The Hidden Gospel (Part 2)Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, April 24, 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. VII. An objection: Was Jesus speaking to hell-bound reprobates in parables to prevent them from changing their ways, since even hell-bound reprobates can change their ways and be spared temporal destruction? For example: the eternally damned Sodomites (Jud 1:7) would have repented and been spared destruction if they had seen Jesus' mighty works (Mat 11:20-24). 1. First of all, these Jews were not unregenerate reprobates because it was possible for them to be converted and receive forgiveness of sins from Jesus, as was proven in sections V and VI (Mar 4:11-12). A. On the contrary, Sodom and Gomorrah were hell-bound reprobates (Jud 1:7). B. These are two spiritually different classes of people. 2. It was never said that Sodom and Gomorrah would have been converted or would have received forgiveness of sins, but only that they would have repented (Mat 11:20-24). A. Being spared from destruction was never said to be a forgiveness of sins or a conversion. B. Repentance doesn’t necessarily equate to forgiveness of sins; consider the following reprobates that repented: i. Pharaoh repented and let Israel go (Exo 12:30-33), but was not a recipient of God’s mercy through election (Rom 9:15-18). ii. Judas repented after betraying Jesus (Mat 27:3-4), but was not a child of God and did not have forgiveness of sins (Mat 26:23-25; Joh 17:12; Joh 6:70). Perdition - 1. The fact or condition of being destroyed or ruined; utter destruction, complete ruin. 3. The temporal destruction of these Jews or their city is not mentioned in this passage or in the context of it, as it was with Sodom and Gomorrah in Mat 11:20-24. 4. Jesus’ primary purpose was not to prevent these Jews from being spared temporal destruction as Sodom would have been, but rather His primary purpose was to prevent them from perceiving and understanding the kingdom of God and thereby being converted unto it and having their sins forgiven them (Mar 4:11-12). 5. Things that are different are not the same. VIII. Another objection: Was the forgiveness of sins here spoken of the forgiveness that a Jew could receive by offering a sacrifice? (Lev 4:20, 26). Was this what Jesus was trying to prevent from happening? 1. No, this forgiveness was the forgiveness that Jesus would give them (Mar 4:12 c/w Mat 13:15). 2. This forgiveness was associated with the salvation of God that was given to the Gentiles, which was in no way connected to the sacrifices under the Law of Moses (Act 28:26-28). 3. This forgiveness was linked to conversion (Mar 4:12). The conversion of Jews living under Moses’ Law would be to the faith of Jesus Christ, not to the animal sacrifices of Moses’ Law. 4. Jesus’ call to men was to take on His easy and light yoke (Mat 11:28-30), not the heavy yoke of the Law of Moses that they could not bear (Act 15:10-11). IX. The reason for speaking in parables. 1. Jesus spoke in parables to prevent the unbelieving Jews from believing the gospel in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah (Mat 13:11-15 c/w Isa 6:9-10). 2. Jesus spoke in parables in general to fulfill prophesy (Mat 13:34-35 c/w Psa 78:2-3). 3. This was not a pattern that was continued by the apostles after the earthly ministry of Jesus. A. New Testament preaching is characterized by great plainness of speech (2Co 3:12; 2Co 1:13; 2Pe 1:19; Act 20:20-21; Eph 3:4). B. We do not need to speak in dark sayings to keep people from believing the gospel, the gospel will sort people out (1Co 1:18; Act 17:32; 2Co 2:14-16). X. The cause of the hardened heart. 1. By comparing the different accounts, it can be ascertained that the following persons were said to have been responsible for the hardened hearts: A. God blinded their hearts (Joh 12:39-40 c/w Isa 6:9-10). B. The prophet was to “make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes…” (Isa 6:10). C. They closed their own eyes (Mat 13:15). D. Satan is also held responsible for blinding minds and causing the gospel to be hidden from people (2Co 4:3-4). 2. Putting it all together: God allowed Satan to cause them to shut their own eyes when they heard the preaching of the word of God by His prophet. XI. The reason that Jesus used parables to prevent or guard against the conversion of the unbelieving portion of elect Israel. 1. The gospel was to the Jew first and then to the Gentile (Rom 1:16). 2. Jesus came to His own and His own received Him not (Joh 1:11). A. When God’s children rebel and refuse to believe the truth, God will turn them over to strong delusion so that they will believe a lie (2Th 2:10-12; Joh 9:39; Eph 4:17-20; 1Ki 22:20-23). B. A space of repentance is given (Rev 2:21; Luk 13:6-9), and then God gives people what they want as a judgment against them (Pro 1:20-32; Rom 1:21-32). C. When God’s people will not hearken to His word, He will take it away from them and let them walk in their own counsel (Psa 81:11-12). D. Jesus was simply ensuring that they got what the wanted. 3. God’s children can sin and rebel to a point where there is no remedy (Pro 29:1). A. Israel did so before the Babylonian captivity (2Ch 36:14-16). B. The nation of Israel, many of whom were children of God, were destroyed in the wilderness because of their unbelief and rebellion (1Co 10:1-12). C. God was done dealing with unbelieving Israel and therefore took the kingdom of God from them and gave it to the Gentiles (Mat 21:43). D. This happened in 70AD when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies (Luk 21:20-24, 31-32). E. Isaiah preached to Israel in the same way for the same reason prior to Jerusalem being destroyed by the Babylonians many years earlier (Isa 6:9-12). F. The same thing can happen to us if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth (Heb 10:26-31; Heb 2:1-4). 3. Beware that the same thing does not happen to you that happened to them (Rom 11:17-21). 4. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1Co 10:12).
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