IT IS A SAD TRUTH THAT MANY OF OUR LOVED ONES WILL DIE IN THEIR SINS – AND THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

IT IS A SAD TRUTH THAT MANY OF OUR LOVED ONES WILL DIE IN THEIR SINS – AND THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

Michael Jeshurun

And so I visited my parents after almost a year and they were glad to see me. For those who do not already know, my mother is a New Ager and my dad a devout Roman Catholic. My mom has always been set in her ways and never wants to be preached to, but not so my dad. Initially when I became a Christian I cherished a fond hope that ‘someday’ my dad would see the light of day and the darkness of the Roman Catholic Church of which he is a part and come out of it as I did. And because of this I have preached to him through my letters, phone calls and even in person. In fact one day I was so burdened for him that I called him up and told him in no uncertain terms that if he died a Roman Catholic trusting in his ‘wafer god’ he would wind up in hell. And that conversation ended in him calling me an ‘antichrist’!

After that encounter I made it plain to him that from henceforth we wouldn’t talk religion anymore because the ‘Jesus’ he believed in and the Jesus I serve are poles apart!

Now when I visited him . . . in fact the reason I visited him was because my mom had called and mentioned how dad was slowly deteriorating and even partially losing his memory etc. And being their only child I thought it was only fair that I visit them as a human being considering all that they have done for me in raising me up.

From the time I walked through the door of their house after the pleasantries my dad got back to what he does day in and day out – i.e. sit and religiously watch this Roman Catholic Television channel which broadcasts 24/7 their ‘Holy Mass’ their Novenas, and prayers to the departed saints etc.

Now you’d think that at least because I was visiting them my dad would be polite enough not to turn this Catholic channel on when I was around seeing that I was someone who fought Roman Catholicism tooth and nail . . . Oh no! He had it on ALL THE TIME, even when we sat down for dinner he had this channel running . . . almost to say – “THIS is my religion, don’t you dare preach to me and confuse me with the facts!”

I have been preaching the gospel for a good thirty one years, and through all those years the Spirit of God hath in His mercy taught me many things, some of which are indeed pretty ‘hard sayings’ and one of them is the fact that many of our loved ones are going to die in their sins and there is nothing WE can do about it!

Yes we do not desire to see ANYONE LOST – not even our worst enemy – much more our loved ones and so we preach to them at every given opportunity and pray for them like everything depended on prayer and yet for all that the truth remains that the majority in our circle of both family and friends are just not ‘called’ period!

The ‘Gospel’ we preach ‘makes sense’ and means something ONLY to those ‘who are the called’! To the rest it is either a stumbling block or just plain foolishness! [1Cor 1:23,24]

There is a GENERAL CALLING by means of the Word of God which is not accompanied by God’s effectual operation (which generates faith and love), but which comes to the external ear only. It leaves man in his natural state, who, in his wickedness, REJECTS THIS EXTERNAL CALL. He despises this call due to his free will which wills by way of necessary consequence. And this is true of MOST of our loved ones who are called externally (Matt. 22:5, 14).

As the beloved Spurgeon said long ago, “As a preacher I can only give the general call . . . God alone can give that Special Effectual Call!” And truth is: this ‘effectual call’ many times does not come to the dearest of God’s elect – sometimes their parents, sometimes their children and in some cases even their spouses hear only the ‘general call’ and by and by will die in their sins! This is an hard saying and not all can receive it . . . but to them to whom it is given!

Incidentally when God calls a man he usually calls him ALONE! In rare cases may be him and his brother or his sister etc, but hardly ever THE WHOLE FAMILY! Which is why following this effectual call of the believer there is a division in the family!

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword! For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household!” [Matt 10:34-36]

When GOD calls His child, He calls him alone, not him and his relatives or him and his friends! It is a personal call where you are required to pay a great price by forsaking those that are near and dear to you. Not everyone can pay this price but those and ONLY THOSE THAT ARE TRULY CALLED OF GOD!

“Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I CALLED HIM ALONE, and blessed him, and increased him.” [Isa 51:2].

Commenting on the above verse, A.W. Pink writes –

“Observe carefully the words “I called him ALONE.” Remember that this was while he dwelt in Ur, and as modern excavations have shown, that was a city of vast extent: out of all its huge number of inhabitants God revealed himself to ONE ONLY! The Lord here emphasized that very fact and calls upon us to mark the singularity of His election by this word “ALONE.” See here, then, the absolute sovereignty of God, exercising His own imperial will, choosing whom He pleases. He had mercy upon Abraham simply because He was pleased to do so, and He left the remainder of his countrymen in heathen darkness simply because it so seemed good in His sight. There was nothing more in Abraham than in any of his fellows why God should have selected HIM: whatever goodness was found in him later was what God Himself put there, and therefore it was the CONSEQUENCE and not the CAUSE of His choice.

