24 February 2008

How Blind must be Thy Heart

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Frank Turk, pinch-hitting for our beloved leader Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Honored Guest," a sermon Published on Thursday, November 25th, 1915, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. It's date of actual sermonizing is not known.

Why Is It That All Men Do Not Receive Christ Joyfully?
This is our first question. They need him, all of them. There is no difference in this respect. Whether Jews or Gentiles, they are all sold under sin. God has concluded the whole race of man in unbelief. He has shut them all up in condemnation. There is no escape from the universal doom except by the way of the cross. Jesus Christ comes to save; comes with pardon in his hands, with messages of love, with tokens of favour; yet most men bar the doors of their hearts against him. There is no cry heard in their souls, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates! and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in!" Instead thereof, there is a sullen cry, "Come prejudice; come unbelief; come hardness of heart; come love of sin; bar ye the doors and barricade the gates lest, perhaps, the King of Glory should force an entrance!" Men treat the Saviour as they would treat an invader who attacked their country. They seek to drive him away; they would fain be rid of him. They cannot endure his presence. Nay, they can scarce endure, some of them, to hear about him in the street. Why is this? The chief reason lies in the depravity of man's nature. You never know how bad man is till he comes in contact with the Cross.

Although the crimes of savage, uncivilized men may appear to you far more heinous than any that are committed in our favoured country, where just laws are for the most part enacted, and opportunities of education generally enjoyed, yet the propensity to do that which is evil in the teeth of a knowledge of that which is good, the subtlety of perverting truth in the clear light of divine revelation, the perfidiousness of that foul ingratitude which can betray the tenderest friendship, are never so painfully illustrated as in view of the Crucified. To despise the grace of Jesus, to reject the love of God, to conspire against the Ambassador of peace, to take the inhuman, devilish counsel—"This is the heir; let us kill him!"—this was the last offence of the wicked husbandmen in the parable. Nor does the parable exaggerate the treachery. For this is the greatest offence of human nature, when it says, in effect, "This is the Incarnate God, let us reject him; this is the Word made flesh, let us traduce him; this is the Father's beloved Son—let us betray him!" Oh! Human Nature, how blind must be thy heart, how seared thy conscience, not to see the beauties of Christ! How base must thou be to despise the love and tenderness of such a Saviour!
C. H. Spurgeon


41 comments:

Puritan said...

Great post, and makes a good Gospel tract!

Stefan said...

Reading the sermon, Spurgeon went on to ask the question, "Why do some men receive him joyfully?" Of course, his answer lay in the sovereign grace of God as the only power to redeem sinners, but then hinted at his own testimony when he said:

Oh! the strait unto which I was brought when I received Christ. It was Christ or death; salvation by Christ, or damnation without him. I received him because I could not help it. I had no alternative.

Intrigued, I tried to chase down Spurgeon's testimony. It's a fascinating story, and well worth a read. If y'all will forbear with me, here's a little foretaste, but the full story is available at Phil's Spurgeon Archive or this page, which appears to be taken word-for-word from a tract (or "penny sermon"?).

Spurgeon grew up with believing parents and knew the Gospel without understanding it. He struggled with a strong conviction of his own sinfulness, but had no idea how he could be forgiven for his sins. Providentially, he ended up in a Primitive Methodist church one day in a particularly wretched state, when one of the lay members had to stand in for the preacher. The speaker was teaching on Isaiah 45:22 ("Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (RV)):

Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, "Young man, you look very miserable."

Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, "and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death,—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved." Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do,

"Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live."

I saw at once the way of salvation.


To Him who is the fount of all grace and mercy, be all the glory.

Stefan said...

...And here's the sermon he preached at the New Park Street Chapel six years later (to the very day), on the same passage (Isaiah 45:22): Sovereignty and Salvation.

donsands said...

Heavy words from Pastor Spurgeon.
I wish more pulpits would preach like sermons.

I was thinking what would have happened last night if the Lord would have spoke at the Acadamy Awards last night, and said, "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!"
No doubt, "they would fain be rid of him".

At that was me as well, until the mercy of our Lord quickened my dead soul.

Thanks for the post.

Judah said...

That's so rich.

centuri0n said...

Your insight, as always, Judah, is esoteric at best. Care to elaborate, or are you going to continue to troll the comments with your unhappy view of life, theology and anyone who thinks TeamPyro has said something useful?

If it's the latter, I'd prefer you simply relieve yourself at your blog.

