Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WHO TO BLAME?”

John 6.44

 

As Christmas approaches you may have more opportunity to address spiritual concerns in a person’s life, perhaps even so much as to discuss with someone his spiritual condition. If you find yourself talking to a former church-attender who is not saved, do not be surprised should you inquire why he has never come to Christ to hear him say something that absolves himself of all responsibility. It has been the case since the Garden of Eden that sinners desperately want to shift responsibility for their sinful actions to someone else, even the sinful action of willfully refusing to obey the gospel and come to Christ.

You will remember what Adam did when confronted by God, in Genesis 3.12: “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Genesis 3.13 shows us that Eve did the same: “And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Even when admitting to being a sinner and seeming to take personal responsibility for all sorts of sins, the lost man desperately looks for someone to blame for his lost condition. Adam blamed Eve for his sin. Eve blamed the serpent for her sin. To be sure, both Eve and the serpent had their share of responsibility for tempting another to sin. However, no one forced Adam, and no one forced Eve to disobey God.

It really is a blame game. God has chosen to offer the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and the means whereby that offer is made is the preaching of the gospel, in response to the Great Commission, by Christians, very frequently in a church setting. The church building has no saving efficacy. Neither does the congregation or the individual, be he a witnessing member or a preacher. Yet sinners frequently excuse their disobedience toward God by somehow blaming the appearance of the facilities, or the location of the facilities, of something some church member said, or even the preacher for something he did, did not do, said or did not say. Any reason is a good enough reason, so long as it seems to be plausible, and does not assign blame to where it belongs, which is the sinner himself.

Of course, far and away the most outrageous kind of blame shifting comes when a sinner tries to assign responsibility for his lost condition to God. Never mind that God goes to great lengths in the Bible to establish His holiness. Never mind that God sent His own Son to shed His blood on Calvary’s cross to address the problem of sin. The sinner will go so far as to outrageously blame God in some way for not coming to Jesus and being saved from his sins. Never mind that children are saved through faith. Never mind the salvation of Samuel as a boy and David as a teen. Never even mind that Jesus spoke these words. Matthew 18.3: “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19.14: “Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

You will encounter men and women who are so despicable, men and women who care so little for the reputation God has with children, men and women who are so opposed to the thought that God may have good intentions toward sinners, men and women who are so contrary to the notion of their sins being forgiven, that they will stoop so far as to claim that their lost condition is not their own fault but God’s, that they have no responsibility to come to Christ, and that God is solely to blame for their dilemma.

My sermon is titled “Who To Blame?” though more descriptive titles for this sermon might be “Whose Fault Is It That I Am Not Saved?” or “Who Can I Blame For Rejecting Jesus?” Though I have little confidence a sinner will be converted while entertaining that kind of thinking, there are some considerations I want to share with you this evening that show such distorted thinking is unfounded:

 

First, THERE IS THE LOST MAN’S INABILITY TO UNDERSTAND SPIRITUAL TRUTHS

 

You can just about discount anything a lost man says when it comes to spiritual matters. Jeremiah 17.9 shows us the workings of a lost man’s heart when it declares, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Even James 2.22 makes reference to “deceiving your own selves.” So, though a lost man will think he grasps spiritual truths, and may even claim that he admits that he does not understand spiritual concepts, the fact that he is willing to form conclusions about spiritual truths when he is woefully unqualified shows how deceptive he is to himself.

Allow me to show you why a lost man has no business persuading to himself that he has any grip on spiritual truths: Ephesians 2.1 is a good place to begin. In that verse, the Apostle Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that lost people are dead in trespasses and sins. Therefore, how can a spiritually dead man comprehend spiritual truth? He cannot. Then there is First Corinthians 2.9-16:

 

9      But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10     But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11     For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12     Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13     Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14     But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15     But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16     For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

Thus, it is clearly established in God’s Word that spiritual truth is beyond the grasp of any and every unsaved person. They will claim to understand, but they do not. They will also deny that they do, all the while being inwardly convinced that they are competent to judge spiritual matters. What should lost people do? They need to ask questions and do what God’s Word tells them to do, all the while recognizing that they do not recognize anything beyond the most basic matters, such as come to Jesus.

 

Next, THERE IS THE LOST MAN’S ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND LOGICAL TRUTHS

 

There is no question that lost people do not grasp spiritual truths. Such matters are simply beyond the grasp of the sin-darkened mind. However, lost men are quite capable of understanding logical truths. How do we know? Isaiah 1.18: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” This word reason translates a Hebrew word that refers to deciding and reasoning.[1]

Therefore, since God bids sinful men to exercise their minds in arriving at a decision regarding their salvation, we know that sinful men are fully able to exercise logic and reason. This means, of course, that lost men are capable of understanding their duties and obligations toward God, are competent to understand responsibilities and the price that must be paid for disobedience, but are they are not able to know the mind of God.

It was in First Corinthians 2.16 that Paul declared that we who are Christians have the mind of Christ. However, the lost man can go as far as logic and reason are able to go, but no farther. In Ephesians 4.18 the Apostle points out that an unsaved man’s understanding is darkened, because he is alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in him, because of the blindness of his heart.

