Justification from Eternity

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by JM, Jul 3, 2006.

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  1. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The Westminster Larger Catechism.

    Question 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
    Answer. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a Mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.
  2. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Of course, none of this follows. Neither the Gospel or election is lost or damaged in the slightest by the statement that God doesn´t desire the salvation of all men without exception, since it´s a true statement. How can a true statement kill faith, not to mention "œtrue election" and the Gospel? Maybe you don´t think it true, so would you say that God does desire the salvation of all men? That certainly seems to be what you require if the Gospel is to be preached. I know you think I´ve misrepresented you, but it seems that Rev. Winzer has understood you in the same way I have.

    I have no idea what you´re talking about?

    I haven't "œrationalized" anything. Christians are required to believe not only those things explicitly set down in Scripture but all those things necessarily inferred from Scripture as well. That´s because all valid deductions from Scripture are Scripture. You seemed to think that the heart of the Gospel requires the preacher to say that Christ died for all and is given to all without distinction -- or, at the very least, to leave that impression -- and this is false. You said the "œGood News is Christ has died for your sins and given you His righteousness" in contrast to the proposition that God does not desire the salvation of all universally distributive. It seems to me, and evidently others, that for you the message of a universal atonement is the message that should be preached. If that´s not what you meant, you haven´t really done anything so far to set the record straight.

    So by logical parity are we to proclaim the Gospel thus to the world, "œThe Good News is Jesus died for all"? Or are we just to leave that impression to our hearers in order to do "œevangelism"?

    How does the parable of the sower militate against what I´ve said? Have I anywhere denied that the Gospel is to be promiscuously broadcast? Uh, no. Have I denied that Christ died for all is part of the Gospel message that is to be promiscuously broadcast, to use your word, "œnakedly"? Indeed I have. The universal atonement of Christ is a lie and, if we agree on that, then I fail to see how leaving the impression that Christ died for all is a necessary component of preaching as you suggest? I don´t believe deceptions, half-truths and outright lies are an aid to the proclamation of the Gospel, actually they´re a positive determent.

    Thanks. Seems that Calvin had no problem with the harmony between the doctrine of election and the proclamation of the Gospel either. :)

    [Edited on 7-31-2006 by Magma2]
  3. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Faith is always receptive and passive in what it receives. That´s the nature of trusting into an objective object out side of one´s self. Faith is never "œactive" as in exertion of. Faith literally always receives the Gospel, yet the great paradox of Christianity is that this faith is living and produces its fruits. Great extraordinary faith is shown most strongly by the ordinary fruits it produces. For only great faith in Christ will not seek to self aggrandize itself by the "œhighest of works".

    Thus, the Apostle Paul could say that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. Thus, faith is never a "œcondition" unto salvation, Christ fulfills ALL conditions. Faith is though a state necessary but it is not a condition "œfulfilled" to save, Christ alone fulfills all conditions. When people hear of faith as a "œcondition" they try to "œexert a kind of faith. This "œexerted faith" is false faith for its object, Christ crucified is no longer its object but itself has become its object. This false faith soon dies or becomes a kind of pharisaical faith and any works it produces is pure sin for the "œself" is the purpose and fear of punishment or hope of reward is its motive.

    True saving faith is fixed permanently upon Christ, the Gospel. This faith, paradoxically is so singularly fixed, produces its fruits, the fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are true fruits for their object is not their selves but the neighbor. Thus, faith and true godly love function similarly. Faith must stay fixed upon Christ and thus trusting for self, true godly love arises which serves the neighbors need without "œreligiously" doing it for self (which is false love. True godly love like faith is singularly fixed upon its object, the neighbor. The great paradox for the Christian is this, by trusting in Christ alone for self and loving without a hidden agenda true faith and love happen. Yet, faith that tries to "œbe faith" and love that tries to "œbe love" are absolutely false of either. Thus, it said accurately by Luther that theologies of glory of all forms say "œdo and nothing is done" at all even if one gives one´s self for many men, while the theology of the cross says, "œtrust and all is done" and not even a cup of cold water goes unrewarded. As Luther said many speak of faith and good works but they only babble about both for they know not from which either come. Why? They are tripping over the stumbling stone and struggling with the foolishness of the cross. This statement means nothing to the fallen flesh, "œGod may suffer a man to do no good works, so that he may at last look to Christ alone and live."

