Sunday, August 18, 2013

Vol. II — Chapter 8 — Romans 11:1-10

Vol. II — Chapter 8 — Romans 11:1-10


Romans 11:1-10 (1) I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (2) God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, (3) Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. (4) But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. (5) Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (6) And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace. : otherwise works is no more work. (7) What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (8) (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. (9) And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence unto them: (10) Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always. In our day it is accepted by many in the study of Bible prophecy without question that the restoration of Jewry to all its forfeited privileges — the temple, priesthood, and earthly establishment — is something beyond challenge. The fact is that nowhere in the New Testament, not even in Romans chapter 11, is there a hint of a Jewish restoration in Palestine. They fail to see that there are two Israels which Paul so clearly began to set forth in the 9th chapter of Romans. Paul speaks much about Spiritual Israel in the first part of chapter 9 as he writes of the promises made to the fathers, and it is Spiritual Israel set over against National Israel and their rejection of the Gospel.
     Verse 1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. “I say then, Hath God cast away his people.” God has cast away the Nation of Israel in consequence of their unbelief and obstinate rejection of the Messiah and salvation in Him (Hosea 9:17). Paul would have us to know that the promises made to the Jews did not secure the salvation of the Nation. God’s promise to save any Jews was never to save them as a nation. It was made to the remnant, the elect, the chosen ones. “Hath God cast away his people?”  No, Paul replies, else how is it that I a Jew, am converted? (2 Cor. 11:22). If Israel has been wholly cast away, I myself would be cast away with them.  There are still some elect individuals among the Jews that are genuine children of God. My individual salvation proves this great fact:  “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.”  Paul said he had not been rejected by the Lord, but our gracious God had mercy on him (Gal. 1:15-16). As clearly as it is possible for anyone to prove anything, Paul declares in his answer (speaking as moved by the Holy Ghost) that the Israel which is not cast away is the Election of Grace, and that this is the ALL ISRAEL of verse 26.  “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (vs. 5). The Holy Ghost tells us that “Israel (the rejected nation) hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded” (vs. 7). Individual Jews can and are being converted along with individual Gentiles. But the nation of the Jews as such has been given over to judgment.
     Paul is an example of the love and care that God had for all of the elect, the remnant, the chosen. And it is the Heavenly Father’s will that not even one of the election of grace should perish. In the Lord Jesus Christ they are all preserved and effectually called (Jude 1).
     Verse 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying. “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” The plain reference is to individual persons, and to elect persons only, not nations. He did reject the nation of Israel as such, for He never accepted all the descendants of Abraham in a saving covenant with Him. But He did not cast away His elect among the Jews or Gentiles — those foreknown, foreloved of God (1 Pet. 1:2). These are His elect whom He predestinated unto eternal life (Rom. 8:29). These are His sheep and He knows my sheep, and am known of mine (John 10:14). He speaks of His foreknown people as loved from all eternity. In all eternity He conceives of them in His Divine mind, sovereignly. God sovereignly, in His absolute freedom and independence decreed, foreknew, chose, and loved His people. He foreordained them and willed to create and form them as His workmanship in Christ Jesus, that they should be to the praise of the glory of His marvelous grace in the Beloved (Eph. 2:10). “His people which He foreknew” are the people whom in sovereign knowledge and infinite love God sovereignly formed in His mind and engraved upon the palms of His hands. God foreknows because He has decreed, pre-determined, and therefore He brings it to pass. His foreknowledge is His own will, and His works of providence are merely the execution of His sovereign, eternal plan.
     “Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying.” Paul refers to 1 Kings Chapter 19 and writes of Elijah angry prayer against the ten tribes, who were revolted from God, and fallen into idolatry: against them he complained, ripping up their impieties as stated in our following verse.  The apostle uses the case of Elijah to prove that the true Israel always existed as a remnant, and not as a nation (vs. 2-4). The nation has always been made up of a small remnant of those who are elected to glory, and on the other hand the majority who are “blinded” (hardened, vs. 7).
     Verse 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. This passage is from 1 Kings 19:10. At the period referred to, the great body of the ten tribes had abandoned the true worship of God, and God did not acknowledge them as His people. But, from among this idolatrous nation, He still had a remnant, a people that knew and acknowledged Him, and whom He acknowledged — a small number in comparison to the apostates, yet a greater number than the prophet supposed to exist.
