The Baptists of the Bible are known as predestinarians; and rightly so, as they hold that God has from all eternity decreed all things that come to pass, from the creation of the universe to the sparrow falling. Does this then mean we also hold that man thus has free reign to do as he pleases, since all things must be as God determined them? Not at all! We are persuaded that man will do as God pleases, and not the reverse. Further, we hold that no man is free to excuse himself in the indulgence of sin, by contending that "Since God fixed it, I can't help it." We believe as strongly as any, we suppose, that God has indeed "fixed it," and we as strongly believe too, regarding what takes place, that man "can't help it," yet neither of these positions allow us to obviate the clear teaching of the Word of God regarding what takes place in the poor sinner when he has been born of the Spirit of God.
The quickened sinner is alive to God, and made dead to the law. However, he finds a conflict in his members. He sins when he would do good, and the very evil he hates, he discovers himself doing. See Romans 7:15-17. The poor sinner made alive by the quickening Spirit as well finds he delights in the law of God after the inward man, but lo! he is brought into captivity to the law of sin.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1,2.) True enough, the redeemed sinner continues to sin, but he cannot continue in it without feeling the same conviction the apostle did to some degree or another: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24). Convictions bring the same sure truth in sinning as related of Moses: "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;" (Heb. 11:25). If a child of God does not know the brevity of pleasure sin brings, he soon shall. If he sows to the flesh, he shall of the flesh reap corruption. This law of sowing and reaping is as certain as the law of gravity, or for that matter, any other law the Lord has set in motion.
It should be considered by all the family of God a serious departure of doctrine and practice for any to treat the sins of saints casually. Yet it is reported from time to time that there are those among us that "excuse" their sins upon the purposes of God. May it be hoped that the churches of their membership would treat such conduct with the same disdain as they would the gravest errors of arminians, by turning them out to the world, with the hope they may be granted repentance unto the acknowledging of the truth.
Volume 5, No. 2
March - April, 1991