    As Dr. Martin Loyd Jones once aptly observed (paraphrased ldh), If you have never been accused of antinomianism or that you are against good works, then it is quite likely you have never really given the Gospel. He was correct.

    Blessings always,

  4. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    What you call logical parity, your rationalism, is the Gospel. Because we must give it in the communication without limit and leave the conversion to God. To delimit it to some by communication, you forbid it to all because that mass of "some" are some that would hear it and if they hear it is only to sum in the budding of their faith they will most certainly doubt it is for them. You make the devil's work too easy for him. To leave the communication to the hearer that Christ actually died for all which communicates "for me" is faith, that's why John 3:16 goes no further in its communication than it does and the doctrine of election, as Calvin points out contra to you, has its place and time and relationship, Calvin does not mingle them so basely.

    You are not to ascend like some high flying spirit who knows the mind of God and eternity, and then descend upon humanity and say "Christ only saves some of you". You are to give the Gospel without limit, God brings the increase, YOU CANNOT.

    While the reality of election is real, you cannot confuse it with the communication of the Gospel.

    It's real simple, how do you know you are elect? How do you know the Gospel is FOR YOU, and if you have not heard the "for me/you" part of it you have not heard the Gospel.

    The parable of the sower,
    , then the word of God is against you entirely in the communication of the Gospel, the parable of the sower.

    I consider this matter finished, respond as you see fit. I shall not return to it for lack of time or desire to go further.

    In the Sufficiency of Christ alone,

  5. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The apostle states he was "slanderously reported" as teaching such, Rom. 3:8. He certainly does not appear to me to have been happy over the situation that he was accused of teaching something he did not, as if it were a badge of a true preacher. Learning from the whole canon of Scripture, a good preacher will seek to avoid the misrepresentations made upon the apostle's preaching, by making the very same qualifications the apostle did, who went to great pains to clear his preaching from the slanders cast upon it.
  6. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ah, here we go! Faith which receives the Gospel is "œthe great paradox of Christianity." And, in case anyone missed it, "œthe great paradox" is found within the passivity of faith and it´s active production of fruit. While I would never accuse you of anything so reprehensible as Van Tilianism, this is Van Tilianism at its core. Dr. Clark should read carefully what you have to say since he is evidently blind to the connection between VT and the current controversy over justification. He should familiarize himself with this "œthe great paradox" of Christianity as you have so succinctly, and nicely, expressed.

    I don´t mean to pick on you, but what you write above is pure irrationalism and is positively hostile to the Christian faith which you profess to defend. It is not a plus for Christianity nor its future defense if the doctrine of justification and the preaching of the Gospel entails the paradox you assert. Although, it is certainly a plus for some.

    Good point and it makes you wonder about those like Berkhouwer who, per the piece linked to above, accused Kuyper of antinominianism.

    Yet, after the good point above, in response to my statement:

    you follow it with. . .

    Here we go again! Someone takes issue with the universalism (Arminianism) implied in your Gospel presentation and you accuse them of "œrationalism."

    Per your good quote above, I think you have never really defended the Christian faith "“ much less understood it "“ if you have never been accused of rationalism.

    Perhaps if your misology wasn´t so transparent, you´d see that John 3:16 goes much further than anything you´ve said thus far implies. God´s love of the world doesn´t extend universally as you have asserted, but rather it extends to "œwhosoever believeth." If you look back you´ll see this was the only qualifier I made, which you continue to reject. You should read A. W. Pink´s appendices in Sovereignty of God in an unedited edition (i.e., don´t buy the misnamed "œBanner of Truth" revised edition).

    in my opinion it is you who makes the Devil´s work too easy because the universalism you have defended DOES imply a false Gospel and a false faith, which I´m afraid way too many professing Christians (even those calling themselves "œReformed") possess. The doctrine of God´s particular election should never be so completely separated from the preaching of the Gospel as you have (strongly) advocated. Aren´t we commanded to work out our faith in fear and trembling and to make our calling and election sure? Yet, if election and predestination are to fade into the background as you suggest, how can this occur? Yours is a prescription for anemia.

    It seems to me the preacher who is intent on following Paul, and not tickling the ears of men, will preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. OTOH you seem to favor a truncated gospel which is pleasing to the ears of men - universally distributive of course. ;)

    God willing, I would never divorce election from the communication of the Gospel as you have done. I would never say anything to impugn the doctrine of election, which Calvin called the "œfoundation of our faith," by saying its preaching "œdestroys more faith than 10,000 atheist could ever dream of."