     In the days of Elijah were some of the darkest days of the history of Israel. Old king Ahab, that bloody idolater, and his corrupt wife Jezebel, ruled the land. The idolatrous nation had broken down the altars of Jehovah God, and in their place had been erected the heathen altars of Baal. The land swarmed with priests of the false religion. The people clung to their false religion, hated the message of truth from the lips of God’s prophets, and murdered them. True, spiritual religion was at its lowest ebb. A horrible persecution against true religion was raging. God had called and sent Elijah to bring His message against the false prophets. At the word of Elijah, as God’s true representative, there had been no rain for three and one half years. We read the story of Elijah calling for a test in 1 Kings chapters 17 and 18. Elijah called down fire from Heaven; the Lord answered him and proved Himself to be God and Elijah to be His true servant.  Then he fled from the wicked and angry Queen Jezebel and he prayed to the Lord in the words of our text.
      Verse 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. “But what saith the answer of God unto him?” Matthew Poole wrote, “The apostle doth not repeat the whole answer of God, as it is recorded in I Kings 19:15-18, but so much only as was pertinent to his purpose.”
     “I have reserved to myself;” the Lord does not say that they had reserved themselves — He does not attribute their being made to differ to their supposed free will; they have not reserved themselves. Our Lord had reserved them (1 Cor. 4:7) — of His own free grace and effectual call He kept His remnant from idolatry and apostasy. In the salvation of sinners God works by pure grace and excludes all glorying of the flesh; that every redeemed sinner is completely dependent on Him for all the moral and natural good that belongs to salvation; and we have all from the hand of God, by His power and free grace. A saving interest in the benefits of Christ is not by the decision of so-called free will (John 1:12-13). It is Him who is absolutely Sovereign that has reserved His people and all that we have is wholly from, through, and in God, without being from or of ourselves in any degree at all. Even in the darkest days in Israel there were a chosen few who were under the power of the grace of God, and that all by His foreordination.
     In the words of that great Bible scholar A. W. Pink: “This choosing of us is not merely a setting apart from all others to be His peculiar treasure (Exo. 19:5), nor only that God has separated us for His peculiar worship and service to be holy unto Himself (Jer. 2:3), nor only that we should show forth His praise (Isa. 43:21), for even the wicked shall do that (Prov. 16:4; Phil. 2:11); but we are peculiarly for Himself and His glory, wholly in a way of grace and loving kindness.”
     Verse 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. The words “Even so” at the beginning of this quotation refer us to the previous verse. Note that word “reserved.” In the days of Elijah there were seven thousand — a very small minority — who were Divinely preserved from idolatry and brought to a saving knowledge of the true God. This preservation and opening of the heart and mind was not from anything in themselves, but solely by God’s sovereign distinguishing grace and power. How highly favored it is for individual sinners to be thus “reserved” by God! Now says the Apostle, Just as there was a “remnant” in Elijah’s days “reserved by God,” so there is in this present Gospel day.
     Just as James (Acts 15:13-19) interprets Amos’ prophecy regarding the tabernacle of David, considered in the light of prophecy as a whole, as referring to the conversion of the Gentiles in the Church age, so Paul here declares that Hosea (2:23 and 1:10) foretold the calling of “vessels of mercy . . . not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles.” So here, as elsewhere in these chapters of Romans (e.g. 9:33; 10:11; 11:5), prophecy is appealed to as foretelling that very situation which is represented by the Church age.
     “A remnant according to the election of grace,” signifies an unconditional choice of a Sovereign God resulting from His distinguishing favor; in a word, it is absolutely a gratuitous election. It is a marvelous fact, that for the display of the sovereignty of His marvelous grace, our Heavenly Father elected to Himself an innumerable multitude of Adam’s lost race to be redeemed by His eternal Son, regenerated by the Holy Ghost, preserved through all seasons, conflicts, and circumstances, to be eventually brought into the perfection and purity of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the eternal enjoyment of His Kingdom and glory (2 Thes. 2:13; 1 pet. 1:2, 4-5). Oh, dear Christian Reader, it is a happy privilege when the Sovereign Elector reveals Himself to us and gives us to enjoy our oneness with our precious Lord Christ. In the counsels of eternity He arranged and settled everything concerning our salvation, for which our soul blesses His right to elect, according to His gracious will, the objects of His love.
     “Election of grace” — All God’s revelations of Himself as a loving Father to His elect children are wholly of grace. The covenant of redemption before all worlds was all of grace. He reserves and preserves a remnant in the world — the true Church made up of the redeemed, Jew and Gentile — according to His all-wise and gracious election.
     Verse 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. These words explain the phrase “election of grace” from our previous verse. An election of grace strongly implies nothing short of the entire exclusion of all human work as, foreseen, the cause of the choice, or as being in actual existence and influencing that choice (2 Tim. 1:9). By grace the selection took place back in eternity and originated in the sovereign mercy of God (Eph. 1:4). It is not at all or in any way of works. Works are merits in man and cannot be its cause for all natural men’s actions from depraved hearts and “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).
