There is No God Seeker (Romans 3:11)
By Pastor John Samson
"I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me." - Romans 10:20
Here in this verse, God declares that He revealed Himself to those who were not even seeking or asking for Him. That is something to really think about.
Who was this group that God revealed Himself to?
Well, we might think it is some distant African tribe or all of the many atheists who at one time professed that there was no God at all. However, the startling biblical answer to the question is that its all of those who have come to have faith in Christ.
Romans 3:11 says "no one seeks for God." Literally the text reads, "there is no God seeker."
We tend to be blind to this truth, especially when we might have heard numerous testimonies of (now) Christian people who say they were seeking for God all their lives - seeking Him in many different spiritual experiences, even through searching out many different religions.
While it is certainly true that these people sought many different experiences and were involved in other religions, what the Bible teaches is that none of us by nature wish to know the God of the Bible. We are born DOA (dead on arrival) spiritually speaking, yet we walk a course mapped out for us by the Prince of darkness. We are by nature children of wrath rather than children of God and unless God intervenes, we will never seek to know the one true God. That is the clear teaching of the opening verses of Ephesians chapter 2. All our religious "searchings" are really attempts to run and hide from Him. Like Adam in the garden of Eden after he had sinned, He hid from the presence of the Lord. That is our inner disposition towards God until God moves upon the heart and draws us to Himself. Before that we might want all the trappings of what a relationship with God brings - forgiveness, freedom from a guilty conscience, feelings of happiness and assurance, peace within; but we just dont want to go to God to get these things. We often mistake a desire for these things as a desire for God. Hear again the word of the Lord, "there is no God seeker." (Romans 3:11).
Though the Bible commands us, "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near," (Isa. 55:6) none of us by nature will actually ever do that. We have the responsibility, just not the interest.
We fail to seek Him, not because we have no physical ability to seek. We seek many things. We are insatiably curious at heart. We want to know things. We want to know how things work. We want to know the truth, or so we think. Yet while still in an unregenerate state, the one thing we will never seek is to know God; not the real God; not the God of the Bible. By nature we are not God seekers; but are actually hostile to God at heart. The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. We are searching, not for God, but for ways to live independently from God, often through the means of religion.
The Scripture verse above reads, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me." Every true child of God, trained and taught by the Scripture, knows that we now seek and love Him, because He first sought and loved us.
This is where the often misunderstood doctrine of election comes in. Mark Webb, in recalling teaching this truth to some of his students recounts:
"After giving a brief survey of these doctrines of sovereign grace, I asked for questions from the class. One lady, in particular, was quite troubled. She said, 'This is the most awful thing I've ever heard! You make it sound as if God is intentionally turning away men and women who would be saved, receiving only the elect.' I answered her in this vein: 'You misunderstand the situation. You're visualizing that God is standing at the door of heaven, and men are thronging to get in the door, and God is saying to various ones, 'Yes, you may come, but not you, and you, but not you, etc.' The situation is hardly this. Rather, God stands at the door of heaven with His arms outstretched, inviting all to come. Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction towards hell as hard as they can go. So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to Himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come. Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams. That kind of response, grounded as I believe that it is in Scriptural truth, does put a different complexion on things, doesn't it? If you perish in hell, blame yourself, as it is entirely your fault. But if you should make it to heaven, credit God, for that is entirely His work! To Him alone belong all praise and glory, for salvation is all of grace, from start to finish."
I have long enjoyed the book "Chosen by God" by Dr. R. C. Sproul. It was an enormous help to me when I was struggling to understand what the Bible taught regarding God's Sovereignty in all things, especially in salvation.
Dr. Sproul writes, "All Christians at times struggle to embrace certain teachings of the Bible. Iâ€™ll never forget my seminary days when I challenged Dr. John Gerstner regarding divine election. I made a pest of myself, but Dr. Gerstner patiently endured me. Slowly, I came to learn that I must teach what the Bible says is true, not what I want the Bible to say is true.
Paulâ€™s teaching in Romans finally convinced me that God chooses a people for Himself based solely on His good pleasure. I began to see the depth of human depravity and that the Lord must sovereignly, lovingly, and directly work in the hearts of His elect if anyone is to believe. The graciousness of God toward sinners â€” such as myself â€” overcame me.
Understanding predestination leads to a God-centered theology, one confident that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:29â€“39). I have seen this theology make people desire the glory of God and His kingdom above all else."
This short testimony comes from a man who came to Christ through reading the book: