Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 61) - Mat 23:37; Rom 12:3

For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.


18. Mat 23:37 A. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Mat 23:37) B. Does this verse teach that Jesus wanted to save the Jews who rejected Him, but He could not because they were unwilling? C. Jesus was lamenting the desolation that would come upon the Jerusalem in 70AD at the hands of the Romans (Mat 23:38 c/w Luk 21:22-24). i. Desolate - A. as pa. pple. Brought to desolation, laid waste: see desolate v. ii. Desolate v. - 1. trans. To deprive of inhabitants, depopulate. (This sense and 2 are often combined in use.) 2. To devastate, lay waste; to make bare, barren, or unfit for habitation. iii. Desolation n. - 1. The action of laying waste a land, etc., destroying its people, crops, and buildings, and making it unfit for habitation; utter devastation; an act or occasion of this kind. D. As a man and fellow countryman of the Jews, the thought of Jerusalem being utterly devastated would have been lamentable for Jesus, no matter the spiritual state of the inhabitants. i. Paul felt great heaviness in his heart for his Jewish countrymen (Rom 9:1-4). ii. He felt this way toward them despite the fact that they persecuted him (2Co 11:24; 1Th 2:14-16). iii. As a man, Jesus felt emotions just like we do (Heb 2:17-18). iv. The thought of a city full of people (even one's enemies) suffering tremendously and dying excruciating deaths would be lamentable for any decent man. v. As a man, Jesus could have wanted to see the repentance of the nation as a whole so that they would be spared that awful judgment. E. In Matthew 23, Jesus was speaking to the multitude and His disciples (Mat 23:1). i. In the multitude were wicked scribes and Pharisees whom He strongly condemned (Mat 23:13-15, etc.). a. Those wicked men were reprobates who could not escape the damnation of hell (Mat 23:33). b. They were the reason that the vengeance of God was going to come on that generation (Mat 23:34-36). ii. But remember, Jesus was also speaking to His disciples (believers) in this discourse (Mat 23:1). iii. Of the Jews, there were some elect and some non-elect (Rom 9:6-11; Rom 9:27-29). iv. Among the elect Jews, some were unbelievers (Rom 11:28-29). v. The Jews that Jesus was specifically speaking to in Mat 23:37 were elect Jews because He said that they would one day see Him again and say "blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mat 23:39). a. This will happen at the Second Coming when every eye shall see Him (Mat 24:30-31), including those that pierced Him (Rev 1:7). b. This also happened when some of the Jews saw Him by faith when they repented and were baptized and added to His church (Mat 23:39 c/w Psa 118:26 c/w Heb 2:9 c/w Act 2:36-42). c. It was these elect, unbelieving Jews whom Jesus was lamenting over because He knew what would happen to many of them 40 years later. vi. Jesus saved all of His people from their sins eternally (Mat 1:21), including the unbelieving elect Jews He lamented over. vii. But in addition to giving them eternal life, He also came for them (Mat 15:24) to bid them to come unto Him to find rest under His wings (Mat 11:28-30). a. They would have experienced temporal salvation if they would have repented and believed on Him (See Section II,7,B on Temporal Salvation). b. But they rejected Him (Joh 1:11) and would therefore suffer the temporal consequences. 85. Rom 12:3 A. "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." (Rom 12:3) B. Does this verse teach that God has given faith to all men without exception? i. The first rule of Bible interpretation is that there are no contradictions in the scripture (2Pe 1:20) (See Section II,1,A on the Rules of Bible Interpretation). a. The Bible teaches that some men do not have faith (2Th 3:2). b. Therefore, the "every" in "every man" in Rom 12:3 must be a qualified "every" (See Section II,11,B on Universal Language). ii. The "every man" in the context of the passage is every member of the body of Christ (Rom 12:4-8). C. God gives His elect the gift of faith. i. Their faith is born of God (1Jo 5:4). ii. It is given to them to believe (Php 1:29 c/w Joh 6:64-65). iii. They believe in God by Jesus Christ (1Pe 1:21). iv. They obtained their faith through the righteousness of Jesus Christ (2Pe 1:1). v. The elect believe through grace (Act 18:27). vi. One must be ordained to eternal life in order to believe (Act 13:48). b. But God doesn't give all of the elect the same measure of faith. i. He gives each of them varying amounts of it (Mat 25:15). ii. Some of them are 30, 60, or 100-folders (Mar 4:20). D. Interpreting "every man" in this text as "the entire human race" will prove too much even for an Arminian. i. According to Arminians, it is a man's faith that saves him. ii. If God gives a measure of faith to every member of the human race, then every one of them will be saved according to this interpretation. iii. But even an Arminian would have to agree that all are not saved (Mat 25:41).