     There are but two possible thoughts concerning the source of salvation — men’s works and God’s grace; and these are so essentially distinct and opposite, that salvation cannot be of any mixture or combination of both. There is no mingling the two principles. Paul, the spokesman of the Holy Ghost, declares that election to salvation flows from the mere kindness, pity, and mercy on the part of God, and not at all from good works seen or foreseen. Paul had clearly shown before in Romans 4:4-5 and 9:11 that election and effectual calling are solely by pure, free grace. The nature of grace is clearly set forth before us in those two passages. Yet man is so legal spirited that he opposes the free and sovereign grace of God, and hazards his soul by depending on his own works for salvation which is found totally and solely in a going out of self and being vitally joined to the Lord Jesus Christ.
     Paul has thoroughly demonstrated that works have no place whatever in the justification of the sinner before God. Being a sinner, all men’s works are all sinful, and find no countenance from a God of purity and holiness. Being ungodly, his works are hateful and vile, and righteously reprobated by our God, Who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13). God’s holiness requires righteousness, and He in pure grace provides it in the Person and obedience of His sinless Son for all His chosen.  Paul here shows all that however much vain man may parade his fulsome and filthy works before men, our Holy God will have none of them.
     Verse 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. “What then?” Paul is making a summation of his discourse. “Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for;” the body of the Jewish nation, seeking righteousness by the works of the Law, has not obtained what they seek by the works of their own hands (Rom. 9:31). They sought “a law of righteousness” — a method of justification — a way of securing God’s special favor. They sought it not in God’s way, but in their own; not by God given faith in the Christ of the Gospel, but by the works of the Law (Heb. 12:17). But while this was the case of the nation as a body, the remnant — “the election hath obtained it.” The elect obtained it because God Himself had reserved them. It all originated in His sovereign mercy before the worlds were and in time they submitted to God’s way of grace, believed the Gospel, kissed the Son, and were justified in His way. All believing sinners, Jew or Gentile, were “justified freely by his grace, through the redemption in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
     By sovereign, electing, regenerating grace the elect receive justification, but “the rest” — those not included in God’s election — “were blinded,” or hardened (Isa. 6:10; John 12: 39-40). In verses 2-4 the apostle used the case of Elijah to prove that the true Israel always existed as a remnant, and not as a nation. The hardening is not exceptional or occasional, but universal, affecting all, who, being in contrast with God’s truth, are not saved by it. God deliberately withdrew His Word from the Jewish nation. Light is withdrawn from those who reject it (Matt. 6:23), and they are given up to the darkness which they have chosen. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). The Gospel, truth, is withdrawn from those nations, generations, and people who fight against it (2 Thes. 2:10-12). History of the European nations record a great period of time known generally as The Dark Ages because of the general blight of ignorance and superstition which fell upon the great continent where the greatest triumphs of the Gospel had been recorded.
     The Scriptures teach us that God judicially blinds (2 Cor. 3:14; Isa. 6:6, 10). This judgment inflicted is for their contempt, abuse and hatred of the light God gave them. This is done in the places of the greatest light, such as the nation of Israel in Old Testament days. As there were many who fell under it in the times of the prophets of old, and of Christ and His apostles; so doubtless there are now also. All who are under the power of the blindness of their own minds, are miserable; but such as are given up to this blindness, are especially miserable; for they are reserved, and sealed over to the blackness of darkness forever.
     There are few who see the glory of the Gospel. God’s elect are a comparatively small number whose eyes the Lord opens, calls out of darkness into marvelous light, and gives an understanding to see the wisdom and fitness in His way of life. But how many are there who sit under the preaching of the Gospel all their days, yet never see any Divine wisdom of glory in it. To their dying day they are unaffected with it. When they hear it, they see nothing to attract their attention, much less excite any admiration. To preach the Gospel to them will serve them very well to lull them to sleep; but produces very little effect otherwise upon them. This shows the exceeding wickedness of the heart of man. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:18).
     Charles D. Alexander said, “Mercy is a Divine prerogative, but hardness of heart is a judgment upon all who against light choose the darkness, as in the case of Pharaoh (Rom. 9:16-18). An evil spirit was commissioned by the throne of a righteous God to persuade Ahab to go to battle at Ramoth Gilead, for despite all the deliverances God had given him and the peerless witness of the prophet Elijah, he remained impenitent, choosing death rather than life, and darkness in the place of light (1 Kings 22). Let no reader of these lines stumble at these features of God’s all-wise, all-righteous rule in creation. Paul with prophetic vision looks into the future and sees the rise of a great antichristian tyranny in the very bosom of the Church, and declares, ‘For this cause GOD SHALL SEND THEM A STRONG DELUSION THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE A LIE, that they all might be damned who believe not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thes. 2:11-12).”