Striking as is the case of Abraham’s own election, yet God’s dealings with his offspring is equally if not more noteworthy. Therein God furnished an epitome of what has largely characterized the history of all His elect, for it is a VERY RARE THING TO FIND A WHOLE FAMILY which (not simply makes a profession, but) gives evidence of enjoying His special favor. THE COMMON RULE IS THAT ONE IS TAKEN AND OTHER IS LEFT, for those who are given to really believe this precious but solemn truth, are made to experimentally realize its force in connection with their own kin. Thus Abraham’s own family furnished in his next and immediate successors, a prototype of the future experience of the elect”. [A.W. Pink – Gleanings in Genesis]

The ‘salvation’ of a fellow human being is TOTALLY OUT OF OUR HANDS. Like when Paul wrote concerning Christians married to unbelieving spouses – “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife”? [1Cor 7:16]

In other words WE DON’T KNOW!

Yes, God will save some of our loved ones, not because we preached or we prayed for them but because they are amongst His Elect! But as history proves the majority will go the way of all flesh and die in their sins!

“Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth!” [Rom 9:18]

“It is the LORD: let Him do what seemeth Him good!” [1Sam 3:18]

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight!” [Luke 10:21]

Salvation is of the LORD!” [Jonah 2:9]

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THE NEW BIRTH JUST AS THE NATURAL BIRTH IS IRRESISTIBLE & IRREVERSIBLE!

THE NEW BIRTH JUST AS THE NATURAL BIRTH IS IRRESISTIBLE & IRREVERSIBLE!

Michael Jeshurun

Salvation is not a REWARD given to those who have ‘PERFORMED’, but a FREE GIFT given to those who CANNOT PERFORM! It is something that you have RIGHT NOW, not something you will receive LATER, based on your performance! May the good Lord burn the truth of this verse into our hearts – “For BY GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT OF GOD: Not OF WORKS, lest any man should boast!” [Eph 2:8,9].

“Regeneration is a radical and supernatural change of the inner nature, through which the soul is made spiritually alive, and the new life which is implanted is immortal. And since it is a change in the inner nature, it is in a sphere in which man does not have control. No creature is at liberty to change the fundamental principles of its nature, for that is the prerogative of God as creator. Hence nothing short of another supernatural act of God could REVERSE this change and cause the new life to be lost!

The born-again Christian can no more lose his sonship to the heavenly Father than an earthly son can lose his sonship to an earthly father. The idea that a Christian may fall away and perish arises from a wrong conception of the principle of spiritual life, which is imparted to the soul in regeneration.” – A.W. Pink

If Christ had gone to the cross just to give us life, conceivably we could commit a sin and lose that life; but because He has given us ETERNAL LIFE, by the very nature of that which is eternal, it must be forever and ever. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” [Jn. 3:36]. Not WILL have or MAY have (IF he behaves), but HATH RIGHT NOW! [see also 1 Jn 5:13].

The ‘new birth’ is a spiritual resurrection, a passing from death unto life [Jn 5:24]. Writing to the saints in Ephesus the apostle Paul said, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; [Eph. 2:4-6; see also Col. 2:12]. This is the resurrection that Jesus spoke of to Martha before He raised Lazarus from the dead. He said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die [Jn. 11:25,26].

According to these verses, those whom God hath made alive, have experienced the resurrection of their souls. The Bible calls this the ‘First Resurrection’ [Rev. 20:5]. Upon those who have experienced the First Resurrection the ‘Second Death’ has no power [Rev. 20:6]. The second death being eternal damnation in Hell [Rev. 20:14].

THE GOSPEL – A FRAGRANCE OF LIFE UNTO LIFE AND DEATH UNTO DEATH!

THE GOSPEL – A FRAGRANCE OF LIFE UNTO LIFE AND DEATH UNTO DEATH!

Michael Jeshurun

The Scripture does declare that “Whosoever will may come.” (Rev 22:17) But this does not in the least imply that men CAN come of their own ‘FREE-WILL’!

In fact the ‘call of the gospel’ does not go to ALL, but to MANY! And out of these ‘MANY’ only a “FEW” come! And the scripture tells us WHY they come . . . i.e. because they are the ‘CHOSEN’, ‘the ELECT’, the ‘SHEEP’!

“For MANY are called, but FEW are CHOSEN!” [Matt 22:14]

If only ‘FEW’ are ‘CHOSEN’ then why does God bother to call the ‘MANY?’

Dearly beloved, please understand that the gospel goes forth as a two edged sword both to ‘save’ and to ‘damn’! It goes forth as a savor of ‘life unto life’ unto the elect and ‘death unto death’ unto the reprobate! [see – 2Cor 2:16]

GOD DOES NOT DESIRE AND NEITHER HAS HE INTENDED TO SAVE ANY WHOM HE HAS FROM ETERNITY ORDAINED TO REPROBATION! (Jude 1:4)

Yes, the gospel goes to ‘MANY’! But for the MAJORITY it is either foolishness or a stumbling block!

