“I Gave My Heart To God…”

The title of this post is what you typically here when you ask the average “born again believer” about their conversion experience.

“I stopped running from God”

“I turned my lifer over to Jesus”

“I let Jesus into my heart”

As I mentioned in a previous post, while the sentiment may be pure – the language is biblically incorrect. We did not “surrender” to God when we “stopped running” from Him. God has appointed a date and time for His elect to know His truth by the revealing of the Holy Spirit. God isn’t sitting by waiting for us to have an “aha” moment where we finally understand who He is – He opens our hearts to Him when He is ready (Acts 16:14).

The proper term for this is monergism – or the belief that the Holy Spirit is the only agent that can bring about the regeneration of a sinner. In other words, you cannot even respond to the hearing of the Gospel message unless the Holy Spirit initiated the change in your heart in the first place. Here’s an even more thorough explanation from Monergism.com:

What Is Monergism?

In regeneration, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ independent of any cooperation from our unregenerated human nature. He quickens us through the outward call cast forth by the preaching of His Word, disarms our innate hostility, removes our blindness, illumines our mind, creates understanding, turns our heart of stone to a heart of flesh — giving rise to a delight in His Word — all that we might, with our renewed affections, willingly & gladly embrace Christ. The Prophet Ezekiel inspired by the Holy Spirit asserted “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” (Eze 11:19, also 36:26) The Apostle Paul said, “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thess 1, 4, 5). I.e. In regeneration the word does not work alone but must be accompanied by the “germination” of the Holy Spirit. And again “…you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Pet 1:23)

As clear cut as this subject may be (completely authenticated by scripture alone – sola scriptura), it is still controversial in Word of Faith circles where the concept of “speak those things” and “we are little gods” heresy reigns supreme. In those circles, you are taught that you are “made in God’s image”, therefore you have the ability (no, the right) to “manifest” things into existence through declaration.

While there are many problems with that prevailing heresy, the fundamental flaw is the lie that the sin-sick heart can even know God’s truth – let alone yield to it – without divine guidance. We are tricked into believing that we are responsible for the direction of our fate – and that we go to God “when we’re good and ready”.

Apart from God, we are hell-bound, delighting in the sins of our flesh, exchanging God’s truth for lies. How can we make an eternal rational decision in that state – in our own minds? We can’t because we were dead in sin (Ephesian 2:1-3), and that is why the Holy Spirit is the catalyst for our regeneration. For an excellent illustration of how difficult it is for “dead people” to make decisions, read Melvin Jones’ excellent post entitled “Dead Milford”.

Conversely, synergism is the belief that two or more agents work together to produce an outcome that neither can do alone. In other words – the Holy Spirit CAN’T reveal God’s truth to your sin-sick soul if you aren’t also ready for God’s truth by your own volition. In synergism, there has to be some form of “agreement”.

Synergism is primarily espoused by those who subscribe to Arminianism. You may not have heard that term very often you Word of Faithers – but you have much in common with the Arminians. Our brother (and regular reader) KyleAndrews wrote an excellent essay illustrating how Arminian’s view salvation, election and predestination (and John Hendryx wrote an excellent article contrasting monergism and synergism).

So the bottom line is that unregenerate man:

…yet that same unregenerate man somehow decided on his own to “surrender to God”?.

Not without the guidance of the Holy Spirit – and the sovereign will of God.

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11 Responses to ““I Gave My Heart To God…””


  1. 1 Kyle October 4, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Like most of us here we were once of the Arminian Pentecostal mindset. We heard all the blather. We felt all the “excitement”. We also left the Church empty,sinful,and confused even when we didn’t know better.

    However, when we began to question things we began on a journey that didn’t end with questioning the Pimps but ultimately wound up questioning our means of salvation. In fact I would even dare to say that God’s Sovereignty, grace, and election was the last and most defining moment in our walk away from the Arminian Charismatic movement. At least it was for me. You see this IS the ultimate step in your faith walk. let me expound. Moving away from the bondage of the Pimp Game was merely the first step. In fact I would dare say that many of us walked away from this but still had a tremendous amount of bad doctrine still attached to us. As time went on God’s clarity and direction began to remove these idols of Churchianity from us. We began to be relieved of the apostasy that we held so dear for so long. We were relieved and grateful for the freedom from the tithe and the tongues. We relished in the fact that we were no longer under the yolk of “God’s Anointed”. However, even after such leaps of faith the most challenging and profound thing was God’s Sovereignty. As for me when God revealed this truth to me I was as a dead man. When God showed this to me everything else paled in comparison. I was in absolute awe of who he IS and absolute shame of what I am. Everything changed for me at that moment. In fact, as I stated before this happened only recently. The Arminian Crap Shoot was something I wrote only a week after I fully succumbed to monergism. The fact that God chose me makes me cower sometimes in his awesome presence. I was in no ways worthy of grace. I was/am a wretch and yet God chose me and I am written in the Lambs book of life.

