It was God’s sovereign will that fixed the time of my birth. It is the same will that has fixed the day of my death. And was not the day of my conversion fixed as certainly by that same will?
Or will any but “the fool” say that God has fixed by His will the day of our birth and death, but leaves us to fix the day of our conversion by our own will. That is, he leaves us too decide whether we shall be converted or not, whether we shall believe or not? If the day of conversion is fixed, then it cannot be left to be determined by our own will.
God determined where and when and how we should be born. And so He has determined where and when and how we shall be born again. If so, His will must go before ours, in believing. And just because His will goes before ours, we do become willing to believe. Were it not for this, we should never have believed at all! If man’s will precede God’s will in everything relating to him, than I do not see how any of God’s plans can be carried into effect. Man would be left to manage the world in his own way.
God must not fix the time of his conversion, for that would be an interference with man’s responsibility. No, He must not at all fix it so that he is converted, for that must be left to man and his own will. He must not fix how many are to be converted, for that would be making His own invitation a mere mockery, and man’s responsibility a pretense! What a world!
Man wanted to be a god at the first, and he continues his struggle to the last. He is resolved that his will shall take precedence of God’s. In the free-will controversy of the day, we see the same spirit displayed. It is Antichrist that is speaking to us and exhorting us to proud independence. Self-will is the essence of anti-Christian religion. Self-will is the root of bitterness that is springing up in the Church, and it is not from above, it is from beneath. Only consider your natural birth, were you consulted?