Uncommon grace, for the elect alone

Those who teach that Christ died for everyone are profaning the blood of Christ. But these false teachers cannot change either the justice or the sovereign effectiveness of the cross, for even their false teaching has been ordained by the same God who designed the glorious death of Christ. It does not follow that we who believe the true gospel have no purpose or need to refute the false teaching. Our prayer is that we ourselves have been predestined to expose any and all attempts to make Christ’s death common.

Christ’s death is not common for every sinner, because Christ’s death does not have only an ordinary effect of making a salvation conditioned on what sinners do with grace. Because Christ’s death is not only about sovereignty but also about justice, because Christ’s death is about not only punishment but also about imputed guilt, Christ’s death has the uncommon result of entitling every elect person to all the benefits of salvation. Elect sinners might be somewhat wary of any talk of being entitled to anything, since we know that we are still always sinning, but it is simply boasting in Christ. if we think that our sinning somehow makes us any less entitled to all salvation blessings, then we will also falsely come to think that our not sinning will bring us extra rewards. If our sinning or not sinning comes into the equation, then what Christ did is not enough.

If common, not enough

Any false gospel which says that Christ died in common for every sinner but that not all these sinners receive a common salvation is logically saying that Christ’s death is not enough for any sinner. Not only logically, but in their existential experience, all those believing the false gospel are practical legalists. Whatever they may say or think, they sincerely believe that what Christ did is not enough and they think they need to get busy. This is the paradox: every self-righteous person who makes the death of Christ common also feels guilt for not doing more and better. Those who profane Christ’s death are objectively guilty before God, not simply because of what they feel or think about Christ, but because they are not in Christ. Only in Christ, and not in our lack of self-righteousness, do we find entitlement to all the blessings of salvation. God’s justice to Christ demands the salvation of all for whom Christ died. God’s justice to Christ is finally no different from God’s justice to all those God has chosen in Christ.

Hebrews 10:28-29, “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the One who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which He was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace.” I want to look at this text rather carefully, not only because it has the idea of making the blood unclean, or profaning the sacred. This text is also one which is often used to teach a grace which is common to both elect and non-elect. It is used to teach that the new covenant can be broken, and that the covenant is bigger than election, and that grace is for more than the elect. The idea of common grace is that God has some grace for everybody, more grace for those in the covenant, and even more grace for the elect. This idea of common grace is not biblical.

I used to think that a person could somehow be right on the gospel but wrong on God offering to save sinners that God wanted to save in one way but didn’t want to in another way. But I am now seeing that this doubletalk is very much the same as saying that Christ died in common for everybody but that Christ also died with the extra intent to purchase the faith for the elect to meet a condition. Whether a person is looking to include in their gospel a return to the Jewish temple (the Hebrews context) or to include in their gospel a death of Christ common enough to offer to every sinner, that person is not glorying in the blood of Christ alone. Christ Himself was sanctified by His blood, which is the blood of the covenant. The Hebrews 10 warning is not saying that an apostate experienced grace or resisted grace. Non-elect sinners always resist God, but they do not resist God’s grace.

The blood by which Christ was sanctified

The Hebrews 10 warning is not saying that an apostate was in the new covenant. I do not think it is even saying that the apostate appeared to be in the new covenant, although this is a possible interpretation if you want to work out a visible and invisible church contrast. The “Son of God” is the closest antecedent of the pronoun “he” in the phrase “the covenant by which he was sanctified”. Of course we need to remember that “sanctify” does not mean to get better and better, as most systematic theology would have it. “Sanctify” is to set apart before God, both in the Old Testament context of Hebrews 10, (blood of the covenant, Zechariah 9:11, Ex 24:8) and in John 17. “And for their sake I sanctify myself, that they shall also be sanctified.”

Those who profane the death of Christ teach that Christ sanctified Himself in common for every sinner so that maybe (and maybe not) these sinners will be sanctified. Not only do they wrongly define sanctification as getting better, but they turn that getting better into the condition which can make the common death something special. But the book of Hebrews instead gives all the glory to Christ’s death. “We see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He would taste death for every… (2:10). The verses which follow tell us every “son to glory”, every ”those who are sanctified”, every “the children God has given me”. Those who profane the death of Christ tell us that the glory and honor of Christ is dying for many sinners who will never be glorified. They tell us that the One crowned was sanctified for more than are sanctified. They dishonor Christ by telling the children God gave Him that Christ died also for those who are not and who will never be children of God.