But unto them which are CALLED, both Jews and Greeks, (it is) Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God! [1Cor 1:24]

WHO are these who are so ‘CALLED’?

They are none other than those whom God FORKNEW and PREDESTINATED!

It is these and these alone whom He effectually calls, justifies and glorifies! [see Romans 8:29,30]

“Ye will not come unto Me that ye might have life”! [Jn 5:40] Fallen man cannot come because he WILL NOT COME!

Ye will not come that ye might have life, DOES NOT imply that IF THEY COME, there is ‘LIFE” for them! “LIFE” or the “ATONEMENT” was only provided for those whom God hath chosen, His elect, His people, His called out ones! “I lay down My life FOR THE SHEEP”! (not the GOATS) [John 10:15]

As Edwards so profoundly put it – “Christ did not intend to save those He knew He would not save. If He intended to save any it was those He knew would be saved. Christ has died for them (the elect) and NOT FOR THE WORLD. It was the elect that Christ came to save. Since God eternally decreed not to save others Christ would not be engaged in a FOOL’S errand.” [Jonathan Edwards]

Christ’s Distinguishing Love for the Church – His Lily 

Christ’s Distinguishing Love for the Church – His Lily

C.H. Spurgeon

“As the lily among thorns, so is My Love among the daughters.” [Sos 2:2]

He styles her, “My Love” i.e. “My darling.” An exquisitely sweet name; as if His love had all gone forth from Him, and had become embodied in her. The first point then of her relation to Christ is that she has His DARLING. Think of it, and let the blessed truth dwell long and sweetly in your meditations. The Lord of life and glory, the Prince of the kings of the earth, has such a loving heart that He must have an object upon which to spend His affection; and His people, chosen from among men, whom he calls His church, these are they who are His “love,” the object of His supreme delight. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”

He looked on His people and he exclaimed, “as the Father has loved me even so have I loved you.” Every believer, separated from mankind, and called unto the fellowship of Christ, is also the peculiar object of His love. Not in name only, but in deed and in truth, does Jesus love each one of us who have believed on Him. You may each one of you say with the apostle, “He loved me”; you may read it in any tense you please- He loved me; He loves me; He will love me, for He gave Himself for me. This shall be your song in heaven, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory.”

This love is DISTINGUISHING love, for in its light one special object shines as a lily, and the rest, “the daughters,” are as thorns. Love has fixed on its chosen object, and compared with the favored one all others are as nothing. There is a love of Jesus which goes forth to all mankind, for “the Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works”; but there is a special and peculiar love which He bears to His own.

As a man loves his neighbors but still he has a special affection for his own wife, so is the church Christ’s bride, beloved above all the rest of mankind, and every individual believer is the favored one of heaven. The saint is united to Christ by a mystical union, a spiritual marriage bond, and above all others, Christ loves the souls espoused to Him. He said once, “I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me;” thus indicating that there is a specialty about His intercession.

We rejoice in the largeness and the width of Jesus’ love, but we do not therefore doubt its specialty. The sun shines on all things, but when it is focussed upon one point, ah, then there is a heat about it of which you little dreamed! The love of Jesus is focussed on those whom the Father has given Him. Upon you, my brother or sister, if indeed you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Lord’s heart is set, and he speaks of you in the words of the text as “my love,” loved above all the daughters, precious in His sight and honorable, so that he will give men for you and people for your life.

Observe that this is a love which he OPENLY AVOWS. The bridegroom speaks and says before all men, “As a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the daughters.” He puts it upon record in that book which is more widely scattered than any other, for he is not ashamed to have it published on the housetops. The love of Christ was at first hidden in His heart, but it soon revealed itself, for even of old His delights were with the sons of men, and he bent His steps downward to this world in divers forms before ever Bethlehem’s song was sung. And now, since the incarnate God has loved, and lived, and died, He has unveiled His love in the most open form, and astonished heaven and earth thereby.

On Calvary He set up an open proclamation, written in His own heart’s blood, that He loved His own people even unto the end. He bids His ministers proclaim it to the world’s end, that many waters could not quench His love, neither could the floods drown it; and that neither life, nor death, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He would have it known, for he is not ashamed to call His people “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” He declares it that His adversaries may know it, that He has a people in whom His heart delights, and these he will have and hold as His own, when heaven and earth shall pass away.

Note, too, that He who gave the beauty is the first to see it. While they are unknown to the world Jesus knows His own. Long before anybody else sees any virtue or any praise in us, Jesus observes it, and is pleased therewith. He is quick to say, “Behold, he prays,” or “Behold, he repents.” He is the first to say, “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.”

