Does God love the reprobate?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Matthew1344, Mar 6, 2014.

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  1. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    In Luke 19:41-44

    41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

    I read "Death of Death-Owen" and I am now being swayed that the cross only had one end. Not two. It for the ONLY for the elect, not elect and reprobate, but in different senses.

    But now I am trying to figure this one out. Any help? Why is he crying? Is this not a love in some sense? I was almost fully convinced until i saw this verse.

    thanks guys. God bless you :)
  2. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Owen is correct. Great book by the way.

    He weeps over the city why? He says why, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

    Jerusalem was once a holy city, the joy of the whole earth, but now it is about to be destroyed completely because of the people's unbelief and dishonoring of God, going after their own idols. He is not weeping for the people of the city but for the city itself, lamenting over its destruction.
  3. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks brother and good point!

    I want to hear more on this.
    Not saying you are wrong, but i just want to pick your brain some more and argue it. I have never heard this...

    By cities do you mean temple, building, roads, etc?

    If so, is this not a strange reason for Jesus to weep? In the exile does God lament for having to tear down actual buildings? I know he talks about tearing them down, but does he lament over having to do it? For Jesus to cry over buildings seems odd.
  4. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Think of it this way. Jerusalem was where Yahweh decided to have the center of worshipping Him on earth for hundreds of years. That's where the temple was, the ark was, the presence of God was. So He's looking upon the city that was given to God's people to be the center of Yahweh worship on earth and as He looks at it in that time of Luke 19, He doesn't see a city that is geared towards worshipping the Lord God almighty. He sees a city being used to practice idolatry and false worship (money changers, same context in the passage) not to worship Yahweh. And He sees a city which in some years would be completely destroyed, that temple even that symbolized His presence among His people completely destroyed.

    NOTE: I don't mean cities, I mean city. I do not mean buildings, roads, I mean the city general as it has to do with the center of Yahweh worship on earth.

    This is at least one way to look at the passage generally speaking. I'm sure some other brothers will come along and give a better answer than I. I have not really studied this passage in-depth. Maybe I shouldn't have spoken at all.
  5. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    No man! i love that you said something. you are helping me chew on this one. I really appreciate it.

    And as a place, people were living there.
    He says
    These seem like he addressing people in a city. Not just talking about a city as a whole.
  6. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

  7. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

  8. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    Also in Luke 13 you have this.

    At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
  9. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    We need to appreciate Jesus as the Mediatorial Prophet, Priest, and King of his church. It is not fitting to read every statement of Jesus (who is God the Son) during his humiliation, as if he always speaks in his full capacity as the Ascended Lord, according to all his combined powers in hypostatic union, the God-Man. Frequently he speaks as the King of visible-Israel. He has come for the good of this collective portion especially; and they (the leaders, and their followers) are in process of repudiating him who is given them for a blessing. Is this not truly and objectively sad?

    The Man, Christ Jesus, is fully capable of appreciating how that rebellion and sin had blinded the eyes and hearts of so many pitiful people, who above all the rest of the people on earth had one of the most extraordinary opportunities to repent and believe in God's saving Promise, and yet refused to do so, and prevented others from doing so; Mt.23:37, "...and ye would not." I cannot think why such an epic tragedy should not wring tears of grief, of sorrow, of frustration, of rage from the heart of One who had a clearer understanding of how this all must eventuate than anyone around him.

    Here is One perfectly aware of how the wrath of God will be earned by this "city," by her leadership and by those who persist in identifying with them. He also knows that their blindness is willful, self-chosen. Just because one man's participation is ordained by God and certain, does not mean that he does not also choose and embrace his destiny. This is just that difference between predestination and fatalism. The latter presumes a foiled free-will whose better aims were deflected, and whose better hopes were dashed.

    If we only allow a Jesus who always sublimates his ordinary human feeling into a perfect expression of resignation and repose in the ultimate aims of the godhead, then we actually have a less-than-human Christ. We have no explanation for Jesus in Gethsemane. We do not have a sympathetic High-Priest, because his temptations were meaningless. We do not have One who weeps at the door of a tomb from which he intends to summon a dead man to life in mere minutes.
  10. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    So you are saying it was his man nature that wept for Jerusalem and that he wept because his human nature is sad that they refused and wished they would have come to be saved?
  11. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I'm saying he wept because he was sad. Christ's human nature is capable of human emotion, by virtue of what it is.