 

Third, WE COME TO THE QUESTION OF WHAT THIS MEANS FOR A LOST MAN

 

It means at least two things for an unsaved person:

First, it means that such profound doctrines as the doctrines of election, predestination, free will, and the sovereignty of God are incomprehensible to a lost man. Perhaps you will hear some lost man say, “God has already decided who is going to be saved, so there is nothing I can do.” Excuse me, but that shows both fundamental ignorance and pride. Ignorance because the ignoramus does not know what he does not know, and is too proud to admit that not only does he not know, but he has no business coming to a conclusion about such matters. Those are truths God has decided to keep within the family of God, and it is not for outsiders to know.

As well, it means that such great verses in the Bible as Matthew 11.28, John 3.16, John 6.44, and Second Peter 3.9 are to be believed, but not fully understood by anyone who rejects Jesus Christ and is therefore not indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God:

·        Matthew 11.28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” A young man named Ibrahim ag Mohamed was saved, not by fully understanding that verse when he read it for the first time in his life, but by obeying God and coming to Christ.[2]

·        John 3.16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” How dare anyone distort and pervert this verse designed to not only show God’s love for the whole world and not only the Jewish people, but also to show that everlasting life comes to those who simply believe in Jesus.

·        John 6.44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” This typically misunderstood verse is thought by some to refer to God overruling a sinner’s mind to somehow drag him to Christ against his will, rather than referring to God gently and tenderly showing a sinner the loveliness of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, the willingness of Jesus, and the desire of Jesus to save him, so that he then wants to do and then does do what must be done to be saved, which is simply come to Christ by faith. No one becomes a Christian who does not want to be saved.

·        Second Peter 3.9: “Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Yet there are some sinners who actually insist that this verse does not apply, and they would blame God for their stubbornness, blame God for this foolishness, blame God for their pride.

My friend, there will be no one in Hell who can blame God for being there, and to claim otherwise is blasphemy!

 

Finally, RECOGNIZING THE FOLLY OF TRYING TO EXPLAIN THE INEXPLICABLE TO THE UNSAVED MAN, I SUGGEST WE STAY WITH WHAT LOGIC TELLS US

 

The Bible says that God wants sinners to be saved. We just read that in Second Peter 3.9. How can anyone claim God does not want him to be saved after reading that verse? A man who actually believes God does not want him to be saved should not only never come to church, but make sure his family and everyone else he knows stays away from church, as well. Logic tells you that if God does not want a sinner to be saved that sinner should not consider being saved.

Next, First Timothy 1.15: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Let us be logical, now. Is the Apostle Paul telling the truth here, or is the Apostle lying? If he is lying, logic tells us that Christianity is a fraud. However, if he is telling the truth, then how can a sinner claim that Jesus came for sinners, but not for me? Who is being illogical? Who is the irrational one here?

In John 10.9, Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” I am not here to argue theology with lost people, and I do not want you to argue theology with lost people. No matter how smart they happen to be, they cannot grasp such things. Just tell them, if you enter in by means of Jesus Christ, you will be saved. The God Who cannot lie tells us these things in His Word, Titus 1.2. God wants sinners to be saved, Jesus came to save sinners, and sinners are saved when they simply believe in Jesus. That is simple logic, that any lost man can get a hold of.

Here is one last thing to logically consider. Would God be, could God be, just and righteous if the reason any sinner died in his sins and suffered the torments of eternal Hellfire could reasonably and properly be blamed on anyone other than that sinner, himself? Therefore, it makes no logical sense for anyone to be blameworthy for his sins but himself, since a righteous God could not and would punish anyone except for sins of his own making and choosing.

 

Why do you think a man would want to place the blame for his lost condition on God instead of taking the blame where it properly belongs, on his own shoulders? There are several possibilities.

First, the sinner simply enjoys his sins, yet he wants to blame someone else for his desire to wallow in his sins, be it sins of pleasure or sins of self-pity. Who better to blame than God, all the while pretending to honor God? They pretend to bow to His sovereignty, all the while besmirching His holiness and righteousness.

A second reason may be laziness. There are different kinds of laziness, some who are physically lazy and others who are mentally or intellectually lazy. It just so happens that there are some sinners who are too lazy to strive to enter in at the strait gate, Luke 13.24. They are unwilling to seek the Lord while He may be found, too slothful in their soul to want to struggle with their sinfulness to come to the place where they trust Jesus apart from works of righteousness.

There are certainly other reasons, though none of them are good enough. None of the reasons a man or woman rehearses as the reason they do not come to Jesus will stand up on Judgment Day. Before the Great White Throne, all excuses will be swept aside, and every man’s sins will be laid bare to God’s scrutiny. Everything that Jesus could do to make the way of salvation plain, to make the way of salvation simple, to make the way of salvation easy, to make the way of salvation by grace, has already been done. When all is said and done, and you are burning in the fire of judgment, you will have no one to blame but yourself. As well, your children and grandchildren, who followed your blame shifting example and pointed their fingers at God like you did, will have only themselves to blame for rejecting Christ.

Allow me to close by expressing my own wonder and amazement. When you consider Jesus, and ponder on the His majesty and might, His glory and greatness, how can other factors much affect a lost man? Is He not so wonderful, so glorious, so majestic, so altogether fulfilling, that other considerations fade into the background? Methinks that those who are distracted from a consideration of Christ by something else, by anything else, have probably not really caught much of a glimpse of Him. Behold, the Son of God, and it is likely you will come to Him and be saved.



[1] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), pages 406-407.

[2] Ibrahim ag Mohamed is a pastor and friend in the African nation of Mali whose conversion testimony is a tribute to God's grace.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org