Hypothetical or Conditional Sounding Scripture?


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Scott Price

“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: That seeing they may see and not perceive; and hear they may hear and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted and their sins should be forgiven them.” Mark 4:12
Often people complicate things when they rush to judgment on a particular text and many times make a big issue out of something that probably has a simple explanation. I am constantly given Bible verses from people who claim those verses are contrary to the doctrines of sovereign grace. It does not take long to show people what verses mean in their context, and it helps if the person has an attention span longer than his little finger or at least the patience or courtesy to listen to an answer.
Something that most people, especially theologians and preachers, are afraid to admit  that they do not know what a particular verse means. Sure, it is easy to give a general blanket statement about them not knowing everything, but pin them down on specifics and they get nervous. I have mentioned before that we are not to be cocky, Bible gunslingers, waiting for arguments so we can just let some ammo fly, and then yell, “Who is next?”
The above text is a text that many think is inconsistent with sovereign grace. When read and understood in its context, comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is quite the opposite of a so-called problem text. It is taken from Isaiah 6:8-12 which reads;

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And He said, Go and tell this people, You hear indeed but do not understand; and you see indeed, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people fat and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and convert and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the LORD have removed men far away and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.”
Paul goes a little deeper in Romans 11:5-10 while referring to the above text in Isaiah if you care to check it out.  After reading Mark 4:12, the objection comes, “What if the non elect believe, won’t they be saved?” That is a weird question no doubt, which is greatly involved. A person who believes the false gospel which says; God loves all, Christ died for all, and God wants all to be saved, does not even bring the idea of election into the equation.
When we preach the only true gospel of God’s free grace in Christ, we are to address unbelievers as just that: UNBELIEVERS. We are not to try and judge whether an unbeliever is elect or non-elect. It just simply cannot be done. If we evangelize all unbelievers with the general, outward call of the gospel and press on them all their responsibility and accountability to believe (some term this as “duty faith”) , we then know God will call His elect out of the world of unbelief by His effectual, irresistible call. With this proper mind-set we also fulfill the Scriptural idea to preach to all without exception and whoever believes will be saved.
One simple question might be whether the non elect will believe. The answer is an obvious, big giant: NO! They will not and they cannot. They cannot and they will not. They are the whosoever will-nots. God does not give them the gift of faith in order that they might believe. He did not effectually call them. He did not regenerate them. He did not provide atonement for them in any way shape or form, which means that Christ’s death is not meant for them. He did not elect or choose them to salvation. He did not love them, ever. He does not try or make an attempt to save them. He does not woo them. He does not make them any offers. Was all this on accident or on purpose?
Could we say that IF they (the non elect) believe they WOULD or WILL be saved? If we say yes, even after the above paragraph shows how impossible it would be for them to believe, would we be saying something against Scripture? What if we take the emphasis off being elect or non elect like I mentioned we ought to when we evangelize and emphasize the command to believe and the responsibility attached to it, can we then state that IF they believe they will be saved? Is there even a slight or slim possibility that the non elect will believe and be saved? None at all.
My honest desire is that every single person that I preach to would believe. Will that happen? Most likely not. Keep in mind that all the elect do not believe the gospel as soon as they hear it or the first time they hear it. Is it a possibility some believe later that we, in this life will never know about? Of course. Am I worried that the non elect will slip into heaven? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I trust God has that all that under control from before the foundation of the world. I should only preach the truth of the gospel without compromise, not worrying about accusations of keeping the elect out of heaven or getting the non elect in. God’s truth, His word will accomplish His purpose.
The following verse is similar to Mark 4:12, in that it shows man’s responsibility to come to Christ along with man’s inability to so.  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stones them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!” Matthew 23:37
This means when I mentioned earlier that, “They will not and they cannot. They cannot and they will not.”, both sentences being true, I must place emphasis by adding the word because: THEY WILL NOT BECAUSE THEY CANNOT. In my opinion, if you add “offer” language, tone down God’s sovereignty, jack up man’s ability, add a sprinkle of some “sufficiency” into the atonement, then there would be warrant to switch the emphasis around. This is only a matter of emphasis in the chronology of the cause. Whosoever will must be interpreted along with, “No man can come unto me except He which hath sent me draw him..” John 6:44 (also see John 6:65, John 8:43 and I Cor 2:14 just to name a few).
Mark 4:12 shows both the responsibility of man to believe the gospel and the promise that IF he would believe it he will be saved. Whosoever believes will be saved is true. The promise of Jn.6:37 is that if you come to Christ He will NOT cast you out. Yes we know only the elect will believe. We do not know who they are until after they believe, not before. Preach the gospel, in love, to every creature and pray God will save His people. He will. He has promised to. God is absolutely sovereign, never frustrated, and will fulfill His promises to Christ and the elect. He will do right. That, we can be sure of.
Here is a final bonus question for the theologians : Is it possible or even consistent to hold a Supralapsarian view of God’s decrees and sovereignty in salvation, believing in double predestination, and being anti free-offer and still yet be zealous in evangelism and have a burden and love for souls, even believing God uses the gospel as a means not only in conversion but also regeneration? Yes, it definitely IS possible and I think it is the correct, Biblical position (still not knowing near what I would like to know). Hope this causes some profitable thought.

