No, God is not responsible for any man’s lack of faith. Lack of faith is a sin, and God is not responsible for any man’s sins. An interesting article about this truth is written by one of the Lord’s blessed servants: Is God Responsible for Evil? (by John MacArthur)
In a conversation that an Arminian was having with a Calvinist (and I was present in that conversation), the Calvinist quoted the following passage of Scripture:
“having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)
Then he asked if lack of faith in Christ is a sin, and if Christ paid for that sin and canceled its debt for us. The implication is clear: this Calvinist is saying that lack of faith is a sin; and Calvinists have never said otherwise. No true Christian believes lack of faith in Christ is something good!
Yet many Calvinists, who rather are hyper-Calvinists, think that God is responsible for the lack of faith in those who are lost and who are going to Hell… And many unbelievers take an opportunity from this misunderstanding to avoid any believer who tells them that they need to repent and be converted. Their condemnation is just.
This is a very serious misunderstanding of the biblical doctrine of Election which has nothing to do with this wrong conclusion, and which does not even imply it! On the contrary, that doctrine means that man is fully responsible for his sins, including his lack of faith. If you don’t repent and you don’t believe in Christ , then you are fully responsible for your lack of faith and you will surely bear the consequences, because God did not do anything to forbid you from believing. And no, Election in Christ does not mean that He caused any unbeliever who dies in his sins to refuse to believe in Christ. He didn’t forbid them to believe in Christ; on the contrary, He commands them to repent and believe in Christ, i.e. to be converted. Many people think that, because God chose some people (the elect in Christ) for final Salvation, then that means that He didn’t give the rest any possibility to believe and get saved. This is an incomplete and distorted understanding of biblical Election. First, Election is not in absolute, but in Christ, so when God commands unbelievers to repent, He is not kidding with them (may it never be!), because their only hope is Christ and Election is in Christ. Second, Election is not about something before Salvation, but about Salvation itself. Third, — and this is very important — God did not send Christ to take away or to bear the sin of some few elite, but of the whole world: “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) This means that our faith is not the cause of the taking away of our sins, but the whole work is finished on the cross. This is the true meaning of Election. Certainly this does not mean that this “taking away” is applied or is positively effective for all humans (it is positively effective only for those who have faith in Christ, and this faith is God’s Work alone and not ours), however it does mean that God never worked against any human who ever lived, to make it impossible for him/her to have faith in Christ, but on the contrary He provided everything for his/her Salvation, so he/she is fully responsible for his/her lack of faith which is a sin. God is not just the Savior of an elite, but of all men: “because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10) Note it: yes, God is the Savior of all humans, i.e. He has given His Son (His Salvation) for all humans on the cross, yet only believers have this Salvation by faith, while the rest are fully responsible for their lack of faith, because God is their Savior also and because He wants them to repent and believe and come to the knowledge of the truth: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4) So God wants all men to be saved, yet He doesn’t want them to be saved for all cost, even without repentance and faith in Christ! No, He wants them to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, therefore He leads them to repentance: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4) So God does not desire all men to be saved without faith, but He wants them to be saved through faith in Christ. Any other kind of salvation makes God unrighteous, because without the propitiation of Christ God cannot justify the ungodly without being unrighteous Himself (may it never be!) This in no way means that what God wants is not happening, because never was anyone saved without faith, and this is indeed what God wants. All those whom He has foreknown in Christ (chosen in Christ, i.e. true believers) will surely reach final Salvation, so God’s Will is done. Yet those who do not believe are fully responsible for their sin of lack of faith, and God is in full control even of their sins to make them all serve His good Purpose; so once again God’s Will is done! The Lord explained this when He said that the reason why unbelievers are already condemned is that they have not believed (lack of faith) in the Only-begotten Son of God whom God sent to save the world and not to condemn the world: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:17-18) Man is already under the wrath of God and is condemned even before the Gospel is presented to him, so if he refuses the revelation of God both in His creation and in His Word, and if he refuses to believe in Christ, then that wrath abides on him and he is already condemned: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36) Note it well: the text does not say that the wrath of God comes on him because of the lack of faith, but abides on him; it was already there, and it abides. As the passage quoted by that Calvinist (i.e. Colossians 2:14) says, the certificate of debt was canceled out by Christ only for the “us” of that same verse, i.e. for true believers in Christ, while on the rest who are unbelievers God’s wrath abides.
So if you do not repent and believe in Christ, you are fully responsible for your lack of faith, and you are under the wrath of God because of your sins. You are eternally condemned. This is terrible! You have God as your enemy, and not a mere human! You have the Creator of all things as your enemy! You are in enmity with Him who will righteously judge the living and the dead, and no one can save you from His hands. Your only hope is the Lord Jesus Christ who died for our sins and was raised for our justification. Without this Atonement of the Lord Jesus, you are a sinner who is under the wrath of an angry God, whose anger against you is not a sinful emotional outburst like that of humans, but the real holy reprobation and rejection of all what is evil, because God is Holy and He cannot be in any relation with what is evil; He condemns it forever.
All the Glory to His Holy Name. Amen.
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