The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-Continued-B

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election [contd]

State of the Heathens

The fact that, in the providential working of God, some men are left without the Gospel and the other means of grace virtually involves the principle set forth in the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination. We see that in all ages the greater portion of mankind has been left destitute even of the external means of grace. For centuries the Jews, who were very few in number, were the only people to whom God was pleased to make any special revelation of Himself. Jesus confined His public ministry almost exclusively to them and forbade his disciples to go among others until after the day of Pentecost (Mat_10:5, Mat_10:6; Mat_28:19; Mar_16:15; Act_1:4). Multitudes were left with no chance to hear the Gospel, and consequently died in their sins. If God had intended to save them undoubtedly he would have sent them the means of salvation. If he had chosen to Christianize India and China a thousand years ago, He most certainly could have accomplished His purpose. Instead, they were left in gross darkness and unbelief. The past and present state of the world with all its sin, misery, and death, can have no other explanation than that given in Scripture, — namely, that the race fell in Adam and that in mercy God has sovereignly chosen to bring an innumerable multitude to salvation through a redemption which He has Himself provided. It is a perverted and dishonoring view of God to imagine Him struggling along with disobedient men, doing the best He can to convert them, but not able to accomplish His purpose.

If the Arminian theory were true, namely, that Christ died for all men and that the benefits of His death are actually applied to all men we would expect to find that God had made some provision for the Gospel to be communicated to all men. The problem of the heathens, who live and die without the Gospel, has always been a thorny one for the Arminians who insist that all men have sufficient grace if they will but make use of it. Few will deny that salvation is conditioned on the person hearing and accepting the Gospel. The Christian Church has been practically of one mind in declaring that the heathens as a class are lost. That such is the clear teaching of the Bible we can easily show: —

“And in none other is there salvation; for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved,” Act_4:12. “As many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law,” Rom_2:12. “Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1Co_3:11. “I am the vine, ye are the branches; apart from me ye can do nothing,” Joh_15:5. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me,” Joh_14:6. “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him,” Joh_3:36. “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life,” 1Jo_5:12, “And this is eternal life, that they should know thee the only true God, and Him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ,” Joh_17:3. “Without faith it is Impossible to be well-pleasing to God,” Heb_11:6. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Rom_10:13, Rom_10:14 (or, in other words, how can the heathens possibly be saved when they have never even heard of Christ who is the only means of salvation ?). “Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have not life in yourselves,” Joh_6:53. When the watchman sees danger coming but does not give the people warning they perish in their iniquity, Ezekiel 33:8, — true, the watchman will be held responsible, yet that does not change the fate of the people. Jesus declared that even the Samaritans who had far higher privileges than the nations outside of Palestine, worshipped they knew not what, and that salvation was of the Jews. See also the first and second chapters of Romans. The Scriptures, then, are plain in declaring that under ordinary conditions those who have not Christ and the Gospel are lost.

And in accordance with this the Westminster Confession, after stating that those who reject Christ cannot be saved, adds: “Much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess . . .” (X:4).

In fact the belief that the heathens without the Gospel are lost has been one of the strongest arguments in favor of foreign missions. If we believe that their own religions contain enough light and truth to save them, the importance of preaching the Gospel to them is greatly lessened. Our attitude toward foreign missions is determined pretty largely by the answer which we give to this question.

We do not deny that God can save some even of the adult heathen people if He chooses to do so, for His Spirit works when and where and how He pleases, with means or without means. If any such are saved, however, it is by a miracle of pure grace. Certainly God’s ordinary method is to gather His elect from the evangelized portion of mankind, although we must admit the possibility that by an extraordinary method some few of His elect may be gathered from the unevangelized portion. (The fate of those who die in infancy in heathen lands will be discussed under the subject, “Infant Salvation,” p. 143).

