Acceptance or Application?
By Dr. Ken Matto

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(John 6:44 KJV) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Rev 22:17 KJV) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Over the past years there has been a serious decrease in Bible centered teachings in the Christian church and a serious increase in the teachings of man. One aspect of this shift is found in the understanding of salvation. In this treatise I am going to focus on the initial point of salvation. There are two major schools of thought on the understanding of salvation, that is, how a person becomes saved. One line of thinking is that a person comes to the Lord and seeks to become saved by making Christ Lord of their life. The second line of thinking is that God simply takes the Gospel and applies it to those He has named before the foundation of the world and these people do not ask for salvation but something happens whereby they know they have become transformed. My personal testimony aligns with the second line of thought. I never asked for salvation, but God gave it to me.
My Personal Testimony
In August 1980, on a Saturday afternoon, I was flipping around the TV channels and came upon Channel 17 from Philadelphia, PA and it came in great. I received it on a small black and white TV with rabbit ears and at that time I lived in Edison, NJ which was 65 miles north of Philly. On the screen was Dr. Jack Van Impe who was speaking about prophecy and the coming invasion of Israel by Russia. It caught my attention so I watched the program and sent for the records and books. I had become a faith partner and started watching the program steadily every Saturday. At this time I was still drinking but God was drawing me and it was sometime in December 1980 that I knew I had become saved and God took away every desire for alcohol in an instant. The last drink I had was January 1, 1981 and after that I never had a desire for even a beer. Then on January 20, 1981, I met the man who discipled me. He was hired a few days before and was let go about a year later but He received a better job closer to home but the connection was made. I live 8/10 of a mile from him now. That is how I became saved as the Lord drew me in salvation and took away the desire for alcohol. Let me just give one more point here. When I was 12 years old in 1965, I had a small crystal AM radio that I bought from Spencer Gifts for $1.99. I would clip it to the screw on the plate of the electric outlet and that made the whole house the antenna. On Sunday night I would listen and would receive WOR 710 AM from New York very clearly. Every Sunday night there was a program with Blind Evangelist Ralph Montanus and it was from him that I heard the true Gospel for the first time in my life but it was not till I was 27 when the Lord saved me. (1 Cor 3:6 KJV) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. I did not fall down and beg for salvation nor did I have any great catharsis of tears, yet I knew I had been saved because there was a transformation which took place at that time. All my drinking buddies thought I had gone off the deep end. They were right, I did go off the deep end and it was ”Deeper, Deeper, In the Love of Jesus” the title of the hymn by Charles P. Jones from 1900.
Man’s Spiritual Condition
For one to understand man’s ability to ask for salvation, they must understand from which point man would be asking for salvation. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had sinned which resulted in both physical and spiritual death. Spiritual death was instantaneous while physical death became a process of degeneration of the physical body which eventually lead to its demise. As a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, the sin nature has been passed down from generation to generation and there is no one who is bypassed.
Man is a tripartite being which consists of body, soul, and spirit. In the sin of Adam and Eve, they suffered spiritual death immediately, that is, fellowship with God was broken and they were now at enmity with God. Their soul was maintained because the soul of man is the bridge between the spiritual life of the person and their physical body. The soul gives a person their physical life and then delivers their personality and other traits. When the soul is disconnected from the Spirit of God, the result is only a physical outlook on life, that is, the things of the world are the main focus. Before Adam and Eve sinned, their souls were in perfect harmony with God because there was no sin to cause a break in the fellowship. The unsaved man has a soul which God allows so he or she can have physical life but they are disconnected from God because of sin. (Isa 59:2 KJV) But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. We see this principle in the New Testament. (Rom 2:9 KJV) Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; Notice it speaks about tribulation and aguish upon the soul of everyone who does evil. The unbeliever will suffer for their sins, in this world their sin will create anxiety, confusion, disorder, and many other things but if they remain unsaved, they will lose their soul in Hell.
(1 Th 5:23 KJV) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 speaks about the believer being completely sanctified until the Lord returns. The spirit will be blameless because it is the indwelling Holy Spirit in the believer which regenerates the soul thus causing the body to be used in a proper manner and one that is not given over to sin. This is because the soul of man is now reconnected to God by means of the Holy Spirit causing the believer to be a full tripartite being once again, lacking nothing in their spiritual walk.
The reality of man’s spiritual condition is found in three main verses in the book of Ephesians, one in Colossians, and one in Romans.
(Rom 6:13 KJV) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive
                           from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
(Eph 2:1 KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
(Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
(Eph 5:14 KJV) Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
(Col 2:13 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you
                         all trespasses;
The Greek word for “dead” used in these five verses is “nekrs” (nekros) which means “dead, lifeless, or useless.” These five verses teach plainly that prior to salvation a person is spiritually dead. Just as a physical body lies dead after death, the spiritual death which has been passed down from Adam and Eve causes every non-regenerated person to remain in a state of spiritual death. A person who is physically dead has no knowledge of anything around them because they are dead. A person who is spiritually dead has no knowledge of anything spiritual because they are spiritually dead, even though they are physically alive.