    I'm not opining about what Christ might have wished. He didn't share that with us. His words are an objective statement about how much better it would have been personally for these pathetic, doomed people. The most we can say is that our wise and percipient Lord could clearly see what was to their natural advantage; while they themselves were utterly blind to it. And that is a real tragedy.

    I think it is fair to see this expression of sympathy resulting from a kind of love or general benevolence. It erupts from the same basic sentiment in us that recognizes human or even closer bonds of fraternity--a shared humanity even with our enemies, Mt.5:44--even while it deplores the effects of sin, and acknowledges the justice of retribution.
  12. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Bruce, great answers. Thank you. Matthew, another thing to keep in mind on your 'journey' in your doctrinal beliefs is not being held up by 2 verses that seem to contradict what these other (just throwing a number out here) 100 verses are saying. Obviously there is no contradiction, God's Word is inerrant and infallible.

    Therefore, what is likely since the "100 verses" agree, we must use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Use those easier/clearer passages to interpret the harder ones.

    I have always remembered my NT Professor who said, "If there seems to be a harder (pray more for illumination from Spirit, study more, read more Scripture)."
  13. Gesetveemet

    Gesetveemet Puritan Board Sophomore

  14. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    Though I tend to agree with Rev. Bruce and his evaluation there is the possibility that Our Lord was not weeping here but expressing igdination over the city. When we read this section we have Jesus seperating the "ones who stone" with the "children". Just above this passage The Lord was parcing no words towards the religious leaders of the day and the next breath weeping over them? This is a difficult passage and one that In my most humble opinion could be read either way though the entire context appears to lean towards the second view...possibly. :)
  15. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you guys very much. I like your last post Rev Bruce. Thank you very much for that. Also thank you for that link! I am about to look at it.

    Also what do you say about Eziekiel 18 (I think it's 18), when it says that The Lord does not delight in the delight in the death of the wicked?

    What do y'all say about this verse?
  16. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    This in my opinion is an article the should be required reading for every person in leadership of any reformed church. Plus it answers your question. :)

    Murray on the Free Offer: A Review by Matthew Winzer
  17. stephen2

    stephen2 Puritan Board Freshman

    I believe on the contrary that He was weeping specifically for the people of that city. It is helpful as Bruce has pointed out to make the distinction between the deity and humanity of Christ and see Him in a moment like this in His humanity. Something similar is seen on the cross as He prays the Father's forgiveness for those who crucified Him... but these moments teach us something critical about the heart of God just because Jesus is also fully God. It seems to me that if our doctrines lead us to believe that Jesus cannot truly weep for the reprobate than it is our doctrines that need to change.

    I would recommend Dabney's piece on Indiscriminate Proposals of Mercy in Discussions, vol. 1. Also, see the chapter on the Goodness of God in Stephen Charnock's Attributes of God, vol. 2.

    Charnock refers to Jesus' weeping over Jerusalem and writes "It is a mighty goodness to offer grace to a rebel; a mighty goodness to give it him after he hath a while stood off from the terms; an astonishing goodness to regret and lament his wilful perdition... Are not now these affectionate invitations, and deep bewailings of their perversity, high testimonies of Divine goodness? Do not the unwearied repetitions of gracious encouragements deserve a higher name than that of mere goodness? What can be a stronger evidence of the sincerity of it, than the sound of his saving voice in our enjoyments, the motion of his Spirit in our hearts, and his grief for the neglect of all?"
  18. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    Its not that he cried. it is what he says that puzzles me. I do understand that it is heartbreaking to see people reject God when given such a great opportunity. What has been puzzling me are his words
    Does there need to be a distintion of peoples in this txt? Are "jerusalem" and "children" two different people? from some commentary i have seen, this is what i think they are saying. That he is weeping that Jerusalem would not let him gather his children. Which means that he is weeping that his children werent allowed to meet but jerusalem would not allow this.