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now I see.

    T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
    And Grace, my fears relieved.
    How precious did that Grace appear
    The hour I first believed.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares
    I have already come;
    ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
    and Grace will lead me home.

    The Lord has promised good to me.
    His word my hope secures.
    He will my shield and portion be,
    As long as life endures.

    Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    And mortal life shall cease,
    I shall possess within the veil,
    A life of joy and peace.

    When we’ve been here ten thousand years
    Bright shining as the sun.
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
    Than when we’ve first begun.

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now I see.

    Kyle

  2. 2 Douglas K. Adu-Boahen October 4, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Here’s a link to two MP3 lectures by Dr. Arturo Azurdia on this topic. I have to say that it is an essential nowadays that we understand this as we preach the Gospel:

    [audio src="http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/azurdia/azurdia_monergism.mp3" /]

    [audio src="http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/azurdia/azurdia_monergism02.mp3" /]

  3. 3 pattycakes October 4, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    What leads to the regeneration? What triggers the Holy Spirit to initiate a change in our hearts?

  4. 4 speaking truth October 4, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Good questions pattycakes. I’ll try my best to answer your questions clearly.

    Regeneration only occurs when we put our faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. In other words, we cannot even begin the process of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) until we accept the fact that Christ died for our sins in the first place. To get to that point, we have to acknowledge our sinful state (Romans 3:23). We must recognize that apart from Christ we were dead in our sin (Ephesians 2). The only “trigger” that initiates the entire process (i.e. initiates the work of the Holy Spirit) is God – and it is only by His pleasure and His will that the offer of the gift of eternal life is even extended to us.

    Remember, pattycakes, God knows exactely who His children are – and He has already predetermined whom He will save and whom He will not (Matthew 7:13-23). Read Kyle’s essay (referenced above) as well as the links I provided on monergism (and google it as well). It is a life-changing realization, knowing that God’s eternal plan is in place – and you are part of it.

  5. 5 speaking truth October 4, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Kyle,

    Thanks for your comment. I too now savor the words of “Amazing Grace” – particularly because I now truly understand the simple words of such a profound song.

  6. 6 Pastor Jim October 4, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    This is some GOOD stuff! Love your comment Kyle and ST great blog. I’ll have to go tap those other links when I’m more available.

    Worry not, I am not slacking on sermon prep. One of our other pastors is preaching tomorrow 😎

    Now you know why i love to embrace my brokenness and always sign my emails…
    Graced
    Pastor Jim

  7. 7 Jeanie Franklin October 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    There was a time as a musician that I played Amazing Grace and had no understanding of what what I was playing. I loved what Kyle had written, and honestly Kyle, it was what I needed to read at this moment. I am weepimg as I type this because of the magnificient grace of our Lord to give to us. Me,who deserved to die, a sinner receiving His grace. It is a precious sound to hear! I weep everytime I hear it and God is an awesome God! Be merciful to me oh Lord, a sinner a wretched sinner! I can’t stop crying everyone!!!! Grace and peace to all of you.

    In His Name,
    Jeanie Franklin

  8. 8 speaking truth October 5, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Jeanie,

    I know exactly what you mean – I can’t help but weep when I think about God’s sovereign will in my life, and that he would use me in ANY way still blows my mind

    1 Corinthians 2:12-14 New American Standard Bible

    12Now we (A)have received, not the spirit of (B)the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,

    13which things we also speak, (C)not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

    14But a (D)natural man (E)does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are (F)foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

  9. 9 Kyle October 5, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Jeanie,

    I second what IST said. I too can’t believe God would even consider me one of his elect. But honestly when one fully embraces Monergism the gravity of your condition in sin is fully understood. However, once God has revealed this so many sin burdens are lifted away. Here I was saved being an Arminian yet God eventually opened my eyes to HIS soveriegn grace one day. It was at that point that many of my sin desires melted away. God became everything to me. No longer was I under the fog of synergism. There is nothing good in me.

    Kyle

  10. 10 dupednomore October 6, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I can relate to Kyle’s revelation, because his story is mine also. What a wonderful God we serve!

  11. 11 speaking truth October 6, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for the clarification Pastor Jim – I thought you were slacking on sermon prep 😆

    Seriously, if more pastors took your posture of brokeness before the Lord instead of a spirit on entitlement, then the Body would be better served.


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