Is it Unjust of God to Ask Sinners to Do What They Are Morally Unable to Do?

Some claim it would be unjust of God to command us to do something we are unable to do.
That is an odd claim. Isn't that why we need grace to begin with? ... because we are morally bankrupt?, impotent to carry out the works of the Law? The command "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." Does anyone naturally love God with all their heart? No. We are impotent to obey this command in the flesh. Does that make God unjust for asking us to conform to his holy standards? No, of course not. The commands of God are righteous and holy and we only have ourselves to blame for rejecting them ... not to mention that the purpose of the law is to reveal sin (Rom 3:19-20)
But lets bring this same question to the summons to believe the gospel. We all agree that the choice of right or wrong is put before every person. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." Yet, even if we did not inherit original sin from Adam, the moment we choose to sin in our personal lives against an infinitely holy God, we would render ourselves dead in sin, unspiritual creatures of the flesh, owing a sin-debt we cannot repay. Any good will or moral ability to see the goodness, beauty and excellency of Christ has been destroyed by sin. As a result, "...there is no one who seeks God" (Rom 3:11) Now, in every day life, if you owe a debt you cannot repay... are you still responsible to repay the debt? If your answer is "yes", as it should be, then it demonstrates that there can still be real responsibility regardless of our moral inability. In the case of a debt inability does not alleviate our moral responsibility and the original criticism has thus been demonstrated to be deeply problematic. And even though fallen men still have a will and make voluntary choices, these choices are in bondage to their carnal natures, captive to sin, loving darkness and hating the light. Such sin and bondage came from our self-will and our choice to do evil and the choice to reject God can only be imputed to our own account, making us entirely responsible for our inability.
Author/Theologian James Quiggle explains:
"God is not culpable for the inability of an unsaved human being to propitiate God for his/her sin, because the sinner is the one responsible for the condition "inability." The unsaved person’s inability is because he/she has the old Adamic nature, no relationship with God, no spiritual power to overcome the sin attribute, and no spiritual perception to initiate a relationship with God. The sinner freely chooses sinning because his/her will is of itself always inclined by the attribute sin to choose sinning, and as being rebellious and disobedient toward God never desires to change its inclination to choose sinning. Every person has a choice to go to the left hand or the right, to sin or be holy, to be moral or immoral, to believe or not believe. If there were no real choices, then there would not be real responsibility to choose rightly, no culpability for choosing wrongly, and no rewards for choosing rightly. God’s decrees incorporate a person’s choices as means to ends, but the person does the choosing. Therefore, since sinning is a freely-made choice of the whole human nature, a person is culpable for his or her acts of sin, and thus responsible for their inability. Inability does not mean man’s faculties of reason, will, and conscious are not operational. They are operating, but as conditioned by the sin nature the reason can come to conclusions not based on fact, the will can make a wrong decision, and the conscience can be damaged to support a wrong conclusion and decision. Human beings can think, can make choices, are capable of discerning between moral good and evil, but the sin nature prefers evil. Only God's gift of grace-faith-salvation is able to overcome inability." From the book Adam and Eve, A Biography and Theology

We conclude that it is a real choice put before fallen sinners to receive or reject the gospel of Christ but, because of sin, sinners have rendered themselves impotent to make a right choice. But that is where the gospel comes in ... where. in his great mercy, Jesus does for his sheep what we are unable to do for ourselves. He pays all our debts on the cross and then provides everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe. He does not take us part of the way to God meeting most of the conditions leaving us to do the rest ... for our good will, wisdom and humility to believe the gospel are themselves is a gift of grace... gifts granted to us in Christ where God gives us a new heart to understand, eyes to see and ears to hear (Deut 29:4, 30:6, Ezek 36:26, John 6:63, 65).

Some people may object, but what about the non-elect?  Well. what of them? They are given an opportunity to believe.  If they want to come to Christ they can come.  Ask them if they are willing  to be delivered from their guilt and their bondage to sin and follow Christ and if they say yes, then they are elect but if they say no they don't want to be delivered from sin and don't want to follow Christ then what is there to complain of? They obviously don't want to be elect, by their own admission. (adapted from a Spurgeon quote)

"...we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)

See this short piece by St. Augustine covering a similar subject.


Wed, 06/07/2017 - 13:33 -- john_hendryx

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