Let no one say that they are saved by their own will or works! Jesus tells us that we must be 'born again' as sons of God NOT by the will of the flesh or of man (John 1:12-13). Paul tells us that God's mercy in choosing His elect is NOT based on the one who wills it so but on God's good pleasure according to His divine purpose (Romans 9:11-17). Away with all who would rob God of His rightful glory for the salvation of the sinner!!
In case anyone is wondering the definition of the term 'will', as used in the above passages is as follows; 'to will, to have in mind, to intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish' (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
That's right! Salvation does not come to sinners because they determine it to be of value and desire it. It is not that they 'decide' in favor of it or 'choose' it for themselves. How can they since they are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1)? How can they when they possess absolutely no righteousness of any kind, and are utterly incapable of any good in God's sight (Romans 3:10-12)? How can they when they hate God and are His avowed enemies (Romans 1:3 & 8:7)? How can they when they are slaves to sin, love darkness and will not, of themselves, come to the light of Christ (John 3:19-20 & 8:34)?
Sinners do not seek God neither do they understand God, or the things of God (Romans 3:11). They are d-e-a-d to God! What does 'dead' mean? Go to any funeral parlor you care to; approach the casket and command the corpse to get up and go home. It will not respond to you. Why? Because it is dead, it is incapbale of any 'life' function! Thus are sinners before God.
Listen to Paul. "you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled" (Colossians 1:21). The word sometime means 'in times past' and the word alienated means 'estranged' or a 'non-participant'. A non-participant in what? Ephesians 4:18 tells us that it is "the life of God" or the life from God, the life that God approves of, the SPIRITUAL life! Unredeemd sinners do not have it within themselves to make a right 'decision' where salvation is concerned.
How then are we saved? By the hearing of the gospel, to be sure. But by the work of the Holy Spirit who makes us alive that we may profitably receive the gifts of repentance and faith (Acts 11:18; Ephesians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit must first work that we might believe. If the Holy Spirit does not work, the sinner cannot come to Christ (John 6:44). Salvation is of the LORD and it is all, from first to last, to His glory and to nobody else's! Does the Holy Spirit work in all people alike? Do all men repent and believe? NO! Is that because they do not believe of themselves? Yes. But they do not have faith, ultimately, because God does not give it to them!
As you read this please remember that it is not a question of who is saved and who is not; it is a question of giving God all the glory for salvation or of attemtping to rob Him of it, even in some small part. It is not your choice of God but His choice of you that matters. Are you saved then? Well, are you convicted by God's word that you are a sinner in need of the Savior? Do you truly desire to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and to live for his glory? Praise God. He placed that in you, you are His child! Just dont' deny Him now by trying to take the credit upon yourself.
I am a sinner in need of a Savior. Don't get me wrong, we all are, but recognizing our innate NEED for a Savior is what makes all the difference. How can we rely on God if we don't recognize our need for him? I think this is our problem today...we feel we can take care of ourselves. We push God toward the backseat of our lives and then find ourselves incredibly lost. We should know we need God. We were given the Bible after all. If we are a lukewarm Christian, then we are not really truly saved. It's when we give all of US back to God that we are walking with the Spirit. And that's a beautiful thing.