It is unreasonable to suppose that people can appropriate to themselves something concerning which they know nothing. We readily see that so far as the pleasures and joys and opportunities in this world are concerned the heathens are largely passed by; and on the same principle we would expect them to be passed by in the next world also. Those who are providentially placed in the pagan darkness of western China can no more accept Christ as Savior than they can accept the radio, the airplane, or the Copernican system of astronomy, things concerning which they are totally ignorant. When God places people in such conditions we may be sure that He has no more intention that they shall be saved than He has that the soil of northern Siberia, which is frozen all the year round, shall produce crops of wheat. Had he intended otherwise He would have supplied the means leading to the designed end. There are also multitudes in the nominally Christian lands to whom the Gospel has never been presented in any adequate way, who have not even the outward means of salvation, to say nothing of the helpless state of their heart.

This, of course, does not mean that all of the lost shall suffer the same degree of punishment. We believe that from a common zero point there will be all degrees of reward and all degrees of punishment, and that a person’s reward or punishment will, to a certain extent, be based on the opportunity that he has had in this world. Jesus Himself declared that in the day of judgment it would be more tolerable for the heathen city of Sodom than for those cities of Palestine which had heard and rejected His message (Luk_10:12-14); and He closed the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants with the words: “And that servant, who knew his lord’s will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more,” Luk_12:47, Luk_12:48. So while the heathens are lost, they shall suffer relatively less than those who have heard and rejected the Gospel.

Hence in regard to this problem of the heathen races, Arminians are, at the very outset, involved in difficulties which subvert their whole scheme, difficulties from which they have never been able to extricate themselves. They admit that only in Christ is there salvation; yet they see that multitudes die without ever having heard of Christ or the Gospel. Holding that sufficient grace or opportunity must be given to every man before he can be condemned, many of them have been led to postulate a future probation, — this however is not only without Scripture support, but is contrary to Scripture. As Cunningham says, “Calvinists have always regarded it as a strong argument against the Arminian doctrines of universal grace and universal redemption, and in favor of their own views of the sovereign purposes of God, that, in point of fact, so large a portion of the human race have been always left in entire ignorance of God’s mercy, and of the way of salvation revealed in the Gospel; nay, in such circumstances as, to all appearances, throw insuperable obstacles in the way of their attaining to that knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, which is eternal life.”23

Only in Calvinism, with its doctrine of the guilt and corruption of all mankind through the fall, and its doctrine of grace through which some are sovereignly rescued and brought to salvation while others are passed by, do we find an adequate explanation of the phenomenon of the heathen world.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

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The Law of Progress

29. The law of progress. Since the Scriptures be the “word of life” (Philippians 2:16), they are “quick [living], and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). So far from being “a dead book” as the papists blasphemously assert, and a dead letter” as some Protestants have ignorantly averred, the Bible is instinct with the very life of its Author. This fact is plainly exemplified in the principle of growth which marks all its parts and itself as a whole. This can be tested and verified by any competent person who will take the trouble to read the Scriptures systematically, or trace out a subject from start to finish. As this be done, he will perceive that Truth is unfolded orderly and gradually, progressively and climactically: that there is presented to us first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear. While the first mention of a thing intimates its scope and more or less anticipates what is to follow, the subsequent references amplify the same, each one making its own contribution to the whole, and thereby we obtain both a clearer and a fuller understanding of the same. The path of Truth is like that of the just: it “shineth more and more.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

God the Holy Ghost is a very loving Comforter

Having thus explained the Spirit’s office as teacher and advocate, we come now to the translation of our version-the Comforter; and here I shall have three divisions. First, the comforter; secondly, the comfort; and thirdly, the comforted.

I. First, then, the COMFORTER. Briefly let me run over in my mind and in your minds too, the characteristics of this glorious Comforter. Let me tell you some of the attributes of his comfort, so that you may understand how well adapted he is to your case.

