I’ve listened to Jeremiah preach many times, and I have been edified several times by it. I also heard one of the better messages I have ever heard given on the subject of grace when he spoke at a conference I was attending a couple of years ago. I find him very often to be intelligent, engaging, and well worth listening to.
However, what he said in the Route 66 minute on the radio last week (which they played daily all week long), was just plain wrong. It wasn’t “iffy”, it wasn’t questionable, it wasn’t a “non-essential difference of opinion”. It was wrong. Plain and simple. I don’t think for a minute that he intended in any way to “teach” something that was virtually antithetical to the nature of God as revealed to us in the Holy Bible, but he did.
He stated that before we (all people) become saved, that “while we are alive physically, we are dead spiritually”. And he then stated that as spiritually dead beings, “we cannot communicate with God, and that God cannot communicate with us”. Those were his exact words:
Think about what that would mean for just a minute; if we (as unsaved lost souls) could not communicate with God, and He could not communicate with us. Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about the whole idea of using the word “can’t” in reference to God in any way, and one of these days, I may very well write about that in some depth; but this instance is so glaring just as it is, I see no need for other illustrations.
If we were willing to believe that God is capricious in nature, or even downright malevolent, we could then make an argument for our being (as fallen unsaved humans) unable to communicate with Him. I am not willing, no…I am unable to picture Holy God as being like that in any way. If this picture were our God, what hope would Bartimeus have had in crying out for Jesus as the scriptures attest in the Gospel of Mark?
Mark 10: (46) And they came to Jericho. And as He with His disciples and a large crowd went out of Jericho, blind Bartimeus, the son of Timeus, was sitting by the side of the highway, begging. (47) And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me! (48) And many warned him that he should be quiet, but he cried a great deal more, Son of David, have mercy on me! (49) And Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. And they called the blind man, saying to him, Be of good comfort; rise up, He is calling you. (50) And casting away his garment, he rose up and came to Jesus. (51) And answering Jesus said to him, What do you desire that I should do to you? The blind man said to Him, My Lord, that I may see again. (52) And Jesus said to him, Go, your faith has healed you. And instantly he saw again, and he followed Jesus in the way.
When he heard Jesus was there, he began calling to Him for mercy (47) . Lots of people were threatening him, telling him to shut up (48). Bartimeus cried out all the louder. And Jesus heard him (49), and stopped, and commanded that Bartimeus be brought to Him. And this blind beggar got up, threw off his rags, and walked blindly towards Jesus (50) who was calling to him (49). Christ asked him what he wanted, and he said “My Lord, that I may see again” (51). He referred to Jesus as “My Lord”, he recognized (while still blind!) that Jesus was the Messiah. That he was King, and proclaimed Him as such. How did Jesus respond? He healed Bartimeus, on the spot (52).
Do you see the picture here?
Bartimeus was nothing but a blind beggar, dressed in rags, cast off to the side of the road by society. We (all human beings born on this earth) are blind, unclean, and unworthy.
When Bartimeus heard that Jesus was coming along the road, he realized who He was, and called out to Him. When we recognize the proclamation of the Gospel as being true, when we hear it as being the truth, we cry out to God for mercy.
When Jesus bid him to come to Him, Bartimeus threw off his filthy rags and walked, still without sight, directly to Jesus, naked and humble before Him. When Christ calls us, we admit to our sinfulness, and still in our darkness, we step towards Him in nothing more than faith.
Bartimeus proclaimed Jesus “My Lord” and asked for his sight. We proclaim Him Lord God, and beg to be cleansed.
Jesus alone , by His grace alone, because of faith alone – heals Bartimeus on the spot. Jesus alone, by His grace alone, because of faith alone – cleanses us, redeems us, saves us, on the spot. And even our faith is given to us by Jesus Himself!
“And instantly he saw again, and he followed Jesus in the way (52b).” And instantly we are saved, and we follow Jesus in the way.
Bartimeus was not saved when Jesus and his disciples came along the road. According to David Jeremiah, he was alive only in the flesh: spiritually dead. He was a lost, broken, filthy, fallen human being; and Jesus heard his cries. Jesus answered his cries, called him to Himself. Jesus cleansed him, made him whole. Jesus redeemed him, saved his soul.
Each and every one of us is born into sin, is unclean, polluted before God. If we could not while unsaved reach the ears of God with our cries, and if while unsaved we were unable to hear God’s voice bidding us “Come”, then not one person born in all of human history would ever become saved, would ever become an adopted child of the living God, would ever know the communion of being joined with Him, would ever see Heaven, or the glory of the Lord.
Some other time, I will revisit the essence of this subject, that of Christianity too often wrongly applying a term like “can’t” to our omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God, and the potholes that creates in our paths.
For now though, think on what I’ve “talked” about here today, like the name of the blog says “Think On These Things”, or “chew on it awhile” as I like to personally paraphrase that verse (Phil 4:8).
If you have already submitted your life to Christ, praise God, chew on this and be encouraged as you walk the narrow road home. If you haven’t given your life to Jesus yet, I hope and pray that you will not stop thinking about this until you make a choice. The only choice worth making: Cry out to Jesus, and then follow Him in the way.
Romans 10:12-13 – For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him. (13) For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”