Excerpt from Spurgeon's Sermon: Free Will - A Slave
By C.H. SpurgeonExcerpt from Spurgeon's Sermon: Free Will- A Slave
The Prayer of the Arminian
...Any one who believes that man's will is entirely free, and that he can be saved by it, does not believe the fall...
But I tell you what will be the best proof of that; it is the great fact that you never did meet a Christian in your life who ever said he came to Christ without Christ coming to him. You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an Arminian prayer - for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free-will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying,
"Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not-that is the difference between me and them."
That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah! when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out; they cannot help it. If a man talks very slowly, he may speak in a fine manner; but when he comes to talk fast, the old brogue of his country, where he was born, slips out. I ask you again, did you ever meet a Christian man who said, "I came to Christ without the power of the Spirit?" If you ever did meet such a man, you need have no hesitation in saying, "My dear sir, I quite believe it-and I believe you went away again without the power of the Spirit, and that you know nothing about the matter, and are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." Do I hear one Christian man saying, "I sought Jesus before he sought me; I went to the Spirit, and the Spirit did not come to me"? No, beloved; we are obliged, each one of us, to put our hands to our hearts and say-
"Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes to o'erflow;
'Twas grace that kept me to this day,
And will not let me go."
From Spurgeon's Sermon, Free Will - A Slave
Consider the following prayer which is a summary of Spurgeon's "prayer of the synergist" above:
"Thank you Lord that I am not like other men who don't have faith… I made better use of your grace than did others. Some did not improve on it, BUT I DID "
This is the boastful prayer of the Pharisee, but its theology is consistent with what many of us believe. If evangleicals simply believe we can reach out and accept grace or reject it, without being first transformed/quickened by grace, then it reveals that there is still self-righteousness left in many of us. What is the cure? The belief in the sovereignty of God in our salvation. That alone keeps grace as grace. It is only the grace of God alone which makes us to differ from others. God not treating us as our sins deserve.
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