    Of course, no one knows, in the strict sense, if they are counted amongst God´s elect. It is an assurance within us that we hope to see evidenced even in exchanges such as these and by God's grace. It is, as Edwards rightly said, a "œconsequence" of the faith, and, as such, is not an object of knowledge. If it were otherwise why would we be commanded to test ourselves in order "œto see if" we are "œin the faith"? in my opinion it is better to entertain some doubts than to presume we are "œin the faith" regardless of what errors we might continue to harbor.

    That´s too bad, for I believe you´ve said a number of things which are in error. But if you don´t want to go further, who am I to stop you?

    [Edited on 8-1-2006 by Magma2]
  7. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Let me offer some points of clarification:
    1.) Jesus Christ is the object of faith not faith itself, this is without dispute.
    2.) Faith IS *THE* condition of the new Covenant and salvation. God fulfills the condition by enabling us to have faith.
    3.) BUT this is not to say faith is the grounds or basis of salvation which is Christ Alone.
    4.) So we say, that through or upon faith we enter into the new Covenant, the great benefit of which is the imputation of Christ's rightousness (who fulfilled all the conditions of the OLD covenant). And that only by the renewing of the holy Ghost are we made able and willing to exercise faith.

    5.) Ministers should not preach indiscriminately that Christ died for you. That's not true so it would be lying. Ministers are to preach indiscriminately that if you believe in Jesus Christ you will be saved. That's what the bible says but nowhere in scripture do you have an example of ministers preaching to people that Jesus died for them. Christ promises that all who come to Him will in no wise be cast out. THAT is the warrant for faith NOT that he promises that he died for everyone, which is not true.
    6.) I agree that God loves everybody that is why He offers them salvation if they believe but that does not mean he died for everybody and we are not to tell them so since its not true.

    I've done my best. Let me know if I've erred.
  8. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

  9. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Well said, Peter. Only some distinction must be made when referring to the love of God. God demonstrates His love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. As we have concluded Christ did not die for all, it is clear that all are not the objects of this divine love.
  10. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    God's love in planning and executing the work of Redemption is limited but God's love in making and sustaining his creatures and offering a way of salvation is universal. As long as reprobates live they enjoy some of God's lovingkindness and mercy. The free offer is the ultimate expression of his love to them.

    Say unto them, 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: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 33:11

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
  11. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I too have no problem with most of your points, but I second Rev. Winzer´s objection concerning #6. Love in Scripture is a volition and is evidenced by what God actually does. Therefore it doesn´t follow that the "œfree offer is the ultimate expression of his love to them [i.e., the reprobate]" for the simple reason that He does not save them. To call this love is lip service and reduces God's love to an empty platitude. Further, the Scriptures contradict this idea in numerous places including Psa 11:5; The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

    While there is no question that the sun rises and the rain falls on the wicked and the righteous alike, only those in Christ are the objects of God´s loving kindness.

    While the above is a difficult passage to exegete, it seems to me that you are intending to make it say considerable more than it does. The passage does not say that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked whether he turns or not, but God´s pleasure here is expressed on the condition of turning which only God can cause. As Calvin said:

    "œIf it is equally in God´s power to convert men as well as to create them, it follows that the reprobate are not converted, because God does not wish their conversion; for if he wished it he could do it: and hence it appears that he does not wish it." Commentary on Ezekiel.

    "œAnd the holy scripture showeth throughout, that conversion is a special gift of God. And indeed the place of Ezechiel, (Ezekiel 18:32; Ezekiel 33:11) whereof this troublecoast maketh his buckler, very well confirmeth my saying. For the Prophet having said, that God will not have pleasure in the death of a sinner, addeth, but rather will that he return and live. Whereby he signifieth that God biddeth and exhorteth all which are gone astray to return to the right way. But not that indeed he leadeth them all to himself by the power of his spirit. The which he promiseth not, but to a certain number, which appeareth as well in the thirty-first chapter of Jeremy, (Jeremiah 31) as in the thirty-seventh of Ezechiel and in the eleventh (Ezekiel 11; Ezekiel 37) and throughout the whole scripture." Sermons on Election and Reprobation

    "œBut our opponents are in the habit of quoting in opposition a few Scripture passages in which God seems to deny that the wicked perish by his ordination, except in so far as by their clamorous protests they of their own accord bring death upon themselves. Let us therefore briefly explain these passages and prove that they do not conflict with the foregoing opinion.