DJP said...

Wonderful selection, Frank.

YnottonY said...

Even as Spurgeon ellaborates on the extent of man's depravity, it's always good to hear him say these things as well:

"Jesus Christ comes to save; comes with pardon in his hands, with messages of love, with tokens of favour; yet most men bar the doors of their hearts against him."

"To despise the grace of Jesus, to reject the love of God,..."

"How base must thou be to despise the love and tenderness of such a Saviour!"


Underlining God's universal love, universal saving will and general grace definitely highlights how evil it is to not receive Christ joyfully.

The Doulos said...

As the Prince o' Preachers points out here, it is a testimony to the depravity of man that he would reject and despise the outlandish mercy and grace of Christ.

Strong Tower said...

"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."—Romans 9:15. sermon by CHS

Now, put this question to him: "What do you think is the reason why one man has been converted, and not another?" "Oh," he says, "the Spirit of God has been at work in this man." Well, then, my brother, the fact is, that God does treat one man better than another; and is there anything wonderful in this fact? It is a fact we recognize every day. There is a man up in the gallery there, that work as hard as he likes, he cannot earn more than fifteen shillings a week; and here is another man that gets a thousand a year; what is the reason of this? One is born in the palaces of kings, while another draws his first breath in a roofless hovel What is the reason of this? God's providence. He puts one man in one position, and another man in another. Here is a man whose head cannot hold two thoughts together, do what you will with him; here is another who can sit down and write a book, and dive into the deepest of questions; what is the reason of it? God has done it. Do you not see the fact, that God does not treat every man alike? He has made some eagles, and some worms; some he has made lions, and some creeping lizards; he has made some men kings, and some are born beggars. Some are born with gigantic minds and some verge on the idiot. Why is this? Do you murmur at God for it? No, you say it is a fact, and there is no good in murmuring. What is the use of kicking against facts? It is only kicking against the pricks with naked feet, and you hurt yourself and not them. Well, then, election is a positive fact; it is as clear as daylight, that God does, in matters of religion, give to one man more than to another. He gives to me opportunities of hearing the word, which he does nor give to the Hottentot. He gives to me, parents who, from infancy, trained me in the fear of the Lord. He does not give that to many of you. He places me afterwards in situations where I am restrained from sin. Other men are cast into places where their sinful passions are developed. He gives, to one man a temper and disposition which keeps him back from some lust, and to another man he gives such impetuosity of spirit, and depravity turns that impetuosity so much aside, that the man runs headlong into sin. Again, he brings one man under the sound of a powerful ministry, while another sits and listens to a preacher whose drowsiness is only exceeded by that of his hearers. And even when they are hearing the gospel, the fact is God works in one heart when be does not in another. Though, I believe to a degree, the Spirit works in the hearts of all who hear the Word, so that they are all without excuse, yet I am sure he works in some so powerfully, that they can no longer resist him, but are constrained by his grace to cast themselves at his feet, and confess him Lord of all; while others resist the grace that comes into their hearts; and it does not act with the same irresistible force that it does in the other case, and they perish in their sins, deservedly and justly condemned. Are not these things facts? Does any man deny them? can any man deny them? What is the use of kicking against facts? I always like to know when there is a discussion, what is the fact. You have heard the story of King Charles the Second and the philosophers—King Charles asked one of them, "What is the reason why, if you had a pail of water, and weighed it, and then put a fish into it, that the weight would be the same?" They gave a great many elaborate reasons for this. At last one of them said, "Is it the fact?" And then they found out that the water did weigh more, just as much more as the fish put into it. So all their learned arguments fell to the ground. So, when we are talking about election, the best thing is to say, "Put aside the doctrine for a moment, let us see what is the fact?" We walk abroad; we open our eyes; we see, there is the fact. What, then, is the use of our discussing any longer? We had better believe it, since it is an undeniable truth. You may alter an opinion, but you cannot alter a fact. You may change a mere doctrine, but you cannot possibly change a thing which actually exists. There it is—God does certainly deal with some men better than he does with others. I will not offer an apology for God; he can explain his own dealings; he needs no defence from me,


"God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain;"

but there stands the fact. Before you begin to argue upon the doctrine, just recollect, that whatever you may think about it, you cannot alter it; and however much you may object to it, it is actually true that God did love Jacob, and did not love Esau.



Ynottony- "Underlining God's universal love"

The fact is Spurgeon was no universalist.

