Some Gospel Truths Considered
by Curt Wildy
Most churches in our day teach that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, the Lord wants all men to be saved, and that it is up to you to accept the offer of Christ. Although this gospel is very popular, it is a false one; it is not Christian. Whether you call it Catholic, Methodist, Adventist, Campbellite, Pentecostal, Charismatic, what have you, it all boils down to the same thing… a lie. The true gospel is Christ-centered; it is not about what man must do, or what man has done, it is about who God is and what He has accomplished.
Why Does God Save People?
The reason for the incarnation, life, and substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ was not to save “all mankind” as some teach; it was to honour and glorify Christ and the Godhead (of whom He is the fulness bodily), in the salvation of His chosen people. In Isaiah 48:9-11 God affirms “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. 10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. 11 For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.”
In Ezekiel 36-22-27, that great picture of salvation, The LORD puts it this way, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them]. When God says that He will not give His glory to another, He is including those who attempt to steal it by attributing salvation to some aspect of their will.
Concerning the birth of the Lord, in Luke 2:14 the heavenly host cried out “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” It is solely through the Person and finished work of Christ that God reveals peace and good will (salvation and all that it entails) to men. To prove this, we must start from the beginning.
Before The World Was…
Before the Lord Jesus Christ made Adam, before He created the Heavens and the Earth, the Triune Godhead purposed to save a multitude that no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues (Revelation 7:9). From eternity, God purposed to save an elect remnant, a chosen few, from eternal damnation. They are a few in comparison to the entire population of mankind (past, present, and future), but they are still an innumerable host nonetheless; Christ died for them all and them alone.
We read in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:12 states “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Revelation 21:8 teaches that “…the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.“
The righteous law and justice of God demands eternal damnation for sin, but the Lord Jesus Christ was ordained from before the world was formed to save His people from their sin. But if He was ordained to be their Saviour from before the world was, doesn’t that mean He already knew that sin had to come into the world and that sin would come into the world? He knew that sin would enter because He purposed it to do so. God could not be our eternal redeemer if there was no sin from which to redeem us. So what did He do? He created a perfect man, withdrew from Him (to show that the absence of God, the absence of our divine storehouse for all that is good, is sin), and that man fell.
The LORD commanded Adam, in Genesis 2:16-17, saying “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Notice that God did not say “if thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die;” instead, He declared “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” There is no ambiguity, God is informing us that there was a day decreed wherein Adam would eat of the tree and wherein he would surely die.
The vessels of wrath, appointed, begotten, and born unto damnation
The above sub-heading should make any sensitive heart tremble at the thought of this great, great truth. God created a vast multitude of people for the express purpose of destroying them in light of the sins that He purposed that they should walk in, but that they likewise willingly walk in, due to their corrupted natures. He created them for eternal torment and yet spared elect wretches like you and me… is there anything that should cause us to rend our hearts in godly sorrow, thanksgiving, and repentance more than this? Countless billions will perish, but God decided to save the likes of us, who cannot even merit a speck of such divine and eternal grace and mercy. Fear God! Love and honour Him who deserves all love and honour.
Our God not only purposed the fall from before the foundation of the world to save His people, but to make His power known against His eternal enemies.
Romans 9:11 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to [katartizo – made thoroughly complete for] destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
“Why hast thou made me thus?” the wicked may ask; “to show forth my wrath, hatred, justice, and power against you due to your sin” would be a paraphrase of God’s biblical answer. These vessels of wrath, often referred to as the reprobate, were those whom God purposed, from before the foundation of the world, to enter into and remain in their sin. In 2 Peter 2:12 God speaks of those “…natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed.” The word made there is the Greek word gennao (ghen-nah’-o) and it is usually translated as begotten or born. The word brute is the Greek word alogos (al’-og-os); it means without or contrary to reason, but spiritually it means without Christ (for the a, or alpha, in front of a word either negates or denies it and Logos is what we translate as the Word in John 1:1. Left untranslated we would have “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God“).
All who are outside of the Lord Jesus are alogos (without/against Christ); they are all antichristos, antichrist. God is telling us that these natural brute beasts were begotten and born for the express purpose of being snared in sin and destroyed. This ties-in with Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.“
In Job 21:29-30 God declares “Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens, that the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath;” the word reserved there is the Hebrew word chasak (khaw-sak’) which means spared. 2 Peter 2:9 declares “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” In this verse, the word reserve is the Greek word tereo (tay-reh’-o) and it means to keep, guard, reserve, preserve, or hold fast. God is teaching us that He temporarily spares the vessels of wrath, so that they may be thoroughly completed for destruction, and keeps them (guards them and holds them fast) in their wicked state unto the day of judgement.
In 1 Peter 2:8, we read of them “…which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” God stated that they were appointed to disobedience and stumbling; the Greek word at issue is tithemi (tith’-ay-mee) and it means to set, place, put, make, ordain, appoint, or establish. God has from old established and ordained the wicked in their fallen state, setting them there, as they sin willfully according to their own corrupted natures. We see this clearly in Jude 1:4 “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” The phrase before of old ordained consists of two Greek words: prographo (prog-raf’-o) and palai (pal’-ahee). Palai means in time past, long ago, a great while ago and prographo means to write from before, set forth or declare from before, and by implication to ordain from before.
God has written from old, decreed from eternity, that certain men would be ordained unto condemnation; yet, so many would have you believe that God wants all men to be saved. If God wanted all men to go to Heaven, why would He say through the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:12-13 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Why would He declare in John 12:39-40 “Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.“
The Lord Jesus stated to His disciples in Mark 4:11-12 “…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.” God makes it clear that He never intended for all to hear with spiritual ears or to see with spiritual eyes. He never intended for all to believe and understand His word with a God-given faith and understanding, because He never planned to give them the gifts of faith and repentance. God only gives such things to His sheep, His elect people; He never gives them to the goats.
The Lord Jesus declared in John 8:43 “Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.” Why could they not hear? It was because they were not of His fold, just as vast multitudes in our day are not of His fold. They are goats and the Lord never laid down His life for the goats, only for the sheep. Christ stated in John 10:26-29 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.“
Christ did not say ‘because you didn’t believe me, you are not of my sheep.’ Instead he said “ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.” The sheep hear because “the hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them” (Proverbs 20: 12) and He has given them to His people. Yet we know concerning the vessels of wrath that “the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day” (Deuteronomy 29:4).
Despite all of the evidence, many maintain that God loves all mankind and purposes the salvation of all mankind up until a point. After this alleged point, God begins to hate them and send them the strong delusion, the working of error, that they may believe a lie. This makes God mutable and fickle; God declares that He loves those whom He has loved from eternity. We read in Jeremiah 31:1-3 “At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus saith the LORD, The people [which were] left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. 3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
The word everlasting does not mean from the present, forward, forever; it means that it has always been and always will be (past, present, future); it is a timeless love. We read in Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” and in Malachi 3:6 “For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” If God loves you, He loved you infinitely and eternally. If He hates you, He hated you infinitely and eternally. If He planned to save you, you will be saved; for He decreed it from before the world’s foundation. If He purposed to damn you, damned you will be due to your own sins; your will has nothing to do with it. You would never will, from your deceitful and desperately wicked hearts, to serve the True and Living God… though many would gladly bow down to the weak, free will, counterfeits that abound in our day.