||2017-06-04 02:44:34, 조회 : 593, 추천 : 141
| The Sovereignty of God|
Arthur W. Pink
Chapter 11 - Difficulties and Objections
June 4, 2017
Hello to another beautiful day that has been given to us by God! Today we continue our book, The Sovereignty of God, by the author Arthur W. Pink. And we look at chapter 11, Difficulties and Objections.
As we have stated before, we are now entering the chapter which will look at objections and difficulties of this doctrine but in more detail. The hardest of them all is the maintenance of the balance of truth. That God is sovereign is explicitly told to us in Scripture, while, at the same time, it tells us that man is certainly responsible for his own actions. To define the relationship of these two truths, many have openly declared that it is impossible for them to be harmonized. But it would be a more honorable deed if we were to seek in His Word the solution to every problem. What is impossible to man is possible with God, and while we grant that the finite mind is limited in it reach, the Scriptures are given to us so that we may be satisfied.
To some it may appear that in pressing the sovereignty of God to a great extent, then man is reduced to a mere puppet. But, to guard against this idea, we must modify our definitions and statements relating to God’s sovereignty.
When we say that God is sovereign, we are declaring that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will… the sovereignty of God is absolute, irresistible, and infinite. To put this in its strongest form, we are to insist that God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, and always as He pleases. Nothing is done without His pleasure being satisfied and being contented. There are many verses within the Bible that tells us this truth very straightforwardly.
Now, some try to object this truth by stating that, was it not Jesus who, is fully God and fully Man, taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven? This question would then presume by stating that in all actuality, God’s will isn’t done, but will be done.
However, the answer to such an objection is very simple. God’s will is being done on earth today, for if it was not, then our earth would not be subject to God’s rule, and if it is not subject to God’s rule then He is not, as Scriptures proclaims, “Lord of all the earth.” But God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven, this is true. In heaven, God’s will is done joyfully and consciously. This is because in heaven the angels perform the bidding of their Creator intelligently and gladly. However, on earth, God’s will is done, for the most part, unconsciously and sullenly because on earth the unsaved among men accomplish His will blindly and in ignorance. Take for example Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate. Both had no intentions of fulfilling God’s decrees, and yet they did so.
But another objection that arises is if everything that happens on earth is the fulfilling of the Almighty’s pleasure, if God has really fore-ordained everything which comes to pass in human history, then why do we read in Genesis 6:6, “The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.” This languages makes it appear that the fall of man came as a surprise to God, which tells us that, from the beginning, ever since the Fall, God got out of control. However, something that we always see in the Bible with God is inferences being made in order for us to understand better. Or in other words, anthropomorphisms, which is the representations of God in the form of man. God is Spirit, yet the Scriptures speak of Him as having eyes, ears, nostrils , breath, hands, etc. Likewise, when stating that our LORD regretted, then it makes sense that God is trying to show us, for our own understanding, how much pain He went through to see Adam and Eve fall.
In chapter one, we affirmed that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love, and in saying there are many people who are quick to object to such a statement. However, we must be true to our convictions of what we believe to be the teaching of the Holy Scripture, and we can only examine diligently in the light of God’s Word.
One of the most popular beliefs of the modern day is that God loves everybody. Christians who believe this tend to further state that no matter how one may live, even if they are the biggest sinner and openly curses God, they are still loved by God. Certainly hearing this, for the masses, is comforting to the heart, which is at enmity with God. That God loves everybody, is, we may say, quite a modern belief. It is customary to say that “God loves the sinner but hates the sin.” But truly we can say that that is a meaningless distinction. What is there in a sinner other than sin? Is it not true that his “whole head is sick,” and his “whole heart is faint,” and that “from the sole of the food even unto the head there is no soundness?” (Isaiah 1:5-6).
Is it true that God loves the one who despises and rejected His blessed Son? God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a holy love. To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to only comfort his heart but give up a sense of security for his sins. The fact is that the love of God, is a truth for the ones who have been selected only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs. With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of our Lord Jesus telling sinners that God loved them! In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic works and messages of the apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all. But when we come to the Epistles, which is given to the saints, we have a full presentation that God loves His own. Let us seek to rightly divide the Word of God and then we shall not be found taking truths that are addressed to believers and misapplying them to unbelievers. That which sinners need to have brought before is, the ineffable holiness, the exacting righteousness, the inflexible justice and the terrible wrath of God. By presenting Christ to sinners today, and far too little showing sinners their need of Christ, it gives rise to a misunderstanding of Christianity.
And if it is true that God loves every member of the human family then why did our Lord tell His disciples, “ Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them… Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:21,23) If God really does love everyone, why would He say this? And why would He set up limitations. For those that try to argue that “God hates sin but loves the sinners, we red Psalms 5:5, “Thou hates all workers of iniquity.” If He loves all men without exception, then the distinction and limitation here mentioned is quite meaningless. For John 14:21,23 tells us that God loves only those a part of His own family.
Turning now to John 3:16, it should be evident that the passages just quoted, that this verse will not be interpreted as many Christians interpret it as. John 3:16 reads, “God so loved the world.” Many suppose that this means, the entire human race. But “the entire human race,” includes all mankind from Adam until the close of the earth’s history. However, when we consider the history of mankind before Christ was born, we know that millions have lived and died before the Savior came to the earth, living here “having no hope and without God in the world,” and therefore passed into an eternity of fire. If God “loved” them, where is the slightest proof? Unfortunately, there is no proof. Out of all the eventual nations in the world, God had selected ONLY the people of Israel as His people. That means that even the mighty Egyptian people were NOT selected, and left to perish. The same applies with equal force to the future. When we read the book of Revelations, it tells us how the judgments will be poured out from heaven on this earth. We read of the fearful woes, the frightful plagues, the vials of God’s wrath, which shall be put on the wicked.