     Verse 8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. Paul had spoken of this “giving up” as darkening of the mind back in Romans 1:21 and he describes the same thing here in our 8th verse from the words of Isaiah 29:10. Thus the “darkening” and “the spirit of slumber” are the gradual transaction between the “being given over to a reprobate mind” and the “hardening of heart.” To be under the influence of the “spirit of deep sleep,” or rather of stupefaction, is to be in a state of delusion — to be under the guidance of what Paul calls “a reprobate mind,” to which God gave up the idolatrous spoken of in chapter one.
     The remaining words of this 8th verse are an indirect reference to Isa. 6:9-10 and Deut. 29:4. Isa. 6:9-10 is refered to by our Lord in Matt.13:14; Mark 4:12; and Luke 8:10; and by the Evangelists John in John 12:40, and here by Paul, to their countrymen, in such a manner that leads us to conclude that it was directly prophetic of them. “As it is written” clearly is equivalent to “to use the words of Scripture.” The verse is Paul’s own description of the unbelieving Jewish nation, clothed in Old Testament language. In the words of John Brown this meaning seems to be — “The great body of the Jewish people have, according to the description of their legislator and prophets, been all along, and continue to be, a stiff-necked and rebellious race; and though, for this, they have been without doubt entirely to blame, yet still this state of mind, as the natural effect of the Divine arrangements on the depraved mind of the Jews, the Divine Being is considered as having such an agency in producing, that He may, in a sense not implying that He is the author of sin, be said to give, as a punishment for sin, the spirit of stupidity — the eyes and the ears inept to perform their proper functions.”
     Verse 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them. Paul cites here from Psalm 69:22. This psalm is definitely a Messianic psalm, a direct perdition respecting the sufferings of our Lord Christ, and the glories which were to follow. Passages from it are repeatedly cited in the New Testament as predictions. Its awful imprecations by the Messiah are illustrative of what the apostle meant when he represented his kinsmen, his brethren according to the flesh, as an “anathema by Christ” (1 Cor. 16:22). They are a prediction of what should befall the opposers of the Messiah, as the righteous punishment of their opposition to Him. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, and his wrath is kindled but a little” (Psa. 2:12).
     The hardening of earthly Israel because of unbelief is confirmed by quotes from Isaiah 29:10, and Psalms 69:22.  God gives them the spirit of slumber that they should not see nor hear.  Through their abuse of them their Old Testament privileges, ordinances and promises become a snare and a trap and a stumbling block, the occasion of their delusion and punishment.  These became Israel’s grave. This was fulfilled in the case of the Jews of the apostle’s day and continues in their posterity who walks in their footsteps. The unbelieving nation was ensnared by its own privileges. They relied on their birth certificates rather than God-wrought repentance and faith. They proudly flaunted their national origin in Abraham — “we be Abraham's children and were never in bondage to any man” (John 8:33).  So their boast became their grave and will remain so, though the majority of evangelicals and futurists the world over stand outside their tomb and shout down into their darkened vault the very texts of Scripture which put them there.  This is what our opponents have been doing for the last 150 years, and in the process have perverted the true study and understanding of Holy Scripture.
     This state of spiritual blindness and obduracy, and dereliction by God, and deep degradation and suffering, into which the Jewish people sank on their rejecting of the Messiah, and their most appropriate punishment of their great national sin in having, by the hands of the Romans, crucified the Messiah, assures that only the small remnant, the election of grace, will attain Messianic blessings. Theodoret says that the 69th Psalm, from which Paul made this quote, “is a prediction of the sufferings of Christ, and the final destruction of the Jews on that account.”
     Verse 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. “In continuing with the words of the prayer of David who in the person of Christ, (of whom David was a type), does complain and prophesy of the extreme injuries and oppressions wherewith the Jews (His own people) should vex Him; by giving Him gall for meat, and in His thirst give Him vinegar to drink (Psa. 19:21)” (Matthew Poole). He prays down the wrath of God upon the rebellious, unbelieving Jews — that all the things that they regarded as pleasant might be turned to their destruction; that their understanding might be darkened, so that they could not discern Heavenly things; that they would only desire earthly things, and be unable to lift up their heads and hearts to God and the Gospel of His Son (Eph. 4:18)..
     To “bow down their back alway” is to be sorely afflicted, crushed and oppressed by their sins and a judgment of God (Isa. 65:12) and their history is evidence of how this has been carried out. Paul is showing that what has befallen the nation of Israel was predicted by their own prophets, both as to the wickedness and the misery of their state. Therefore, the rejection of the nation of the Jews should not be offensive to them, for their very own Scriptures recorded and predicted these things.

