory to God, and none for ourselves.  What do you do?  Rejoice in it, acknowledge it, serve him, and obey him.  Trusting that “we love him because he first loved us”. 1 John 4:19.

I am thankful to have found a body of believers that embrace this as the truth.  A body that still teach it as Jesus did…as Paul and Peter did.  I am glad to be numbered among the Primitive Baptists.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. I grew up Primitive Baptist, and I have been a member since I was 12 years old. This will help me to explain what we believe in a simpler way.