Reprobation: I Could Never Love A God Like That!

Reprobation is a tough teaching of Scripture.  It’s not something to talk about lightly; it is weighty!  I appreciate the following words on this:
“If the doctrine of reprobation is as difficult as it seems, then why should we speak about it at all?  One reason, as we have seen [earlier in the chapter], is that the Bible itself speaks about it [e.g. Prov. 16:4, Jn 12:39-40, 13:18, 17:12, 1 Pet. 2:7-8, Jude 4, etc.].  This is also the primary answer to a person who says, ‘I could never love a God like that.’  Fair enough, we may say; nevertheless that is the God with whom you have to deal.  However, this is not a completely satisfying answer, and there are other meaningful things to say about reprobation.”
I’ve edited/summarized the following “meaningful things to say about reprobation:”
1) Reprobation assures us that God’s purpose has not failed.  The first benefit of this doctrine is the very thing Paul is concerned about in Romans 9, namely, assuring his readers that God’s word has not failed (v. 6).  God has determined all things from before the beginning of creation, and his word does not fail in regard to either the elect or the reprobate.”
2) Reprobation helps us deal with apostasy.  Does it mean that God has failed those who seemed to believe at one point but then fell away from the church?  No.  it only means that if they continue in their unbelieving state, they are not among God’s elect people.
3) Reprobation reminds us that salvation is entirely of divine grace and that no human works contribute to it.  If none were lost, then we would assume that God somehow owed us salvation.  We would think that he saved us either because of who we are or because of who he is; either way, he has to do it.  But this isn’t the situation; all are not saved.  The salvation of the elect is due to divine mercy only.  This is the chief teaching in those important texts of Romans.
4) Reprobation glorifies God.  As soon as we begin to think that God owes us something or that God MUST do something, we limit him and diminish his glory.  Election and reprobation surround and protect God’s glory, for they remind us that God is absolutely free and sovereign.  God does whatever he wants with the universe.  His justice and his mercy are both glorious because they both demonstrate his divine sovereignty.”
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,” says the Almighty.  If we believe that sentence, our cry will be that of the tax collector: ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).  Who can fault a doctrine that does that?
Shane Lems

2 comments on “Reprobation: I Could Never Love A God Like That!

  1. DJR says:

    That’s the cry from Arminians, I could never love a God like that, I will never love a God like that. To which we say, you’re right, you couldn’t, you won’t. They MUST have the last say. They are sovereign, not God. Tragic.


  2. MJ says:

    But surely you must admit there are difficulties with the doctrine of reprobation? In it’s harder forms it sure sounds like you are saying God created some people only to glorify himself in damning them and predetermined they would be hardened in sin and then would be punished forever in hell, and there is nothing that can ever change this. Do you not understand the force of why some object to this as a distortion of God’s holiness, justice, and love, and why many of us believe scripture teaches nothing of the sort? Have you ever read the best principled objections against reprobation -say from John Wesley or from John Fletcher? Their objections are far more weighty and nothing like the caricature you portray of arminians. At least engage with what the best of arminians really say rather than unfairly misrepresenting all they say about this.


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