Spiritually speaking, I cannot begin to describe my view of this word. From the vantage point of both eternity (as it relates to the non-elect) and temporally (as it relates to the saints of God) “left” is one of the most troubling, distressing, and humbling words that I can think of.
For the reprobate, to be left in sin, left in ignorance, left in unbelief, left in self-righteousness, left in hardness of heart, left in rebellion, left in a whole host of other vile ills and mindsets is to be so thoroughly given over to sin as to be utterly, and irretrievably set on course for everlasting despair and burning. There is nothing worse, nothing worse, than to be left of God; to be left to your on way, to your own sinful will, and to your own wicked devices and desires. To be left of God is tantamount to having *every* obstacle that would have prevented your eternal downfall removed, with the final outcome being that you are really and truly cast into Hell and left therein forever. We cannot even begin to imagine what it means to be infinitely and immutably abandoned, forsaken, disavowed, deserted, even LEFT of God… both without hope and without any hope of hope. Can you imagine? There is no hope in Hell; the Lord will not eventually come and get you once cast therein; there is nothing but infinite terror to look forward to.
God is not mocked, He is worthy to be worshipped, honoured, and obeyed. If you are not found in His Christ, every particle in the universe, if written upon, could not begin to contain the full story of how horribly undone you will be. I cannot exhort you enough, seek to be found in Christ, cry out to God for His mercy, for the mercy found only in the Lord Jesus (His blessed Person and work) and pray indeed that you are not, forever, left in your sin; that you do not forever fall short of the cleansing, delivering, saving riches found in the fountains of His water and His blood. Christ died for sinners, elect sinners, but sinners nonetheless. We do not know ahead of time whether we are elect. We are simply called to believe upon the Lord; God the Word made flesh; who took the form of man that He may keep the law perfectly for His people; take their sin upon Him; die on the cross in their stead (enduring the full wrath of God for those sins, even putting them away forever); and rise again (evidencing that He has procured a righteousness and holiness for His people that guarantees their salvation). Though, in light of this salvation, the Christian will have much sorrow and tribulation in this world (due to sin within and sin without); nevertheless, they will have much comfort; even the comfort of Christ Himself (in light of our vital union with Him) through the Holy Ghost; and their delight will be in God, His Christ, and His word. They may experience these precious things in various degrees, but in due time, all of God’s people are comforted with the joy of the riches of the blessings found in Christ Jesus.
Nonetheless, the saints of God, though never as a reflection of our eternal state in Christ, for a season or seasons at a time, will not uncommonly be left to experience more of our own natural hard-heartedness; left to realise our own lack of zeal and fervency; left to behold our own pride, haughtiness, and self-righteousness; left to lean unto our own knowledge and understanding (seeing our own natural brutishness and ignorance); left to uphold our own notional traditions and idols; left to experience coldness in praise, worship, expressed love, and thanksgiving towards our Lord; left to deal with sins we thought were conquered; and left to deal with numerous other manifestations of our own natural sin, vileness, and foolishness. To be temporally left after this manner, is to experience a brief taste of (experimental) death; it is to taste of both the misery that the non-elect must endure for all eternity and to taste of the misery that the Lord suffered on the cross (though without sin) as He bore our sin and endured the divine wrath of God for it — in our stead. Our taste of being left cannot be compared to even a single grain; it cannot reach unto the tiniest measure when you consider both what the non-elect will encounter all of their days and what our Lord endured on the cross.
As Brother Philpot spoke so well of concerning, such tiny tastes of misery force us onward (by God’s grace and at His set times) to cry out to God all the more, to seek the face of the Lord all the more, and to turn to Him with greater heartfelt need, sincerity, and fervency. This indeed is a blessing and though such chastisements as “desertion” (as brethren of old called it) for a season are painful, they are indeed needful; God uses them to conform us all the more to the image of his son experimentally. As I was thinking about these things, I considered how I often lament concerning how little I love the Lord in comparison to the great things that He has done for, and unto, me. I often pray for a greater and greater outpouring of love and thanksgiving towards Him. Then it dawned on me. What I wanted was such an outpouring of love in my heart, and such a thanksgiving towards the Lord (for all He has done), that I would never lament my lack of love again. What I wanted was a fervency and zealous love and thanksgiving that I could rest in… be content with… but NO!… I do not want to be “left” in any such state (not in this body of death). May it be that God keeps moving that carrot out of reach so that I am ever desiring to know Him more, love him more, praise and worship Him more, so that I am not left to remain in one ‘happily little spot,’ complacent, settled on my lees, but forced (by divine grace) to carry forward all the more unto the end, enduring all that He has ordained for me (and will give me grace to) endure, and striving to grow in love and grace — knowing that the Christian is not left, but borne along; we are not abandoned to stagnation but carried along to press on, and to fight the good fight of faith, as we grow and mature to the degree that the Lord enables.
Finally, I never cease to be awed and amazed, never cease to be so, when I think about the unspeakable reality that I was not left. I could have been as the vast majority of others about me, left to the cares and distractions of this world, left to my own devices, left to sinful self, but God (for no other reason than His own sovereign will and purpose) saw fit to choose me; and countless others like me to save (who have absolutely no good, no hope, nor any worthiness in themselves). He could have left me; He could have left us; but He purposed from before the world was that He would not. He purposed to save; He purposed not only ‘not to leave us’ but to draw us nigh unto Himself, to make Himself known unto us, to reveal Himself to us in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did it; it is ALL His work; our will, seeking, searching, or desire was never towards Him, nor for Him, until He did the first work. The Lord is a gracious and merciful Lord “for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” The Christian will never be utterly nor truly, left. God was always there for them, remains forever there for them now, and will remain there for them, with them, and in them, for all eternity. The people of God are not only not left but they are kept, enclosed, hedged in, and indwelled by God unto the utmost. One could encase a person within billions upon billions of miles of carbyne to keep and protect them from harm and they would never be as safe as they are through union with Christ; it wouldn’t even be as strong as the thinnest encasing of vapour in comparison with the keeping and preserving power of our mighty God and Saviour. He is magnificent beyond thoughts and words.
To God be the glory!