Monday, November 18, 2013
A Choice Is Made
“O happy day, that fixed my choice On Thee, my Savior and my God! Yesterday in church we sang the hymn ”O Happy Day” from which the above lyrics are taken. Yet this time was different. It was, along with several other hymns I could name, no longer sang hyprocritically as it had been done dozens of times before when I was part of the “Primitive Baptist” Church. As part of their continuing journey to truth, I have considered it my duty to point out to my little congregation certain expressions in the hymns we sing which overthrow that false system of which they were once a part. Gospel means, praying for the lost, preaching to the lost, and the perseverance of the saints are doctrines taught in several of the hymns which are sung on a regular basis among the churches. The odd thing is that they are sung without hesitation, only to have ministers ascend into the pulpit and proceed to preach against the very thing which they sang. “Let us tell them of the Savior…”, yet no one tells anyone of Christ. ”Is there here a trembling jailor…”, looking for a time salvation? The Articles of Faith are already being rewritten. Will the same hold true for hymns, or will they cease to be sung altogether? As hinted at by our title, one area of inconsistency in the singing and the preaching involves the role of the will in salvation. As other men have done, Hardshells have over-reacted to the modern evangelistic appeal of “accepting Christ”. While I agree with those men who say that this is not the best way to express to sinners what is really required of them in being saved, we should not cast the baby out with the bathwater. There is a tendency in human nature to go to the opposite extreme when it sees what it thinks is an error. I am quite sure that this has happened in some men’s opposition to decisional regeneration. One of the biggest steps toward truth which today’s Hardshells can make is to come to see that the will plays a role in salvation. God in His sovereignty does not, as Spurgeon would say, rob man of his manhood by saving Him apart from his will. If the new man is made to believe, then obviously the will was turned in the direction of faith! If the new man is said to receive Christ (John 1:12), then how could this be done without volition of his will? If the saints have “made a covenant” with God (Ps. 50:5), then the will made a choice to do so! None of this implies salvation is not of grace, for there yet remains the question “How did the will come to choose what it did?” As one who used to be in terrible error, I can now say assuredly: A choice is made.