Choosing to Believe and Luther's Bondage of the Will
Hi, I just came across your site, after trying to understand Luther and his ideologies, and something about these quotes confuses me: [after reading this article] If he is saying that accepting Christ as your savior is sufficient to receive God's grace, does he not discount the fact that CHOOSING to accept the sacrifice of Jesus is in and of itself, an action?
Hi Mike ... Yes, choosing Christ is an action but faith and choice do not spring from an unrenewed heart. God must renew the heart if we are to believe and obey the gospel. Apart from the Holy Spirit no one natually comes to faith in Christ.
The new birth is not a decision you make. Whoever you are, however you came to Jesus Christ, is because God has done a supernatural work of grace in your heart. That is why we pray for unbelievers because they would never come on their own.
Notice the order of grace in the following passage:
Ezekiel 36:25-27 says 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Likewise Jesus teaches that no one can believe in him unless first God grants it (John 6:65) and ALL that God grants will believe (John 6:37). Luther's wrote Bondage of the Will to point out that the Bible teaches that we are morally unable to obey any of God's commands, including the command to believe, apart from a supernatural work of grace in the heart of the unregenerate.
Hope this helps