Christ is crowned with honor and glory, not ultimately because of three hours suffering before death, but because “of the suffering of death.” Many have died, but none but Christ has died as the sinless Son of God. Many have suffered, but none but Christ has died because of the imputed sins of the elect, the children God gave Christ. Christ sanctified Himself does not mean that Christ got better and better but that Christ set Himself apart to die for a people set apart before the creation of the world. These elect people are one day sanctified by faith given by Christ’s Spirit, but before that, in both the Old and New Testaments, God’s elect are set apart by the death, by the blood of Christ. Hebrews 5:9, “And being made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to those who obey Him.” All the elect will obey the gospel but it is not their doing so which is the source of their salvation. But if Christ died in common for every sinner, and not every sinner is set apart, then it is not the blood of Christ which sanctifies. It is not special, and it does not do anything special. God forbid!

Securing an eternal redemption

Hebrews 9:12, “Christ entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” As an eternal punishment does not mean punishing forever but punishment which is final, even so eternal redemption does not mean that Christ is and will be redeeming forever, but rather that by one death, Christ has obtained a redemption which is final. Like a punishment which lasts and cannot be reversed, this redemption for the elect lasts and cannot be reversed. This redemption is not the payment of a price without a guarantee that those paid for will be freed from guilt and its consequence death. Biblical redemption secures freedom for each particular elect person so that when that very person will be (or has been, OT) joined to Christ’s death and thus justified from sin and no longer under law or death.

But the false gospel never talks about election, and so it cannot talk about either redemption or security for the elect. It can only talk about security on the condition of faith. Some with the false gospel say you can have security because of your faith, and then lose your faith and your security. Others with the false gospel say that faith is like getting a tattoo that cannot be removed, and that even if you lose your faith, you can be secure. But all in the false gospel are agreed in profaning the death of Christ. All in the false gospel say that Christ died for every sinner, even those who add that Christ died with extra intent for the elect. All in the false gospel say that Christ is the mercy seat for every sinner. According to this common mercy, many die unjustified but none die without mercy. They say that God would have and could have and did have mercy on all sinners, at least until they died. They say that Christ in His death showed mercy to every sinner, but that such mercy was not enough alone to save any sinner.

No mercy except for the elect alone

The warning of Hebrews 10 is not assuming that God has been merciful to all who are being warned. Many died under the Mosaic law without mercy. Even though the ceremonies of the Mosaic economy proclaimed gospel by the death of Christ and not by our doing, God was never merciful to anybody in the Mosaic covenant except those who were elect in Christ. Paul’s kinsmen according to the flesh, “Israelites, to whom belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises, “ (Romans 9:4) did not receive mercy unless they were elect. We cannot talk about mercy without talking about election, because there is no mercy except for the elect. Not all the kinsmen are children of the promise, because “it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God.” (Romans 9:6) Even though there is discontinuity between the Mosaic covenant and Christ’s covenant of blood which secures redemption, there is continuity in God’s mercy. Mercy is only for the elect.

Not all in the Mosaic covenant were elect. There is no common covenant mercy, and then extra special mercy for the elect. “Though they were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election would CONTINUE, not because of work but because of His call.” (Romans 9:11) God’s call is God’s grace, and God’s grace is not resisted. There is no grace for those who are not called. The false gospel claims not to teach salvation by works, but it cannot avoid it because it will not teach calling and election. Some with the false gospel claim to teach both election and universal love, but where there is no election, there is never any love. What kind of mercy is it that does not save? What kind of calling is it that fails to bring faith to the called? The gospel is promise for the elect. The gospel is not a conditional promise which warns that love will run out for those who don’t believe. The gospel is that, before they did good or bad, before they believed, the elect were already loved in Christ so that Christ died for them and not for others.

