From Douglas Wilson, Blog and Mablog “Man As Fallen” (my comments regular type): “Because all men are free agents they are free to do as they please. But because they are sinners, what they please to do is sin. They cannot please to choose contrary to their nature, because if they could, it wouldn’t be their nature.” If you are reading this, saying to yourself, “I don’t sin, I’m a good person” or some variation thereof, you need to consider your standard. What is your standard for sin, for goodness?
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21–23). “As sentient creatures, men are free to do as they please. As sinners, men are not free to do right. If a man could repent his sins and believe in Christ with his old heart, then this would be proof positive that he didn’t really need a new heart. He could do all that God requires of us (repent and believe) with his old heart. Apparently, on this view, what the old heart needed was just a little encouragement.” Repent of what sins? Believe in Christ about what? Is Jesus Christ the “Son of God”, the “second person of the Trinity”, or was he a holy and gifted teacher an enlightened one, blah blah blah?
“But there is one other qualification. An unregenerate person can love the Lord, but only by radically misunderstanding and misconstruing Him.” See last sentence above. “An unregenerate person can understand the Lord in His holiness, but this results in a simple recoil away from Him. The only way a sinner can understand who God is, and also love Him, is if the Spirit of God has granted him a new heart.
“The problem with all this is that it leaves us without any hope of salvation, right? No, it leaves us without hope of salvation from man. What is impossible for men is possible for God. It leaves us without any hope of salvation from within. If we are to be saved, it must be from outside. It must be from outside our hearts, outside our family, outside our tribe, outside our church, outside our world, and outside heaven and earth. We must be saved from outside. And this is what we are offered in the gospel of grace.
“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). The drawing is from the Father. It is from outside. “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:65). The gift is from the Father. The gift comes from outside. If the Father does not do the drawing, if the Father does not give it, a man cannot come. Another good translation for the word for draw (elkuo) is drag or haul. “How did you come to Christ?” “Oh, I was hauled.”
So does this mean that no one ever comes? No—it means that everyone who comes (and remember that the entire world will eventually come) has been hauled in by God. “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). In other words, the Father doesn’t try to haul us in, the Father hauls us in. What man cannot do with any success, God can do with no failure. And what is that? The jubilee of all the slaves. The resurrection of the dead. As the graveyard empties, Heaven fills up.