Love’s eyes are quick, and her ears are open. Love covers a multitude of faults, but it discovers a multitude of beauties. Can it be so, O my soul, can it be so that Christ has made you lovely in His loveliness? Has He shed a beauty upon you, and does He Himself look complacently upon it? He whose taste is exquisite, and whose voice is the truth, who never calls that beautiful which is not beautiful, can he see a beauty in your sighs and tears, in your desires after holiness, in your poor attempts to aid His cause, in your prayers and in your songs, and in your heart’s love towards Him.

Can He see a beauty in these? Yes, assuredly He can, or He would not speak as He does in this text. Let His condescending discernment have all honor for this generous appreciation of us. Let us bless and love Him because he deigns to think so highly of us who owe everything to Him. “You are,” says He, “my darling, as the lily.”

“As the lily among thorns” wears also another meaning. Dr. Thompson writes of a certain lily, “It grows among thorns, and I have sadly lacerated my hands in extricating it from them. Nothing can be in higher contrast than the luxuriant, velvety softness of this lily, and the withered, tangled hedge of thorns about it.” Ah, beloved, you know who it was that in gathering your soul and mine, lacerated not His hand only, but His feet, and His head, and His side, and His heart, yes, and His inmost soul. He spied us out, and said, “Yonder lily is mine, and I will have it”; but the thorns were a terrible barrier; our sins had gathered round about us, and the wrath of God most sharply stopped the way. Jesus pressed through all, that we might be His; and now when he takes us to Himself he does not forget the thorns which girded His brow, and tore His flesh, for our sakes.

This then is a part of our relationship to Christ, that we cost Him very dear. He saw us where we were, and He came to our deliverance; and now, even as Pharaoh’s daughter called the young child’s name “Moses,” “because,” said she, “I drew him out of the water,” so does Jesus call His chosen “the lily among thorns,” because such she was when he came to her rescue. Never will he forget Calvary and its thorns, nor should His saints allow the memory thereof to fade. Amen!

GOD WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED – WHAT THAT MEANS

GOD WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED – WHAT THAT MEANS

 Michael Jeshurun

 Most who call themselves ‘Christians’ in our day neither know nor worship the Sovereign Almighty God of the Scriptures! What they do worship and contend for is a miserable IDOL!

“An anxious and pleading God, whose power is limited, and whose hands may be tied by the proud and stubborn sinner, who is less than dust of the balance, is no God, but a miserable idol!”  (Herman Hoeksema; 1886-1965)

The God of the Scriptures is a Sovereign discriminating God, who is likened unto a ‘potter’ who has power over the clay to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor! A Sovereign who is answerable to NONE but Himself! A God who doeth according to HIS WILL in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and NONE can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest THOU? [Dan 4:35]A Sovereign who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will! [Rom 9:18] A Sovereign who knows the end from the beginning, and calleth those things that are not as though they were and makes His people willing in the day of His power! A Sovereign who hath created ALL THINGS for Himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil, and causes the wrath of man to praise Him! [Prov 16:4; Psalm 76:10]

Few who claim to be Christians know THIS God! The God THEY believe in is a frustrated idol who keeps hoping and wishing and wringing his hands helplessly as MAN AND DEVIL RULE BY THEIR ‘FREE WILL’.

 Now this God has told us plainly in His book that He hath mercy on whom He will and whom He will He hardeneth! [Rom 9:18] From amongst the children of Adam, He hath unconditionally chosen SOME to be saved from the wrath to come! [1Thes 1:10] And in order that He might be just and the justifier of these chosen ones (Rom 3:26), He sent His Son to atone on the Cross for their sins, and in time He doth irresistibly draw each and everyone for whom His Son atoned, making them ‘willing’ in the day of His power and saving them with an everlasting salvation! [Psalm 110:3]

This Almighty Sovereign God of the Bible cannot be known by ‘walking an aisle’, ‘saying a little prayer’, signing a ‘decision card’ or getting baptized when you are old enough etc, but only by REVELATION!

“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast HID THESE THINGS from the wise and prudent, and hast REVEALED THEM unto babes”. [Matt 11:25]

Again – “Unto YOU (His elect) it is GIVEN to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: [WHY?] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them”. [Mark 4:11,12]

A mere mention of this God and His sovereign discriminating ways to those who are unsaved or nominally ‘Christian’ is like waving the proverbial ‘red-flag’ in the face of a mad bull!

They immediately retort with the few scriptures which they have failed to ‘rightly divide’ and which to their darkened minds make this Sovereign God of the Bible appear nothing short of a Monster!

They retort – “Oh but does not the Bible say – “God desires ALL MEN to be saved”? [1Tim 2:4] and did not Christ Himself say, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto Me”?! [John 12:32]

Come now, if by “ALL MEN” is meant every single member of the human race; we have no option but to embrace the heresy of Universalism which teaches that by and by either in this life or in the life to come GOD WILL SAVE ALL MEN!

But we know that the Bible plainly teaches that there is no salvation beyond the grave! “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this THE JUDGMENT”! [Heb 9:27]

Whoever Christ ‘draws’ to Himself, He does so NOW! In time! And those who reject Him and go into a Christ-less grave . . . go to an eternal Hell!

“If by “ALL MEN” is meant ‘the entire human race’ including all mankind from Adam till the close of earth’s history: it reaches backward as well as forward! Consider, then, the history of mankind before Christ was born. Unnumbered millions lived and died before the Savior came to the earth, lived here ‘having no hope and without God in the world,’ and therefore passed out into an eternity of woe. If God ‘loved’ them, and ‘desired’ to save them, then where is the slightest proof thereof?

Scripture declares ‘Who (God) in times past (from the tower of Babel till after Pentecost) suffered all nations to walk in their own ways’ (Acts 14:16). Scripture again declares that ‘And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient’ (Rom. 1:28). To Israel God said, ‘You ONLY have I known of all the families of the earth’ (Amos 3:2). In view of these plain passages who will be so foolish as to insist that God in the past loved all mankind and desired ALL MEN to be saved! The same applies with equal force to the future . . .” [A.W. Pink]

Look around your own little circle – your family, your friends, or even your work-place. If you’ve lived long enough, you would have surely witnessed many who have died without Christ and some who have even died with a oath on their lips! Are you still going to contend that the “ALL MEN” whom Christ said He would draw, are ALL without EXCEPTION?!

To say that Christ wanted to draw them but they would not let Him is ‘begging the question’! To say that Christ was all along ‘knocking’ on the door of their hearts, pleading to be let in, but they would not, is to show your ignorance and greatly err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God! (Matt 22:29) For even if the human heart HAD such a ‘door’ which needs to be ‘opened’ to let Christ in, the Bible leaves us with no doubts as to WHO it is that opens that door!

Speaking of Lydia the seller of purple who responded to Paul’s preaching and was saved, it is written, “THE LORD OPENED her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” [Acts 16:14].

“Hence by ALL MEN, whom God would have saved, cannot be meant EVERY INDIVIDUAL of mankind, since it is not His will that all men, in this large sense, should be saved, unless there are two contrary wills in God; for there are some who were before ordained by him unto condemnation, and are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; and it is His will concerning some, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned; nor is it fact that all are saved, as they would be, if it was His will they should; for who hath resisted His will? But there is a world of ungodly men that will be condemned, and who will go into everlasting punishment: rather therefore ALL SORTS OF MEN, agreeably to the use of the phrase in 1Ti_2:1 are here intended,  – kings and peasants, rich and poor, bond and free, male and female, young and old, greater and lesser sinners; and therefore all are to be prayed for, even all sorts of men, because God will have all men, or all sorts of men, saved”. [John Gill]

God wills that sinners from all walks of life and every part of the globe be saved [not every person who ever lived] – this is the ‘all men’ Paul was referring to in the text.

Not ALL without EXCEPTION, but ALL without DISTINCTION!

THE CAUSE OF REPROBATION – AS WITH ELECTION IS GOD’S OWN SOVEREIGN WILL

THE CAUSE OF REPROBATION – AS WITH ELECTION IS GOD’S OWN SOVEREIGN WILL

John Bunyan

First, Reprobation is BEFORE the person cometh into the world, or hath done good or evil: This is evident by that of Paul to the Romans: ‘For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto Rebecca, The elder shall serve the younger’ (9:11).

Here you find twain in their mother’s womb, and both receiving their destiny, not only before they had done good or evil, but before they were in a capacity to do it, they being yet unborn; their destiny, I say, the one unto, the other not unto, the blessing of eternal life; the one chose, the other refused; the one elect, the other reprobate.

The same also might be said of Ishmael and his brother Isaac, both which did also receive their destiny before they came into the world: for the promise that this Isaac should be the heir, it was also before Ishmael was born, though he was elder by fourteen years, or more, than his brother (Gen 15:4,5, 16:4,5,16, 17:25, 21:5).

This act of reprobation was BEFORE the world began; which therefore must needs confirm that which was said but now, that they were, before they were born, both destinated before they had done good or evil. This is manifest by that of Paul to the Ephesians, at the beginning of his epistle; where, speaking of Election, whose negative is reprobation, he saith, ‘God hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world.’ Nay further, if you please, consider, that as Christ was ordained to suffer before the foundation of the world, and as we that are elected were chosen in him before the foundation of the world; so it was also ordained we should know him, before the foundation of the world; ordained that we should be holy before him in love, before the foundation of the world; and that we in time should be created in him to good works, and ordained before that we should walk in them.