No foreknowledge, no mercy

Hebrews 10 warns that, even though the new covenant is different from the Mosaic covenant, election is still election, and no mercy is still no mercy. Hebrews 10 does not teach that some in the new covenant die without mercy. Christ never sacrificed His blood for those who profane the covenant. The Spirit outraged is the Spirit of grace, but the Spirit was never gracious to those who outraged. The “foreknowledge of God” is not God’s knowing who will not profane the covenant. God does know about when and where and how people will say that Christ died for everybody, but this is not what I Peter 1:2 calls “foreknowledge.” God knowing a person is God electing a person which is God loving a person. In the context of the first paragraph of I Peter, the result (and not the cause) of foreknowledge is the Spirit setting apart a person to believe.

The Bible does not talk about this love or foreknowledge without also talking at the same time about Jesus Christ and “sprinkling with His blood”. To see the significance of this expression, we look back to the animal sacrifices and also we remember Romans 5:9. “Now being justified by His blood…” If His blood had been for every sinner, then every sinner would one day be justified by it. His blood justifies. Nothing but the blood justifies. But His blood was not shed for every sinner. Only the sinners joined to the death (Romans 6) and sprinkled with the blood (I Peter 1) have His blood in common. The Spirit does not cause them to obey the truth in order to get the blood. The blood was shed for them alone, and then imputed to them alone. The elect alone are sprinkled with the blood, and this is the legal cause why the Spirit causes them to obey the promise and “do what is true.” (John 3:21)

Not God previewing the movie

“Foreknowledge” in I Peter 1 is not God previewing the movie to know what the sinner will do so that God can then decide what God will do later in the movie. We know this from I Peter 1:20 which describes Jesus Christ as foreknown. “You were ransomed not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake, who through him are believers in God….” In another chapter, we will consider the glorious truth that Christ is for the elect alone. But notice here that Christ is the elect one, and that all elect sinners are elect in Him, and not because of their believing in Him. Christ was not made manifest for everybody, but for a particular you, which is not only those who first read Peter’s letter. This particular you is those who “through him are believers in Christ.” The idea is not that people get to be in Christ through believing. In antithesis to the false gospel, the elect get to be believing the true gospel through Christ.

Loved always, yet under wrath for a time

Christ has always been the elect of God. Every elect sinner has always been loved by God. We are puzzled by the time gap before or after Christ’s death for the elect and them being joined to Christ. In the Old Testament, the elect are justified, not under the wrath of God, even though the Son of God has not yet come under the wrath of God for them. In the New Testament, the elect are condemned, under the wrath of God, until they are joined to Christ, even though the Son of God has already come under the wrath of God for them. Though this is difficult to try to understand, it is no more difficult than the idea of Jesus Christ always being loved by God and yet under the wrath of God until He died for all the sins of the elect. Even when we factor in the fact that it is not God the Father punishing God the Son, but the triune God punishing and Christ punishing and the one being propitiated who propitiates, we still cannot escape the need for the blood. The sovereign decision to love is not enough. Yes, Christ was always elect, always the Surety for the elect alone. But Christ was not always imputed with the sins of the elect, and Christ is not now imputed with their guilt.

I try to talk about these things, not because I think everything I try to explain is clear, but because nothing is more important. If the gospel is that Christ died but that we don’t know for whom or why, then I think we have just agreed with the scoffers that the death was unfortunate, foolish, and not at all decisive. We cannot understand the nature of redemption without understanding the extent of redemption, and we cannot understand election without understanding redemption. Even if we say that Christ only died for believers, then we have not described either the nature or the extent of the redemption. God did not sneak a look ahead into the movie to see who would believe, and then retroactively (or timelessly, as many sophists would have it) determine that Christ would only die for the believers. God did not have two intentions, first to dishonor Christ by having Christ to die for every sinner, and then second to honor Christ by having Christ also have an elect to give faith to make a common death special. Christ died for the elect. God has an elect. God gave children to Christ, and Christ is the Everlasting Father to these children (Isaiah 9:6) and not to other children.

Enabling the profaners

Christ died for the elect alone, and only the elect are taught by God not to profane His death. The elect may not be able to explain everything as clearly as they would like. But they know enough to use the antithesis. They can say, not for the non-elect. They can say, for the elect. All those who claim to believe in election but do not talk about election are enabling everybody around them to keep profaning the cross. Everybody thinks they know that God loves everybody, and when a preacher talks about propitiation and holiness and sanctification without talking about God having set apart a people, that preaching becomes only another occasion in which the sinner presumes that he or she has another opportunity to put the special into the blood, yes, even the blood of Christ!

