Monday, January 07, 2008

Irresistible Grace and the Heart’s Desire

Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." (Matthew 2:13)

Joseph was warned in a dream that his young son, as well as he and his wife, were in great danger from King Herod. He was instructed to take his family and flee to Egypt as a temporary refuge from the danger at hand. What father wouldn’t listen and obey the warning of an angel of the Lord when it came to the safety of his own family? Some might scoff at the warning if they hadn’t been convinced of the faithfulness and truth of the messenger, but this was not the case for Joseph. So could Joseph have heard the warning in the dream, thought about it, and then rolled over and gone back to sleep and not heeded the warning? I guess that I would assume that he had the cognitive ability to do this, and he really could have chosen to ignore the true warning from God and subject his family to death. I bet that it would have been possible.

However, the fact that he may have had the ability to ignore God’s warning here does not even touch the question of “would he” ignore God. Sure he might have had the mental facilities to ignore God and choose a different path, but there is no way that any father who loves his family would willingly leave them in a situation where there is a certainty that they will be killed. Moreover, if there is a certain way of escape, what father would not wake the family up in the middle of the night and be gone before an hour had passed? No father would dawdle or ignore this warning. He would not ignore it because of the reliability of the messenger and the fact that he loves his family.

Similar to this, when a sinner’s eyes are opened and he has been granted faith and repentance from God alone, is it possible that the sinner might choose to reject God’s grace and stay in a position of being at war with God and awaiting His righteous and holy wrath? I suppose that it is possible that this person could make the choice not to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of his sins. But similar to Joseph’s situation, what person wouldn’t throw himself on the mercy of Christ in order to be saved from the wrath of God that is coming? For the work that is done in the sinner to enable him to believe in Christ opened his eyes so much that he agrees with God both about his own sinful situation as well and with the just punishment that the sinful man deserves. In addition to that, he has a love for both his own soul and for the savior of his soul.

So, because the man being drawn by God to Christ is both able to understand the reality of the situation, the truthfulness of the message, and has his affections aligned in such a way that he would want to be delivered from the wrath of God, what sinner would ever reject the grace of God? The grace of God given to men when God is saving that person is more irresistible to that man than the choice that Joseph’s situation gave him. There seems to be a one to one correlation between those who are drawn by God and those who are saved by Christ’s work (cf. John 6:37-44, Romans 8:29,30). The work of God’s grace is irresistible because no one who is granted this grace would want to reject it.

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