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
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]