“No one seeks after Christ until he has first been found by Christ.” – R.C. Sproul

No one in his natural condition seeks after God. Seeking after God is the business of the believer. The moment we become a Christian is the moment when our quest for God begins. Prior to our conversion we were fugitives from God; we fled from him. Churches today structure worship, teaching, and preaching toward the pagan to help him find what he is desperately searching for but just cannot seem to uncover, but it is foolish to structure worship for unbelievers who are seeking after God when the Bible tells us there aren’t any seekers. It manifests a failure to understand the things of God. If we understand the things of God, we would know that there is no such thing as unconverted seekers.

Thomas Aquinas was asked on one occasion why there seems to be non-Christians who are searching for God, when the Bible says no one seeks after God in an unconverted state. Aquinas replied that we see people all around us who are feverishly seeking for purpose in their lives, pursuing happiness, and looking for relief from guilt to silence the pangs of conscience. We see people searching for the things that we know can be found only in Christ, but we make the gratuitous assumption that because they are seeking the benefits of God, they must therefore be seeking God. That is the very dilemma of fallen creatures: we want the things of God that only God can give us, but we do not want him. We want peace but not the Prince of Peace. We want purpose but not the sovereign purposes decreed by God. We want meaning found in ourselves but not in his rule over us. We see desperate people, and we assume they are seeking for God, but they are not seeking for God. I know that because God says so. No one seeks after God.

…God stopped me in my path one night and brought me sovereignly to himself. I knew then that I did not come to Christ because I was seeking him. I came to Christ because he sought me. No one seeks after Christ until he has first been found by Christ – that begins the seeking of the kingdom.

…Evangelists often say, ‘If you open up the door, Jesus will come into your life. If you will just seek him a little bit, you will find him.’ However, those words – ‘knock, and it will be opened to you (Luke 11:9); ‘Seek the LORD while He may be found’ (Isa.55:6); ‘Seek, and you will find’ (Matt.7:7); ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’ (Rev.3:20) – are addressed to the church. Jesus seeks believers, so it is believers who are called to seek the Lord. While we are living in unbelief, we do not seek God. If we do seek God, it is a clear indication that we are already in the kingdom. If we do not seek him, it is a good indication that we are not in the kingdom. There is none who seeks after God.

Romans-RCSproul-2009R.C. Sproul on Romans 3:11b (“there is none that seeketh after God”, KJV) in his commentary on Romans (St. Andrews Expositional Commentary, Crossway, 2009), pp.89-90.