Worthy Doctrinal and Spiritual Notes and Quotes on Romans 11:1-10

Verse 1. When God elected His people in Christ, and reconciled them to Himself, He foresaw all the evil that would be in them, both before and after their conversion; and if this did not prevent His choosing them and calling them, it never can be the cause of His casting them off, seeing that they are loved in Christ, in whom they are always viewed without any spot of sin. — Sir Richard Hill (1732-1808).
God may be avenged on a hypocritical nation, and for their contempt of the Gospel may unchurch them, and take the Gospel from them, and yet be as good as His Word unto any true-hearted seeker of His face in that land. — John Brown (1784-1858).
The doctrine of final perseverance of believers seems to me to be written as with a beam of sunlight throughout the whole of Scripture. — C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892).
God’s decree is the very pillar on which the saints’ perseverance depends. That decree ties the knot of adoption so fast that neither sin, death nor Hell can break it asunder. — Thomas Watson (d. 1690).
A man was better to say there is no God than say that God is unfaithful. — Thomas Brooks (1608-1680).
Verse 2. Now the word "foreknowledge" as it is used in the New Testament is less ambiguous than in its simple form "to know." If every passage in which it occurs is carefully studied, it will be discovered that it is a moot point whether it ever has reference to the mere perception of events which are yet to take place. The fact is that "foreknowledge" is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to persons. It is persons God is said to "foreknow," not the actions of those persons. In proof of this we shall now quote each passage where this expression is found.
The first occurrence is in Acts 2:23. There we read, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." If careful attention is paid to the wording of this verse it will be seen that the apostle was not there speaking of God’s foreknowledge of the act of the crucifixion, but of the Person crucified: "Him (Christ) being delivered by," etc.
The second occurrence is in Romans 8;29,30. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image, of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called," etc. Weigh well the pronoun that is used here. It is not what He did foreknow, but whom He did. It is not the surrendering of their wills nor the believing of their hearts but the persons themselves, which is here in view.
"God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew" (Rom. 11:2). Once more the plain reference is to persons, and to persons only.
The last mention is in 1 Peter 1:2: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." Who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the "strangers scattered" i.e. the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.
Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God "foreknew" the acts of certain ones, viz., their "repenting and believing," and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, none whatever. Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He did know from all eternity that certain ones would repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God’s "foreknowledge." The word uniformly refers to God’s foreknowing persons; then let us "hold fast the form of sound words" (2 Tim. 1:13). — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
“Whom He did foreknown” are plainly “the called according to God’s purpose;” and the phrase is equivalent to — ‘whom He did foreknow, as to be called according to His purpose.’ The word translated “foreknow” has, by some interpreters, been considered as meaning simply, to foresee; by others, to love — regard with peculiar favor; by others, to fore-appoint. The last here, as well as in 1 Peter 1:2, and elsewhere, seems to be its meaning. “Whom God fore-appointed to be called, He also predestinated” — fore-appointed, “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” — John Brown (1784-1858).
If it is true that ALL the promises of God are YEA and AMEN in CHRIST (2 Cor. 1:20), it follows that there are NO promises of God addressed to those NOT in Christ. Zionism and the Republic of Israel today are nationalistic and secular movements and certainly do not involve being in Christ.   Popular writers on prophecy overlook this most important consideration, and assume that Bible promises and prophecies can pledge benefits and success to a nation and a movement that is certainly in unbelief. — J. G. Vos (1903-1983).
Verse 3. The same wicked principles are acted out by bad men from age to age. The manner of displaying hatred to God and His people differs somewhat at divers times; but evil men have no devices entirely new. Sometimes it is by scorn, sometimes by ridicule, sometimes by slander, sometimes by hue and cry, sometimes by murderous purposes and practices that sinful men oppose all that is good; but the root of bitterness is always there, till Divine grace makes the change. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).
So cruel and insatiable is the rage of the enemies of Christ, that if there were but one remaining to give testimony against their corruptions, they cannot be at rest till that one be made a sacrifice to their beastly savage cruelty. — John Brown (1784-1858).
You do not have to make a graven image picturing God as a man to be an idolator; a false mental image is all that is needed to break the second commandment. — Anon.
Animosity cloaked in piety is a demon even if it sits in church praising the Creator. — Anon.
If sin had its way it would both dethrone and annihilate God. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).
Verse 4. A Christian is not one who by searching has found out God, but one whom God has found. . . . Christian faith rests not upon human discovery, but upon Divine revelation. . . . A Christian is not made by his own research, but by the Gospel of Christ. —  T. T. Shields (1873-1955).

