Some of you have found that your family, friends, and fellow workers are not happy over your conversion to Christ - in fact, they are quite hostile. "I liked you better when you were not a Christian!" said one man to a new believer. Be encouraged, my friends; it is not you that they dislike, it is your Master. It is not you that they are against, it is the gospel you believe.
The gospel of God's free grace is hated and despised by natural men. The gospel of God's glory (salvation that gives God all the glory, that begins and ends with Him, that looks to Him as the fountain, the source, the giver, and the gift) is contrary to the flesh. They will not tolerate this message of sovereign mercy nor will they welcome those who believe and preach it. Two errors can walk together in harmony, or at least in peace, but error will never accept truth and will never allow it any room. It must be suppressed and denied. If you dare to declare your belief in the sovereign, electing, infinite, and everlasting love of Christ, prepare for trouble. If you have the courage to preach God's covenant mercies, Christ's sufficient obedience and sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit's effectual call, be assured that you will suffer the same trials as those who have walked this road before.
One of the great old sovereign grace preachers of the past gave four reasons for natural men's attitude toward the free grace of God.
(1) Addressing all men as sinners offends man's dignity. He resents being called a sinner. He does not mind admitting that he is not perfect, but to infer that he is born in sin, without God, without strength, without hope, having no righteousness, and a child of wrath will never do.
(2) The gospel of revelation offends man's wisdom! Do you mean that apart from the Holy Spirit's quickening work, apart from divine revelation, a man with reasonable intelligence and a fair education cannot understand the gospel you preach? Exactly! A man can understand free-willism and he can with natural logic and wisdom understand fatalism, but the mysteries of grace must be revealed. How God can be just and Justifier is a mystery no man understands.
(3) Salvation as a free gift offends man's pride. "I will go home and pray." I hope you do, but prayer does not save - Christ saves! "I will give my money and serve the Lord." I hope you do, but works do not save-Christ saves! Salvation is the gift of God, as is repentance, faith, and all grace. This free gift is despised by all who go about to establish their own righteousness. Men, by nature, just must share the glory if only in a small way. Their pride will not let them beg for mercy and fall at His feet, making their headquarters in the dust.
(4) The demands of Christ's Lordship offend man's love of self. Christ is welcome as his saviour from sin, judgment, and hell, but Christ as Lord and supreme dictator of his heart, hand, health, home, and inheritance is not in his plans. Barnard used to say, "I know who you say your Saviour is, but who is your Lord? His servants you are, and His will you will do, and His company you will have forever." "I will" is still the essence of sin, and "Thy will" is the sum and substance of holiness. No man can serve two Masters. Christ will be Lord of all, or He will not be Lord at all!
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