YnottonY said...

Strong Troll said:

"The fact is Spurgeon was no universalist."

I didn't say he was a "universalist" in the sense that all will be saved. I simply said that he believed that God loved all mankind (hence 'universal love'), even if unequally. Spurgeon was sound in his Calvinism on that point. He clearly used that doctrine in the quote provided by Frank to highlight how evil it is to spurn Christ's gracious proposals.

Stefan said...

Disagree with Strong Tower if you must, but he ain't no troll.

YnottonY said...

As for this remark by Spurgeon:

"...it is actually true that God did love Jacob, and did not love Esau."

The only sensible option for interpreting Spurgeon's words above is that God did not love Esau with that love wherewith he loved Jacob. Spurgeon is not denying that God loved Esau in some other sense. If that was the case, Spurgeon's sermons would be full of contradictions. No. Spurgeon's point in your quote is simply this:

"God does certainly deal with some men better than he does with others."

While Spurgeon certainly believed in the discriminating grace of God (as STower's quote shows), he also taught (in Frank's quote), when contextually appropriate, about God's universal love, universal saving will and general grace in order to show how evil man naturally is when confronted with "the beauties of Christ." We can learn to do the same by observing Spurgeon's words as posted by Frank.

Stefan said...

Said Spurgeon on 16 January 1859 regarding Romans 9:15 ("Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."):

It is a terrible text, and I will be honest with it if I can. One man says the word "hate" does not mean hate; it means "love less:"—"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I loved less." It may be so: but I don't believe it is. At any rate, it says "hate" here; and until you give me another version of the Bible, I shall keep to this one. I believe that the term is correctly and properly translated; that the word "hate" is not stronger than the original; but even if it be a little stronger, it is nearer the mark than the other translation which is offered to us in those meaningless words, "love less." I like to take it and let it stand just as it is. The fact is, God loved Jacob, and he did not love Esau; he did choose Jacob, but he did not choose Esau; he did bless Jacob, but he never blessed Esau; his mercy followed Jacob all the way of his life, even to the last, but his mercy never followed Esau; he permitted him still to go on in his sins, and to prove that dreadful truth, "Esau have I hated."

Stefan said...

(The above from the sermon Jacob and Esau.)

YnottonY said...

Stefan,

How do you think the content of your quote squares with these words by Spurgeon in Frank's post?

"Jesus Christ comes to save; comes with pardon in his hands, with messages of love, with tokens of favour; yet most men bar the doors of their hearts against him."

"To despise the grace of Jesus, to reject the love of God,..."

"How base must thou be to despise the love and tenderness of such a Saviour!"


Does Spurgeon, in your opinion, deny that God loves the non-elect (or the 'reprobate'), of which Esau is a part? And if he only hates the non-elect, how is it that they can be charged with such ingratitude? Are they to be thankful to God for hating them and joyfully receive a Christ who only wills to curse them?

It might also be said "Isaac I have loved, but Ishmael I have hated," since God discriminated between them as he did with Jacob and Esau. Yet it is said:

NKJ Genesis 17:20 "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.

Was Spurgeon speaking contrary to John Bunyan?

"God hath universal love, and particular love; general love, and distinguishing love; and so accordingly doth decree, purpose, and determine: from general love, the extension of general grace and mercy: but from that love that is distinguishing, peculiar grace and mercy: ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ saith the Lord, ‘yet I loved Jacob’ (Mal. 1: 2). Yet I loved Jacob, that is, with a better love, or a love that is more distinguishing. As he further makes appear in his answer to our father Abraham, when he prayed to God for Ishmael: ‘As for Ishmael, [saith he] I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee’ (Gen. 17:20, 21)."

John Bunyan, The Works of John Bunyan (London: Blackie & Sons, 1862), 2:340.

Strong Tower said...

Troll I must till I catch a fish, rigglee, and whraw, that's the waays we likes em, eh pressshussss....

Frank's point is well taken. Just how great is the depravity that rejects the beauties of Christ? Total.

It is this: "universal saving will" where we part company. And your first response was not to Frank's point, but to assert yours that God's offer of salvation is made universally in the same loving sense to all men because you believe that it is God's will that Christ died for all men whosoever have lived at any time or in any place, equally. But, as the Spurgeon quote also shows, since it is a sermon on predestination and election, it is not what Spurgeon believed.