    How crazy is that interpretation?
  19. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    Distinction *
  20. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with Bruce; there is an element of heartache and sadness that comes from having insight into tragedy; and so how appropriate, considering the gravity of the insight and the tragedy, for Christ to express it? And of course, because Jesus is divinity displayed through humanity we need to realize that whatever he expresses, it is a perfect response to the circumstances.

    I also appreciate, Bruce, how you mentioned that we don't know what he WISHED in that moment because he didn't mention it here (though at all times we know: "even so Lord, for it was pleasing in thy sight" and "not my will, but thine"). This brings me to note that...

    ...the prayer for forgiveness from the cross is VERY different in this regard. I don't believe this prayer is a reflection of God's general love for his enemies (though that is a reality). This is rather an effectual prayer for his own who were present at his crucifixion, and it should be recognized as such simply because there is an expression of the divine will present, rather than a simple statement of facts (albeit grievous ones) that is present in the Luke 19 passage referred to in the OP.

    I'm sure that some of those who were present for the crucifixion were among the 3000 saved at Pentecost. They, along with all others present who belonged to Christ, received the forgiveness Christ asked for from the Father.

    Those who did not were not included in that prayer.
  21. stephen2

    stephen2 Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree that the prayer for forgiveness from the cross is very different. However, I don't believe it was an effectual prayer for His own. He was fulfilling all righteousness. In other words, we can imitate Him in this.

    Thanks for the clarification Matt.
  22. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    This piece is really a rather regrettable attempt to set out God's internal workings. It is almost amusing that Dabney speaks in it of "overweening logic" when his own approach seeks to give a psychological explanation of God - now who's speculating beyond what is written?

    To say that God's propensions are regulated by his wisdom is to imply that God has unwise impulses. But for God only wise there is no difference between being and being wise: he is essentially, infinitely wise - wise not only in his acts, but in himself. There is no source from which a propension needing to be regulated could arise.

    John Owen takes up a far more solid position against Corvinus in "A Display of Arminianism," chapters 2&3.
  23. stephen2

    stephen2 Puritan Board Freshman

    Others will have to decide for themselves. I couldn't disagree with you more. I think it is a must read and would contribute to the discussion here.
  24. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    Can you clarify on the expression Kaleb?

    Not a problem Stephen!

    This is a great discussion guys, you guys are blessing me very much.

    What book?
  25. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Ezk.18 is a refutation of the Israelite's accusation against the mind and heart of their God toward them. Despite all God has shown them concerning himself, they do not understand or appreciate him thereby--which would be enough. But inasmuch as they have attacked his motives (which they must be wholly ignorant of), God will disclose to them some further aspects of his motives which he ordinarily keeps to himself. He will "pull back the curtain" and show them something besides his will taught them in Law and in Providence.

    Ezk.18:23 & 32; and 33:11; each say words to similar effect, each using the term: חפץ, chaphets, or pleasure, delight, desire. The contrary expression is reluctance. Interestingly, when for example in Dt.25:7-8 (concerning levirate marriage, cf.Rt.3:13) the term is used with the negation, it is implied that the duty is still present. So we may extrapolate and say it is possible to do something reluctantly, that is without the motivations of pleasure; instead of allowing that reluctance to utterly negate the will to perform. Not all goods "feel" good.

    On the other hand, it is also true that in an absolute sense if I do a thing which I am reluctant to do, then I have actually "delighted" in some sense to do it. It was my pleasure to do a dutiful and good thing, though odious; rather than to do the opposite, which would have been wrong or dishonorable in the act or results. My preference to act in one way rather than another proves my preference in the moment for the act of my will, my pleasure in it compared to my lack of pleasure to act otherwise. The actuating motive is my desire to satisfy a higher good.

    It is from this background that we gain insight into the expression of divine pleasure in Ezk.18. There is an undeniable presentation of "divine reluctance" to inflict punishment on those whose rebellion summons it; and a divine preference for seeing sinners turn from evil. We should infer from this that in the execution of justice on the deserving, God never has the least bit of sadism. Every aspect of the punishment of the wicked--even eternally--is in exact proportion to the nature and quality of the offense. It is necessary that evil be punished; it is not necessary that God prefer this punishment to comparative circumstances wherein he pardons repentance.

