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Who Makes the First Move?

July 31, 2019

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them…” John 6:44 (NIV)

A common assumption among Christians is that God is willing to save us, but that we must make the first move. Many Christians believe this. Perhaps you do. He will regenerate us and forgive us, but we make the first move. God responds to our initiative in repenting and believing. He saves us, but only when we want him to.

Here’s the problem: If we are saved and our friend is lost, the only difference between us is that we made the first move toward God and the other person did not. Ultimately, our salvation boils down to something we did. At the end of the day it is a human work. We are better than he is. That cannot be right, can it? Is this what the Bible teaches?

If, by nature, our minds are blind to the gospel and our hearts are hard to the gospel, we will not and cannot make the first move toward God. The only way we could ever be saved is if God makes the first move toward us—opening our eyes, touching our hearts, and changing the disposition of our souls.

That’s why the Reformers, who saw this truth in the Bible so clearly, said Sola gratia, “by grace alone,” and Soli deo gloria, “to the glory of God alone.”

Can you see how this might help you find greater joy in Jesus Christ?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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