What follows are the various steps down the path of Truth that the Lord led me in my early life. I was not raised in the Primitive Baptist Church, but was blessed to find it further down the path.
It was as an older teenager that the Lord blessed me (my situation was then where no man would have taught me this) to see by these two texts (Jn 10:26-30 & 1Jn 5:7) that the notion of Prevenient Grace (or Wooing of the Spirit) was false. I saw that if we have heard the voice of the Son of God, through the Spirit; and we cannot be removed from the hand of the Father nor of the Son, and the Father, Son; and Holy Ghost are One, then the work of the Spirit in changing the heart is not temporary and waiting upon the sinner to agree but rather is permanent and effectual unto eternal life.
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.<
After the realization of the truth of the immediate and permanent nature of the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Birth, I soon was to find other unexpected truths in God's word. One Sunday during the preaching, all those years ago, I found myself flipping through Romans and Ephesians and stopped to read the first several verses in Ephesians 1, particularly verses 3 thru 6. What was revealed in these verses only added to my conviction that God was sovereign in the eternal salvation of sinners. These verses described God working a spiritual blessing in His children through his Son. It clearly said these are spiritual blessings which we have, not that were being offered to us. More than that, it was done "before the foundation of the world". This was stunning to me. I knew of the work of the Spirit here in this time world, in this life, but that God had done something with reference to me before the world began was amazing. It was not only the timing of the works of God that surprised me, but also the extensive nature of them. It said that God chose me. Not only that, but that choosing would result in being holy and without blame before Him in love. At this time I was not yet familiar with the doctrine of election as such, but the point was becoming clear. God chooses people and He has a purpose in doing so, to produce a final result with reference to them. If this same powerful God who would change a sinner's heart without their assistance would also choose them to be the recipient of spiritual blessings in Christ then what else was it possible that God would do? Understand, I had been raised to believe that man's will was supreme and that God would not go against it. The will of man was the main and most important feature of the doctrine I had been raised under. I had heard preached many times that man's will was inviolate. I had been taught that the work of Christ was without effect unto a sinner unless the person performed a deliberate act of the will to accept it, only then making a potential work of Christ in their stead a reality. Without that act of the will, Christ's work was of none effect to them. Yet, in Ephesians 1, I again found that God was taking proactive actions, and long before I thought it was possible. Before I even was, God had love for me and had chosen me. Having previously learned from John 10:26-30 that we could not be removed from the hands of God, this appeared to be what some call a "done deal". God chooses a person, for His purposes, and it is done. Not only that, but I had a brand new word to learn – predestinate. Ephesians 1 teaches us that we are chosen and predestinated. Predesination was rarely if ever mentioned where I grew up and I had never, ever heard this Ephesians 1 text preached or taught. What was it to predestinate? Well, the text said it was unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself. What a revelation! Chosen by God and predestinated, or to have a prearranged destiny in the family of God by being adopted by Jesus Christ, and all before I ever was. How could one not feel secure in such knowledge? Who could care for me more than Jesus Christ who loved me, adopted me, and gave Himself for me? How much more secure can we be than in the choosing of ourselves by God Himself? It did not take much to realize at this point that most of what I had been taught all my life concerning man's supposed free will involvement in eternal salvation was not true. The will had to be God's own sovereign will all along. I had felt so weak and helpless in my own feeble will, and still do, but I found I really did have a friend in Jesus and that His work was not offered to me, it was started and finished for me. Jesus Christ really is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the Almighty! God had purposed it to be so and chosen me unto it, and it was done. I found I could trust and rest in His strength, in His purpose, in His Salvation. It was never because that I had accepted Him. He had accepted me in, and because of, His Son and it had always been that way. As it says in Acts15:18, Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
[Eph 1:3-6 KJV] Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Those that Oppose Themselves
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
It is terribly sad to encounter those that oppose themselves. Very many people do this by rejecting the truth of Salvation by Sovereign Grace. Sometimes it will be one point of doctrine, or another, but in any case salvation by grace is opposed and in doing so they oppose the very truths that describe how God saved them. They lose out on many joys and much comfort that they could otherwise enjoy. While they will ultimately experience the eternal salvation with God in Heaven, they do not experience the peace afforded in this time world by the cleansing of the conscience and the assurance found in the knowledge of the sure work of Jesus Christ.
I still remember an early experience that I had of someone opposing themselves. I was coming into a knowledge of the truths of salvation by grace while still dwelling among those who believed in salvation by works, though they would not call it that. I had come across the texts in Romans that mention election, particularly Romans 9:11. I was wondering if this was the same as the choosing of God's people that is mentioned in Ephesians 1:4. So, I asked our Youth Minister. Understand, he was a godly man and set a good Christian example. He was an ordained minister who had been to theological seminary, so I expected that I could make scriptural inquiries of him and get informed, scriptural answers. Instead, I experience the following. I asked him, "What is this election that I keep reading about in Romans?". He replied, "It is like this: God casts a vote for you, the Devil casts a vote against you, and it is up to you to break the tie." I was floored. Even with as little knowledge as I had at the time, I immediately recognized this as the most blasphemous thing I had ever heard! He had put God and Satan on equal footing, and had topped it off by making man higher than either of them. Needless to say, after I recovered from the shock of such a statement, I was quite disappointed in that I felt that I had just been lied to. I knew that he surely knew better, and if he did not then it did not say much for that seminary education. I had just experienced someone opposing themselves and realized that I dwelt among an entire people that opposed themselves. I was very disheartened and I knew I could not ultimately dwell happily among this group of believers, but I also had no idea where I could go. The answer to that question: the Primitive Baptists, would not come until years later.