And first, we will remark that God the Holy Ghost is a very loving Comforter. I am in distress and want consolation. Some passer-by hears of my sorrow, and he steps within, sits down and essays to cheer me; he speaks soothing words; but he loves me not, he is a stranger, he knows me not at all, he has only come in to try his skill; and what is the consequence? his words run over me like oil upon a slab of marble-they are like the pattering rain upon the rock; they do not break my grief; it stands unmoved as adamant, because he has no love for me. But let someone who loves me dearly as his own life come and plead with me, then truly his words are music; they taste like honey; he knows the pass-word of the doors of my heart, and my ear is attentive to every word, I catch the intonation of each syllable as it falls, for it is like the harmony of the harps of heaven Oh! there is a voice in love, it speaks a language which is its own, it is a idiom and an accent which none can mimic; wisdom cannot imitate it, oratory cannot attain unto it; it is love alone which can reach the mourning heart; love is the only handkerchief which can wipe the mourner’s tears away. And is not the Holy Ghost a loving Comforter? Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves thee; Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit. Dost thou know how great is the affection of his soul towards thee? Go, measure heaven with thy span; go, weigh the mountains in the scales; go, take the ocean’s water, and tell each drop; go count the sand upon the sea’s wide shore, and when thou hast accomplished this, thou canst tell how much he loveth thee. He has loved thee long, he has loved thee well; he loved thee ever and he still shall love thee. Surely he is the person to comfort thee, because he loves. Admit him, then, to your heart, O Christian, that he may comfort you in your distress.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Comforter,” A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 21, 1855

The Covenants-Chapter 4d-The Covenant of Redemption

The purpose of the covenant is expressed by its name; it looked to the redemption and salvation of men.

The plan, however, by which these results were to be gained, must necessarily be such as would, at the same time, glorify the purity and justice and honor alike, of all the persons of the adorable Trinity. Any arrangement which would fail of these ends, it is impossible he could have devised or approved. Had man been restored to happiness without meeting these demands, God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, would have been dishonored. It was the design of the covenant, therefore, to bring into perfect harmony the salvation of men, and the glory of God.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 193

TO YOUNG PEOPLE

[Undated.]

MY DEAR CHILDREN, —

I wish you a merry Christmas; every one of you. I hope you are all well, and able to enjoy the good things which kind friends have enabled us to provide. Three cheers for those friends!

Let us all be grateful that throughout the year our heavenly Father has provided us with bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and has given us shelter from the stormy wind, and a place wherein to rest. Let us all sing —

“Let us with a gladsome mind,

Praise the Lord, for He is kind;

For His mercy shall endure

Ever faithful, ever sure.”

As long as you are in the Orphanage, I hope that all of you, both boys and girls, will be very happy. I should be very unhappy myself if I thought that you were unhappy; yet the best joy some of you may not yet know; it is the joy of being right with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and so being ready both for the life which now is and for that which is to come. I had this happiness when I was a boy, and I wish you all had it.

Let us make the best of ourselves. Boys and girls, you will soon be men and women. Learn all you can that you may know how to play your parts, and succeed in life.

Your loving friend,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus Enough for our Reward? Part 2

October 31, 2018 2 comments

All believers are headed for glory and our reward. But what exactly will that be?

Let’s ask ourselves, what do we want it to be? Do we want the reward of a big mansion or a castle in glory? Or, would Jesus be enough?

Do we want Him?
Do we love Him?

Can we say with the Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalm 73:25).

Is Jesus enough?

Every believer, when our work has been examined at the Judgment throne, will receive a reward. So, let’s say for example, that our work passes through the Judgment with flying colours and we go on to our reward, what do we want it to be? Do we want literal crowns and mansions? They may be there. But so what?

I am persuaded that our greatest reward is Him, the Lord Jesus.

Consider the Levites of the Old Testament, they got no inheritance in the land, but they were given Him (Deuteronomy 10:9;18:1-2). The Lord was their inheritance and they had the privilege of ministering to Him.

They got the best deal in Israel!

The Lord is our reward. He told Abraham, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). Isaiah 40:10 tells us; “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him.”

Is He enough for our reward or do we want more?