Seeking God
One of the aspects of believing a person can accept Christ is the belief that a person is seeking after God for salvation. This belief may become intensified if a person is in some type of problematic situation. If one listens to a show like Unshackled, then you will believe that a person can accept Christ after they seek God while in their situation. Let us test that by Scripture, which is always the standard.
(Psa 14:2-3 KJV) The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. {3}
                             They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(Psa 53:2-3 KJV) God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. {3}
                             Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(Rom 3:11 KJV) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
In three separate Scriptures we read that there is none who seeks after God and there is no qualifier or exception to that rule. If a person becomes saved in a time of troubles, then that was their time selected by God and not by them. The Scriptures bear this out that none seek after God. Why? A spiritually dead person can do nothing except be dead. The Scripture also teaches they do not understand, so how could one understand their need for a Savior if the spiritually dead person is unable to understand?
Who Seeks Who?
Now let us look at the other side of that question and ask who seeks who? Since a spiritually dead person is incapable of seeking after God, people are becoming saved every day, so how is that possible? Once again we must turn to the Scriptures to gain our answer.
(Ezek 34:11 KJV) For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
(John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
(John 10:27-28 KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: {28} And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never
                                   perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
In Ezekiel 34:11, we have a great promise that it is God who will seek out His sheep and that promise culminates in the New Testament. Then when God seeks out His sheep according to the names He wrote down before the foundation of the world, they are given to the Lord Jesus Christ according to John 6:37. Then in John 10:27-28, we see the result of being given to the Lord Jesus Christ and we must look at the language very carefully. First of all, the sheep hear His voice. The word in the Greek for “hear” means to “hear with understanding.” Since they hear with understanding, it means their spiritual ears have been opened. Next you will notice that Jesus knows them, not the other way around. Since they follow the Lord Jesus because they are now His disciples and He gives eternal life unto them plus they are eternally secure because no one can pluck them out of the hands of Jesus. So here we see that it is God who does the seeking and not man.
Understanding our Situation
There is another misconception concerning salvation and that is a person needs to understand their sinful condition so they may make a decision for Christ. The problem with this is that understanding does not bring about a solution. For example, a person is diagnosed with cancer and after they have a discussion with their doctor, they understand a little about their disease. When does a person know they have cancer? They know after the doctor diagnoses it. When do they have understanding? After they speak to the doctor. Now the same principles apply to the spiritual realm. When does a person know they are a sinner? After their spiritual eyes are opened. When do they have understanding that they were a sinner? After they have become saved does a person see their true spiritual condition before salvation.
(1 Cor 2:14 KJV) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14 speaks about the natural man not receiving the things of the Spirit of God. The word for “know” is the word “ginosko” which carries with it the meaning of “be conscious of, understand, or become aware.” We have already read that the natural man is physically alive but spiritually dead. So he is dead to the things of the Spirit of God because being spiritually dead, the things of the Spirit can only be understood when one is saved and indwelled by the Holy Spirit. So therefore, a person cannot come to an understanding of their sinful condition unless they have become already saved and then they will understand what they were saved from.
(Psa 14:2 KJV) The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
(Psa 53:2 KJV) God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
(Rom 3:10-11 KJV) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: {11} There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after
In Psalm 14 and 53, God wrote as one looking down to see if there is anyone on earth who understands and seeks God. This teaching is also repeated in Romans which means it is applicable to every human on earth and not just ancient Israel in David’s time. The reality is that God is the one who is saying that there is no one who understands and when God says no one, He is not making exceptions for anyone, He means no one because as we have seen the spiritually dead cannot understand the things of God and therefore they go their own way in their own understanding.
(Prov 28:5 KJV) Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
The wicked man does not understand what justice is simply because his heart is not inclined toward justice. His ways are contrary to the laws of God and the laws of the land. Those who break the laws will not understand what they are doing because they do not care. They may know they are breaking the law and they do not investigate the penalties involved for breaking these laws. Those who seek the Lord, and only the saved do, will understand the severe consequences for breaking the law. Not only do they understand the temporary penalties but they know the eternal penalty of breaking the law of God. One seeks the Lord because they are saved and want to know more and therefore when they study the Scriptures, they understand all things pertaining to the law and justice. They know that temporary gain is nothing compared to eternal loss.