    A passage of Ezekiel´s is brought forward, that "œGod does not will the death of the wicked but wills that the wicked turn back and live" [Ezekiel 33:11 p.]. If it pleases God to extend this to the whole human race, why does he not encourage to repentance the very many whose minds are more amenable to obedience than the minds of those who grow harder and harder at his daily invitations? Among the people of Nineveh [cf.Matthew 12:41] and of Sodom, as Christ testifies, the preaching of the gospel and miracles would have accomplished more than in Judea [Matthew 11:23]. If God wills that all be saved, how does it come to pass that he does not open the door of repentance to the miserable men who would be better prepared to receive grace? Hence we may see that this passage is violently twisted if the will of God, mentioned by the prophet, is opposed to His eternal plan, by which He has distinguished the elect from the reprobate." Institutes 3.24.15

    Whereas Ezekiel 33 posed some (minor) difficulties, this verse is positively easy. The "œall" that should come to repentance are the entire universe of the elect, which should be clear in that God´s longsuffering is toward us; i.e., toward believers in Christ. The verse in no way teaches the desire of God for the salvation of all men universally, but rather all those of a particular class of sinners; the elect.

    Hope that clears things up.
  12. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    I agree with Rev. Winzer that we need distinctions when we talk about the love of God. The supreme love of election was reserved to only some, however, we see clearly in scripture that to an extent God loves the even the Reprobate until he perishes and becomes completely an object of wrath.

    Luk 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

    Mat 5:45-48 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    We see here in Christ's sermon that we are to be kind and loving to the evil because God is loving to the evil. Ro 2:4-5 teaches us that this goodness towards the reprobate is to lead them to repentence.

    My mind is with Calvin when he says in his commentary on Eze 18:21
    These things have been discussed a little here:

    and I recommend any of David Silversides' sermons on the free offer.

    [Edited on 8-1-2006 by Peter]
  13. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Unless I´ve misunderstood Rev. Winzer (which is always possible, since Larry seems sure I´ve misunderstood him), the distinction being drawn is not between those whom Jesus loves and those whom He loves just a little bit more, but rather between those for whom Christ actually died for (demonstrable objects of divine love) and those for whom He didn´t (demonstrable objects of divine wrath and hatred). Rev. Winzer said; "œGod demonstrates His love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. As we have concluded Christ did not die for all, it is clear that all are not the objects of this divine love." Those who "œare not objects of this divine love" aren´t simultaneously also objects of God´s love. This makes no sense and I honestly don´t see how you inferred this from his comments?

    Indeed we are commanded to love our enemies, especially in light of the great love God has shown "œus-ward." However, it doesn´t follow from this command that God loves all, for the Scriptures already adduced states that there are some whom God hates. Of course, let´s not forget about Esau whom God hated before he was even born.

    The problem I see with the whole idea of the universal love of God toward men is 1) it´s not supported by Scripture, particularly passages which address God´s divine hatred, and, 2) it actually diminishes God´s great love evidenced by the cross and logically implies the heresy of Arminianism.

    Again, nothing from the above implies that God loves all. Beyond that, God sends hurricanes, earthquakes, planes into skyscrapers, and worse on the just and on the unjust as well. So if sun and rain are to be understood as signs of divine love for all, are shark attacks and car crashes signs of his divine hatred for all? It would seem so.

    My mind is that you´re not with Calvin at all, since you are arguing for a position held by those whom Calvin calls "œour opponents" (see the citations I provided above).

    But, look, you unquestionably hold the majority opinion. I think it not only wrong, but is a major reason why the Christian faith is positively anemic, Calvinism in particular. Hate is love and love is hate and the Christian faith is a morass of contradictory ideas where we have a God who loves those He says He hates and has ordained to perdition as vessels of wrath and hates those for whom He sent His Son to die for.
  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    For what it's worth, I believe God loves the reprobate in hell, else He would not preserve them alive. Some will object, How can such suffering be called an act of love? Answer: in the same way we love our relatives and lock them up if they are a threat to society. God's love does not require man's sense of justice to vindicate it.

    We should be clear that God only has one love. However, like His will, it is manifested in different ways towards different objects. In the will and love of God, the gospel does not come to the reprobate in order to save them. The gospel is given for the elect's sake alone. Hence the offer of the gospel, so far as the will and love of God is concerned, is restricted to the elect. As far as publication is concerned, it is made indiscriminately because the publishers do not know who are elect and who reprobate.