Quite contrary to your beliefs, I do not believe that God desires that all men can be saved, only the elect. God's specific salvific love is what overcomes the depravity. It is not the depravity that over comes the love of God in Christ Jesus, to choose it or reject it. It is light that shatters darkness, the darkness is impotent. His blood was efficient for the elect alone. It is perfectly applied to his children, not to men born of nations, or of the will of the flesh, but of God anothen gennao, which gives them the life to receive him. As Jesus said in John 17, his brethren are not of the world, but are from above. And, that is why he loves them in a way that he does not love any who are born from below. He doesn't even pray for the world, but only those given to him out of it by his Father, because they are from above, and were his from the beginning, just as He is. The blood of Christ is not the blood of heifers or goats that can be treated as a common thing, it is the blood of the lamb, that the Father, the head of the household, has sacrificed for his children. And his blood is applied only to those who are under his covering, called by his name. No man takes this upon himself. Christ has not spilt his blood into a bucket such that men might esteem it as they will and dip their sop in it bathing themselves.

You quote- "God hath universal love, and particular love; general love, and distinguishing love; and so accordingly doth decree, purpose, and determine: from general love, the extension of general grace and mercy: but from that love that is distinguishing"

then you go about demolishing the distinction. They are two different loves, not one. Bunyun makes it clear that the love with which he loves salvifically is one of mercy and is distinguished from the other. Oh, I might love roses, but not dearly or even like I love my wife. You take what is uncommon and make it common by mingling, like water with wine. Does God offer salvation to a dead man? Yes. But, unless that that man is made alive he will not receive it. The ingratitude preceeds the offer and of course spurns it. Except that the ingratitude is changed into gratitude, like water into wine, it will not make the heart happy. To those who have, more will be given, but to those who have not, even that which they have, will be taken from them. And, there will be gnashing of teeth because they believe God a harsh task master even though he offers a free talent.

You make an interesting argument "And if he only hates the non-elect, how is it that they can be charged with such ingratitude? Are they to be thankful to God for hating them and joyfully receive a Christ who only wills to curse them?" Its the same one Paul and Isaiah put in the mouth of rebellion. I can tell you this: Yes to your question: Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

YnottonY said...

Frank, rather than correct the serious and deliberate misrepresentations/caricatures made by Stong Tower above, aka lordodamanor, I will just mention that he represents some of your readers at TeamPyro, even if in a minority sense. For that reason alone (among others), your Spurgeon quote is quite relavent :-) Thanks.

YnottonY said...

From the same work by Bunyan, who was one of Spurgeon's heros:

"That God is willing to save even those that perish for ever, is apparent, both from the consideration of the goodness of his nature (Psa. 145:9), of man’s being his creature, and indeed in a miserable state (Job. 14:15, 3:16)."

John Bunyan, The Works of John Bunyan (London: Blackie & Sons, 1862), 2:353.

Likewise, with respect to 1 Tim. 2:4 and God's will that all be saved, Spurgeon said:

"You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. "All men," say they,—"that is, some men": as if the Holy Ghost could not have said "some men" if he had meant some men. "All men," say they; "that is, some of all sorts of men": as if the Lord could not have said "all sorts of men" if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost by the apostle has written "all men," and unquestionably he means all men. I know how to get rid of the force of the "alls" according to that critical method which some time ago was very current, but I do not see how it can be applied here with due regard to truth."

centuri0n said...

Man, I hate it when people confuse their categories.

Let's remember something: the Gospel is offered to every single human being without any discrimination. In that sense God surely loves everyone.

But let's also remember that God does not save everyone. In that sense, God has a love for the elect which He does -not- have for everyone.

Period.

YnottonY said...

Cent,

Do you also see the following as Spurgeon affirming God's universal saving will, in terms of the revealed will of God?

"Jesus Christ comes to save; comes with pardon in his hands, with messages of love, with tokens of favour; yet most men bar the doors of their hearts against him."

In other words, wouldn't you agree with Dr. Tom Ascol when he says:

"I believe that God desires for all people to be saved but has purposed to save His elect. I see two (at least two) dimensions in God's will: revealed and decretive. Failure to make this kind of distinction is a failure to read the Bible's teachings on the will of God accurately."

He's simply echoing Ursinus:

"God does indeed will that all should be saved, and that, both on account of the desire which he has for the salvation of all, and also because he invites all to seek salvation. “But the election hath obtained it, (this salvation) and the rest were blinded.” (Rom. 11:7.) Z. Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 21, Q 54, S 6, p., 292.

