One objection Calvinists often pose to non-Calvinists regarding salvation is the involvement of free will in sinners being converted/made right with God. Calvinists would have you believe that the free will of man has absolutely nothing to do with salvation and that if it did, that the man would automatically be prideful or that salvation would automatically be “works salvation,” instead of “salvation by grace.”
In meditating upon this through the years, I have come up with a parable/analogy to show how silly these objections are. Man choosing to be saved does not mean that he is being prideful, nor does it mean that his salvation is now a “works salvation.” In my opinion, these silly objections simply consist in Calvinists engaging in the redefining of Biblical words. They define the terms in light of their theological system, instead of allowing the true definitions of Biblical words to define their theological system.
BOASTFUL BEACH PARABLE/ANALOGY
Two men were at Boastful Beach one day. They loved the beach, because it fulfilled the “lust of their eyes” as they looked at all the bikini clad women. They were enjoying their day basking in the heat of the sun and getting a tan in order to fuel their own “pride of life.” They both knew that in order to get a “hot girl,” they had to have a tan. One of them began to get a little too warm, so he decided to take a swim in the Sea of Sin.
There were people there, near the edge of the water, warning him not to go into the water – they were called the Wise Warners. He mocked them, made fun of them and told them, “It looks refreshing to my eyes and I think it will feel good to lust of my flesh.” They pleaded with him not to go, for he will end up drowning in the Sea of Sin. Then his dead body will eventually float down the River of Regret, go over the Waterfalls of Wickedness and into the Lake of Fire.
Yet, he simply would not listen to the Wise Warners. He dove head first into the Sea of Sin, instead. It felt good at first, but the longer he was in there, the further out he drifted. He eventually realized that he no longer had his feet on solid footing as he was being dragged out further and further into the depths of the Sea of Sin. He was going places he never intended to go in the first place.
He wasn’t a good swimmer, was beginning to struggle and was having thoughts that he might drown. He thought back upon the warnings he had heard and wished now that he had heeded them. He didn’t see a way out now, though. He began to despair, thinking it was too late for him.
He had no power of his own, no strength, to swim back to Boastful Beach. He didn’t want to go back to Boastful Beach anyway. His pride is what led him into this situation in the first place, since pride leads to destruction. He’d much rather swim to Salvation Shore, but he definitely didn’t have any strength of his own to swim over to that location. Everything seemed hopeless.
Then he saw it off in the distance – a boat was making its way in his direction. It was called the Boat of Brokenness. Only the humble/contrite were allowed aboard. People from the boat cast him an Eternal Life Preserver (Jesus).
All he had to do was humble himself, reject the Sea of Sin, grab onto the Eternal Life Preserver and he could be brought on board the Boat of Brokenness. They would then transport him to the Shore of Salvation, where he would be safe.
Sure, the Sea of Sin was pleasant to look at with his eyes. It was also pleasant to his flesh, in order to cool off his tan. Sure, most other people were doing the same things he was doing. Sure, he may lose lots of friends and be mocked/made fun of like he did to the Wise Warners, if he chose to grab onto the Eternal Life Preserver. YET, he knew it was the right thing to do. In fact, he hoped to join the Wise Warners eventually.
Finally, after much consideration, he grabbed onto the Eternal Life Preserver, was brought inside of the Boat of Brokenness and transported to the Salvation Shore. He’s glad that he grabbed onto it when he did, because he later found out that it was only available for Today, for Today is the day of Salvation. If he hadn’t grabbed onto it when he did, he might’ve never had another chance.
Also, he wasn’t aware of it at the time, but the Alligator of Apathy was making his way in his direction. If the Alligator of Apathy would’ve gotten a hold of him, he might have never escaped the Sea of Sin. It is rare to find someone who escapes the bite of the Alligator of Apathy. For those who have been bitten by the Alligator of Apathy, it’s almost as if the Boat of Brokenness becomes invisible and the Wise Warners become completely forgotten about.
Now, in this parable, even though the man decided to grab onto the Eternal Life Preserver, did he deserve any credit for his salvation? Could he of called a press conference declaring how he had “saved himself”? Of course not! Humility was the prerequisite for him to even be saved from his demise. If he would’ve tried to take credit for his salvation at all, people would’ve completely laughed at him, knowing he was a fool.
The ONE who deserves ALL of the credit is the ONE who INITIATED the mission to save him from drowning in the Sea of Sin and ending up in the Lake of Fire. Yes, he CHOSE to reject the Sea of Sin, but if it wasn’t for the rescue mission via the compassion of the INITIATOR, he would’ve surely drowned and been damned to the Lake of Fire forever. He had no power to swim to Salvation Shore. He was completely dependent upon someone else helping him.
And it is completely our fault that we were in the foolish situations we found ourselves in, because of our own sin. We can’t blame anyone else – Adam, Eve, parents, siblings, friends, the world, etc. We are completely to blame for all of our sin.
We rejected the promptings of our consciences, the testimony of the Word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We did what we knew we shouldn’t have done. Ultimately, God deserves all the credit for everything good in our lives, even though our choice is involved and we deserve all the credit for everything wicked in our lives, even though there may be bad influences involved.
I CAN’T IMAGINE WHERE I WOULD BE TODAY WITHOUT HIM SAVING ME!
SO, is someone prideful for saying that they were convicted by the preaching of the Word of God, drawn near unto salvation by the Holy Spirit and then CHOSE to forsake their sins and trust in Jesus Christ? Is it works salvation to CHOOSE to properly respond to the message of Jesus dying for you on the cross? And when people hear the Word of God and don’t respond properly to it because they COULDN’T, who is ultimately responsible for them going to Hell? The one who wouldn’t enable them to respond properly…
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