    In God's purpose, because Christ did not procure any benefit to the reprobate, there is no saving benefit for the reprobate in the gospel. Hence we cannot conclude anything concerning a disposition on God's part towards the reprobate on the mere basis that He has purposed that the gospel should be preached conditionally and indiscriminately to all.

    I believe the Ezekiel passages should be understood according to their grammatical construction, as hypothetical. God has no pleasure in the death of that wicked who has forsaken his wickedness. It is given as a reason to prove that the pining Israelites will not die if they return to the Lord. So John Knox understands the passage in his Treatise on Predestination.
  15. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Except scripture explicitly says these are works of God's love.

    For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?...
    Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    The inference is very obvious. Besides expressly calling these things manifestations of love scripture calls it kindness and that the reprobate are guilty of unthankfulness. Surely, God's goodness is an expression of love. If not what is love?

    I cannot see the scripturalness of the idea the gospel is preached to all merely b/c we do not know who the elect are. Why is it that the goodness and mercy of God to the reprobate is said to lead to repentence.

    Ro 2:4-5 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

    Perhaps i am wrong, I don't think I will be persuaded so, but it must be observed that you (mr. Gerety) certainly misrepresent Calvin. Calvin, commenting on mark 10 about the rich young ruler says the following.

    Mk 10:20-22 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

    Most importantly


    Calvin conjectures the rich ruler never repented. He is not sure, but any way this proves Calvin didn't have presuppositions forcing him to believe that he did repent.
  16. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    I stand corrected, evidently Peter was right and I misunderstood you. Of course, it matters little what you believe, but rather what do the Scriptures teach. With that in mind, how did you arrive at this particular belief? Was it from the Scriptures or is this just theology you´ve invented on your own?

    If you analogy is to hold then what becomes of the doctrine of adoption? Are all men universally God´s children and all men brothers since the efficacy of your analogy hinges on some degree of a filial or family bond? Further, I would think that when someone is confronted with the need to lock up a loved one because they´re a threat to themselves or others, it is with the hope that they might one day be rehabilitated. Even if rehabilitation is wishful thinking, no one wants to see a loved one punished, much less unceasingly. So is God per your analogy a disciplining parent or a judge? For what it's worth I don´t know that judges, assuming they´re interested in meeting out justice, are so much concerned with remediation as they are with ensuring the punishment fits the crime. Also, what does this do to the idea of judgment day? Perhaps Christ will not return in judgment after all, but rather as a loving older brother who merely sends sinners to Hell in the loving hope that they will see the errors of their ways, come to their senses, and return to the family fold.

    As for the rest of what you write, I concur wholeheartedly.
  17. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    John tells us per 1 John 4:10,11;" In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

    I would think this verse should help us understand the command found in Matthew 5 and explains why I argue God´s love is not universal as you suggest. Certainly, and contrary to those who claim that God desires the salvation of all men and that the gospel is an expression of love to all, since God did not send His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of those ordained to destruction and judgment, then I would think these men are not properly objects of God´s love. What am I missing? Rev. Winzer believes that God loves those whom He confines to the eternal punishment of Hell, but he did say "œsome will object" so count me among his objectors. At least what he and you call love is not any love that I can conceive of at the moment (perhaps you can convince me otherwise).

    Calvin said; "œIf it is equally in God´s power to convert men as well as to create them, it follows that the reprobate are not converted, because God does not wish their conversion; for if he wished it he could do it: and hence it appears that he does not wish it." I agree and in light of John´s comments above I think God´s love toward His creatures is evidenced by what He actually does. I don´t think keeping His creatures alive (if you can call that living) in the eternal torments of Hell, completely alienated from the light and goodness of God, can be construed as love in any sense. This seems to me to be a very tortured and strained idea of love. But perhaps love is just a feeling after all and God loves those whom He passes over and the wicked aren´t really being fattened for the day of judgment, they´re just loved a little bit less than others whom He actually saves.

    How about the "œscripturalness" of 2 Cor 2:15,16 concerning the preacher; "œFor we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?" The gospel preached comes as the stench of death to those who are perishing and those who perish do so by the Sovereign will and foreordination of God since God alone can save them.

    Or, concerning the good things of God which you say evidence his love toward the reprobate, how do you harmonize this with James 5:5; "œYou have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter." It seems to me that God gives good things to the reprobate to their judgment and detriment and we´re told even the plowing of the their fields is sin in God´s eyes.