Wherefore reprobation also, it being the negative of electing love; that is, because God elected but some, therefore he left the rest: these rest therefore must needs be of as ancient standing under reprobation, as the chosen are under election; both which, it is also evident, was BEFORE the world began. Which serveth yet further to prove that reprobation could not be with respect to this or the other sin, it being only a leaving them, and that before the world, out of that free choice which he was pleased to bless the other with. Even as the clay with which the dishonourable vessel is made, did not provoke the potter, for the sake of this or that impediment, therefore to make it so; but the potter of his own will, of the clay of the same lump, of the clay that is full as good as that of which he hath made the vessel to honour, did make this and the other a vessel of dishonour, &c. (1 Peter 1:20,21; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:3,4, 2:10).

[From John Bunyan’s “Reprobation Asserted”]

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD – A TRUTH UNHEARD

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD – A TRUTH UNHEARD

Jim Byrd

There was a time, not so many years ago, when a Baptist pastor could use the word “sovereignty” with reference to the Lord and most everyone knew what he meant. Sadly, times have changed and with the passing of the years, the clear teaching of this grand, old Biblical doctrine has become nearly extinct. 

When I speak of the sovereignty of God, I am simply saying that our eternal Creator does as He pleases, when He pleases, with whom He pleases and in whatever manner He pleases. God’s sovereignty is His absolute, independent right to govern all of His creation, whether in providence or grace, according to the good pleasure of His will. Is this not the declaration of the Word?

“But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3). “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so it shall come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand…The LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it” (Isaiah 14:24, 27). “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15).

Let me be plainly understood. If the Lord is not altogether sovereign, performing His will with absolute authority, then He really is not God at all. To speak of God as not being sovereign or having limited sovereignty, as wanting to do something and yet His desire being hindered or defeated by something or somebody, is as foolish as saying God is not holy, He is not eternal or He is not powerful. There is no alternative: either God rules over all things, executing His eternal purpose, or something or somebody rules over God.

Hear what the Lord says. “I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).

 

GOD’S SOVEREIGN HARDENING OF MEN’S HEARTS 

GOD’S SOVEREIGN HARDENING OF MEN’S HEARTS

Michael Jeshurun

The truth of reprobation has always been a thorny subject for Christians. Even those who deem themselves Calvinists and believers in the absolute sovereignty of God shy away from this truth which God has chosen to reveal in the Scriptures. And sadly, those who should know better for the most part ‘explain it away’ in such a manner that it does not stir up any controversy or awe, and neither raises the question which the Apostle anticipated; i.e. “WHY DOTH HE YET FIND FAULT? For who hath resisted HIS WILL”? [Romans 9:19]

The Bible speaks of men hardening their hearts against God! And this hardening is spoken of as both Judicial and Sovereign.

Judicial hardening is God hardening the hearts of men because they have rejected Him and His Truth, while Sovereign hardening, like election finds its cause only in the good pleasure of Him who doeth all things after the counsel of His own will! Or as the Master said, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight”! [Matt 11:26]

While the average Calvinist or Reformed preacher is only too happy to expound and preach profound sermons on Judicial hardening, he is for the most part silent on Sovereign hardening and Sovereign reprobation! And the reason is not too far to seek. Judicial hardening raises no eyebrows nor offends the nominal ‘Christian’ who comes Sunday after Sunday to warm the pew and pay his tithes and offerings to keep the ‘ministry’ running; while sermons on Sovereign hardening, or the fact that God does not love EVERYBODY, or that CHRISTMAS IS PAGAN and the like would soon clear his Church and leave him without a ‘ministry’!

But thanks be to God for those preachers who can say with the Apostle –“I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL THE COUNSEL OF GOD”! [Acts 20:27]

Let us consider God’s SOVEREIGN HARDENING as it is revealed in Romans 9.
“Therefore hath HE mercy on whom HE will have mercy, and whom HE will HE hardeneth”! [Romans 9:18]

This passage in Romans 9 is the clearest of all! The whole chapter is concerned with God’s sovereignty as it relates to Israel. First God showed His sovereignty in connection with Abraham’s seed [vs 7] in passing by Ishmael and calling Isaac. Second God showed His sovereignty in connection with Isaac’s sons [vs 10-13] in loving Jacob and hating Esau. Third the question is raised: “Is there unrighteousness with God”? [vs 14] Is it not unjust for God to show ‘PARTIALITY’? The answer is-certainly not, or “God forbid” – God CANNOT deal unjustly!

But He can and does bestow His favor on whom He pleases, for He is sovereign, saying- “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy’ etc [vs15]. Fourth, in vs 18, this solemn truth is pressed one step further: not only does God have mercy on whom He will, but “WHOM HE WILL HE HARDENETH”, and it FROM THIS POINT ONWARDS TO THE END OF THE CHAPTER that most preachers are radically unsound!

