One of the most serious objections to the theory of common grace is that it instils in men’s minds wrong thoughts of God. According to this theory God is a friend of all men, of the reprobated as well as of the elect. The former, too, God loves and blesses. How thoroughly wrong this doctrine is seen to be when viewed in the light of the truth of Scripture. Prayed the psalmist, “who shall ascend into the holy hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Ps. 24:2, 4). Only he whose heart is pure shall stand in the holy place and receive the blessing. Now all are under sin. “For we have before proved both Jew’s and Gentiles to be under sin: as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:9). Who then shall ascend into the holy hill of the Lord? God’s people shall, and this on account of their being righteous and holy in Christ. They only receive the blessing from the Lord.
Apart from Christ, God cannot receive man into His holy hill except to consume him. The summit of Mt. Sinai is therefore a forbidden region even to God’s people. If so much as a beast touch the mountain it shall be stoned or thrust through with a dart. Mt. Zion, on the other hand, is inhabited by an innumerable company of angels, by the general assembly, the church of the first born which are written in heaven, and by the Lord God, the judge of all. Here also is the dwelling place of Christ Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. In this place then, is found the blood of sprinkling.
On the summit of Mt. Sinai is God but not the blood of sprinkling. Here were seen the emblems of God’s holiness and of His avenging justice—blackness, darkness, tempest and the voice of words. From the summit of this mountain Moses returns with the law. In this place, then, the people could not come. But the sanctuary of the tabernacle was also closed to the people. And in this enclosure was found the sprinkling of blood. The sanctuary of the tabernacle was closed to the people but for a season. The veil will be rent in twain when the priest of good things to come—Christ Jesus—shall have entered the holy place—the tabernacle not made with hands—by His own blood. And not only this priest but also those for whom He obtained redemption shall enter this sanctuary of God. For here is the blood of sprinkling. The earthly tabernacle, it is true, was inaccessible to the people and that for the reason that the blood brought into this place was that of goats and calves. It is the blood of Christ by which God’s people enter into the presence of God. Hence Mt. Sinai “answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, and is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:25, 26).
With Israel God institutes His covenant. Unto this people He published His laws. And he who should fail to confirm all the words of this law to do them will be cursed. Will not this covenant, then, mean the destruction of the people with whom it is instituted? For Jehovah is very exacting. Nothing but a perfect obedience satisfies Him. To this we reply that it is the covenant of grace. For the law provides for a sacrifice. And the book of the covenant as well as the people are sprinkled with blood. The curse shall be borne by Him of whom the animal slain was a type. This people will be satisfied with the mercy of Jehovah. They must know, however, that the God who pardons and blesses remains, for all that, holy and just. The fire, the smoke, the blackness and the tempest taken together was an impressive display of the awful wrath of God as it is revealed from heaven over all unrighteousness of men. The people of God may know now that the only possible meeting place between God and the sinner is the altar. They will not attempt to ascend into the holy mountain of God.
Thus it is the God and Father of Christ who blesses. And He blesses His people only, those chosen an Christ and who, by virtue of this election, keep His covenant. But He destroys the ungodly, the haters of His name, the reprobated.
These truths form the current doctrine of the Bible.
“The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men. . . . The wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone and a horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup (Ps. 11:5, 6). Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another God (Ps. 16:4). Thine hand shall find out all Thy enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. For they intended evil against Thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when Thou shalt make ready Thine arrows upon Thy strings in the face of them (Ps. 21:9-12). Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operations of His hands, He shall destroy them and not build them up (Ps. 28:5). Many sorrows shall be to the wicked (Ps. 82:10). The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the face of the earth (Ps. 34:16). But Thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. . . . (Ps. 55:53). But thou O Lord shalt laugh at them, Thou shalt have all the heathen in derision (Ps. 59:8). But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded (Ps. 64:7). But God shall wound them head of His enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses (Ps. 68:21). How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment; they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakeneth; so, O Lord, when Thou awakest shalt Thou despise their image (Ps. 73:19, 20). Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by law? . . . .And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off (Ps. 94:20, 23). Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne. A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about. . . . Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols. . . . (Ps. 97:2, 3, 7). Surely Thou wilt slay the wicked, O Lord (Ps. 139:19). All the wicked will He destroy (Ps. 145:19). For the froward is abomination to the Lord. . . . The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. . . . Surely He scorneth the scorners. . . . shame shall be the promotion of fools (Prov. 3:32-35). The fear of the wicked it shall come upon him. . . . As the whirlwind passeth so is the wicked no more. . . . The years of the wicked shall be shortened. . . . the expectation of the wicked shall perish, . . . The wicked shall not inhabit the earth. . . . The froward tongue shall be cut out (Prov. 10:27, 31). The wicked shall be filled with mischief (Prov. 12:21). The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord (Prov. 12:9). The Lord is far from the wicked (Prov. 15:29). Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 16:5). But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace sayeth my God to the wicked (Isaiah 57:20, 21). God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies (Nahum 1:2). He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be cursed, the Lord cometh (I Cor. 16:22). God resisteth the proud (I Pet. 5:5).
The Scriptures, then, most emphatically do assert that the (reprobate) wicked one is no friend, no associate of God. Such a one must keep his distance. What is more, the curse of God is in his house. The face of the Lord is against him. His sorrows shall be many. He shall be swallowed up in the Lord’s wrath. His remembrance shall be cut off from the face of the earth, for he regards not the work of the Lord nor the operation of His hand. He believeth not in the Son. Therefore the wrath of God abideth on him.
However, Holy Writ also makes mention of those foreknown by God, the elect, predestinated to be conformed unto the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). With these predestinated ones the Lord God instituted a covenant and confirmed it in the blood of Christ. By nature they are dead in trespasses and sins, children of wrath. However, they are empowered by the Almighty to meet Him at the altar, where they are pardoned and cleansed. Being cleansed they exhibit the image of God’s Son. God loves them. Their souls He satisfies with mercy. For they are children in the kingdom of heaven. Having been humbled by the grace of God they are willing to be sprinkled by the blood. And Jehovah blesses them. Such are the plain teachings of Scripture. His (the Lord’s) secret is with the righteous. He blesseth the habitation of the just. He giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory (see Prov. 3:32-35). The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish. Blessings are upon the head of the just. The memory of the just is blessed. The desire of the righteous shall be granted. The righteous is an everlasting foundation. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness. The way of the Lord is strength to the upright. The righteous shall never be removed (Prov. 10). There shall no evil happen to the just (Prov. 12:21). He (God) loveth him that followeth after righteousness (Prov. 15:9).
Christ is the truth, the way, the life, no one cometh unto the Father but by Him. Wrath and death is the portion of every one despising the Christ as the channel of divine grace and mercy. In a word, God is a consuming fire unto the reprobate wicked. These truths form the heart of divine revelation. Remove them from Holy Writ and what remains is but an empty shell.
God can be a friend of him only who, fearful of the storm, looks to Christ for shelter. This is the matter which God began to impress upon the mind of the Church at the very dawn of grace. The way to God’s heart is the way of the cross and all other ways are ways of wrath, sorrow and death leading to hell. Such are the plain teachings of Scripture.