These points are absolutely crucial for highlighting the extent of the wickedness of man's ingratitude, which is Spurgeon's focus in your post. Agreed?

YnottonY said...

Also, I would express one of Frank's point this way, so that there can be no evasion or wiggling:

"...the Gospel is [sincerely] offered [by God himself, and not only by us] to every single human being [that hears the external call] without any discrimination. In that sense God surely loves everyone."

Since these things are true, all lost men ought to joyfully receive Christ as He is beautifully revealed in the gospel.

donsands said...

Ynottony,

Did Christ die for everyone's sins is the question?
Christ died for David's sins, because He loved David, and Jacob, and Peter, who He called His friend, and Abraham, who was God's friend as well.
And you and me, He persoannly died for us, and took our sins upon His broken body.
It's very personal when you think that Christ loved Tony, or Donald, or Frank, and came to die for us, and seek us out, and save us, when we were haters of this loving God.

Good discussion guys. Made me think a little.

Mike Riccardi said...

Spurgeon said, "Christ brought all good things for some men and some good things for all men."

I think that sums it up pretty nicely.

In the sense that God loved Jacob, he hated Esau, not loved him less. In the sense that God loved Ishmael, He loved Esau.

Strong Tower said...

y-

You caught me, I am so ashamed-

Actually, y- my idendity is not hidden, as you found...

I am a work in progress, there ain't no doubt-

But, let's see, you dropped in here to hi-jack the thread, admit it, just as you did at Founders with the same one note song-

Your favorite tactic is to rip quotes out of context apply your definiitions to terms and expect everyone to accept your conclusions-

I am open to criticism, right Cent? DJP? Phil? Maybe I am just a glutton for beatings. Yours are welcome. One of the things I appreciate about Pyro is that they are equal opportunity chubbers.

And, I think like Bilbo's view of Gollum, there might still be something to work with in here, in me...

You, as I have complimented before, are a scholar, towering above me, so I do not even consider myself to know all you do-

I have read your blog, your extensive works on Calvin in which you take and make him to be a generalist when it comes to the atonement. Fine, you're welcome to your opinion.

You dropped Tom Ascol's name...fine...but you didn't tell the folks here that you dropped in at that sight with the same tactic you displayed here- to hijack the thread to advance your agenda- not on topic at all.

Tom being gracious, as he is, gave you the answer in a way that satisfied the parmeters of your question but did not capitulate to your position.

It was to this that I complained: "universal saving will". Which, I take to mean that you believe that Christ was sent with the purpose that all men might have the opportunity to be saved in a generalist, or universalist look at the atonement...not universalism in the Universalist sense, but universalism in the sense that the sufficiency of Christ's blood becomes universal in its intended application. Such that, any man might be save if he applies the blood of Christ to himself. I see it the other way around. The blood is applied by Christ and gives life, and it was shed only for those to whom the High Priest applies it. I find it disgusting that you make the blood to be as common sacrifice, which can never save, as opposed to a perfect sacrifice that saves perfectly those to whom it was applied, and those are only those who were in him from the beginning.

Correct me if I am wrong, or answer donsands, if you do not like me. But, I will leave you with this as one of the commenters at Founders also commented on John: "For God so loved the world (God loved the world in this way)...(that)whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God...that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."

How nicely that meshes with Romans 9, and clay that is made for a certain purpose, the proof of which is the complaint that it makes.

Helm's on Calvin

Stefan said...

If there was supposed to be an insinuation of sockpuppetry, Strong Tower isn't pretending to be different people. He changed his username here at some point, but it wasn't an act of subterfuge. And he posts under a different name at Centuri0n's blog, but he isn't pretending to be someone else. (How could he, anyhow? His writing style and choice of avatars are so distinctive!)

centuri0n said...

Tony --

I think you are overplaying Dr. Ascol, and I'll be honest that my Ursinus is killing me right now (har har), so I can't comment on him.

To Dr. Ascol's point, the revealed will of God is frankly Peter's declaration at pentecost: "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." That is, if you hear the news that Jesus is certainly ruler of all and the only savior, repent and you will be saved.

But here's the thing: God's not just a spectator or a player in creation: He's God, the creator and sustainer of all things. So when He makes the free offer of the Gospel, we have a whole list of thjings which are important to recognize, and I will put some of that list here just to be clear:

[1] God's offer includes the -intention- to save. That is, God's offer isn't a cynical offer which He knows no one will take up. God doesn;t offer salvation through Christ just to say that He did it.

