By Justin Edwards
As mentioned in Monday's post, Circumcision of the Heart and the Irresistible Call, no man can come to God until God first circumcises the heart. This open-heart surgery must be performed to awaken us from spiritual darkness in order for us to see the Light of our salvation. What struck me last night was yet another testimony to this sovereign truth whereby God must first move upon us before we can, not may, respond to Him by repentant faith. 2 Corinthians 4:6,
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
In the first work of His creation, it was God who willed the light to shine forth from the darkness. So to does He will for His light to shine forth from the heart of the unbeliever. The graceless soul of man is in darkness and desperately wicked, confused, and conformed to the things of the world. But when God shines through our hearts, doing so out of the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), He gives us eyes to see the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ Jesus! Yet, why is it necessary for God to first shine through us before we can come to knowledge of the truth? Just prior in 2 Corinthians 4:4 we see,
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
It is impossible for unbelievers to see and receive the light and truth of the Word of God. The Lord has ordained Satan to blind the minds of the lost, and this statement is absolute for every human. As such, how can a dead man live? How can a blind man see? How can a deaf man hear? None of these can just will themselves to be made alive or be cured. It is only by the miraculous work of God that they may live, see, and hear!
Those rejecting the biblical truth that the Holy Spirit must first make us a new creation before we will believe cannot work themselves around this passage. Because man is dead in his sins (Ephesians 2:1) and blinded by the god of this world, God must circumcise our hearts (Deuteronomy 30:6) and shine in us so we can be spiritually made alive (Ephesians 2:4-5). It is not that He makes salvation possible for all men because in doing so He would have to circumcise every heart, quicken every spirit, and shine through every soul of man. If this were true, it would contradict the omnipotence of Almighty God, thus reducing Him incapable of finishing every work He starts (Philippians 1:6).
Just as God created everything out of nothing, so to does He create repentance and faith out of the emptiness of the soul and the heart of the dead man. On Genesis 1:3-5, Matthew Henry wrote:
God said, Let there be light; he willed it, and at once there was light. Oh, the power of the word of God! And in the new creation, the first thing that is wrought in the soul is light: the blessed Spirit works upon the will and affections by enlightening the understanding. Those who by sin were darkness, by grace become light in the Lord. Darkness would have been always upon fallen man, if the Son of God had not come and given us understanding, 1Jo 5:20. The light which God willed, he approved of. God divided the light from the darkness; for what fellowship has light with darkness? In heaven there is perfect light, and no darkness at all; in hell, utter darkness, and no gleam of light. The day and the night are the Lord's; let us use both to his honour, by working for him every day, and resting in him every night, meditating in his law both day and night.
As I reflect on this sovereign work of God whereby He spoke "Let their be Light" in my own heart, I rejoice and praise Him! For if it were not for His mercy and sovereign will to save me, I would still be a wretch on his way to an eternal hell. I believe it was John MacArthur who I recently heard say that the doctrine of election is the most humbling doctrine of Scripture - I must wholeheartedly agree, and I thank God for His saving grace through my Lord Jesus Christ!
Soli deo Gloria!