ARE THE ‘ELECT’ THE CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL BEFORE THEIR SALVATION?
[Letter to a brother asserting that the ‘Elect’ or the ‘Lord’s sheep’ were NEVER EVER the children of the Devil!]
My dear Brother Will ,
The subject at hand is indeed a deep one and is not easily solved by quoting a few verses or even reasoning philosophically. Much prayer and ‘light from above’ is required for the task at hand.
The question is: “Are the Elect the children of the Devil before their conversion”?
Let us start by admitting that good men of God have been on both sides of the debate, and I do not presume to have solved the mystery. All I am going to do is present both sides of the argument and ask God to give us further light.
You are right in saying that sheep do not become goats and neither do goats turn into sheep by either anything THEY have done or by anything DONE FOR THEM in time. Both sheep and goats come into the world as precisely THAT, and no event in history changes or alters that!
First a word on the often quoted Scripture – “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were BY NATURE THE CHILDREN OF WRATH, even as others”. [Eph 2:3]
Many have freely associated the children of wrath with the children of the devil. This is indeed a great mistake. I do not believe that the Elect are ever HATED by God. But I certainly believe that they can be under the JUDICIAL wrath of God. And that they often are under the judicial wrath of God even AFTER they are brought to salvation! That they can experience the heavy hand of God against them in their sins, as David did when he sinned with Bathsheba. He records his experience of the wrath of God against his sins in Psalm 32. I don’t have any problem with that. But there is a DIFFERENCE you see BETWEEN WRATH AND HATRED. I can be very wrathful with my children, but that doesn’t mean that I HATE them! I’d certainly had not better hate them in being wrathful with them.
In fact my wrath with them is an expression of my LOVE FOR THEM. At least it should be and by the grace of God I hope it is. But you see what I’m saying, there is quite a difference between WRATH and HATRED. God certainly can be angry with His people, and when He comes to them to save them then He saves them FROM wrath, and from that deep sense of condemnation that is part of the wrath of God to give them peace through His grace. But that does not mean that He hates them. His wrath against them is not a wrath which is rooted in hatred for them but a wrath which is rooted in His eternal and unchangeable love for them. Even after they’ve been saved when He reveals His wrath He reveals it in order to turn them from their sins and to bring them back to Himself.
In the mind of God, the elect are viewed as His children from ETERNITY. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost”! [1Cor 12:3] And God sends the Holy Spirit into the hearts of His Elect BECAUSE he views them as His children.
“And BECAUSE YE ARE SONS, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father”. [Gal 4:6]
The Elect are said to be the object of the Father’s love! As to WHEN this love ‘originated’ in the heart of God, the Scripture leaves us with no doubts when it declares – “Yea, I have loved thee with AN EVERLASTING LOVE: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”. [Jer 31:3]. This love had no beginning and is eternal as Jehovah Himself! One of the greatest comforts for the tried child of God!
The Master declared that the elect belonged to the Father long before they came to the Son! “Thine they WERE, and Thou gavest them Me”! [John 17:6] This should be said of all the elect, not just the Apostles.
In fact the prophecy concerning the Atonement was – “For the transgression of MY PEOPLE was He stricken”! [Isaiah 53:8] And in fact this alone should settle once and for all whether Christ died for the whole world or only for the Elect! . . . “I lay down My life FOR THE SHEEP”! [John 10:15]
Now all of the above is from the DIVINE point of view.
From the HUMAN view point it must be admitted that the elect at least until their salvation in time in no wise differ from the non-elect! They are conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity! They are estranged from the womb: and go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies! [Psalm 51:5; 58:3]
All the elect just as the reprobate have all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes!
THIS is a picture of the ‘Elect’ before Christ finds them!
“In THIS the children of God are MANIFEST, and the children of the devil: whosoever DOETH NOT RIGHTEOUSNESS is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother”! [1John 3:10]
To put it in plain English, this is how we differentiate between a child of God and a child of the devil!
HE THAT COMMITTETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL; for the devil sinneth from the beginning! [1John 3:8].
Any true child of God will hang his head in shame and ADMIT that before his salvation he sinned without RESTRAINT! And He loved every minute of it! He will also admit, especially if he came from an occult background that he regarded Satan as Lord and master and in extreme cases even referred to him as father! Yes there have been Satanists who regarded Satan as their Father who were later saved by grace.
So we see that in their conduct the Elect before their salvation differed in no way from the non-elect. The Master said to the unbelieving Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do”! [John 8:44]
“Wherein in time past ye (Elect) walked according to the course of this world, according to THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience’. [Eph 2:2]
Like father, like son!
IT IS NOT ONLY THE NON-ELECT WHO DID THE LUSTS OF THEIR FATHER, BUT EVEN THE ELECT DID THE SAME EVEN THOUGH THE DEVIL IS NOT THEIR FATHER AS WE HAVE SEEN ABOVE!
I hope this throws some light into what we are discussing.
No the Elect are not the children of the devil, per se. But their conduct identifies them to be so!
This must be a sober warning to all who claim to be ‘Elect’ and are still following the course of this world! Christ redeems His elect not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the power thereof!
And so we will find many of the elect thus testify that they were ONCE a child of the devil but God in His mercy saved them and from THENCE they became His children.
And methinks they are justified in testifying thus, because even though IN THE MIND OF GOD THEY WERE ALWAYS HIS CHILDREN, their CONDUCT IDENTIFIED THEM AS CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL!
A further thought on this is that Christ came to seek and to save that which was ‘LOST’! Now the word ‘LOST’ implies something originally possessed! And the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the Prodigal son bring to light the same truth. i.e. the woman finds her lost coin which originally belonged to her, and the shepherd His own sheep and the Father his own son! [Luke 15]
We cannot and should not inquire further than this that is revealed. i.e. that through the fall the elect who were ‘lost’ in the first Adam are brought back by Christ the last Adam! [1Cor 15:45]
It is these ‘LOST SHEEP’ on whom the Spirit works in time and convicts them of their sin, grants them repentance and gloriously saves them!
WHY God ordained His elect to be ‘lost’ through the fall only to be redeemed in Christ is NOT REVEALED! The only answer being – “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight”! [Matt 11:26] Amen!