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5 Comments on “Uncommon grace, for the elect alone”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Anyone who proposes a theological doctrine must support his claim from Scripture. In the opinion of Cornelius Van Til, “The most important thing to be said about John Murray is that he was, above all else, a great exegete of the Word of God.” 11 We shall see.

    In FOG Murray exegeted several passages of Scripture in support of his peculiar view that “God himself expresses an ardent desire for the fulfillment of certain things which he has not decreed in his inscrutable counsel to come to pass” and that “there is in God a benevolent loving kindness towards the repentance and salvation of even those whom he has not decreed to save…. [T]he grace offered is nothing less than salvation in its richness and fullness. The love or lovingkindness that lies back of that offer is not anything less; it is the will to that salvation.” 12 The passages Murray appeals to are Matthew 5:44-48; Acts 14:17; Deuteronomy 5:29; 32:29; Psalm 81:13ff; Isaiah 48:18; Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; Isaiah 45:22; and 2 Peter 3:9.

    Matthew 5:44-48

    Murray himself admits that “This passage does not indeed deal with the overtures of grace in the gospel…. What bearing this [passage] may have upon the grace of God manifested in the free offer of the gospel to all without distinction remains to be seen.” 13

    Unfortunately the bearing of this passage upon the free offer of the Gospel is not made clear in FOG. At the end of their essay, Murray and Stonehouse do conclude, however, that “our provisional inference on the basis of Matthew 5:44-48 is borne out by the other passages. The full and free offer of the gospel is a grace bestowed upon all…. The grace offered is nothing less than salvation in its richness and fullness. The love or lovingkindness that lies back of that offer is not anything less; it is the will to that salvation.” 14

    This sort of exegesis, as we shall see shortly, rests upon a most peculiar hermeneutical principle: Passages of Scripture which do not support common saving grace demonstrate common saving grace in a passage that, by the exegete’s own admission, does not deal with saving grace. Perhaps this is an example of the sort of non-deducible “analogical truth” that Van Til has praised and recommended. But let us proceed to those other passages on which Murray and Stone house rest their case.

    2 Peter 3:9

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

    Let us compare Murray’s exegesis of this verse with Francis Turretin’s, John Owen’s, John Gill’s, and Gordon Clark’s:


    ”God does not wish that any men should perish. His wish is rather that all should enter upon life eternal by coming to repentance. The language in this part of the verse is so absolute that it is highly unnatural to envisage Peter as meaning merely that God does not wish that any believers should perish…. The language of the clauses, then, most naturally refers to mankind as a whole…. It does not view men either as elect or as reprobate.” 15


    ”The will of God here spoken of ‘should not be extended further than to the elect and believers, for whose sake God puts off the consummation of ages, until their number shall be completed.’ This is evident from ‘the pronoun us which precedes, with sufficient clearness designating the elect and believers, as elsewhere more than once, and to explain which he adds, not willing that any, that is, of us, should perish.’”16


    ”’The will of God,’ say some, ‘for the salvation of all, is here set down both negatively, that he would not have any perish, and positively, that he would have all come to repentance….’ Many words need not be spent in answer to this objection, wrested from the misunderstanding and palpable corrupting of the sense of the words of the apostle. That indefinite and general expressions are to be interpreted in an answerable proportion to the things whereof they are affirmed, is a rule in the opening of the Scripture…. Will not common sense teach us that us is to be repeated in both the following clauses, to make them up complete and full,-namely, ‘Not willing that any of us should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance’? … Now, truly, to argue that because God would have none of those to perish, but all of them to come to repentance, therefore he hath the same will and mind towards all and every one in the world (even those to whom he never makes known his will, nor ever calls to repentance, if they never once hear of his way of salvation), comes not much short of extreme madness and folly … I shall not need add any thing concerning the contradictions and inextricable difficulties wherewith the opposite interpretation is accompanied…. The text is clear, that it is all and only the elect whom he would not have to perish.” 17


    ”It is not true that God is not willing any one individual of the human race should perish, since he has made and appointed the wicked for the day of evil, even ungodly men, who are fore-ordained to this condemnation, such as are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; yea, there are some to whom God sends strong delusions, that they may believe a lie, that they all might be damned…. Nor is it his will that all men, in this large sense, should come to repentance, since he withholds from many both the means and grace of repentance….” 18