I love what the hymn writer wrote about this; he said;

Finish then thy new creation:
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

We will cast our crowns before Him for He is enough. What a sublime thought!

So what exactly will Heaven and life there be like? We don’t know for eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9). But this much we do know; in Heaven, we not only encounter Jesus but we also encounter Heaven in Jesus

He is the Light of Heaven.
He is the Bread of Heaven.
He is the Delight of Heaven.
He is the Glory of Heaven.
He is the Joy of Heaven.
He is the Reward of Heaven.
His presence there makes Heaven into Heaven. If He left, it would no longer be Heaven! Jesus is the centre of Heaven, Jesus Himself is heaven and heaven is Jesus.

Jesus is enough.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-Continued-B

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election [contd]

The Doctrine of Reprobation is Based on the Doctrine of Original Sin; No Injustice is Done to the Non-elect

It Is obvious that this part of the doctrine of Predestination which affirms that God has, by a sovereign and eternal decree, chosen one portion of mankind to salvation while leaving the other portion to destruction, strikes us at first as being opposed to our common ideas of justice and hence needs a defence. The defence of the doctrine of Reprobation rests upon the preceding doctrine of Original Sin or Total Inability. This decree finds the whole race fallen. None have any claim on God’s grace. But instead of leaving all to their just punishment, God gratuitously confers undeserved happiness upon one portion of mankind, — an act of pure mercy and grace to which no one can object, — while the other portion is simply passed by. No undeserved misery is inflicted upon this latter group. Hence no one has any right to object to this part of the decree. If the decree dealt simply with innocent men, it would be unjust to assign one portion to condemnation; but since it deals with men in a particular state, which is a state of guilt and sin, it is not unjust. “The conception of the world as lying in the evil one and therefore judged already (Joh_8:18), so that upon those who are not removed from the evil of the world the wrath of God is not so much to be poured out but simply abides (Joh_3:36, cf. 1Jo_3:14), is fundamental to this whole presentation. It is therefore, on the one hand, that Jesus represents Himself as having come not to condemn the world, but to save the world (Joh_8:17; Joh_8:12; Joh_9:5; Joh_12:47; cf. 4:42), and all that He does as having for its end the introduction of life into the world (Joh_6:33, Joh_6:51) ; the already condemned world needs no further condemnation, it needs saving.”19

Guilty man has lost his rights and falls under the will of God. God’s absolute sovereignty now comes in and when He shows mercy in some cases we cannot object to His justice in others unless we would call in question His government of the universe. Viewed in this light the decree of Predestination finds mankind one mass of perdition and allows only a portion of it to remain such. When all antecedently deserved punishment it was not unjust for some to be antecedently consigned to it; otherwise the execution of a just sentence would be unjust.

“When the Arminian says that faith and works constitute the ground of election we dissent,” says Clark. “But if he says that foreseen unbelief and disobedience constitute the ground of reprobation we assent readily enough. A man is not saved on the ground of his virtues but he is condemned on the ground of his sin. As strict Calvinists we insist that while some men are saved from their unbelief and disobedience, in which all are involved, and others are not, it is still the sinner’s sinfulness that constitutes the ground of his reprobation. Election and reprobation proceed on different grounds; one the grace of God, the other the sin of man. It is a travesty on Calvinism to say that because God elects to save a man irrespective of his character or deserts, that therefore He elects to damn a man irrespective of his character or deserts.”20

This reprobation or passing by of the non-elect is not founded merely upon a foresight of their continuance in sin; for if that had been a proper cause, reprobation would have been the fate of all men, for all were foreseen as sinners. Nor can it be said that those who were passed by were in all cases worse sinners than those who were brought to eternal life. The Scriptures always ascribe faith and repentance to the good pleasure of God and to the special gracious operation of His Spirit. Those who conceive of mankind as innocent and deserving of salvation are naturally scandalized when any portion of the race is antecendently consigned to punishment. But when the doctrine of Original Sin, which is taught so clearly and repeatedly in the Scriptures, is seen in its proper setting, the objections to predestination disappear and the condemnation of the wicked seems only just and natural. Thus salvation is of the Lord alone, and damnation wholly from ourselves. Men perish because they will not come to Christ; yet if they have a will to come, it is God who works the will in them. Grace, electing grace, both draws the will and keeps it steady; and to grace be all the praise.

