It is no easy thing to save a sinner in his rebellion against God.
Think of all that the Lord must overcome when he draws us:
Satan: Until we’re born again, the prince of the powers of the air holds us captive. Though we are not necessarily “possessed,” we are slaves of Satan. Jesus described the devil as a strong man guarding his palace, who fights tooth-and-nail to keep his prisoners. Only a Stronger Man is able to overcome Satan’s deception and enslaving power to set the captives free.
Sin: We are born “in sin,” infected with the moral disease inherited from Adam. Sin incites us to commit sins, enslaves our wills and is far too strong for any of us to escape on our own, no matter how many times we tell ourselves I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me. God must not only break our slavery to sin but our love of it.
Our flesh: Our fallen human nature apart from God. The Bible says our flesh cannot please God, has no taste for God, and is at enmity with God. Our flesh resists God at every turn – it produces doubts, excuses and reasons to reject God faster than Apple puts out iPods. And our flesh loves and craves everything but God.
Unbelief: Until God gives us the gift of faith, we will never on our own believe in Christ. We love darkness. Our unbelief is willful and stubborn.
Blindness: Before we’re born again we can’t see God’s kingdom or Christ’s beauty.
Spiritual deadness: Before Christ we’re not just sick, but dead – flat-lined – no spiritual heartbeat.
No fear of the Lord: We tell ourselves either there is no God, or he doesn’t see or doesn’t care about our sins.
Defective consciences: Sin, like a monkey wrench thrown into a machine, distorts our consciences. Before Christ, I knew it was wrong to steal. Yet I lusted, lied, got drunk and did drugs with no compunction. My conscience didn’t fire on all cylinders. I even swore when I prayed.
What power God exerted to bring us to himself! Salvation is humanly impossible. We could no more have overcome Satan, sin, our flesh, blindness, dead hearts, unbelief and God-hate than squeeze a camel through a needle’s eye. We could never have created in ourselves a love and delight in Christ. God removed our hearts of stone and gave us hearts of flesh. He changed us from garbage-lovers to Jesus-relishers. Revelation’s Warrior came conquering and made us trophies of his grace.
How mighty is God’s strong hand! How unstoppable his grace! Praise God, for by this same strong hand he will transform us into his own likeness and keep us to the end. No one will snatch us out of Christ’s strong hand. If he so powerfully saved us he will surely strengthen, protect and deliver us. Put your hope in Heaven’s Warrior to fight for you. Put your hope in our Strong Hand God.