The Hidden Gospel (Part 1)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Saturday, April 23, 2011.
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. The Hidden Gospel “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” (Mar 4:11-12). I. Defining the terms. Mystery- A religious truth known only from divine revelation; usually (cf. sense 5), a doctrine of the faith involving difficulties which human reason is incapable of solving. Without- A. adv. I. Outside, in various senses: opp. to within adv. Now only literary and somewhat arch. Lest-1. Used as a negative particle of intention or purpose, introducing a clause expressive of something to be prevented or guarded against; = L. nU, Eng. that+not, for fear that. Converted-†1. Turned, turned back; 2. That has turned or been brought over to a religious faith or profession, whether from a different religion or from irreligious life. II. The dilemma. 1. Were these elect children of God or reprobates that Jesus was speaking of? 2. Was this a condition set forth for people to hear and understand the gospel, be converted, and then receive the eternal forgiveness of sins? 3. Was this an eternal or a temporal forgiveness of sins? 4. If they were elect children of God, and “he that is of God heareth God’s words” (Joh 8:47), then why did they hear but not understand? 5. If they were elect, why would Jesus try to prevent or guard against their conversion and subsequent forgiveness of sins? 6. If they were reprobates, could they be converted and have their sins forgiven them in any capacity? 7. If they were reprobates, why would Jesus bother to use parables to prevent them from hearing and understanding the gospel when “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither CAN he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1Co 2:14)? 8. If they were reprobates, could Jesus have been speaking to them in parables with the intent of preventing them from repenting and being spared a temporal destruction such as Sodom and Gomorrah would have if they had seen the mighty works that were done in Capernaum (Mat 11:20-24), even though they were still eternally damned (Jud 7)? III. Jesus’ audience. 1. Jesus had just finished speaking to a great multitude of Israelites by way of a parable (Mar 4:1). A. Jesus was sent to preach primarily to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat 15:24; Mat 10:5-6). B. Jews were present (Mar 4:10) and it was not lawful for Jews to keep company with Gentiles (Act 10:28; Joh 4:9). C. Therefore the entire audience were Jews. 2. There were two groups of Jews in the crowd: A. The first group were Jesus’ disciples to whom He said “Unto YOU it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mar 4:11). B. The second group were “THEM (unbelieving Jews) that are without”. i. “Them that are without” denotes unbelievers who are outside the faith (1Co 5:13; Col 4:5). IV. The divisions of Israel. 1. The Bible makes it clear that there are two Israels (Rom 9:6). A. There is natural Israel, Israel after the flesh (1Co 10:18; Rom 9:8), the natural seed of Abraham (Rom 9:7). B. There also is the spiritual Israel of God (Gal 6:16), the spiritual seed of Abraham, who are the children of the promise (Rom 9:8). 2. Not all of natural Israel are God’s Israel. A. Isaac was, but Ishmael wasn’t (Rom 9:7-9; Gal 4:28-30). B. Jacob was, but Esau wasn’t (Rom 9:10-13). 3. Counted in spiritual Israel are the elect Gentiles as well as elect Jews (Gal 3:7-9 c/w Gal 3:16 c/w Gal 3:29; Gal 4:28; Phi 3:3; Rom 2:28-29). 4. The natural-only Jew is cast off forever (Rom 11:1-2 c/w 11:7-10). Alway- 1. All along, all the time, perpetually, throughout all time. 5. Among spiritual Israel, the remnant (Rom 9:27), the foreknown (Rom 11:2), the election (Rom 11:5-7), there is a division as well. Remnant - 1. a. With the. That which remains or is left of a thing or things after the removal of a portion; the remainder, rest, residue. Now applied only to a small remaining part. A. Some of them were believers like Paul (Rom 11:1) and thousands of other Jews (Act 21:20). B. Some of them were unbelieving enemies of the gospel, yet were elect and beloved of God Who covenanted to take away their sins (Rom 11:25-29). V. Forgiveness of sins only through the blood of Jesus Christ. 1. There is an unconditional forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ that is a completed accomplishment for all of God’s children whom He gave to Jesus to die for on the cross (Eph 1:4-7; Col 1:13-14; Rom 5:9-10; Rev 1:5). 2. There is a temporal and conditional forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ that God’s children can receive if they confess their sins and repent (1Jo 1:7-9) 3. The shedding of blood is required for any type of forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22). Remission- 1. Forgiveness or pardon of sins (cf. 2) or other offences. 4. Those who receive the blood of Jesus Christ are only those who were elected UNTO it (1Pe 1:2). VI. Conclusion: Who were “them that are without”? What was their eternal state? What was Jesus trying to prevent them from obtaining? 1. Who were “them that are without”? - They were unbelieving Jews that were outside of the faith of Christ (Section III.2.B) 2. What was their eternal state? A. They were elect, blood-bought children of God based on the following: i. They had the ability to have their sins forgiven them, hence the reason Jesus was trying to prevent (definition of lest) them from doing so. ii. Only the elect can obtain forgiveness of sins (Section V.2-4) iii. They had the ability to be converted (hence the reason Jesus was trying to prevent it) which requires hearing, understanding, and believing the gospel (Mat 13:15; Act 15:3 c/w Act 13:48, Act 14:1, 22-23). a. Unregenerate men CANNOT hear, understand, or believe the gospel (Joh 8:43-47; 1Co 2:14; Joh 10:26). b. Therefore if these Jews had the ability to be converted, they were elect and regenerate. B. Based on the above points, these were Jews who were elect, regenerate children of God who were blinded unbelievers. C. This should be no stretch to imagine since Paul describes a group of such Jews in (Rom 11:25-29). 3. What was Jesus trying to prevent them from obtaining? A. Jesus was trying to prevent them from seeing, hearing, and understanding the gospel and being converted (Mar 4:11-12). B. Jesus was trying to prevent them from receiving temporal forgiveness of sins. i. Temporal forgiveness is conditional and may or may not be obtained by God’s children (1Jo 1:7-9). ii. Jesus was not trying to prevent their eternal forgiveness of sins because eternal forgiveness of sins is not conditioned on anything a person does, but on God’s grace alone (Section V.1).
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