That not everyone will be saved, and some will be eternally damned is clear from Scripture. “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
Everyone who is judged will be judged according to their works, and reap as they have sown. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Rev. 20:12-14).
The damnation of the lost is just. “And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just” (Rom. 3:8).
God has decreed that the non-elect should choose the course they follow for “God worketh all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).
If there are some whom God has elected unto salvation, there must be others who are not elected unto salvation.
Some are Elected to Salvation. “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).
Some are not Elected to Salvation. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19).
If there are some that the Father gave to Christ, there must be others whom He did not give unto Christ.
Some are Given by the Father to Christ. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
Some are Not Given by the Father to Christ. “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).
If there are some whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life (Rev. 21:27), there must be others whose names are not written there. That this is the case we shall fully prove below.
Some People are Written in the Book of Life. “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).
Some People are Not Written in the Book of Life. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).
If faith is God’s means of receiving the gift of eternal life and He gives it to some, then that means He does not give faith to all. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).
Some Receive the Gift of Faith. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).
Some Do not Receive the Gift of Faith. “And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith” (2 Thess. 3:2). Without faith there is no salvation for “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
God does have a definite reason why He creates every person. He has a specific purpose for every individual.
Multitudes of individuals have been left in spiritual darkness since creation. God left many nations in spiritual darkness and strangers to the faith, while giving to Israel the Law, the prophets, and the promises.
Concerning the Nations. “Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” Acts 14:16.
Concerning Israel. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:2).
Had God willed the salvation of these people, He would not have withheld from them the means of saving grace, which comes by hearing the Word of God. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).
When the mind is opened to this spiritual reality, those who believe in Christ as personal Savior should begin to comprehend how great is God’s grace and mercy shown to them.
God’s action in giving, or withholding the means of salvation, is consistent with His sovereignty, His justice, mercy, and grace.
That God withholds the gospel from individuals lest they be converted, is not only the observation of human experience, it is expressively stated in Scripture. The difficult passages of Scripture on this subject must not be minimized, neglected, or rejected.
The Lord hardened hearts. “Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle. 20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:18-20).
The Lord withheld gospel understanding. “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:10-16).
As God has made some people to be blessed, so He has made the wicked for Himself to accomplish what He has decreed. “The Lord hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prov. 16:4).
As God has made some people to be blessed, so He has made some to be loved. “As it is written, Jacob have I loved” (Rom. 9:13).
As God has made some to be blessed and loved, so He has made some to be hated. “…but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13).
Among those whom God did not extend His saving love and kindness to was Pharaoh. The monarch had a different purpose in the plan of God, “to show in thee My power, and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). And so it was that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 4:21).
When God wishes to destroy the wicked, He removes all legal influence, and moral control, and gives them over to a reprobate, or worthless mind. The wicked are wholly rejected to be burned up.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom. 1:28).
“But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned” (Heb. 6:8).
God could turn the heart of any wicked person to Himself if He so chooses, as He did with Jonah, and with Saul of Tarsus.
“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord ” (Prov. 16:1).
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Prov. 21:1).
The heart of Pharaoh was in the hands of the Lord, and God “hardened his heart as He declared He would. “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21).
While the Doctrine of the Reprobation of the Wicked is opposed by many professing Christians, the honest unbeliever vindicates God in His dealings with them so “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Phil. 2:10). Listen to Pharaoh as he vindicates the righteousness of God. Pharaoh said, “I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked” (Exodus 9:27).
As Pharaoh himself found no fault with God nor any form of injustice with the Lord, even after being told he had been raised up for judgment (Rom. 9:17), so Moses raised no cry of injustice against the Lord in all His dealings with Pharaoh. Listen to Moses as He honors the Lord. “Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders!” (Exodus 15:11).
Pharaoh does not charge God with being unjust and unrighteous, Moses does not charge God with being vindictive and arbitrary, and the saints in heaven do not assault the sovereignty of God nor His right to deal with any person according to His own will and good pleasure. Listen to the saints join in singing “the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of Nations” (Rev. 15:3).
Though Romans 9 contains the fullest and plainest teaching of the Doctrine of Reprobation, there are other passages in the Bible which refer to it as well.
“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Romans 11:7). There are two distinct and clearly defined classes of people: the election, and the rest. One has obtained, the other is hardened.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9). The elect are not appointed to wrath, but the non-elect are. The personal pronouns in Scripture are significant.
“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Peter 2:8). The non-elect are appointed to be who they are. The word “appointed” (tithemi [tith’-ay-mee], meaning, “to place” is the same Greek word used in 1 Thessalonians 5:9. God has not placed the elect to wrath; God has placed the non-elect to wrath, to disobedience, and to stumble at Christ.
“But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Peter 2:12). There are many people in history who have been called “animals” because of their behavior. They needed to be taken and destroyed. The non-elect are among this class of people.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). There are those written of beforehand in the book of the Divine decrees unto condemnation. They have been marked out by God unto condemnation.
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). There are names written in the Book of Life, and there are others whose names have never been written down in the Book of Life.
It is an inescapable truth that the Word of God teaches both the Doctrine of Predestination, and the Doctrine of Reprobation.
Care must be taken with the Doctrine of Reprobation not to go further than the Scriptural teaching. Therefore, notice what the Doctrine of Reprobation does not mean.
