If God in His sovereignty and in His grace and mercy had not sent the Holy Spirit, no man would ever have been saved; the work of Christ would have been to no avail. If it had been left up to the “free will” of man to decide whether he was going to accept it or reject it, EVERY MAN WOULD HAVE REJECTED IT apart from the sovereign, irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit in bringing us, convincing us of righteousness and of judgment, and bringing each sinner back to God.
Now the question is asked, “What is the Holy Spirit’s method of working in the hearts of His people who are sinners, dead in trespasses and sins?” He begins by convincing us of the awfulness of the sin of unbelief because unbelief is the mother- sin of them all. In short, unbelief calls God a liar, saying, “It was certainly not needful for God to go to such lengths to save poor sinners by coming and dying in their place, for surely they are not as rotten in sin as the Word of God declares them to be.”
We read in I Cor. 12:3 these startling words: “…no man can say that JESUS IS THE LORD, but by the Holy Spirit.” You see, this truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ, His authority over every man, is learned, understood and appreciated as the result of the ministry or work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone Who is able to interpret to our souls the deep conviction of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
It is easy for anyone and anybody to say, “He is my Lord.” But is it true? Do we know it in reality? For we must remember our Lord’s own words in Matt. 7:22-23: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.” You see, we can take His name, and profess the fact that He is Lord, and sing, “All hail the power of Jesus’ name let angels prostrate fall,” but is this the sign that He is Lord? Oh no, it must
- be the conviction of our hearts that shows in our lives that He is Lord alone.
- show in our lives of obedience that we have indeed learned by the Holy Spirit that He is Lord and bowed to the name of Jesus and crowned Him Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Phil. 2:9-11! “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This is God’s purpose; this is God’s plan; this has been decreed in God’s eternal counsel; and He worketh everything after the counsel of His own will, which is this: that in Jesus Christ ALL THINGS shall consist and in Him would dwell the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9). Therefore, this bowing of the knee, this confessing with the tongue to the authority of Jesus Christ as the Lord of glory will be performed by everyone, either in grace or in judgment, either in time or eternity. The Holy Spirit teaches this under conviction and convinces of the rebellion and pride of heart against God and His Christ. The Saviorship of Christ is hid in His Lordship; we cannot have one without the other.We must daily as His child
- continually bow to Him as Lord;
- bow to the authority of His Word, for He is Lord indeed of my life.
IT IS FALSE WHEN YOU SAY THAT A MAN DOES NOT HAVE TO BOW TO THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST TO BE SAVED! Every man whom God ever saves bows to Him as Lord in this life, you will bow to Him IN THAT DAY when He will be your judge!
God’s salvation is wholly and completely of grace. God does not owe you or me anything. What He does for us comes out of a heart of love and mercy, given to us freely in Christ Jesus based on His graciousness, certainly not on anything He sees in us! THERE IS NOTHING IN US THAT COMMENDS US TO GOD-nothing, absolutely nothing! All that God sees in us is sin, that’s all! For He said, “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. They are all gone aside; they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” according to Psa. 14:2 and 3.
Since we have no claim upon Him Who sits as Sovereign upon the throne, then He and He alone dictates the terms of salvation given unto us in His Word. He commands men everywhere to repent; and in repentance there is the laying down of our arms of rebellion and the hoisting of the white flag of surrender unto the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ-to rule over us, govern us and lead us from now throughout eternity.
We cry like Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). And when he cried this, it was speedily shown him by the Holy Spirit what he had to do. Hear his own words in Phil. 3:7 “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” Yes, nothing was gain to the Apostle Paul now; the only thing that mattered was to know Christ. This is what he tells us in that 8th verse: “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” “For His sake I have lost EVERYTHING and consider it ALL to be mere rubbish, in order that I may crown Jesus Christ as my Lord, the Lord of my life.”
Do you know why he did this?
1. he had seen in the Lord Jesus Christ a righteousness, a preciousness surpassing anything he had ever known.
2. he wanted to be found and known as being in Him, not having any self-achieved righteousness that could be called his own, but that he might possess that genuine righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness that every man must possess to enter heaven.
He cried, “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?” And the answer came back: “Down at the feet of Christ; let go all you have; give it up in your heart; count it as dung and take up your cross and follow me.” And this he did, and so does everyone whom God saves.
Have you bowed to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ? When you said God saved you, was it a little mental profession that you made? Did you have a Pauline conversion? I Tim. 1:15-16! “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
“In what way do we have a Pauline conversion?”
1. We are first stopped by the Holy Spirit as Paul was on the road to Damascus, and we are convinced of the sin of unbelief: that we have not believed on Christ by bowing the whole man to the whole Christ in repentance, and crowning Him as Lord.
2. by renouncing our own righteousness, which is nothing but filthy rags in the sight of God; we renounce our own doings as ground of acceptance before God
3. by bowing our knees before God, humbly confessing the Lordship of Jesus Christ Who had been sent, acknowledging and crowning Him as Lord of our lives.
NO MAN CAN SAY THAT JESUS IS LORD BUT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
II Cor. 4:5! “…we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” Therefore, all men must be called to submission to Him, for He Who is now Lord and Savior will one day sit as judge. HE IS LORD BOTH OF THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.
There is so much preaching today that calls on men only to believe-“Only to believe!” Men are told to trust Jesus to take them to heaven when they die who are nevertheless living in the practice of sin and in rebellion against God and His laws! They neither yield to His authority, acknowledge His Lordship, nor walk in His obedience; yet they are encouraged to hope for salvation. But no such salvation is taught in God’s Word! Christ came not to save us IN our sins, but FROM our sins; He came not to give us a little conscience- ease so we could go on living as we please, but to DELIVER us from the power and dominion of sin and set us free. It takes the power of God to save a sinner. You can’t save yourself! You can’t just will it done and it’s done! God must make you willing in the day of His power which He does for us by His Holy Spirit Who works His salvation in us, convicting and convincing us of our need to bow to the authority of Christ and crown Him King of our lives.
What a blessedness and mercy it is to fall at His feet and crown Him Lord, to bow to His authority! What joy and peace there is in believing Him as the Savior of my never-dying soul, to rest in His unchanging love; to know He cares for me, to know He loves me, watches over me, knows my downsittings and my uprisings. Praise God, He understands my thoughts afar off; I know Him as the Lifter up of my head, the Counselor for every problem, the Deliverer of all phases of my life; I know Him as the Lover of my soul on Whose bosom I can rest and pour out my soul every hour. I tell you this in grace: to know the One Who listens to all I have to say and tells me from His Word that He is making all things work for my good! That’s my Lord! That’s the One to Whom I have bowed and I praise Him for it.
Yes, to know Him as Lord, to obey Him as King is truly heaven on earth, for in Him I live and move and have my being and in Him I have all things, and I give glory this day to His holy name.
(Extracts from L. R. Shelton, Jr’s message on The Work of the Holy Spirit in our salvation)