REGENERATION is God's own work and is as unconditional in every case as it was in the case of Saul of Tarsus. God "for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ" (Eph. 2:4-5). The apostle explains how this could be done — "by grace ye are saved." To save by grace means to save one who has no merit. The promise of old was, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 8:12) ... This is all made certain by the purpose of God, the atonement of Jesus, and the effectual work of the Holy Spirit in REGENERATION. — Walter Cash (1856-1937).
All that which grace can do for us in communicating God Himself to us, and all that He will do for us unto the magnifying of His glory, arises wholly out of the free favor He shows us. In other words, God will have no more glory in us and on us, than arises out of what He bestows in grace upon us, so that our happiness as the effect will extend as far as His own glory as the end. How wondrous, how grand, how inexpressibly blessed, that God’s glory in us should not be served in anything from our good: God has so ordered things that not only are the two things inseparable, but co-extensive. If, therefore, God has arranged to have a manifestative glory unto the uttermost, He will show forth unto us grace unto the uttermost. It is not merely that God bestows gifts, showers blessings, but communicates to us Himself to the utmost that we as creatures are capacitated for. — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
The ground of the discrimination that exists among men is the sovereign will of God and that alone; but the ground of damnation to which the reprobate are consigned is sin and sin alone. — John Calvin (1509-1564).
Verse 5.  REGENERATION is God's own work and is as unconditional in every case as it was in the case of Saul of Tarsus. God "for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ" (Eph. 2:4-5). The apostle explains how this could be done — "by grace ye are saved." To save by grace means to save one who has no merit. The promise of old was, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 8:12) ... This is all made certain by the purpose of God, the atonement of Jesus, and the effectual work of the Holy Spirit in REGENERATION. —   Walter Cash (1856-1937).

 That the purpose of God according to election might stand.  The Doctrine of Election containeth the whole sum and scope of the Gospel, and our minds, if honestly subdued to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, cannot be employed about a more excellent subject. It is called ‘the foundation of God,’ not only because of the supremacy of it, but as a foundation of His laying, which God Himself is the Author of, and He alone, and the basis whereof is Himself. It is the foundation which standeth sure, and keeps them all sure who stand upon it (2 Tim. 2:19). Election is the pitching of everlasting love, or the good pleasure of God, choosing and decreeing to eternal life; it is the great charter of Heaven, God’s special and free-grace deed of gift to His chosen ones, made over in trust unto Jesus Christ for their use and benefit. — Elisha Coles (1608-1688). 

This “remnant according to the election of grace” is not cause for disputing and argument, but is the ground for much praise.  There is in Heaven at this moment a precious Book, containing the names of all who were loved of the Father, redeemed by the Son and who have been or will be made partakers of the Holy Ghost.  See Rev.20:15.  Remember, this Book of Life is not only inclusive but exclusive as well.  Just as there is a great multitude of elect sinners whose names were written in love in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, so there is a host of sinners who were never loved of God and whose names never appeared in this Book of Redemption.  This is known as the doctrine of Reprobation; it is not man’s “hard doctrine” or “high doctrine” but is the manner of Jehovah’s sovereign, free dealing with His creature man.  This is not based upon the deserts of fallen man, but upon God’s pure and absolute sovereignty.  “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” — W.W. Fulton (b. 1939).

Few of many that hear the same sermons receive the Holy Ghost; for He comes on men by the grace of election; and so the Spirit picks and chooses, as God hath done, and rests on this soul, and not on that; and so, as Isaiah says (27:12), they are “gathered one by one.” It hath the appearance of chance, because this man is taken and not that; when yet it is the eternal good pleasure of God that puts the difference. And the Spirit, that knows God’s mind, seizeth on man accordingly, and is said to be as the wind, that “bloweth where it listeth” (John 3:8), which is spoken of regeneration. — Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680).

