32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn (be converted) and live! AMP
"Say unto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11).
11 Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? AMP
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). These passages when duly considered are seen to teach:
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people's conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance. AMP
1. That some men are Reprobates, in the sense that God does not design to save, but to destroy them, and,
2. That He does not delight in their destruction for its own sake; but would prefer their salvation, if under the circumstances in which His wisdom has placed them, they could be induced to obey Him.
3. But that He regards their destruction as a less evil to the universe, than would be such a change in the administration and arrangements of His government as would secure their salvation. Therefore, for their foreseen wickedness and perseverance in rebellion, under circumstances the most favorable to their virtue and salvation, in which He can wisely place them, He is resolved upon their destruction; and has already in purpose cast them off for ever.
Why sinners are reprobated or rejected.
This has been already substantially answered. But to avoid misapprehension upon a subject so open to cavil, I repeat:
1. That the reprobation and destruction of the sinner is not an end, in the sense that God delights in misery, and destroys sinners to gratify a thirst for destruction. Since God is benevolent, it is impossible that this should be.
2. It is not because of any partiality in God, or because He loves the elect, and hates the reprobate, in any sense implying partiality. His benevolence is disinterested, and cannot of course be partial. 3. It is not from any want of interest in, and desire to save them, on the part of God. This He often affirms, and abundantly attests by His dealings with them, and the provision He has made for their salvation.
4. But the reprobates are reprobated for their foreseen iniquities:
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient" (Romans 1:28).
28 And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome, AMP
"Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honor, and immortality, eternal life; But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath; Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God" (Romans 2:6-11).
6 For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: [Psalms 62:12.]
7 To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.
8 But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath.
9[And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile).
10 But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile).
11 For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]. [Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7.] AMP
"Behold all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Yet say ye, Why? Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all My statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezekiel 18:4,19-20).
4 Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine; the soul that sins, it shall die. [Romans 6:23.] AMP
19 Yet do you say, Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son has done that which is lawful and right and has kept all My statutes and has done them, he shall surely live.
20 The soul that sins, it [is the one that] shall die. The son shall not bear and be punished for the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear and be punished for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him only, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon the wicked only. AMP
"For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
2 Corinthians 5:10
10 For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]. AMP
"Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galatians 6:7).
7 Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap. AMP
"Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free" (Ephesians 6:8).
8 Knowing that for whatever good anyone does, he will receive his reward from the Lord, whether he is slave or free. AMP
"Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:24).
24 Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah). AMP
"And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12).
12 Behold, I am coming soon, and I shall bring My wages and rewards with Me, to repay and render to each one just what his own actions and his own work merit. [Isaiah 40:10; Jeremiah 17:10.] AMP
"Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them" (Jeremiah 6:30).
30 Men will call them reprobate and rejected silver [only dross, without good metal], because the Lord has rejected them. AMP
These passages show the teachings of inspiration on this subject. Be it remembered, then, that the reason why any are reprobated, is because they are unwilling to be saved; that is, they are unwilling to be saved on the terms upon which alone God can consistently save them. Ask sinners whether they are willing to be saved, and they all say, yes; and with perfect sincerity they may say this, if they can be saved upon their own terms. But when you propose to them the terms of salvation upon which the gospel proposes to save them; when they are required to repent and believe the gospel, to forsake their sins, and give themselves up to the service of God, they will with one consent begin to make excuse. Now, to accept these terms, is heartily and practically to consent to them. For them to say, that they are willing to accept salvation, while they actually do not accept it, is either to deceive themselves, or to utter an infamous falsehood. To be willing is to accept it; and the fact, that they do not heartily consent to, and embrace the terms of salvation, is demonstration absolute, that they are unwilling. Yes, sinners, the only terms on which you can possibly be saved, you reject. Is it not then an insult to God for you to pretend that you are willing? The only true reason why all of you are not Christians, is that you are unwilling. You are not made unwilling by any act of God, or because you are reprobate; but if you are reprobate, it is because you are unwilling.
But do any of you object and say, why does not God make us willing? Is it not because He has reprobated us, that He does not change our hearts and make us willing? No, sinner, it is not because He has reprobated you; but because you are so obstinate that He cannot, wisely, and in consistency with the public good; take such measures as will convert you. Here you are waiting for God to make you willing to go to heaven, and all the while you are diligently using the means to get to hell yes, exerting yourself with greater diligence to get to hell, than it would cost to insure your salvation, if applied with equal zeal in the service of your God. You tempt God, and then turn round and ask Him why He does not make you willing? Now, sinner, let me ask you, do you think you are a reprobate? It so, what do you think the reason is that has led the infinitely benevolent God to reprobate you? There must be some reason; what do you suppose it is? Did you ever seriously ask yourself, what is the reason that a wise and infinitely benevolent God has never made me willing to accept salvation? It must be for one of the following reasons. Either:
(1.) He is a malevolent being, and wills your damnation for its own sake; or:
(2.) He cannot make you willing if He would; or
(3.) You behave in such a manner in the circumstances in which you are, that, to His infinitely benevolent mind it appears unwise to take such a course as would bring you to repentance. Such a change in the administration of His government as would make you willing, would not, upon the whole, be wise.
Now, which of these do you think it is? You will not probably take the ground that He is malevolent, and desires your damnation because He delights in misery; nor will you, I suppose, take the ground that He could not convert you if He would, that is, if He thought it wise to do so.
The other, then, must be the reason, to wit: that your heart, and conduct, and stubbornness, are so abominable in His sight, that, every thing considered, He sees that to use such further means with you as to secure your conversion, would, on the whole, do more hurt than good to His kingdom. I have not time at present to agitate the question whether you, as a moral agent, could not resist any possible amount of moral influence that could be brought to bear upon you, consistently with your moral freedom.
Do you ask how I know that the reason why God does not make you willing is, that He sees that it would be unwise in Him to do so? I answer, that it is an irresistible inference, from these two facts, that He is infinitely benevolent, and