What even the majority of those who deem themselves ‘Calvinists’ say concerning this is – “What is in view here is ‘Judicial hardening’ i.e. a forsaking by God, because these subjects of His judicial hardening first forsook Him, rejected His truth etc. In support of their contention, appeal is made to such scriptures as Romans 1:19-26 – ‘God gave them up’ i.e. “those, who when they knew God, glorified Him not as God” [vs 21]. Also 2Thes 2:10-12 is quoted to buttress their view. That these last two quoted passages refer to judicial ‘hardening’ we will allow, though the word ‘harden’ occurs in neither of them. But our objection is that neither of them are in anywise relevant to the point raised in Romans 9:18, which to our mind has no reference at all to ‘judicial hardening’!

Clearly in Romans 9:18 the Apostle is not speaking of God hardening those who had first turned their backs on His truth, but instead, is insisting that in ‘hardening’ (as much as in showing mercy) God is exercising His own sovereignty! Note, beloved, the precise wording of verse 18, (so different to man’s glosses upon it) – “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will (not all who have rejected His truth) He hardeneth”! the ‘therefore’ which begins verse 18, in our judgment points back, particularly to verse 17 where Pharaoh is mentioned as a sample case of God’s sovereignty in “hardening whom He wills.”

The case of Pharaoh is clear enough though man has done his best to hide the truth. True, we read both of Pharaoh hardening his own heart, and also of God hardening his heart. But WHICH IS MENTIONED FIRST? See Exodus 4;21 where the word occurs for the first time in connection with Pharaoh. Man always reverses God’s order. PHARAOH HARDENED HIS HEART BECAUSE GOD HAD FIRST HARDENED IT, AND NOT VICE VERSA AS WE ARE ASKED TO BELIEVE!

The passage in Romans 9:18 of God’s sovereign ‘hardening’ of sinner’s hearts in contradiction to judicial hardening (because of truth rejected) – is not alone! We quote now one other passage in the New Testament, i.e. John 12:37-40 – “But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they COULD NOT BELIEVE, (why?) because that Esaias said again, HE HATH BLINDED their eyes, and hardened their heart; (why? Most preachers say because they refused to believe on Christ etc. but how different the solemn Word of God which follows) THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, NOR UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED, AND I SHOULD HEAL THEM”!

Now beloved it is just a question of whether or not we will “believe” what God has told us in His Word! IT IS NOT A MATTER OF PROLONGED SEARCHING OR PROFOUND STUDY, BUT CHILDLIKENESS THAT IS NEEDED!

Returning now to Romans 9:19, another difficulty or objection is now faced: “Thou will say then unto me, then why doth He yet FIND FAULT”?! Now beloved, we ask you, what do, or what can, these words mean? Answer yourself before you read ours. Can the force of the Apostle’s question be any other than this: “If it is true that God has “mercy” on whom He wills, and ALSO “hardens” whom He wills, then we are no more than PUPPETS and in such a case it is UNJUST for God to find fault with His helpless creatures! Such, we take is the real force of the objection.

Note the “THEN” used as an inference or a consequence drawn from what the Apostle has said in previous verses. And mark, beloved, that the APOSTLE READILY SAW THAT THE DOCTRINE HE HAD PRESENTED WOULD RAISE THIS VERY OBJECTION, and unless what we have written concerning ‘God’s sovereignty’ also raises the SAME OBJECTION, it proves that either we have not FAITHFULLY STATED the doctrine of Romans 9 or else human nature has CHANGED since Paul’s day!

Note further in verse 19, the SAME question is REPEATED, now in a slightly different form – REPEATED so that the Apostle’s meaning may not be misunderstood, i.e. “For who hath resisted His will”? Now mark particularly the last two words: “HIS WILL” It is a question of God’s will the Apostle is discussing, i.e. His sovereign ways, which confirms what we said concerning verses 17 and 18, i.e. it is NOT JUDICIAL HARDENING WHICH IS HERE IN VIEW, (that is hardening because of previous rejection of truth), but SOVEREIGN HARDENING, that is, for no other reason than that which inheres in the “will” of God!

Now how does the Apostle meet the objection raised (anticipatedly) in verse 19? Does he say the objection is pointless and groundless? Does he tell the objector that his inference is a false one, that his conclusion is unsound? Not at all. By no means. Instead he rebukes the objector for his impiety. He reminds the objector that he is merely a ‘man’, a creature – and that as such it is most impertinent and unseemly for him to ‘reply’ (to argue or reason) against God. Further he tells him that he is merely a thing that has been ‘formed’ – hence it is madness and blasphemy to rise up against the “Former” Himself.

Before passing to the next verses, we would call your attention to the last words of verse 20 – “why hast Thou made me THUS”? What can be its force in the light of the immediate context? Surely, why (like in the case of Pharaoh) hast Thou made me simply to “harden” me? Can it signify anything else, in the light of the context?

