The Nature of the Fallen Man
By Nick Bibile
Gods restraining grace!
Pelagius was a British monk (c. 354-after 418) who emphasized the free will that God gave to humanity; Pelagians rejected predestination as well as original sin, the belief that the sin of Adam and Eve spiritually contaminated the human race. He taught that the sin of Adam and Eve affected only them, and that human beings are born without sin and with the freedom to choose their own path in life. Pelagianism spread, it became an increasing problem for the church, and the aging Augustine worked fervently to stop it. Pelagius
pointed out there are heathens who are very virtuous and live a very good life without harming anyone. Augustine said, these so called virtues were sins, as they did not spring from faith. He said, their good deeds did not come from the motive of love to God and giving glory to God. After a little over a thousand years later, John Calvin firmly maintained that the natural man cannot do any good work whatsoever, without the saving grace of God. John Calvin developed the doctrine of common grace. Common grace does not pardon the sinner nor has any effect on salvation. Common grace extends to all creatures to all mankind.
Mt That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Common grace maintains a measure of moral order; it distributes various gifts and talents among all men. Common grace is connected with restraining grace of God. We will see this later.
escape to a place where they can live most comfortably and some who are rich go
Ge And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
All natural men who are spiritually dead are Gods enemies, and we all build our homes on a cursed ground and added to that Satan is called the god of this world.
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,
He is called the prince of the power of the air. (Eph 2:2)
This earth is a very dangerous place to live because of sin, as there is the devil, the cursed ground (world) and the natural man who is exceedingly evil. We can see this evil all around us.
Last week I heard on the news where some teenagers called a Chinese foods place and ordered some foods for about $60.00, they wanted the foods to be delivered to the home, when the man came with the foods it was an abandoned type of a house, the teenagers took the food and put a sheet over the mans head and beat him to death. But when these teenagers appear in court and you look at them, they do not look any different than any other kid in the block, they look innocent and not the type of kids who will ever do such a horrible crime. When you see a man on the lose raping women or a man with a gun down the street shot someone when they get arrested they look like you and me and the mans neighbors cant believe that this man can do something horrible like this as he lived a decent life.
Now what is the difference between these young people and the others? The usual answer is they are bad and we are good. How about the good people who are caught in sin? Let me tell you all natural men are Gods enemies; they would be extremely evil if God did not restrain them. When you see the natural man who behaves well and have a good moral character, it is not because of their nature that they are good but God has restrained them. Their nature is exceedingly evil, they seek to do evil but they have been kept from wickedness not because they are good but because God has restrained and kept from sin.
Ro 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
This is extreme wickedness, want to kill and murder men. Their tongue are extremely deceitful full of poison.
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their language is an abomination to the Lord. Cursing comes out like a stream of water, and they are full of hate and bitter.
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
They live by the sword or the gun. The gun is their god. They are full of pride and if anyone makes them angry they will fight, they will fight to kill. The other day early in the morning a policeman stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation, when he walked to the motorist car, the man pulled a gun and killed the officer. These men will kill anyone.
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
They are ferocious above measure, they will destroy everything wherever it prevails.
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
They are violent, cruel and savage. They do not know the meaning of peace.
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Every wickedness comes with disregard to God. It all came from Adam and Eve as they had no respect to God, and had no fear of death.
For, did the Lord let every mind loose to wanton in its lusts, doubtless there is not a man who would not show that his nature is capable of all the crimes with which Paul charges it, (Rom. 3 compared with Ps. 14: 3, &c.) What? Can you exempt yourself from the number of those whose feet are swift to shed blood; whose hands are foul with rapine and murder; whose throats are like open sepulchers; whose tongues are deceitful; whose lips are venomous; whose actions are useless, unjust, rotten, deadly; whose soul is without God; whose inward parts are full of wickedness; whose eyes are on the watch for deception; whose minds are prepared for insult; whose every part, in short, is framed for endless deeds of wickedness? If every soul is capable of such abominations, (and the Apostle declares this boldly,) it is surely easy to see what the result would be, if the Lord were to permit human passion to follow its bent. No ravenous beast would rush so furiously, no stream, however rapid and violent, so impetuously burst its banks. In the elect, God cures these diseases in the mode which will shortly be explained; in others, he only lays them under such restraint as may prevent them from breaking forth to a degree incompatible with the preservation of the established order of things. Hence, how much soever men may disguise their impurity, some are restrained only by shame, others by a fear of the laws, from breaking out into many kinds of wickedness. Some aspire to an honest life, as deeming it most conducive to their interest, while others are raised above the vulgar lot, that, by the dignity of their station, they may keep inferiors to their duty. Thus God, by his providence, curbs the perverseness of nature, preventing it from breaking forth into action, yet without rendering it inwardly pure. (John Calvin Institutes BOOK II CHAPTER 3 SECTION 3)
We are all bad as Judas, bad as Pharaoh, bad as Herod bad as the Pharisees, bad as Hitler and bad as the rapist in the city if not for the restraining grace of God. We are all natural enemies of God as those teenagers who killed the man who brought them food. If we have not committed the unpardonable sin, it is not because we are good but we are indebted to God for his restraining grace. Now lets be honest, have you ever lost your temper and acted like a fool and if not for Gods restraining grace you would have killed someone or even raped someone in your temptation. It is not we restrain ourselves from evil and sin, but God. In the same way, the enmity of God reigns in us and we are under its power. A slave cannot control his master. Enmity against God is in us; we cannot control it in our power. And we are servant this terrible master.