    On the other hand, it is also true that in an absolute sense, God is perfectly satisfied in just retribution on the guilty who receive it. Whatever he does, he clearly delighted to do it above any other option in every particular instance. We simply have to recognize the obvious equivocation on the language of his "pleasure" in the parallel expressions. We should also appreciate the difference between a man's ordering his behavior according to a hierarchy of his desires, and God's ordering of his behavior according to what we may conceive of as his hierarchy of desires.

    The man is imperfect, he doesn't have omniscience, and therefore can only provisionally order his own desires, besides making reference outside himself to the revealed desires of God for him. Even with his best intention, he may misprioritize his desires and fail to choose the greatest good. Man's reluctance proceeds from manifold imperfection, from internal conflict, from external standards, and from the distortional effect of sin on his thinking.

    God has none of the ordinary human limits. Besides omniscience, God has also decreed all creation and every event. He declares the end from the beginning, Is.46:10. From the standpoint of the decree, everything happens necessarily, because God has willed this universe and time to exist, and not another; and every last course within it has been established. So God was free to himself to choose what he would do; and having chosen he abides by his decision, which is a consequent necessity. There are no internal conflicts with God, and no external standards.

    Thus, as God has chosen event 'A,' he cannot choose event 'B.' To give a trivial example, if he has ordained me to eat at noon today, he cannot also ordain me not to eat at noon today. There may be some sense in which event 'B' would have been a GOOD event, possibly even "better" in comparison to event 'A.' But event 'B' was neither GOOD nor "better" when compared with the complex divine ordination of every event in which event 'A' actually was a part. So then, God has a perfect "hierarchy of desires," of goods, of which the highest and best is always expressed. It is therefore possible to say that every other option--even one good in itself--is contrary to the decretive will of God at event 'A.' They are all undesirable in that absolute sense; such a "hierarchy" disappears into the perfection of a singular undivided purpose in God.

    But it isn't false to identify event 'B' as good, especially when from the standpoint of history with a view to the future, we do not know which event (A or B) is fixed by divine decree. Nor is it improper for God to tell us what his pleasure is, relative to things in themselves and to his revealed or prescriptive (ethical) will for his creatures. In Ezk.18, God has "pulled the curtain back" from an analogous (to our) hierarchy of his desires. Ordinarily, we are not invited to inquire into the secrets of the Most High (Dt.29:29). We are given his prescriptive will in his commandments; and are shown his decretive will by the events that unfold in the earth. Here in Ezk.18, in order to bring forward yet one more argument in God's ongoing dispute with his rebellious people, he shows them (as it were) his "divine reluctance" to inflict scathing retribution upon them, if only such a revelation might soften their hard hearts.

    It is not in God to "second guess" his choices. He doesn't wring his hands over the wisdom of putting event 'A' ahead of (the no-longer-possible) event 'B.' Because this presentation of God's mind is an analogical (to human, discursive reasoning) description, it makes sense that God seldom makes use of such "behind-the-scenes" presentation. It is enough for us to have his perfect prescriptions in commands, his revelation of patience through Providence, and his verbal offers of mercy in the gospel, that we could have assumed he prefers in some sense to see obedience, repentance, and faith.

    His demonstration of Grace is more costly than his exhibition of Justice, the worthiness of which should be worth more to all who encounter it; which also explains that "reluctance" to haste on to dispense the wages of sin.
  26. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Since the text itself makes a distinction between "Jerusalem" and her "children," it would behoove the one identifying the two descriptions as a single referent to explain why that is the best interpretation.

    Could there be a reason to identify the two entities (the city that sanctions the killing of divine messengers; and its children) as distinct, though related?

    Is Jesus using a biblical (OT), that is to say familiar religious mode of speech to those listening?

    In what way would Jesus be seeking to gather certain children--first identified as belonging to another--to himself, that he might treat them as his own children?

    Do his words, meaning his explicit terms, indicate that he wishes to enfold "Jerusalem" in like manner?

    Remember, it takes patience and a listening ear for an interpreter to allow a text to say just what it means to say--and not necessarily what I am inclined to hear.

