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Page 306


  • Voltaire - The pen name of a famous French author and philosopher who lived from 1694-1778. A strong and public promoter of atheism, he experienced powerful judgments of God upon his deathbed and died a terrible death.

  • How is the fact that God sends His Word to fallen man a proof of man's rationality?


  • Perverse - Wicked; stubborn; contrary to that which is right

  • How do those who teach that natural man can freely choose good or evil of himself, or earn part or all of his salvation through good works, deny the scriptural teachings of man's fall, original sin, and total depravity?


     

    So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.

    - Romans 9:16

     

      A wealthy Paris gentleman went to visit his slowly-dying friend and promised to hire the best nurse in the city to care for him.

      After gathering information from various sources, he approached a highly-respected nurse in order to hire her to care for his dying friend. After being approached, the nurse asked, "Is your friend a Christian?"

      The man was surprised by her question. "Why, yes he is," he replied. "But if you don't mind my asking, why do you ask me that?"

      "Sir," the nurse answered. "I took care of the atheist, Voltaire, on his deathbed, and for all the money in Europe, I would not be willing to see another unbeliever die!"

      Why is facing death a very different matter for believers than for unbelievers?

    Spiritual death is the condition of separation from God's saving grace, favor, and communion, the sad condition in which all fallen men are born. Man is born with original sin - in a sinfully guilty state and polluted condition. Spiritual death is total depravity, man's being born spiritually dead in sin. Man's sin has spiritually separated him from God, his only source of spiritual life and growth. God's Spirit no longer dwells in man in his natural state.

    Spiritual death does not mean, however, that man's will is dead or that his freedom to act is lost. Fallen man is still a rational being, and through God's common grace, he still retains characteristics of the wider sense of God's image as taught in the previous chapter. Fallen man still freely chooses and acts for himself according to his own will. Since the fall, however, natural man's will is perverse. It is reversed and desires to serve self, sin, world, and Satan instead of God. It is inclined to all evil and is totally depraved of any spiritual good - of love to God and others. Natural man's will is active; he freely makes choices continually; but being a spiritually dead sinner, he chooses for sin instead of righteousness - for self instead of God.

    Some people base their hope for salvation upon spiritually dead sinners, upon their making a decision for Christ, or choosing to live for God. These, and any other hopes based upon totally-depraved sinners making right choices of themselves, are false hopes. Believing that fallen man will exercise his free will to choose for God, denies the truths of Scripture regarding man's fall, total depravity, and spiritual death.


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