(Isa 6:8-9 KJV) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. {9} And
                         he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
(Mat 13:14-15 KJV) And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye
                                  shall see, and shall not perceive: {15} For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their
                                  eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with
                                  their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
God had sent Isaiah to the nation of Judah to bring the Word of God but God had warned him that they would hear his words but would not understand. When the Lord Jesus Christ came on the scene, He ran into the same situation. They were spiritually dead and because of this they would hear the words of Christ but would not understand them. It is the same situation today because nothing has changed. We will bring the Gospel and people will physically hear the words being preached but will not understand. The natural, that is, unregenerate man cannot understand the things which are spiritual unless they become saved.
(Dan 12:9-10 KJV) And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. {10} Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
One last verse and there are many others which speak about the unregenerate who will not understand. Daniel is speaking about the entire New Testament period which is called the last days. (Heb 1:2 KJV) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Hebrews 1:2 confirms that we are in the last days from the time of the cross to the last day. This means that during this time period, the wicked will not understand the Gospel. Daniel speaks about many being purified and made white and that is language of salvation but in contrast to those who will become saved, the wicked will remain in darkness and the things of the Spirit will be kept from them and only revealed to those who became saved.
So we have seen in many verses that those who are unsaved will be unable to understand. That non-understanding includes all of the things of the Spirit. They will not be able to understand their spiritual condition because that is spiritually discerned. We have the evidence of Scripture that states the unsaved will not understand anything pertaining to the things of God as long as they are in an unregenerate state. So the idea that a person has to understand their present condition to make a decision for Christ is absolutely foreign to the Bible.
Whosoever? Will?
Another total misconception concerning salvation is the absolute misuse and misunderstanding of the word “whosoever.” It is a shame that preachers and Christians in general will not look at the this word in the original languages to gain an understanding. The word “whosoever” is found in both the Old and New Testament and in neither language does it have a meaning of any person at any time. The free will preachers like to tout this word as meaning a person can come to Christ for salvation at any time they choose. That English interpretation of the word “whosoever” is an absolute deception to true translation and its meaning. It is another case of preachers twisting words to make them say whatever they want it to. How come preachers never twist biblical words when it comes to tithing?
The Old Testament
The word “whosoever” in the Hebrew Scriptures is the word “kô l” which is used over 5,000 times. It carries with it the meaning of “totality, whole, entire, or all.” Other uses of the word beside “whosoever” is “any, whoever, wherever, or none.” The translation of the word depends upon the context where it is used. Examples are found below in Exodus 35:5 and Deuteronomy 6:5.
(Exo 35:5 KJV) Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass,
(Deu 6:5 KJV) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
The New Testament
The word “whosoever” in the New Testament is the Greek word “pas” which is used over 1,200 times. It carries with it the meaning of “all, everyone, every, each, or everything.” The translation of this word depends upon the context of the passage where the word is used. As you can see in the three examples below, that if you were to use “all or everyone” in place of whosoever, you would come to the same understanding of the passages. If you used the same meaning the free will preachers give it, it would totally destroy the meaning of the passages. John 3:16 is not an offer of the Gospel but it is a declaration that those who are saved, will never perish and are given everlasting life.
(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(Gal 5:4 KJV) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
(1 John 3:6 KJV) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Now there is one verse which seems to be saying that a person can be willing to come to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Revelation 22:17 where “pas” is not used.
(Rev 22:17 KJV) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
The Greek word behind “whosoever will” is the word “thelo” which means, “desire, to wish to have, to be willing, or to purpose to do.” So it does sound like there is a verse which is teaching that a person can come in their free will. Right? Well, not really. Look carefully at this passage and you will see the word “heareth.” It is the word “akouw” in the Greek which carries with it the meaning of “hearing with understanding.” Remember what we found before concerning those who can and cannot understand? The unsaved will not understand but only the saved will understand. Look at the first part of the verse. Who is calling the people to come? It is the Spirit of God who is doing the calling along with the bride, who is the body of believers. Based upon what we have already studied, who are the ones who hear? It is the believers. Who are the ones who are athirst for God? It is the believers because the unbelievers do not understand and in their spiritual deadness only walk according to the course of this world. (Eph 2:2 KJV) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: This is what the believer had been saved out of. Rev. 22:17 is a verse which is evangelism based. The Holy Spirit indwelling the believer gives them the Gospel message to send out and only those who have been qualified by God to hear and understand, that is, having their spiritual ears opened, will come to God. Only those who are saved will thirst for God and take the water of life freely, which is the Gospel. (John 4:14 KJV) But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. So Revelation 22:17 cannot be used as a proof text for the free will Gospel simply because it is not teaching that, yet, free will preachers use it without really knowing what it means. The scary thing is that these free will preachers do this to the whole Bible just to bring it under a biased system of beliefs instead of allowing the Bible to speak for itself.