Is the heart such a sea, abounding with such monstrous abominations? Then stand astonished, O my soul, at that free grace which has delivered thee from so bad a condition, O fall down and kiss and kiss the feet of mercy, that moved so freely seasonably to thy rescue. Let my heart be enlarged abundantly here. Lord, what am I, that I should be taken and others left? Reflect, O my soul, upon the conceptions and bursts of lusts in the days of vanity, which thou now blushest to own. O what black imaginations, hellish desires, vile affections, were lodged within me! Who made me to differ? Or how come I to be thus wonderfully separated? Surely it is by Thy free grace, and nothing else, that I am, what I am; and by that grace I have escaped, to mine own astonishment, the corruption that is in the world through lust. O that ever the Holy God should set His eyes on such a one! Or cast a look of love towards me, in whom were legions of unclean lusts abominations. — John Flavel (1628-1691).

Verse 6. THE GRACE OF GOD. This is a perfection of the Divine character which is exercised only toward the elect. Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New is the grace of God ever mentioned in connection with mankind generally, still less with the lower orders of His creatures. In this it is distinguished from ‘mercy,’ for the mercy of God is ‘over all His works’ (Psa. 145:9). Grace is the alone sources from which flows the goodwill, love, and salvation of God unto His chosen people … The fullest exposition of the amazing grace of God is to be found in the Epistles of the apostle Paul. In his writings ‘grace’ stands in direct opposition to works and worthiness, all works and worthiness, of whatever kind or degree. This is abundantly clear from Rom. 11:6, ‘And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. If it be of works, then is it no more grace, otherwise work is no more work.’ Grace and works will no more unite than an acid and an alkali. ‘By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast’ (Eph. 2:8-9). The absolute favor of God can no more consist with human merit than oil and water will fuse into one; see also Rom. 4:4-5. — Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952).
SALVATION by grace means that it is an exclusively divine work, absolutely free and sovereign, in which man has no part at all, and which does not in any sense depend upon the choice of man’s will. Even as the work of creation is of God alone, which He accomplished without the cooperation of the creature, so the work of salvation is exclusively God’s work, in which man has no part whatever. Even as Adam lived and was an active creature, not in or before his being created, but by virtue of this marvelous work of God, so the sinner lives, and becomes positively active, so that he wills to be saved and embraces Christ, not in cooperation with God who saves him but as a result of the wonder of grace performed upon him. Salvation by grace implies that grace is always first. True, ‘whosoever will may come,’ but the will to come is not prevenient to grace but subsequent to it as its fruit” — Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965).

GRACE is taken for the free and eternal love and favor of God which is the spring and source of all the benefits which we receive from Him (Rom. 11:6; 2 Tim. 1:9). This free and unmerited love of God is the original mover in our salvation and hath no cause above it to excite or draw it forth, but merely arises from His own will. — Alexander Cruden (1699-1770).

THE WORD “GRACE” in its proper sense means the free and undeserved love or favor of God exercised toward the undeserving, toward sinners. It is something which is given irrespective of any worthiness in man; and to introduce works or merit into any part of this scheme vitiates its nature and frustrates its design. Just because it is grace, it is not given on the basis of preceding merits. As the very name imports, it is necessarily gratuitous; and since man is enslaved to sin until it is given, all the merits that he can have prior to it are bad merits and deserve only punishment, not gifts or favor. Whatever of good men have, that God has given; and what they have not, why, of course, God has not given it …Because of His absolute moral perfection God requires spotless purity and perfect obedience in His intelligent creatures. This perfection is provided in Christ’s spotless righteousness being imputed to them; and when God looks upon the redeemed He sees them clothed with the spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness, not with anything of their own. We are distinctly told that Christ suffered as a Substitute, ‘the just for the unjust;’ and when man is encouraged to think that he owes to some power or art of his own that salvation which in reality is all of grace, God is robbed of His glory.  God may give or withhold grace as He pleases. — Loraine Boettner (1901-1990).

The whole gospel is called the grace of God. And the application of it in any individual instance of its saving power, is called ‘the grace of God.’ ‘By grace are ye saved (saith the apostle), through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God’ (Eph. 2:8). The grace of God is free, like the light or the dew of heaven. Grace acts from itself to itself; nothing of human power or merit disposing it, nor of unworthiness keeping from it. So every thing by Christ is grace; and to suppose any pre-disposing act in the creature or any merit would altogether alter and destroy the very property of grace. — Robert Hawker (1753-1827). 