Lastly in Romans 9:21-23 the Apostle furnishes a full and final reply to the objections named in verse 19. First, he asks, “ Hath not the potter power” –a different word from that translated “power” in verse 22, where it can only signify His might; but here in verse 21, the “power” spoken of must refer to the CREATOR’S RIGHTS OR SOVEREIGN PREROGATIVES; that this is so appears from the fact that the same Greek word is employed in John 1:12 – “gave he “power” to becomes the sons of God’ which as you probably know, means, the right or privilege to become the sons of God.

“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor”? Certainly He has, because He is God the Creator! Does He EXERCISE this ‘right”? Yes, as verse 17 clearly shows, “for this same purpose have I raised thee (Pharaoh) up” etc. Second the Apostle now tells us, why God acts thus – differently with different ones, having mercy on some and hardening others, making one vessel unto “honor” and another unto “dishonor.” Notice, in verse 22 the Apostle first mentions “the vessels of wrath” before he refers in verse 23 to the “vessels of mercy”! Why is this? Because it is the “vessels of Wrath” who are the subjects of the objection in verse 19!

Notice also that in verse 22 the Apostle does not say that these vessels of Wrath were “FIT for destruction” but rather “FITTED to destruction” which in the light of the immediate context means SOVEREIGNLY ORDAINED to destruction by the Creator!

“(For the children being not yet born, NEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION MIGHT STAND, NOT OF WORKS, BUT OF HIM THAT CALLETH;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but ESAU HAVE I HATED!” [Romans 9:11-13]

Let us assert in conclusion that the only reason that we know that God “loved” Jacob is because He looked at him ‘in Christ’ (the sole reason why He loves you, me or anyone else whom He calls and saves); and that He hated Esau before he was born, was not because of any evil acts or even evil nature, but because Esau SINNED “IN ADAM” and thus provoked God’s holy wrath! It is lamentable how little the doctrines of ‘imputation’ and ‘representation’ are understood today even by eminent theologians!

[Paraphrased from A.W. Pink’s letter to his friend and publisher I.C. Herendeen, July 21st 1918]

SPECIAL PRAYERS FOR BRETHREN IN THE PATH OF HURRICANE IRMA 

SPECIAL PRAYERS FOR BRETHREN IN THE PATH OF HURRICANE IRMA

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thou art the God who rulest the raging of the sea: (and) when the waves thereof arise, THOU stillest them! [Psalm 89:9]

Be with Thy people and shield them from this fierce Hurricane. In wrath remember mercy! [Hab 3:2] In Jesus’ name Amen!

GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” [Psalm 46]

Michael Jeshurun

‘Free-will’ Salvation – a mockery of God!

‘Free-will’ Salvation – a mockery of God!

Michael Jeshurun

God says – “(Salvation) is “not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy!” [Rom 9:16]

The Arminian says, “sorry, Salvation IS of him that willeth of his own ‘free-will’ and of him that runneth with his determination!”

God says, “No man can come to Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him!” [John 6:44]
The Arminian says, “sorry, that’s YOUR interpretation! A man though fallen and depraved CAN come to Christ if he so wills!”

God says, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” [John 10:28]
The Arminian says, “sorry, the child of God CAN and will perish if he doesn’t ‘behave’, and though no man may be able to pluck them out of God’s hand, the child of God can himself jump out and run away!”

God says, “I lay down My life for the sheep!” [John 10:15]
The Arminian asserts “No! Christ shed His blood for Judas equally with Peter, and for Pilate as truly as for Paul, and for those burning in hell as well as for those in glory!”

God says, “the redeemed of the LORD SHALL RETURN, and COME with singing unto Zion” [Isaiah 51:11]
The Arminian says, “No! they can CHOOSE not to return or come!”

Finally God says, “And I will make an Everlasting Covenant with them, that I WILL NOT TURN AWAY FROM THEM, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that THEY SHALL NOT DEPART FROM ME.” [Jer 32:40]

The Arminian says, “Sorry, God WILL depart from His covenant children if they don’t behave and His children too will depart from Him if they aren’t faithful.”

Ultimately, Salvation according to the Arminian is NOT “of the Lord!” [Jonah 2:9] it is of “the Lord AND man!” Salvation is NOT by grace ALONE but by grace PLUS WORKS! In the final analysis man hath whereof to glory (Rom 4:2) for without HIS ‘cooperation’ Christ died in vain!

“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, BUT OF DEBT!
But to him that WORKETH NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, HIS FAITH is counted for righteousness.
Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness WITHOUT WORKS,
Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” [Rom 4:4-8]

“Not UNTO US, O LORD, not Unto Us, but UNTO THY NAME give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake!” [Psalm 115:1]