    ”Arminians have used the verse in defense of their theory of universal atonement. They believe that God willed to save every human being without exception and that something beyond his control happened so as to defeat his eternal purpose. The doctrine of universal redemption is not only refuted by Scripture generally, but the passage in question makes nonsense on such a view…. Peter is telling us that Christ’s return awaits the repentance of certain people. Now, if Christ’s return awaited the repentance of every individual without exception, Christ would never return. This is no new interpretation. The Similitudes viii, xi,1, in the Shepherd of Hermas (c. A.D. 130-150), … says, ‘But the Lord, being long-suffering, wishes [thelei] those who were called [ten klesin ten genomenen] through his Son to be saved.’ … It is the called or elect whom God wills to save.” 19

    Murray’s interpretation of 2 Peter 3:9 conflicts with the rest of Scripture. He arrogantly refuses to let his understanding of the passage be governed by the principle that all the parts of Scripture agree with one another. He implicitly denies, as the Confession that he professed to believe asserts, that one of the marks of Scripture is the “consent of all the parts.”

    Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11

    ”Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die,” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live? … For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live! … I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from this way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?”


    ”It does not appear to us in the least justifiable to limit the reference of these passages to any one class of wicked persons…. It is absolutely and universally true that God does not delight in or desire the death of a wicked person … This [‘turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways’] is a command that applies to all men without any discrimination or exception. It expresses therefore the will of God to repentance…. God does not will that any should die….There is the delight or pleasure or desire that it should come to be, even if the actual occurrence should never take place…. In terms of his decretive will it must be said that God absolutely decrees the eternal death of some wicked and, in that sense, is absolutely pleased so to decree. But in the text it is the will of God’s benevolence … that is stated, not the will of God’s decree….” 20


    ”If it is equally in God’s power to convert men as well as to create them, it follows that the reprobate are not converted, because God does not wish their conversion; for if he wished it he could do it: and hence it appears that he does not wish it.” 21


    ”Although God declares that he ‘does not will the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his way and live,’ it does not follow that he has willed and planned from eternity the conversion and life of everyone, [even] subject to any condition, for … it is certain that this refers to God’s will as commanding, not to the will of his good pleasure….” 22


    ”The expostulation, Why will ye die? is not made with all men; nor can it be proved that it was made with an who were not eventually saved, but with the house of Israel, who were called the children and people of God; and therefore cannot disprove any act of preterition passing on others, nor be an impeachment of the truth and sincerity of God. Besides, the death expostulated about is not an eternal, but a temporal one, or what concerned their temporal affairs, and civil condition, and circumstances of life….” 23


    ”Ezekiel 18 presents several difficulties. Verses2, 4, and 20 could in isolation be taken as contradictory of Romans 5:12-21…. Another difficulty, one that occurs in several books of the Bible, including Romans 2:10, 14, 25, occurs in Ezekiel 18:19, 21, 22, 27, 28, 31. These verses, in both books, sound as if some men could merit God’s justification on the basis of their own works of righteousness. But the context in Romans and Galatians and elsewhere teaches justification by faith alone. Now, if these contexts so completely alter the superficial meaning of the verses in question, one must be prepared to alter the Arminian interpretation of verses 23 and 32…. Therefore the contiguous verses in Ezekiel, the context of the book as a whole, and the references in the New Testament indicate that God has no pleasure in the death of Israel….Ezekiel 33 contains similar statements, which must be given the same interpretation.” 24

    If the Complainants were correct in thinking that Clark was heretical for attempting to apply logic to Scripture, Calvin and Turretin must be heretics as well. Calvin’s argument makes a very neat syllogism: All that God wishes he does; God does not convert the reprobate; therefore, God wishes not to convert the reprobate.

    A further comment needs to be made. In their exegesis of this passage and several others, Murray and Stonehouse violate one of the laws of logic repeatedly by making inferences from imperative sentences. Luther condemned such elementary blunders with these words: “By the words of the law man is admonished and taught, not what he can do, but what he ought to do. How is it that you theologians are twice as stupid as schoolboys, in that as soon as you get hold of a single imperative verb you infer an indicative meaning… ?” 25

    Deuteronomy 5:29; 32:29; Psalm 81:13; Isaiah 48:18

    ”Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear me and always keep all my commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever….Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! … Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! …Oh, that you had heeded my commandments!”