[2] In the -intention- to save, there is also the -unwillingness- that the intention will be thwarted. You know -- God will save whom He will save; God's not competing here as an equal or as a player who might not get what he wants because of a mistake or an error or merely the unwillingness of the lost.

[3] And last on my brief list here, there is also the point that God's unwillingness to be thwarted but to be both the just and the justifier causes Him to do more for the elect than He has done for the rest.

This is the decretal sense of God's will to save -- that is, it is His hidden counsel until the last day who is and is not ultimately among the sheep or among the goats.

YnottonY said...

Stefan said:
"If there was supposed to be an insinuation of sockpuppetry, Strong Tower isn't pretending to be different people. He changed his username here at some point, but it wasn't an act of subterfuge. And he posts under a different name at Centuri0n's blog, but he isn't pretending to be someone else."

Me now:
That wasn't my point or my insinuation AT ALL. I pointed it out to justify my above claim that he's a troll, at least so far as I have seen under that other name (lordodamanor). Anyway, enough about that.

Stefan,

Questions still remain for you. 1) Do you affirm that God wills the salvation of all men? 2) In your opinion, does God love all men? Also, 3) how does your post about Spurgeon comport with Frank's quotation? Do you think Spurgeon was contradicting himself? Or was Spurgeon not affirming a universal saving will in God, universal love and general grace?

Frank,

How am I "overplaying" Tom Ascol's words? He's simply affirming that there is a sense in which God wills/desires the salvation of all men, just like John Murray:

"God not only delights in the penitent but is also moved by the riches of his goodness and mercy to desire the repentance and salvation of the impenitent and reprobate."

"We have found that God himself expresses an ardent desire for the fulfilment of certain things which he has not decreed in his inscrutable counsel to come to pass. This means that there is a will to the realization of what he has not decretively willed, a pleasure towards that which he has not been pleased to decree. This is indeed mysterious, and why he has not brought to pass, in the exercise of his omnipotent power and grace, what is his ardent pleasure lies hid in the sovereign counsel of his will. We should not entertain, however, any prejudice against the notion that God desires or has pleasure in the accomplishment of what he does not decretively will."

Am I "overplaying" Murray as well? Even Bunyan? Or Spurgeon on 1 Tim. 2:4??

In my view, Tom Ascol is like Spurgeon and Murray on these things. He affirms God's universal saving will, universal love and general grace, while taking a strictly particular atonement view. That's Phil Johnson's view as well.

YnottonY said...

Incidentally, by "strictly particular atonement view," I mean that they think Christ only suffered for the sin of the elect (strict in that sense), while admitting that other benefits (such as the benefits of common grace) do flow to others as a result of Christ's work (not strict in this sense). So, as Phil once posted, it's "General, yet Particular."

Mike Riccardi said...

I'm almost certain that Phil would make a point of saying Christ died -- not just suffered -- thereby paying the debt of wrath for the sin of the elect, actually canceling that debt against them.

YnottonY said...

donsands asked me:

Did Christ die for everyone's sins is the question?

Me now:
Well, it is a relavent question, but I didn't want to get into atonement theories in this thread. I wanted to stay within the parameters of Spurgeon's own words as originally posted by Frank. Spurgeon is affirming 1) a universal saving will in God, 2) universal love and 3) general grace in order to make his point about how evil it is and how hard man's heart must be to not joyfully receive Christ. If one takes away the above three points, Spurgeon's point collapses.

Now, to get to your question: Did Christ die for everyone's sins? Spurgeon did not think so, but he didn't allow his atonement view to nullify God's universal saving will, universal love and common grace. That's key since some strict particularists do that.

If you're curious about my own views, I not only affirm the above three points, but I do think that Christ suffered for the sin of the whole human race, though not with the same design or intent. I think that in suffering what the law required for one sinner, Christ suffered what was required of every sinner. There can be no division, limitation or quantification in the legal satisfaction itself, but there are distinctions in Christ's intent in making such an accomplishment. I think Christ intended to suffer sufficiently for the salvation of all men as their provisional substitute (thus all are salvable), but only efficaciously for the salvation of the elect (it is only applied to them). There is an inequality in the design or intention, just as there is an inequality in God's love, will and grace. I happen to take the moderate Calvinistic position of Davenant and Martinius as represented at the Synod of Dort (following James Ussher), instead of taking the limited imputation of sin to Christ view as held by my other Calvinistic brothers, such as John Murray, Tom Ascol, Phil Johnson. Both of these parties, however, still affirm that God loves all, wills all to be saved and is gracious to all.