    I think you´re confused, the reprobate by definition do not repent so in my opinion you misunderstand this passage if you think God´s goodness (you evidently added the idea of "œmercy" which is nowhere in the passage you cite) leads to repentance because they are kept from seeing (knowing) the goodness of God and in their blindness they contribute to their own judgment. I honestly do not see how you infer God´s universal love for all mankind from this passage at all? Romans 2 is part of an extended argument demonstrating that both Jew and Gentile are without excuse and are under God´s just wrath, not that all men are the objects of God´s love and mercy.

    I guess the question is whether I have misrepresented Calvin or does his understanding of the account of the rich young ruler contradict things he´s written elsewhere? Does the preponderance of Calvin´s writings support the idea of a common love and grace of God toward all men or does he teach that the good things of God common to all men come to one class of men as blessings and to another as curses? I agree the selection you´ve provided supports the former position, but I can provide just as many, if not more, selections from Calvin´s works that teach the latter.

    Regardless, I question whether Calvin is right per his take on the RYR. We know Jesus loved the RYR and that he went away disappointed after his encounter with Jesus, but is it a valid inference to assume that the RYR is to be accounted among the reprobate? I don´t think so. Evidently Calvin and you assume this to be the case, but how do we know that this man wasn´t converted later on, even on a road to Emmaus? Given 1 John 4:10,11 above why wouldn't I be justified, if not more so, to assume that the RYR came to his senses later on and repented? Isn't the love of God in Christ always effectual? The problem I have with the assumption you´re making, and echoed by Calvin, is that in this case Christ´s love toward this man is ineffectual. I honestly don't think this passage can be used to support either one of us, but I grant that Calvin's exegesis, which I think is faulty, supports you.

    It seems to me because you already accept the idea of God´s universal love for all men you´re predisposed to assume the RYR was not one counted among those for whom Christ died and I don´t think this idea follows either for you or the prince of theologians, John Calvin. OTOH I don't think Calvin was so predisposed, because he argues against the idea of God's universal love for all men elsewhere and even as already cited. I just think Calvin was wrong here. Hey, I don´t even agree with Rev. Winzer that God loves those He sends to Hell.

    So, I think I´ve been a good sport in addressing verses and arguments you´ve put forth in support of the idea of the universal love of God toward all men (some more than others), but I´ve yet to see you interact with any of my counter arguments or verses which express God´s hatred toward sinners. Why is this? Why don´t you explain Psalm 11:5 in light of God´s universal love? How about the account of Jacob and Esua where we´re told God loves the one and hates the other even before the twins birth? And, why did you fail to interact with the objection that if sun and rain are supposed to be understood as signs of God´s love toward all men, what do you then do with falling towers, hurricanes, killer floods and heat waves? Why can't we infer God's universal hatred toward all men from these things?
  18. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    I agree that God hates the wicked and the reprobate. How can God both love and hate or desire the repentence of the reprobate and yet have condemned them to be vessels of wrath? I leave the answer to Calvin:

    Berkhof is very clear in his systematic theology on p445 This should also satisfy your objection about car crashes.

    on p71

    As for Ro 2:4, what I meant and what I expect Paul meant, is that the *design* of God's longsuffering is to lead the reprobate to repentence. Unless you believe that the elect treasure up wrath on the day of wrath the reprobate are the subjects here. Mercy is usually defined as goodness towards undeserving sinners.

    I think you missed the point of Mt 5:44,45,46,. If it were merely v45 it would be possible to wrest the scriptures to make them say there is no favor in the gifts of God. But the motivation for the command to love our enemies 44,46 is the example of God's blessings on the wicked. Our love is to imitate his love.

    [Edited on 8-2-2006 by Peter]
  19. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    This is referred to in the review of the Free Offer. God retains the relationship of Creator to His creatures, and in a broader sense fallen man is still regarded as the image of God. God loves that in which His own image is to be found. However, it is a non-saving love which simply seeks the creature's preservation.

    I believe Ps. 136, and its use of chesed with respect to creation and preservation, provides sound biblical support for this theology. "Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy [chesed] endureth for ever," v. 25.

    I don't believe in the universal fatherhood of God, if that is what you are asking. However, it is clear that man is the offspring of God in the sense that he derives his life, breath, and all things from God. Hence there is a Creator/creature relationship.

    God is a righteous judge. Justice is meted out on the supposition of maintaining order, not with rehabilitation in mind.