    Being emotional humans, we tend to read expressions of our Lord's human emotions as though we and he were moved in precisely the same ways. Each one thinks the things that make him weep or cry out, must have made Christ feel the same way.

    So, for example, maybe I saw a video showing a horde of malnourished children in a refugee camp. The camera pulls back, and suddenly I can see a whole city of tents and shacks, and I am filled with pity and anxiety for those seen and unseen in the pictures, being encouraged to feel so by the voice-over and the music. Next, I come to Mt.23:37, and as I read the verbal description of Jesus' expression of pity in that moment, I superimpose those earlier feelings created by the video of the tent-city and its children on Jesus in his situation.

    But the background of Jesus' statement is the first 23 chs. of Matthew's Gospel, along with the whole OT experience of the people of God, and "Jerusalem's" place in it, along with her "children." That's what has to drive my understanding of Jesus' emotion.
  27. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    Sure; I was referring to that fact that Jesus' prayer "Father, forgive them..." contains a volitional element. Jesus is asking the Father to forgive, revealing a desire within himself; a divine desire for God to act. He didn't ask for the Father to be forgiving, he asked for him to do something, to forgive them. This is why I say it was an effectual prayer; because (i may be corrected on this point) Christ would not pray for God to do something that he would not do. It might be right to say that he could not do so. (I address Gethsemane below, keep reading.)

    Now, for Christ's desires for men to act to be thwarted by the failings of those men is one thing, and also a frequent thing:

    He obviously desired peace for the people in Luke 19, but it was hidden from them.
    He desired for his disciples to stay awake with him and pray in the garden, but they slept.
    His desired faith for and from his disciples, and they continually fell short in that area.
    and so on. The flesh is weak. It lacks the right volitional capability.

    But for Christ's desires for the Father to act to be thwarted is another thing altogether. I think it is an impossible thing. There is no weakness in God, and no error in the request. Both the request and response are in perfect harmony.

    "Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."
    "Holy Father, protect them (the disciples) by the power of your name..." John 17 - God did that.
    "Sanctify them by the truth" John 17- God did that.
    and so on.

    One of the primary purposes of prayer is to align us with the will of God; that we might desire what God desires. If the adopted sons have the promise that they will receive what they ask for when they pray according to the will of God (1 John 5:14); how much more did the eternal son both pray according to the will of God and receive what he requested?

    Father, forgive them... ACT. Do this thing! And I believe he did.

    I agree with you in that he was fulfilling all righteousness in his attitude toward those who were his enemies; as per Matthew 5. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. Indeed that is the fulfillment of the law. But I have never believed that the prayers of Jesus have been anything but effectual. Christ has the Spirit without measure. How then could his prayer be anything but according to the volitional will of God, and thus effectual?

    Gethsemane will come to mind as an exception. As THE exception. But taken as a whole, it is an effectual prayer in accordance with the will of God. "Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will". It was one prayer, and while the impossible request was made, it was made under the umbrella of a prayer of submission to God's ultimate will. If he had prayed simply, "Lord, take this cup from me." and left it there, there would be problems.

    I'm open to being wrong on this. I've been wrong before. It's not thaaaat bad :)

    Anyone who has waded these waters before would be welcome to chime in on this point, set me straight if need be.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  28. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior

    The simple answer to the OP is "yes, God does have a love that extends even to the reprobate," since He has a love of benevolence over all His creation (which, obviously, includes the reprobate; Matthew 5:43-48, Acts 14: 14-18).

    He also, of course, hates Esau (Romans 9:6-13), meaning that God does not love the reprobate with a peculiar redeeming love as He does the elect, whom He delights to save. This is all part of the high mystery of predestination (WCF 3.8), which is to be handled with special prudence and care so that all who "sincerely obey the gospel" may enjoy assurance.

    One can delve into Owen, Charnock, Dabney, Murray and others who have been cited here, but this is a basic answer to the actual question.

  29. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This was an excellent read, and I'd like to reiterate that those contemplating this question should set aside some time to give this article a thorough and careful read, as I did to great profit earlier this evening.
  30. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Did Jesus love Judas?
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