The Correct Tension Between Cooperative Works, Faith and Grace

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It is a work of grace on the heart when we accept the wooing of the Holy Spirit in order to be justified. Works have already factored into the equation when we consent--choose to obey God by surrendering the will to Him. That is a grace empowered work of the Spirit on the heart, but the work is credited to the Holy Spirit, lest any man should boast. But we are still a cooperative factor with that work. Ellen White speaks of this cooperative effort. We do yield and we do choose. This is works on our part which is motivated by the Holy Spirit, and thus no man should boast even of this positive act of choosing right. So to say that we are saved without cooperative works is foolish nonsense, and is denying of the very work of the Holy Spirit on the will of man so that man is made willing to be willing but does cooperate. Proof that this is so is the fact that the Holy Spirit woos all men, but only a small sum of them (relatively) choose the wooings of the Holy Spirit. That choosing is a cooperative work of yielding to the wooings of the Holy Spirit. One might correctly say that this WORK accompanies justification because justification certainly will not take place without this WORK.

"The atonement of Christ is not a mere skillful way to have our sins pardoned [justification]; it is a divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health [sanctification]. It is the heaven-ordained means by which the righteousness of Christ may be not only upon us, but in our hearts and CHARACTERS.--Ellen White, Letter 406, 1906. SDA Bible Commentary, vol, 7a, p. 668.

"No one can believe with the heart unto righteousness, and obtain justification by faith, while continuing the practice of those things which the Word of God forbids, or while neglecting any known duty....As God works in the heart, and man surrenders his will to God, and co-operates with God, he works out in the life what God WORKS IN by the Holy Spirit, and there is harmony between the purpose of the heart and the practice of the life. Every sin must be renounced as the hateful thing that crucified the Lord of life and glory....It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience, that the blessing of justification is retained." E.G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 396-397.SEE BELOW

"We can receive of heaven's light only as we are willing to be emptied of self. We cannot discern the character of God, OR ACCEPT CHRIST BY FAITH, unless we consent to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ. To all who do this the Holy Spirit is given without measure. In Christ 'dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are made full.'Col. 2:9, 10, R.V." Desire of Ages, 181.

Unless one believes in the Calvinistic form of Predestination, it is a private individual cooperative choice WORK to yield to the wooing of the Holy Spirit. The fact that ALL MEN ARE WOOED and all do not yield to that wooing, is clear evidence of the truth of this fact. Even if we pray to be made willing to choose, God does not force anything, and it is still our choice to choose Christ or not:

Jos 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Does The Holy Spirit Woo All Men?

The Biblical proof that the Holy Spirit woos all men is found in the fact that God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Ellen White has much to say about our cooperative efforts in co-operating with God. The "grace-plus-nothing," theology is a misnomer and part and parcel of the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans. That doctrine teaches that we have no part in cooperating with Christ--that all we must do is believe and the rest is insured as far as salvation is concerned.

Doctrine of the Nicolaitans.--The doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of Christ has made the law of God of no effect; that by 'believing' we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned." E.G. White, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 957. "(Jude 4).--The Sin of the Nicolaitans.--Is it [our sin] the sin of the Nicolaitans, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness." E.G. White, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 957.

Any definition of grace that does not qualify it as power to overcome sin, as well as pardon for sin, is part and parcel to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. All God's commands are enablings if we partake of the Divine Nature of Christ, which is His Holy Spirit life and soul, laid aside as a "Royal Robes" gift to us, His "crowing--greatest good" gift to man for the purpose of regenerating us back into the image of God.

Ron Beaulieu