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
The restrained power is not from us but of God. We are indebted to God; the world is indebted to God. If not for Gods restrained grace what will happen to this world, there will be no rules and regulations, as the Bible says even the government the magistrates the policeman on the road is ordained by God, if not there would be hell on earth. The most glorious work is that God exercises his restraining grace over a wicked world. We are all like wild horses powerfully corrupt with much speed but God holds the reins on the wild horses, God in his sovereignty can release the rein if he wants to, then we see terrible crimes happening around us, men who went to a good school and was educated and famous are capable of becoming a murderer. Everyone remembers the OJ Simpson case. If not for Gods restraining power we all capable of becoming the exceedingly wicked. Gods restraining grace is more awesome than him ruling the raging sea, or else all of us will be doing the highest acts of sin.
Now let us see how God restrains men.
Then God has ordered the government for mankind in preventing man hurting man; there is the police officer, the courthouse to restrain from exceeding sin. God has setup the church, which is a light to the world and men, are restrained of their corruption when they see a true godly Christian around.
Ro 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Then if there are sinners in the church who hears the word of God but still not awakened, means not regenerated but enlightened by the Spirit of God as they hear the word and will not be very wicked as God keeps them from going to deep wickedness or else they will. They shamefully continue in sin but they are not exceedingly wicked as God restrains them.
If sinners are awakened by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and brings guilt of their sins and then if they are kept from sin, it is because God restrains them. Then there are those who are restrained under the word of God. The word of God works on mans hope, promises, punishments and fear, hell is revealed to us and is real to us because of Gods mercy, has given salvation and eternal life, and keep us from sin, because it is from the restraining grace of God.
1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
God restrains the corruptions of men by his providence; providence has placed them in by in different circumstances. If these natural men were in the same circumstances of Pharaoh, they would do exactly what Pharaoh did, and if they had the same circumstances of Hitler, they would do exactly what Hitler did. But providence has placed them in different circumstances and they live an orderly good sober life, but they would do as Hitler would have done if they were in Hitlers shoes. But Gods providence restrains their corruptions.
God also restrains mens corruptions by particular events of providence. Remember the man Nabal who was very rich and evil. When David sent his men to him, he insulted Davids name and his men. Then David and his men went to seek him in order to shed blood, but it was God who restrained David by his providence from shedding blood. God used Abigail as an instrument.
1Sa 25:26 Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.
1Sa 25:32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
34 For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
We Christians too are greatly indebted to God in his restraining grace, keeping us from exceedingly wicked acts of sin. Even how much godly you are if God decide to keep you alone, you will fall into dreadful acts of sin. It happened to David when he took Bathsheba to bed and killed her husband. It happened to Noah when he got drunk and lay naked after the flood. It happened to Peter who was so close to Jesus, when he denied him three times. We too can fall into much worse sins than this and we owe everything for Gods restraining grace. God has made a covenant with his elect, that through the seed of Abraham we will be blessed, God elected us before the foundations of the world. Although we can be wicked as Pharaoh, Judas and Hitler and deserve nothing but hell, it was God who gave us the spiritual birth and restrained us from evil, it is all of grace. He had now promised that he will never leave or forsake his people, and even if there is great temptation, he will make a way of escape. Remember it is not our power it is the power of God.
Now in true Christians, the principle of enmity does not reign. Although we are in the flesh, it has great strength and sometimes it is too strong for us without God almighty power we would sink. God gives his restraining grace to the unbelievers and to the Christians. But there is a difference. The difference is, God gives his restraining grace to his children in the way of covenant of mercy. In the covenant of grace, there is mercy to his children. It is God who is faithful and not us, so let us not be proud of our knowledge in scripture and how strong we are, or how good we are in the site of other men, it is all of God and how we are greatly indebted to his restraining grace!