    My initial analogy supposed a case of a person being a threat to society. Given that the reprobate's state is irremedial, given that they are a threat to the holy and happy society of heaven, given that the Lord still has pleasure in preserving them, the analogy holds good. Introducing the concept of restorationism is irrelevant.


    [Edited on 8-3-2006 by armourbearer]
  20. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    We don´t agree at all. You have been defending the exact opposite proposition which is God loves the wicked and the reprobate. You wrote, among many other things in support of this proposition:

    I'll leave the answer to Calvin too and then some (see below), but notice that this universal love now issues forth in a divine desire (albeit an unfulfilled and impotent disire) that the reprobate "“ those God has predestined as vessels of His wrath "“ come to repentance and be saved.

    A. W. Pink:
    Robert Haldane:
    Jerome Zanchius:
    Francis Turretin:
    Martin Luther:

    As for Berkof, his "œsolution" "“ if anyone can properly call it that "“ requires a complete rejection of logic; "œThere is far more in God than we can reduce to our logical categories." So, yes, if you reject the idea that the Christian faith is a rational faith and accept the premise (as many do) that the Scriptures teach contradictory proposition which are beyond our grasp and have not been given to us by God so that we might understand, then I agree his solution - or any solution for that matter - is a good one since things like soundness and validity, key logical categories among others, are to be rejected and anything goes. Admittedly a convenient solution, but some people are evidently impressed by such spurious and vacuous theologizing.

    With men prattling on like Berkof, no wonder the Christian faith everywhere is so pallid and why Calvinism, in particular, is in disarray and its adherents eager to embrace every flatulent wind of doctrine that comes along.
  21. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    You may be extending the verse farther than it should be, but I will have to think on this more. A "œnon-saving love" which seeks the creature´s preservation even through the eternal torments of Hell would seem to drain the word "œlove" of all meaning. I guess we would have to say God loves Satan and his minions too since there is there a Creator/creature relationship there as well and Satan will be preserved in the fires of Hell for eternity. Now, I would agree that God does not hate men as men, because He made man "œgood," and Satan too for that matter. OTOH, I think I agree with Pink that God hates men as sinners and only loves some because of Christ and on account of His finished work alone.

    But if you're right and God really does love those He sends to Hell, even though He alone has the power within Himself to prevent such an outcome, it seems to me a very odd way of showing it.

    Anyway, I´ve got few enough friends on this list, no reason to alienate every potential ally. :D
  22. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    We are not given enough information concerning Satan to know what relationship he bears to God. Hence I would be wary of drawing any conclusions in that direction.

    I think God loves some because He loves them, and therefore they were given to Christ and were to be redeemed by Him. The reason why them and not others rests solely in God Himself. There is a reason, only it is not revealed to us. It is the same with His hatred of the reprobate. The reason is known only to Him.

    But as I said previously, God's love manifests itself differently to different objects. I am not averse to the idea that the biblical definition of hatred might include a lesser form of love. Esau still received a temporal blessing, Gen. 27:39. God's "hatred" was expressed towards him in the fact that he would serve the younger Jacob. Who needs friends when you have God for your enemy!

    We are not God's counsellors. He chose to send the gospel to some peoples and not to others, thereby making a difference in the tolerability of their judgment. Only He knows why.

  23. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Does Frame believe in eternal justification?

    [Edited on 8-6-2006 by JM]
  24. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    I'm still studying this subject, any critics I should review, something on line?
  25. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Got a question, in Romans 9 we see "Jacob I loved Esau I hated" and this was before they had done good or evil. On what basis did God love them?
  26. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    On the one hand God's love of Esau is just on the basis of his sovereign good pleasure. Yet in some respect our election is contemplated in our union with Christ.

    Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

    Even though I acknowledge we are not actually united with Christ until our effectual calling Eph 2:12; 2:3; 1 Cor 1:9. Perhaps someone else here can reconcile these truths.
  27. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Verses 18, 19 trace it back to the will of God. Verses 20, 21, show that man has no right to pry into or question that will. Verses 22, 23, give a reasonable account as to why we should simply accept God's will as righteous and good.

    Or, in the words of Deut. 7, turning the negative expression into a positive, God loves because God loves.

  28. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Using this text to support EJ is not valid, for the love spoken of in Romans 9 existed before any "good or evil" had been done. Hence, no fall had yet taken place, and hence no need for justification. How can one be delivered from bondage when not yet inslaved?
  29. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

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