And in John 3:16, the word “world,” does not mean the whole world. “The world” is not referring to the whole human race. The fact is that “the world” is used in a general way. When the brethren of Christ said, “Show thyself to the world,” did they mean to show Thyself to all of mankind. When the Pharisees said, “Behold, the world is gone after Him,” did they mean that all the human family were flocking after Him. Romans 1:8 reads, “Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” did the apostle mean that the faith of the saints at Rome was the subject of conversation by ever man, woman, and child on the earth? These and other passages show us that the term “the world,” didn’t always mean the actual world but used in a very general way.
What we must also realize is that, at the time of John 3:16, Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus – a man who believed that God’s mercies were confined to his own nation. Christ there announced that God’s love in giving His Son had a larger object in view, that is flowed beyond the boundary of Palestine, reaching out to “regions beyond.” In other words, this was Christ’s announcement that God has a purpose of grace toward Gentile as well as Jews. “God so loved the world,” then signifies that God’s love is international and not only for the Jews.
But more specifically, we are to know that the “world” in John 3:16, is referring to the world of God’s people. Must we say, for there is no other alternative solution. It cannot mean the whole human race, for one half of the race was already in hell when Christ came to earth. It is unfair to insist that it means every human being now living, will enter heaven. The objects of God’s love in John 3:16 are precisely the same as the objects of Christ’s love in John 13:1, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His time was come, that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” Here we see again further proof that Jesus was dying for those of this world that were His and not to the whole world.
To continue with this theme, another objection had to be with the fact that God’s salvation is limited and not for all. And one of the verses used to go against this truth is founded in 2 Peter 3:9. It reads, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The first thing that must be said for this objection is the fact that all verses should be viewed according to its context. What was used from 2 Peter 3:9 is only part of the verse and only the last bit of it as well! And so we must take into consideration the first half of the verse, at the very least.
The first part of the verse reads, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise.” So we must ask, what promise is it referring to? What we can say for a fact is that the promise that is spoken about here is not referring to a promise to save the whole world. In actuality, the promise has nothing to do with salvation at all but with the promise of Jesus’ Second Coming. When we look at verses 3-4 of that same chapter, the promise in question is of Jesus’ Second Coming. It reads, “knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming?” The context tells us that the promise being referred to here is God’s promise to send back His beloved Son. And when we read of the beginning of the chapter, it isn’t even referring to just anyone but a specific people. When we read the chapter, we read of those who are “beloved.” Beloved by whom? Obviously it is speaking to those who are beloved by God and who have obtained their gift of salvation.
The next question to be considered is “Why preach the Gospel to everyone if God has predestined only a limited number of people to be saved?”
First, we must remember what the Gospel is. The Gospel is God’s good news concerning Christ and not concerning sinners. In Romans 1:1-3 we read, “Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God… concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” As we see through apostle Paul, the Gospel separated Him, not concerning anyone, but concerning His Son, Jesus Christ, and Him only. And so, the Gospel is not an “offer” to be given to anyone. But rather the Gospel is a proclamation concerning Christ, whether men believe it or not. No man is asked to believed that Christ died for him specifically because that could eventually be a lie. The Gospel is this and only this: Christ died for sinners, you are a sinner, believe in Christ ,and you shall be saved. In the Gospel, God simply announces the terms upon which men may be saved and all are commanded to fulfill them.
Secondly, repentance and remission of sins are to be preached in the name of the Lord unto all the nations because God’s elect are scattered everywhere. And it is the preaching and hearing of the Gospel that they are called out of the world. The Gospel is the means which God uses in the saving of His own chosen ones. By nature, even if we are God’s elect, we are naturally children of wrath. And so it is the Gospel that must be believed by all the elect before they can rejoice in the knowledge of sins being forgiven.
Third, it is to be noted that God has other purposes in the preaching of the Gospel than the salvation of His own elect. The world exists for the elect’s sake, yet others have the benefit of it. So the Word is preached for the elect’s sake, yet others have the benefit of the external call. What do we mean by this? Let us take into consideration of the laws we have. The general laws that we, as a whole society have, are without a doubt from the Ten Commandments told to us in the Scriptures. And so, even if you are not an elect, you must still follow the laws, and in-turn live a life that is safer. The Gospel, in general, keeps our wickedness in check. It prevents things like murder, where other societies that don’t have the Gospel may justify, so we can all be safe. The power of the Gospel is one of God’s agencies for holding in check the wickedness of the world.
Lastly, we should know from the Scripture that we are COMMANDED to preach the Gospel to every creature. It is not our duty to judge who are chosen and who are not. It is for us to obey. Although we mentioned it earlier, it is not for us that the Gospel was given but it is our business to preach it. When God ordered Abraham to offer up his son as a burnt-offering, he could have objected because it went against God’s promise that through Isaac will God’s promise with Abraham live. But instead of arguing he obeyed, and left God to harmonize His promise and His command.
The Gospel has lost none of its powers and it is still as powerful today as it was when it was first preached. It can overcome any obstacles and break down any barrier. No human device needs to be used to prepare the sinner to receive it, for if God has sent it no one can stop it and if God had not sent it no power can make it effectual.
This chapter spoke on a lot of objections but it also has not touched upon so many more that exists in our society. However, if there are any objections, please ask God. For as it reads in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Which concludes the eleventh chapter, Difficulties And Objections.