The Four Calls of an Impotent Spirit

The other day, I received an email from the FBIS entitled “The Four Calls.” I saw the title and got the idea that it’d be an article about four different calls — such as those to salvation, to a particular ministry, to a location, etc. When I opened it, however, it was a poem by an unknown author. Here it is:

The Spirit came in CHILDHOOD,
And pleaded, “Let me in.”
But oh! the door was bolted
By thoughtlessness and sin,
“I am too young,” the child replied,
“I will not yield today.
There’s time enough tomorrow.”
The Spirit went away.

Again He came and pleaded,
In YOUTH’S bright happy hour.
He came, but heard no answer,
For lured by Satan’s power,
The youth lay dreaming then,
And saying, “Not today;
Nor till I’ve tried earth’s pleasures.”
The Spirit went away.

Again He called in mercy,
In MANHOOD’S vigorous prime.
But still He found no welcome,
The merchant had no time,
No time for true repentance,
No time to think or pray.
And so, repulsed and saddened,
The Spirit went away.

Once more He called and waited,
The man was OLD and ill.
He scarcely heard the whisper,
His heart was cold and still.
“Go leave me; when I need Thee
I’ll call for thee,” he cried.
Then sinking on his pillow,
WITHOUT A HOPE, he died.

Did you notice just how powerless this poem makes God out to be?

Quite frankly, if that sentimentally sweet wooing and inviting is all that the Holy Spirit did for the lost, not a one of us would ever become saved. All of us in our natural, sinful states will willfully and passionately choose sin over the Savior, darkness over the Light.

if that is all that the Lord does to get people to accept the Gospel, how hopeless is our situation!

Thankfully, the Lord knows our plight, and so He takes it upon Himself to drag the elect to Jesus Christ (John 6:44). That is what “to draw” means, just as it is used elsewhere in the Bible. Consider this: When you are drawing water from a well, are you merely inviting the water out, suggesting to it that being out of the well is better than being in? Or are you making use of physical force to remove the water? That is drawing, whether it be water from a well or sinners from their natural state.

I also just noticed this a few minutes ago, when I more or less accidentally hovered over a Strong’s Number in verse 15 of John 6. The phrase “take him by force” makes use of the verb harpazoÌ„ (Greek #726), meaning “to seize.” Strong also notes that it is a derivation of G138.

On a hunch, I decided to check the verb “to draw” in verse 44, which is helkuoÌ„ (Greek #1670). Strong’s says it means “to drag” (which is a whole lot more than the Spirit was doing in that poem!), and that it is “probably akin to G138.” There it is! So what is that G138?

G138 would be aihreomai, meaning “to take for oneself, that is, to prefer.” I like that. What is salvation if not the Lord taking for Himself those which He chooses? From Genesis to Revelation, that is what we see, and it is in more ways than one astonishingly humbling.

8 Replies to “The Four Calls of an Impotent Spirit”

  1. Wow, what a disheartening poem. And I can imagine a couple people I know who would give an “Amen!” to that.

    Thanks for the Greek lesson. I knew about helkuo, but not about aihreomai. It reminds me of a saying, “God doesn’t take as many as He can, but as much as He wants” (paraphrased).

  2. Greek lesson? Hardly. I by no means know Greek, nor do I know how to pronounce much of anything beyond kurios or theos, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I were mispronouncing those as well!

    However, I do make use of the Greek lexicons and such available to me, trusting that someone more knowledgeable will come along and admonish me further, if needed.

  3. :) Oh, don’t be so modest. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a “Greek lesson” but you still taught me something new regarding the Greek language.

  4. That’s so funny, because I thoroughly enjoyed the poem and completely identified with very specific times I can point to in my own life that there has been the temptation (and even succumbing) to say no to the Spirit’s leading and follow my own way. The poem seems to me to be an admonishment rather than a testimony.

    I think we should be careful not to forget that we have our part to work out what the Lord works in, to respond to the Caller. Our fruit proves our election.

  5. Phil, I understand what you are saying, and to some degree agree, but the large theme of the poem is that man’s free-will is “freer” than the Holy Spirit’s, and this is the theme that Rick and I disapprove of.

    A Holy Spirit that “pleads” and “cries in mercy” and is “repulsed and saddened,” and in the end fails to convert a sinner, that is a god that I cannot adore and give all my praise to. Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in Heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” In the poem, and according to all synergists, God pleases to save this sinner, yet He fails. According to Psalm 115:3 (along with Job 42:2, Deuteronomy 30:6, Daniel 4:35, Psalm 65:4, and others), God is always successful in saving those He intends (or pleases) to save.

    To put it quite simply, this poem is man-centered, and not God-centered.

    You are correct in saying that we need to respond to the Caller, but this poem leaves the reader with the impression that we can reject the Caller. Such a notion contradicts John 10:16, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and THEY WILL HEAR MY VOICE; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” Jesus portrays us, among other things, His mission and His success: “I MUST bring them” and “They WILL hear My voice.” And, what is the result of hearing His voice? “They WILL become one flock with one Shepherd.”

  6. Phil, our fruit certainly does prove our election, but the very first thing which happens is our repentance and faith in the Lord — that happens when God calls us to salvation, which calling is irresistible. Christians may very well grieve the Spirit through sin — Christians are a dual-natured people, with unregenerate flesh and regenerate heart.

    However, the unregenerate are uni-natured — they only have unregenerate flesh as their heart is one of stone, dead in sin. In order for them to come to Christ, the Father must drag them. They choose to only in the sense that He quickens their hearts and grants them faith to choose.

  7. Hey Rick, I think I’m ready to make my own blog. However, give me until the end of this day to think of a title, theme verse, and what not. Then, if you are able and willing to help me start one, send me an e-mail. :) Have a good day, brother!

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