Furthermore, out of a world of sinful and rebellious subjects, none of whom were in themselves worthy of saving, God has graciously chosen some when he might have passed by all as He did the fallen angels (2Pe_2:4; Jude 6). He has taken it altogether upon Himself to provide the redemption through which His people are saved. The atonement, therefore, is His own property; and He certainly may, as He most assuredly will, do what He pleases with His own. Grace is given to one and withheld from another as He sees best. It is to be noticed also that the withholding of His grace from the non-elect is but the negative cause of their perishing, just as the absence of a physician from the sick man is the occasion, not the efficient cause, of his death. “In the sight of an infinitely good and merciful God,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “it was necessary that some of the rebellious race of man should suffer the penalty of the law which all have broken. It is God’s prerogative to determine who shall be vessels of mercy, and who shall be left to the just recompense of their sins.”21

Since man has brought himself into this state of sin, his condemnation is just, and every demand of justice would be met in his punishment. Conscience tells us that man perishes justly, since he chooses to follow Satan rather than God. “Ye will not come to me, that ye may have life,” said Jesus (Joh_5:40). And in this connection the words of Prof. F. E. Hamilton are very appropriate: “All God does is to let him (the unregenerate) alone and allow him to go his own way without interference. It is his nature to be evil, and God simply has foreordained to leave that nature unchanged. The picture often painted by opponents of Calvinism, of a cruel God refusing to save those who long to be saved, is a gross caricature. God saves all who want to be saved, but no one whose nature is unchanged wants to be saved.” Those who are lost are lost because they deliberately choose to walk in the ways of sin; and this will be the very hell of hells, that men have been self destroyers.

Many people talk as if salvation were a matter of human birthright. And, forgetful of the fact that man had and lost his supremely favorable chance in Adam, they inform us that God would be unjust if He did not give all guilty creatures an opportunity to be saved. In regard to the idea that salvation is given in return for something done by the person, Luther says, “But let us, I pray you, suppose that God ought to be such a one, who should have respect unto merit in those who are damned. Must we not, in like manner, also require and grant that He ought to have respect unto merit in those who are to be saved? For if we are to follow reason, it is equally unjust, that the undeserving should be crowned, as that the deserving should be damned.”22

No one with proper ideas of God supposes that He suddenly does something which He had not thought of before. Since His is an eternal purpose, what He does in time is what He purposed from eternity to do. Those whom He saves are those whom He purposed from eternity to save, and those whom He leaves to perish are those whom He purposed from eternity to leave. If it is just for God to do a certain thing in time, it is, by parity of argument, just for Him to resolve upon and decree it from eternity, for the principle of the action is the same in either case. And if we are justified in saying that from all eternity God has intended to display His mercy in pardoning a vast multitude of sinners why do some people object so strenuously when we say that from all eternity God has intended to display His justice in punishing other sinners?

Hence if it is just for God to forbear saving some persons after they are born, it was just for Him to form that purpose before they were born, or in eternity. And since the determining will of God is omnipotent, it cannot be obstructed or made void. This being true, it follows that He never did, nor does He now, will that every individual of mankind should be saved. If He willed this, not one single soul could ever be lost, “for who hath resisted His will?” If He willed that none should be lost, He would surely give to all men those effectual means of salvation without which it cannot be had. Now, God could give those means as easily to all mankind as to some only, but experience proves that He does not. Hence it logically follows that it is not His secret purpose or decretive will that all should be saved. In fact, the two truths, that what God does He does from eternity, and that only a portion of the human race is saved, is enough to complete the doctrines of Election and Reprobation.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination