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WHY DID YOU COME TO CHRIST

Curtis Pugh
Poteau, Oklahoma

 

            You profess that you are a believer.  You profess that Christ died for you.  You profess that you have been born again.  You profess that you are saved.  You profess that you have repented and come to Christ - that you have come in a genuine and saving way to Him.  May it be so!  But this is not the case with most of humanity.  Most people in this world have not come in a saving way to Christ.  Most do not even profess to have come to Christ.  Many of this world's inhabitants, perhaps most, have never even heard the name of the Son of God.  They have not come.  Others have never heard that name used except used as a curse.  They have not come.  But what about those who live in places where the gospel is preached?  What about in our own country?  What about the majority of folk around us who have never come to Christ?  What about your family, friends and neighbors?  Why have so many of them not come to Christ?  And we ask, why did you come and they did not?  Why did you come to Christ?

            You say you came because you saw yourself as a lost sinner in need of a Savior.  That you are a sinner is most certainly true.  All men are sinners.  All men need a Savior.  God has provided only one  Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost said of Jesus Christ, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).   So it is that in order to be saved, men and women must see themselves as sinners and must come to Christ.  However, just because an individual knows that he or she is a sinner will not cause them to repent and come to Christ.  Those around us who have not come to Christ will admit that they are sinners.  This preacher has never yet met a person who claimed to be sinless.  In spite of this knowledge they have not come to Christ.  We say again; just knowing of one's own sin will not cause an individual to come to Christ. 

            You say that you saw yourself such an awful sinner as to have no hope within yourself.  You say that you saw Jesus Christ and His finished work as your only hope and so you came.  It must be that you saw yourself differently than others see themselves.  It must be that you saw Christ differently than others see Him.  But why did you see yourself in that lost condition when others around you do not?  Why did you see Christ as God's Lamb sacrificed in your place?  Why did you see Him as your only hope?  Why is there this difference between you and them?  So again we ask the question: why did you come to Christ and they did not? 

            Perhaps you have a brother or sister or other close relative or friend who is not a believer.  Perhaps you have witnessed to them, prayed for them, and done all you can to influence them to come to Christ.  You may have taken them to hear preaching, but still they have not come to Christ.  Why is it that you came to Christ and they have not?  Is it because you are more intelligent than they?  Are you wiser than they?  Are you better than they?  What was the cause of your coming to Christ?  You may answer, I came because I was willing to come.  Perhaps you say that others do not come to Christ because they are unwilling to come.  We readily admit the truth of both those statements.  Some are willing to come, but the majority are unwilling.  Why are some willing and why do some remain unwilling?  The question remains: why were you willing? 

            Now then, you must admit to one of these two possibilities.  One possibility is that you were willing to come to Christ because of something superior in your person or character.  In that case you are better than those who refuse to come.  If that is the case then we must conclude that God saves only good people; or at least only people who are better than others.  According to that view, He must only save people who are superior in some way to others.  That must be the case if we say that God saves individuals because something in them causes them to come to Christ.  Do we dare say that God saves people based upon their innate goodness?  That would be saying that salvation is based upon works.  In contrast to that idea, the Lord Jesus Christ said,  "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32).  Paul also made it clear that salvation is not of works when he wrote, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9).  We may rightly conclude from the Bible that men and women do not come to Christ because of their superiority or goodness or works.  Our own honest appraisal of ourselves is in agreement with that.  We each know within our own hearts that we who have come to Christ are not better than those who refuse to come.

            The only other possibility is this: you became willing to come to Christ because of something outside yourself.  If there was nothing in you that caused you to come to Christ, then it logically must follow that it was something outside yourself that caused you to to come to Him.  If that is the case we must conclude that God somehow worked in you to cause you to be willing to come to Christ.  This is the truth according to the Bible.  But human nature objects!  To admit that would mean that God deals with some people differently than He does with others.  Surely you will agree that if God had worked in your lost friend or relative in the same way as He did in you they would have come.  After all, God is not a wimp.  No one "can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35).  Nevertheless, our human nature rejects the idea that God has a right to do as He pleases with His creation.  Humanistic ideas cause us to think that God must act in the way that we think is right.  We make all kinds of judgments as to what we perceive to be "fair" and "right."  In doing so, we would deny to God the freedom, right and ability to do what we demand for ourselves.  Consider this: we demand the freedom to chose our friends and our spouses, but we would deny that freedom to God.  We demand the freedom to chose whom we want to inherit our possessions when we die.  We demand the right to chose whom we will allow into our company and our homes.  Fraternal organizations choose those who shall be members of their lodges.  We Baptists even vote on those individuals that we will accept as members in our congregations.  We think all this is right and proper.  But God cannot, in our thinking, choose whom He will befriend.  We demand the freedom to persuade an individual to become our friend.  Men demand the right to court the person we want for a wife.  Women demand the right to choose whom they will marry.  But we will not allow God to choose whom He wants for His friends.  We will allow that it is right for a man to woo a woman whom he has chosen in order to persuade her to be his wife.  But we will not allow God the right to woo those whom He has chosen in order to persuade them to be His friends.  How vain and self-centered we are!  How shallow and unscriptural is our thinking! 

            Does the Bible teach that God works differently in some people than in others?  Did He ever make a difference - a choice - between individuals or groups or individuals?  The answer is yes!  God certainly made a choice between Israel and the Egyptians.  This is clear from Exodus 11:7 which says: "But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel."  God put a difference between His chosen people and the people of Egypt.  He chose a tribal people; the descendants of Abraham.  He did not choose the Egyptians in spite of the fact that their knowledge, accomplishments and civilization were in many ways superior to that of the Israelites.  Remember, both Israel and Egypt were made up of individuals so that individuals were involved in God's choice between these two nations.  God made a difference not only in those who were to be His people when He chose Abraham and his descendants, He also made a difference between the tribes of Israel.  He chose the tribe of Levi to be His priests.  No other tribe was allowed to serve as priests.  He chose the tribe of Judah as the kingly tribe.  Christ chose whom He would to be his apostles.  He clearly stated that fact in John 15:16.  There we read, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain... ."  He chooses men today to be His preachers.  And in Revelation 17:14, those who will be with Christ in His glorious end-time victory "...are called, and chosen, and faithful."  We cannot deny that God makes choices among humanity unless we are willing to deny the Bible.  We cannot deny that in making such choices He makes a difference between people. 

            The New Testament speaks of God having made a difference between individuals when it says, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world..." (Ephesians 1:4).  To another congregation Paul wrote: "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God" (1 Thessalonians 1:4).  About God's people we read in Psalm 110:3: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power... ."  and Paul wrote, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).  It is certainly biblical to say that God works in some individuals to cause them to do His will.  It is also biblical to say that the choice is God's as to those in whom He will work.  Regarding those whom God chooses Paul wrote these words: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).  From these verses we see that God did indeed make a choice between people.  He made this choice before the foundation of the world.  His choice was not based on human goodness or willingness or superiority.  In fact, He has chosen the foolish, weak, base and despised.  This is clearly illustrated in the case of Jacob and Esau.  Jacob turned out to be a crook and a scoundrel.  Esau, on the other hand, was a pretty good fellow.  God chose Jacob over Esau before the children were born because His choice was not based on their achievements or good or evil in them.  God demonstrated this by choosing one over the other before either was born.  Paul makes this clear in Romans 9:11 where he writes of Jacob and Esau saying: "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth."  

            God's stated purpose - "the purpose of God according to election" -  is this: "That no flesh should glory in his presence" as quoted in context above.  No man can boast of his goodness, intelligence or superiority as being the cause of his coming to Christ!  Good men do not come to Christ because of their goodness.  Wise and intelligent persons do not come to Christ because of their wisdom or intelligence.  Men and women of superior gifts do not come to Christ because of those things.  Men and women come to Christ because they are drawn to Him by God.  Jesus said it this way: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).  God the Father draws men and women to Christ.  He draws those whom He is pleased to call; those whom He has chosen.  Those drawn by God will be raised up by Christ at the last day.  This is the blessed resurrection.  All these things are clearly stated in the verses just quoted!  In this drawing process, God does indeed cause some men and women to see both their awful sin and hopelessness.  He causes them to see Christ as their only possible Savior.  He quickens them and uses the Bible, His Word, to teach them truth so that they understand, repent and believe the gospel. 

            All these things being true, we see that we cannot glory or boast about anything in us!  The cause of our coming to Christ was not something within us.  We are neither good nor even better than those around us who have not come to Christ.  We are neither wiser nor more intelligent.  Paul wrote of the differences God makes in people in this way: "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (1 Corinthians 4:7).  Who makes the differences in people?  Who made you to differ?  Why do some men come to Christ and others do not?  The Bible teaches that it is God who makes the difference.  Only in this way can it be that "no flesh should glory in His presence."  Give all glory to God!  He is the cause of your coming in a saving way to Christ.   

            If you have not yet come to Christ we urge you most earnestly to repent and do so.  Do not wait for some special sign or manifestation or experience.  If you see yourself as a sinner and grieve over your sins, turn and come to Christ for it is "God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."  No person was ever willing to repent and come to Christ whom God did not cause to be willing.  Jesus  said, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).  Christ does not here speak of coming to the church nor to the front at the close of a religious meeting.  You can do that and go away still lost in your sins.  Coming to Christ is not a physical act.  It is a purely spiritual matter between you and Him.  Christ says "come to me!"  If you are willing to repent and come to Christ, then come!  Repent and believe the gospel!  Come and welcome!  Come and be saved!  Christ will receive you and will not cast you out!  Heed this Scripture: "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).  Christ's churches say come!  If you are a hearer of the Word, come!  If you are thirsty for the water of life, come!  If you are willing, come!  There is bread for the hungry and water for the thirsty.  If you hunger and thirst after righteousness, come!  Remember!  Jesus said, "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."