Rather than go into more detail so that we depart from the parameters of Spurgeon's words as originally posted, I would like to refer you to the lectures of Dr. Curt Daniel in these matters. He will give you an accurate overview of the historical differences among orthodox Calvinists.

YnottonY said...

Mike said:

"I'm almost certain that Phil would make a point of saying Christ died -- not just suffered -- thereby paying the debt of wrath for the sin of the elect, actually canceling that debt against them."

Me now:

I think Phil would know that by "suffered," I mean that Christ suffered death. He's familiar with the language of the Heidelberg Catechism in that respect:

Heidelberg Catechism, Question #37:

Q. What does it mean that He suffered?

A. That all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, He bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race, in order that by His passion, as the only atoning sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.

And yes, Phil would think that Christ only suffered death for the sin of the elect alone, hence limited imputation. As for it "actually canceling that debt against them," I will let him speak to that, without speculating. I know that he would use the popular Owenic arguments, as did Spurgeon, but "canceling that debt against them" will probably need some qualifications to avoid a justification before faith position. So I will leave that to him :-)

Stefan said...

Ynottony:

I wasn't seeking to get drawn into a debate with you. You just asserted that Spurgeon really thought that God loved Esau less than Jacob, not that he loved Jacob and hated Esau.

So I searched for what Spurgeon had said on this matter, and I posted what I'd found.

Clearly, God did not hate Esau in all regards. He extended His common grace to Esau, and blessed Esau with wealth, even though he does not appear to have been a saved believer.

Regarding your questions to me:

1) Do you affirm that God wills the salvation of all men?

Before the foundation of the world, did God will that if it were possible, all men would be saved? I can't know the eternal counsels of God. Does he effectually will the salvation of all? No. If He did, then either we are all saved, so I can just go ahead and believe what I want; or we are not all saved, in which case human sin has overcome God's sovereign will, and God is not all-powerful.

2) In your opinion, does God love all men?

Generally, yes, in the sense that He extends His common grace even to non-believers, who are given the opportunity to live a life with joy, love, sadness, wealth, and struggle, just as believers are. But He does not extend the fullest expression of His love—His saving grace—to all. Would that He did! Would that all would be saved! But just because we as fallen humans wish it were so, does not necessarily make it so.

3) how does your post about Spurgeon comport with Frank's quotation?

The Lord God commands that we proclaim the Gospel to all. Some will hear and receive it; some will not. He has decreed before the foundation of the world who would be saved, and He works through the Holy Spirit to bring to salvation all whom He chose, their justification being mediated through the atoning sacrifice of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

donsands said...

Thanks Tony. I'll check it out. i think you and I had this discussion before, and it was good.

My main focus is God's perfect love for His Son, which is an intimate and personal love. And that all whom God saves are loved by this same love. And it's a personal love from our heavenly Father; an everlasting love as well.

Sorry I went down such a fur piece on the rabbit path.

Stefan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan said...

I should have fleshed out my answer to ynottony's third question a bit more.

We all rejected the Gospel before we were saved. Some consciously, some unconsciously; but on some level, we all did. Non-believers reject the Gospel as well; among them, some God is still waiting for the right time to regenerate them, and impart in them a saving faith.

So, when Spurgeon asked in the first part of his sermon, "Why Is It That All Men Do Not Receive Christ Joyfully?" this is a question that was applicable to all of us at one time or another, and is equally applicable today to those who are not saved, or not yet saved.

By His outward calling, God calls all to repentance and salvation. But by His effectual calling, He moves some of us rebellious, God-rejecting sinners to actually repent and be saved. Before He regenerated us, we rejected Him. Now, by His grace and mercy, we don't.

I'm missing where you think there's a contradiction.

centuri0n said...

Tony:

I prefer your re-qualified answers to the ones you were giving.

Nicely Done.

YnottonY said...

Stefan said:

"You just asserted that Spurgeon really thought that God loved Esau less than Jacob, not that he loved Jacob and hated Esau."