Salvation of Babies
This subject is probably one of the most touchiest but we cannot run away from it, so we must face it. Babies are part of the human race because they are born into the human race and they grow up to be adults. The question has long raged on as to the eternal fate of a baby if they die. The pat answer given by emotionally based people is that they automatically go to Heaven. The Biblical answer is that if they are God’s Elect, named before the foundation of the world, then thy go right into the presence of the Lord. If they are not the Elect of God, then they will be raised on the last day to stand for judgment. If a baby is non-elect, then no matter if they live to be 100 years old, they will not become saved.
(Psa 58:3-5 KJV) The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. {4} Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; {5} Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.
Since babies are part of the human race, they also inherit the sin nature. Psalm 58:3-5 tells us how God views the wicked which come right from the womb. He likens them to poisonous snakes because they start lying as soon as they leave the womb. In other words, no baby is born innocent of original sin, they are all born in sin. (Psa 51:5 KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Wait a minute, David’s mother and father were married when they bore David. So what is he speaking of? He is speaking of the fact that he was shaped or formed in iniquity and that he was born sinful because he received the sin nature at birth. Psalm 51 is David’s admission of guilt with Bathsheba and its grievous consequences. Even though he was saved, he still refers back to the time when he was still a baby in the womb with a sin nature. Therefore, if a baby is just conceived in sin, from the moment they are forming into a person from a zygote, they have the sinful nature which means they are born in sin and not innocent or pure or under the blood of Christ.
Free Will
The major premise upon which the idea of “accepting Christ” is built is the misconception that a person has free will. Below is the dictionary definition of free will which pretty much describes the free will concept which is preached today.
1: voluntary choice or decision *I do this of my own free will*
2 : freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention
Now free will must be understood in two ways, the physical and the spiritual.
Physical - A person is free to choose what kind of car to buy, what to eat for lunch, what color clothes to put on, etc. These things are done with the intelligence which God gave the human race.
Spiritual - A person is not free to choose God because the human race was plunged into spiritual death and dead people can do nothing except be dead.
(Rom 6:17-18 KJV) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. {18} Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Let us look at the revealing condition of man both before and after salvation. Verse 17 teaches us that before salvation, that is, man in his unsaved state was a servant of sin. The word servant in both verses is the Greek word “doulos” which can also be translated as “slave.” So before salvation a person is a slave to sin. Now what will does a slave have? The slave has only the will of his master.
(Mat 20:25 KJV) But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
In Matthew 20:25, the word in the Greek for “dominion” is the word “katakurieuô ” which caries with it the meaning of “to be master over or exercise lordship.” So the princes of the Gentiles, that is, the unbelievers are their masters and to disobey would mean death. So here is an example of what we find in Romans 6:17 concerning the slaves or servants of sin. The unbeliever is a slave of sin which means they serve sin.
Now in Romans 6:18, we read that when a person becomes saved, they are no longer a slave of sin, instead they are a servant or slave of righteousness.
(Rom 6:14 KJV) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
The word “dominion” in the Greek is related to the word in Matthew 20:25. It is the word “kurieuô ” which means “control, rule over, be lord over.” So sin shall not have dominion over the saved, and conversely, sin rules over the unsaved.
Now let us go back to the subject of a free will. What we have seen totally rejects the idea of a free will. First of all, those who are unsaved are enslaved to sin, and secondly, those who are saved are slaves or servants of righteousness. In either case, there is no freedom of the will. Man is not free because the sin of Adam and Eve plunged the whole human race into slavery to sin. Therefore, it is an absolute deception to believe a person has a free will since this cannot be proven by Scripture only imagined through the pride of man.
Now let us go back quickly to the second definition given by the 2003 Merriam Webster Dictionary.
2 : freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention
People look at salvation and believe they can make a decision for Christ. The second definition states that a choice can be made without prior cause or divine intervention. Let us see if that is true. What happened in the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve sinned which caused the entire human race to be plunged into spiritual darkness or death by God. The reason that a person cannot make a decision for Christ is because the sin of Adam and Eve (prior cause) brought about judgment by God that the human race was now in spiritual death (divine intervention). So therefore, there is no such thing as free will. We are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness which means we serve the master to which we are presently bound.
First Summary
We have come a distance and we have not twisted any Scripture nor have we fabricated any meanings. What we have discovered is that the unsaved person, who is in a state of spiritual death cannot make a decision for Christ.
1. Man is spiritually dead.
2. Man cannot seek God nor does he want to.
3. Man cannot understand their spiritual condition until they are saved.
4. Whosoever will does not mean any time or any place I choose to accept Christ.
5. Man is a slave to sin which means his will is also in bondage.
6. Free will is not taught in the Scriptures which means it is a created belief.
Since we have seen that man is totally incapable of making some type of decision for Christ, we can now safely conclude that according to the Scriptures, salvation is not by “acceptance.”

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