4. It’s Scripture Proof (concluded)
As has been shown, Scripture places strong and constant emphasis on the truth of election. In the New Testament, God’s people are called “believers” twice, “Christians” only three times, but “elect” fourteen times, and “saints” sixty-two times. Where there is no specific term denoting election, then there is one which necessarily and inescapably implies it. Redemptionpresupposes eternal election, as it implies a previous possession. The Son purchased those who were the Father’s from all eternity. Regeneration implies a previous spiritual sonship which had become lost in Adam’s fall. The Holy Spirit renews those who are the seed of the woman. Reconciliation implies not only a previous estrangement, but also a relation of fellowship and friendship existing previous to the estrangement. These terms simply cannot be understood apart from the doctrine of election. And if the non-Reformed reader does not find this body of biblical proof sufficient, it would be useless to furnish him with more.
5. Its Implication
The unavoidable implication of election is reprobation. Since there is an election of some, there is a rejection of others. Reprobation is not, as it has been by its antagonists portrayed, a perversion or exaggeration of the doctrine of predestination, like a piece of foreign matter deliberately blown into the eye of election. It is the direct implication of election. As one of the greatest preachers put it, “God has an elect people, and there are others who are not elect, the non election.” Of course, there is more to it than that. God has foreordained certain ones to eternal life. Then it necessarily follows that He has also foreordained the rest to eternal damnation, unless you would want to suppose for the rest neither heaven nor hell, or annihilation. But God decreed that the elect, though in time dead in sin, should be made alive and choose life, while He also decreed that the reprobate “should choose the course they follow.” Of the elect it is said, “For God hath not appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:9). There must, it follows, be others who are appointed to wrath, and to a fatal stumbling; for Christ is “a stone of stumbling . . . to them who stumble at the Word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed” (I Pet. 2:8). They were fore appointed not to obtain salvation. “The election obtained it; the rest were hardened” (Rom. 11:7, Englishman’s Gk N.T.). Some God gave to Christ: “all that He hath given Me” (John 6:39). Others He did not give to Christ: “I pray not for the world, but for them whom Thou hast given Me” (John 17:9). Some have their names written in the book of life (Rev. 21:27). There are others “whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 17:8). There are some whose welfare we are to seek (Neh. 2:10), while there are others concerning whom Christ commands, “Let them alone” (Matt. 15:14). Please alsoread Jer. 7:16; Jer. 11:14; Jer. 14:11 and I John 5:16. Some have been made accepted in Christ (Eph. 1:6); others, “natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed. . . and shall utterly perish” (II Pet. 2:12). Of some, the unconverted elect, God has sworn with an oath, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek. 33:11). Of others, reprobate idolaters, God has sworn with an oath, “As I live, saith the Lord God, surely . . . neither shall Mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity” (Ezek. 5:11). Understand, that with respect to the one oath “the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper .in His hand” (Isa. 53:10), and in the other, “Mine anger shall be accomplished” (Ezek. 5:13).
So Scripture is very outspoken on the doctrine of reprobation. Also this truth has been so well known that it has been more admitted than denied. Rarely is it that any one acquainted with Scripture denies it. An even greater rarity is it to find a Puritan, who shall remain unnamed, who was, like all the Puritans, well acquainted with Scripture, yet was terribly confused with the strangest reasonings on the subject of reprobation. But the facts of Scripture are plain enough. They cannot be validly denied, nor need they be tortured with confusion of thought. Reprobation is an indisputable fact. There is no question that Scripture teaches reprobation as well as election. The question is, what kind of reprobation does Scripture teach? What is the character of that reprobation? Is it supreme and sovereign, or is it on a leash to free will? Shall we say that election is determined by God’s sovereign will, but that reprobation is determined by man’s own free will? No, we had better say, if we want to be in line with Scripture, that reprobation is just as sovereign as God himself, therefore, absolutely sovereign. The secret of God’s sovereignty is that “God is God.” He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of the saint, the sole Author of the all-embracive decree from eternity of all things from everlasting to everlasting. As concerning sin, God is the supreme necessity of it. “I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isa. 45:7). There you have God presented as He is. God as He is, is adorable! The trouble is, many, not satisfied with God as He is, try to improve on Him, and so make of Him a monstrosity. Scripture says, He hath mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth. As for sin, God’s relation to it is not merely prescient, but causal; active, not merely passive or permissive. God is always first, also in hardening. God hardens the sinner first. Then the sinner hardens himself. God’s hardening is the cause of the sinner hardening his own heart. But how bitterly this truth is opposed! The vile sinner cannot tolerate an electing and reprobating God. So he conjures up an idol, a god who is like a puppy on a leash or a puppet on a string. It has often been claimed that God must love all men in themselves because God is a holy and just God. But the truth is that a holy and just God cannot love any men in themselves. God can only love men in Christ Jesus. Men who are in Christ Jesus, He loves. Men who are not, He hates. There is never any objection to a nice god who consults man first before he plans or acts. There is never any objection to reprobation if the reason for it is in man, and in man as a sinner, as an obstinate rebel.
(To be continued)