Me now:

No, actually I didn't. Go back and check out what was said. I didn't engage in an interpretation of Romans 9 (so as to say "loved less"), but simply stated that it is theologically true that God loves all mankind, even Esau. I stated that God loves all mankind, wills the salvation of all mankind and is gracious to all mankind. I don't see how Romans 9 can be used to negate these points, unless one is still thinking with an anti-Calvinistic rationalism such that God cannot both hate and love the same person at the same time. I have no problem taking Romans 9 at face value. Of course God hated Esau. There's no need for me to make it mean "loved less." I think God hated and loved Esau at the same time, but in different respects. Therefore, it is not a contradiction at all. If the text says that God hated Esau, that's just what it means.

Mike Riccardi (above) made the point quite well, but subtlely: "In the sense that God loved Jacob, he hated Esau, not loved him less. In the sense that God loved Ishmael, He loved Esau." I think he's right.

Stefan said:

"So I searched for what Spurgeon had said on this matter, and I posted what I'd found.

Clearly, God did not hate Esau in all regards. He extended His common grace to Esau, and blessed Esau with wealth, even though he does not appear to have been a saved believer."


Me now:

You've now stated at least one of my original points. Even though it is stated that God hated Esau, there is still a sense in which he loved him, and was gracious to him. You are affirming universal grace, in the sense of common grace. That's what Spurgeon is doing in Frank's quote as well.

To Be Continued...

YnottonY said...

I asked Stefan:

1) Do you affirm that God wills the salvation of all men?

Stefan's reply:

"Before the foundation of the world, did God will that if it were possible, all men would be saved? I can't know the eternal counsels of God. Does he effectually will the salvation of all? No. If He did, then either we are all saved, so I can just go ahead and believe what I want; or we are not all saved, in which case human sin has overcome God's sovereign will, and God is not all-powerful."

Me now:

None of this actually answers my question. I am not asking "did God will that, if it were possible, all men would be saved." Nor am I asking you if he effectually wills the salvation of all. By definition (given the meaning of "effectually"), that would result in universal salvation. Strong Tower gave a straight forward response: "I do not believe that God desires that all men can be saved, only the elect." For him, either God effectually wills a persons salvation or he does not will it at all, in any sense whatsoever. Do you agree with him? I am not asking you if you want to debate the point here, but just what your opinion is on the matter, if you have formed one yet. There's no need for an extended reply. Either you agree with Strong Tower, or with Tom Ascol on this issue. Dr. Ascol said: "I believe that God desires for all people to be saved but has purposed to save His elect. I see two (at least two) dimensions in God's will: revealed and decretive." I concur with Dr. Ascol, since he is simply and accurately saying that God wills ("desires") all to be saved in terms of his revealed will, but only "purposes" to save the elect in terms of his decretal will. Do you agree, or not?

I see Spurgeon and Dr. Ascol's position as being in agreement, therefore I said that Spurgeon is underlining God's universal saving will (among other things). Why there is any resistance to this point by self-described Calvinists is both disturbing and perplexing to me, to say the least.

YnottonY said...

I asked Stefan:

"2) In your opinion, does God love all men?"

Stefan replied:

"Generally, yes, in the sense that He extends His common grace even to non-believers, who are given the opportunity to live a life with joy, love, sadness, wealth, and struggle, just as believers are. But He does not extend the fullest expression of His love—His saving grace—to all. Would that He did! Would that all would be saved! But just because we as fallen humans wish it were so, does not necessarily make it so."

Me now:

Thanks for the reply. You have now both explicitly affirmed God's universal love and universal grace, but not to the exclusion of a special love and special grace in the case of the elect alone. These are two of the issues I originally pointed out with respect to the Spurgeon quote. He is affirming God's universal love and general (or "common") grace in the quote provided by Frank. Self-described Calvinists should not hesitate in the least to affirm these things, but making careful qualifications is quite understandable.

YnottonY said...

After replying to my third question, Stefan said:

"I'm missing where you think there's a contradiction."

Me now:

I didn't say that I think there is a contradiction. In fact, I said with respect to Spurgeon's theology that, "The only sensible option for interpreting Spurgeon's words above is that God did not love Esau with that love wherewith he loved Jacob. Spurgeon is not denying that God loved Esau in some other sense. If that was the case, Spurgeon's sermons would be full of contradictions."

I was curious to see if you thought your Romans 9 sermon reference argued against my point that Spurgeon believed that 1) God loved all, 2) willed all to be saved and 3) is gracious to all.

You have shown above, so far, that you do not think it is antithetical to point #1 and point #3. All that remains to be seen is if you think it is in disagreement with respect to point #2.