First, the Doctrine of Reprobation does not mean that God has decreed to take innocent creature, make them wicked, and then condemn them to destruction.
The Bible teaches that “God hath made man upright, but they have sought out inventions” (Eccl. 7:29). Each person was made, in Adam, upright, in the sight of God. But, “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all” (The New-England Primer). God is not to be charged with the sin of any person. God cannot sin, nor can He tempt any person to sin. The responsibility for sin belongs to the individual.
With that being noted, it is true that God’s decree of Reprobation did contemplate what would happen when Adam, acting as the Federal Representative for all humanity, fell. Sin, corruption, and guilt, were no surprise to God. And from it, God purposed that some who transgressed His Law should be made a monument of His sovereign grace and mercy. The others, God determined to destroy, to manifest His justice and severity.
In determining to save some, God did no wrong. In determining to destroy others, God did no wrong.
Those who had already fallen in Adam, their legal representative, were born with a sinful nature, and in their sin God leaves them. In their sin they want to be left. The ungodly do not complain about their natural state. They do not seek after God. They resent any correction or instruction in righteousness. They love darkness rather than light. Therefore, there is no injustice when God “gives them up to their own hearts’ lusts (Psalm 81:12).
Second, the doctrine of Reprobation does not mean that God refuses to save a person who earnestly seeks salvation.
The Bible teaches, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It is true, whosoever believeth in Jesus shall not perish, but who will believe?
The Natural Man will not believe, for he does not seek God (Romans 3:11).
The Religious Man will not believe for he thinks he is already good enough to go to heaven based on his own merit. The Religious Man goes to Church, and prays, and says, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican” (Luke 18:11).
The Unregenerate Non-elect will not believe in Jesus because their mind is darkened to the truth of the gospel, and their heart is hardened to the wooing of the Spirit. These individuals consciously suppress, or hold down the truth in order to ease their conscience and find freedom to sin. These people know the judgment of God. They know they are worthy of death. Nevertheless, they not only do wrong, but have pleasure in others that do wrong as well (Rom. 1:32).
Who will believe in Jesus and not perish? Only the Elect of God will believe, only those appointed to salvation, and then only on the basis of faith being given to them in grace. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).
God is the Creator of the wicked, not their wickedness. God does not force, or compel the wicked to do wrong. The fact is that reprobates have no interest in having a Savior. They see in Christ no beauty they should desire Him. They will not come to Christ by nature, or by personal choice. God is under no obligation, or inclination, to compel them to come.
There is therefore no injustice that God foreordains, or foredetermines their just doom. None will be punished or judged unjustly. God is the Author of their being, but not the Infuser of their sinning (A. W. Pink). God does not compel anyone to sin. God only says, “Let them alone” (Matt. 15:14).
Like water running downhill, the course of the Natural Man, the Unregenerate Man, the Non-elect, will run to ruin. The decree of reprobation does not interfere with the bent of a person’s own fallen nature, nor does it leave them with any excuse.
Third, the Doctrine of Reprobation does not come into conflict with God’s goodness.
The goodness of God is extended to the Reprobate through temporal blessings, and much common grace. The sun shines on the evil and on the good (Matt. 5:45). How is God rewarded? Reprobates “despise His goodness, and forbearance, and longsuffering, and after their hardness and impenitency of heart treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath” (Rom. 2:4, 5).
Fourth, the Doctrine of Reprobation does not allow the judgment of others.
The Lord has commanded the gospel to be preached to every creature, and leave the results to Him. Lot was a righteous man, but that is only known by Divine revelation in 2 Peter 2:7. “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:”
While the Non-Elect, while the Reprobate cannot be known, what can be known is whether or not self is saved. Paul wrote with confidence, “we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved” (2 Cor. 2:15). The sheep know the voice of their Good Shepherd and they follow Him. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
In an effort to discredit the Doctrine of Reprobation, there are some passages in the Bible that are appealed to in order to prove that God has not fitted vessels to destruction, or ordained certain individuals to condemnation.
“Why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 18:31. The argument is made that God does not fit people for destruction, for He does not want individuals to die. The “death” of this passage is not spiritual death, or eternal death, but a political death of the nation. In context, the force of the argument is that the national captivity of the Jews added nothing to the happiness of God. If the Jews turned from idolatry, and put away their images of idolatry, they should not die in a foreign, hostile country, but live peaceably in their own land, and enjoy their liberties as an independent people (Augustus Toplady).
“Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Here the argument is that God did not prepare people for destruction. He did prepare hell, but only for the Devil. The truth is that the main point of this verse sets forth the terrible judgment that awaits the lost. In addition to the awfulness of an everlasting fire, hell is the place where the Devil and his angels will be. How awful such a place must be.
God “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30) The idea is that if God commands all people to repent, He must not want anyone to perish, therefore He would not fit anyone, or appoint them to destruction. The response is simple. As the Moral Governor of the world, God could do no less. However, this verse does not say that God will “give repentance” (Acts 5:31). Paul did not believe God has given repentance to all, according to 2 Timothy 2:25.
God would “will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Again, care must be taken with comprehensive words. “All” and “all men” cannot mean that God wills the salvation of all mankind, or all mankind would be saved. “What His soul desireth even that He does” (Job 23:13).
Despite every attempt to deny or discredit the Biblical Doctrine of Reprobation, it is a clear teaching of Scripture. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7).