    ”[H]ere we have the expression of [God’s] earnest desire or wish or will that the people of Israel were of a heart to fear him and keep all his commandments always…. [T]herefore we have an instance of desire on the part of God for the fulfillment of that which he had not decreed, in other words, a will on the part of God to that which he had not decretively willed.” 26


    ”[T]hese words do not express God’s desire of their[Israel’s] eternal salvation, but only of their temporal good and welfare …” 27


    ”[I]n all these expostulations there is no mention of any ransom given or atonement made for them that perish… but they are all about temporal mercies, with the outward means of grace…. [T]here are no such expostulations here expressed, nor can any be found holding out the purposes and intention of God in Christ towards them that perish. Secondly, … all these places urged … are spoken to and of those that enjoyed the means of grace, who … were a very small portion of all men; so that from what is said to them nothing can be concluded of the mind and purpose of God towards all others…. Fifthly, that desires and wishing should properly be ascribed unto God is exceedingly opposite to his all-sufficiency and the perfection of his nature; they are no more in him than he hath eyes, ears, and hands.” 28

    This last comment of Owen’s points up the defective view of God held by Murray and Stonehouse. Some people are confused by the anthropomorphisms in Scripture: They think that God actually has hands, arms, eyes, and wings. Others, like Murray and Stonehouse, are confused by the anthropopathisms of Scripture: They think that God actually has emotions and passions, which he suffers. In fact, half of FOG is given over to attempting to prove not only that God has desires, but that he has unfulfilled desires, desires that he knows will never be fulfilled. God, according to Murray and Stonehouse, is a pathetic victim of unrequited love. This is not the sort of God described in chapter 2 of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34

    ”O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”


    ”In this passage there should be no dispute …[W]e have the most emphatic declaration on the part of Christ of his having yearned for the conversion and salvation of the people of Jerusalem.” 29


    ”By these words, Christ shows more clearly what good reason he had for indignation, that Jerusalem, which God had chosen to be his sacred … abode, not only had shown itself to be unworthy of so great an honour, but …had long been accustomed to suck the blood of the prophets. Christ therefore utters a pathetic exclamation at a sight so monstrous … Christ does not reproach them with merely one or another murder, but says that this custom was …deeply rooted…. This is expressive of indignation rather than compassion.” 30


    ”That the gathering here spoken of does not design a gathering of the Jews to Christ internally, by the Spirit and grace of God; but a gathering of them to him internally [externally?], by and under the ministry of the word, to hear him preach…. [I]n order to set aside and overthrow the doctrines of election, reprobation, and particular redemption, it should be proved that Christ, as God, would have gathered, not Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof only, but all mankind, even such as are not eventually saved, and that in a spiritual saving way and manner to himself, of which there is not the least intimation in this

    – See more at: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=28#sthash.5jpuOwbK.dpuf

  2. markmcculley Says:

    why does Matthew 5:48 come after Matthew 5:43-47.

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    It’s not because verses 43 to 47 have commands which we cannot keep. Make no mistake, verses 43 to 47 do have laws which we cannot keep. But we cannot keep any of God’s law, because to do that we need to keep those laws perfectly.

    Verse 48 does not come after verses 43 to 47 because those commands are more difficult or impossible to obey than other commands. In context, what is commanded in verse 48 is our being indiscriminate, our not making a distinction between those who are enemies and those who are not enemies.

    Even though we are all enemies of God before justification, God does discriminate by electing in Christ some to be justified in Christ. But when verse 45 describes God sending rain on the just and the unjust, that is not describing God sending justification on the just and unjust. Nor is it describing God’s “desire to send justification to all of God’s enemies. The goodness of God is indiscriminate in sending rain on those who are justified and also on those who are not justified.

    We are not commanded to send justification to anybody. We cannot send justification to anybody. Nor can we send rain. But we are commanded to be indiscriminate, to NOT RETURN EVIL FOR EVIL, to not send evil to those who are evil, and good to those who are good. But we don’t like to be indiscriminate in this way.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    There was never any redemption for the non-elect

    the non-elect do not sin against redemption

    the non-elect were never in the new covenant

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