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One Response to “Hypothetical or Conditional Sounding Scripture?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Curtis Hutson, Salvation Plain and Simple, p13—“Jesus Christ took all my sins, past, present, and future, and bore them in his own body.” P21—“The worst sin in the world is not trusting Jesus Christ as Savour, and that is the only sin for which a man will die the second death.”
    One irony here is that, If Curtis Hutson died believing this, then he will die the second death. If you die while ignorant of the true gospel, you will die believing a false gospel, and you will die in your sins. When he says that “Jesus took all my sins”, that is the outside of the tomb. The words sound beautiful. But the words are contradicted by his idea that you will die for the sin of not trusting (and that you will live if you don’t sin that sin). This false gospel is not only trusting in a different Jesus, but also is trusting in trusting.
    Hutson denies the aloneness of Christ’s work for the elect alone. He not only denies election, but also says that the death of Jesus becomes insufficient if you sin by not trusting in it. In his false gospel, the death of Jesus is not enough, is inadequate for the purpose of saving the ungodly from the sin of not trusting.
    But I know many “grace” folks who think that Hutson’s problem is only ignorance, and that it does not rise to the level of unbelief and rebellion. They explain the irony. When I say that Hutson does not believe the true gospel, and that he will die because of his unbelief, they think I am agreeing with Hutson that the sin for which a man will die is unbelief.
    Two quick responses. One, according to John 3:17 and Romans 5:21, we are born already condemned in Adam. According to Romans 8:7-7, we are born unable to please God, unable to trust God. So we don’t have to wait to be guilty until we hear the gospel and then sin against it. Two, the Bible teaches that God gives the elect knowledge and trust in Christ “for the sake of Christ” (Phil 1:29) and “through the righteousness of God and of Jesus our Lord” (II Peter 1:1).
    Jesus never died for anybody’s sin of dying in unbelief. Jesus never died for all sins. Jesus died only for the sins of the elect. The elect do not die in unbelief. Jesus did not die to take away the guilt of final unbelief by the elect but Jesus did die in order to give the Spirit to the elect so they will (not might have an opportunity to) believe and therefore not die in unbelief.
    Hutson contradicts himself. First, he says that Jesus died for all sins. Second, he says that final unbelief is a sin which will kill you.
    Unlike most “grace” folks, I agree with the second statement. Final unbelief will kill you. Remember what I wrote already. First, we are born guilty, even if we never heard the gospel and never disbelief the gospel. Second, non-election is not God’s response to sins, because the elect are ordained to be sinners also. But, having said that (twice), I do agree that dying unbelief is a sin and that those who commit it will die the second death.
    Romans 10:3–.”for they being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their won righteousness, were not subject to the righteousness of God.” Most of the Jews were not in the unconditional new covenant, and most of them were not saved. You cannot be ignorant of the gospel and still be saved. Neither can you at the same time believe in your own righteousness and also in God’s righteousness for salvation. It is an ignorant contradiction. This “doctrinal flaw” is not merely something God will scrape off you during your sanctification or at the judgment on resurrection day.
    II Corinthians 6:15—“What part has a believer with an unbeliever?” But “grace” folks tell me that sovereign grace will save people no matter what they believe or don’t believe. (These same folks often have a problem saying that grace will save people no matter what they do, because they are self-righteousness enough about their continuing efforts in the local church, and in Arminian evangelism, and in being more moral than their pagan neighbors). These folks have made “grace” a soundbite which eliminates boundaries between belief and unbelief. Some of the “new covenant” folks are so “gracious” that they seem to assume that almost everybody ( even fundamentalists who they thank God they aren’t) will be imputed with righteousness.
    Almost everybody. And who knows where the line is! If you just say that Jesus is Lord. But you have to really mean it. But Ephesians 4:18 warns us of those who are “darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of their heart.” But “grace” folks say to “cut them some slack”. It’s not hardness of heart but inconsistency; it’s not rebellion but not being able to read difficult Banner of Truth books.
    “Alienated from God” is a very harsh thing to say, isn’t it? It does not merely describe a sincere believer who will need to be adjusted and have some doctrinal mistakes scraped off someday. The alienated person has no knowledge of the true God and does not believe the gospel. Paul knew about being alienated because Paul did not ‘grow into” better doctrine. Paul used to be lost. Paul used to be not saved. I Timothy 1:13—“I acted ignorantly in unbelief.” The idea is not that we all still act ignorantly in unbelief, and that God will be gracious to us all anyway.
    Colossians 1—“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus…Of this you heard before in the word of truth, the gospel, which has come to you…it is bearing fruit and growing, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant…

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