Salvation is not by works. Anything that depends upon man must fail. . . . The Covenant of Grace cannot fail because it is made by and with God Alone. —  M. R. DeHaan (1891-1965).

Verse 7. The mercy of God will be sure to find out those that belong to His election in the most secret corners of the world, like as His judgments will fetch His enemies from under the hills and rocks. — Bishop Hall (1574-1656).

Israel, as a nation, has not succeeded in securing the Divine favor; but the election, that is the entire number, the whole mass of elect persons, who have been chosen and called through God’s mere mercy, have obtained God’s blessing. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).

The gates of Hell shall not prevail against them. No weapon formed against them shall prosper. They shall not be hurt of the second death. God will be their God for ever and ever. They enjoy God’s special favor. They cannot come short of Heavenly glory without a failure in God’s counsel. They were not chosen for their works. They are not justified for their works. They overcome not by their own power and holiness. Yet they overcome, are justified and chosen. They cannot fail of eternal glory because the Lord changes not. — William S. Plumer (1802-1880).

The hardening or blinding spoken of by the prophets is uniformly stated as a punishment for previous unbelief and impenitence. . . . Judicial blindness is Heaven’s frequent punishment for abused privileges. — Owen of Thrussington (d. 1867).

There is nothing impersonal about God’s wrath; it is the necessary response of His holiness to persistent wickedness. — F. F. Bruce (1910-1990).

Verse 8. The design of such citations frequently is to show that what was filled partially in former times, was more perfectly accomplished at a subsequent period. The Jews had often before been hardened, but at no former period were the people so blinded, hardened, and reprobate,  as when they rejected the Son of God,  and put Him to an open shame. It had often been predicted that such should be their state when the Messiah came. The punitive character of the evils here threatened, , cannot escape the reader’s notice. This blindness and hardness were not mere calamities, nor were they simply the natural effects of the sins of the people. They were punitive inflictions. They are so denounced. God says, I will give you eyes that see not. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The strokes of His justice blind, bewilder, and harden the soul. — Charles Hodge (1797-1878).

The Jews had the prophets, the Law, the tabernacle, the types and the promises of redemption through Christ. They refused to hear, see or embrace the promises. Even when Christ came they rejected Him (John 1:11), wherefore God delivered them to spiritual blindness to this day (Psa. 69:20-25). They rejected their Messiah, wherefore the Passover table and all the types became meaningless to them. Rather than being the means to point them to Christ, these types became a trap serving as their refuge. — Henry Mahan (b. 1926).

As there is a natural hardness, stupidity and senselessness, which lieth upon all by nature till grace removes it; so there is an acquired and habitual hardness, which is contracted through customariness in sinning. — John Brown (1784-1858).
Verse 9. Unbelief is not an intellectual inability, but the expression of moral bias against God. —  T. T. Shields (1873-1955).

In all unbelief there are these two things: a good opinion of one’s self and a bad opinion of God. — Horatius Bonar (1808-1889).

Unbelief is a matter not only of the head but of the heart. The unbeliever’s trouble is that his heart is not right with God. — R. B. Kuiper (1886-1966).

Unbelief is radically all other disobedience. — Robert Leighton (1611-1684).

Unbelief is far, far more than entertaining an erroneous conception of God’s way of salvation: it is a species of hatred against Him. . . . Not simply an infirmity of fallen human nature, it is a heinous crime. — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).

Verse 10. The Holy Love of God is such that it cannot look upon our sin without abhorrence. —   T. T. Shields (1873-1955).
God would have us know that He makes much of His Son.  Christ is the very center of God's affection and purpose. If God thinks of the universe, it is in connection with the One by whom all things hold together. If God has a plan for the nations, it is summed up in "the government shall be upon HIS shoulder.". . . Why can we not see that the Person of the Son of God is the heart of the Bible, the center and circumference of truth, and should be the actual heart of our faith and worship?  Will H. Houghton.

The Word of God will not avail to salvation without the Spirit of God.  A compass is of no use to a mariner unless he has light to see it by. — Augustus Toplady (1740-1778).

IT IS TRUE that ALL religions lead to God — at least they lead to Him as a Judge. But only a personal knowledge of Christ, God's Son, as Lord and Saviour can lead us to God as a Justifier and Saviour. — Pastor Gary White.

Though the Lord should damn us eternally, He should do us no wrong, but only that which our nature deserveth. — Daniel Cawdray. 


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