Answer fast, because I’m posting more this week.
Does God hate the reprobate/unregenerate/unsaved/habitually sinful?
What is his disposition towards them based on Scripture?
Just some scripture to fuel the fires of discussion here:Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)”There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”Malachi 1:1-3 (NIV)”I have loved you,” says the LORD.”But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?'”Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”Psalm 7:11 (NIV)”God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.”I doubt anyone would argue that “God is love”, but what is real Godly love? Romans 13:10b says, “…Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
1. No2. Love
– Being confined to strict systematics the fast answer is: eschatologically, yes- Within the covenant even non-elect covenant members are federally holy (i.e. – children of at least one believing parent are holy “agios” or “saint” – 1 cor. 7:14) and have graciously (perhaps, lovingly?) been sanctified by the blood of that covenant (hebrews 10) even if the covenant obligations are not fulfilled by that individual (a life lived in faith) thereby exhibiting the true nature of that individual and experiencing God’s full wrath. Although for a time, experiencing the real benefits of life in the vine (John 15:6; Romans 11:13-22)- Outside the covenant, common grace is extended to all, but obviously not in a salvific sense (Matthew 5:45)I hope your additional posts narrow this question
I agree with jonkind of a yes and no depending upon context. God even turns his back on those he loves to teach them lessons, i.e. when he refused to hear the cries of Israel and Judah because of their sin. Then he would rescue them after a time.
Jon,To change the direction of the thread possibly…You stated children of a believing parent have “been sanctified by the blood of that covenant.”When I speak of someone sanctified by the blood of the covenant, I am talking about a believer, a member of the elect. Someone whose sins have been paid for by Christ.Can you clarify whether or not you are putting children of believers into that category?
Before I clarify, would you be willing to provide satisfactory explanation of the texts related to apostasy? (that all objectively indicate that the apostate was “a believer, a member of the elect. Someone whose sins have been paid for by Christ”?)We have hard language in Hebrews, Romans and John regarding those who have been sanctified by the blood of the covenant, grafted into the true Olive Tree, and are organically on the vine but bear no fruit and are cut off and thrown into the fire. Specifically, are you willing to say that there wasn’t really any sanctification by the blood, grafting into the tree or life in the vine? I do not believe that children of believing parents automatically get a “pass” because of the faith of their parents, but that they are legitimately holy and therefore entitled to the blessings of life in the church, including full identification with the church and participation in her sacraments. In fact, we bear an even greater responsibility to live by the terms of that covenant. Covenant is bigger than election, and the covenant is objective. Both wheat and tares grow together in the same field. This is why there is so much discussion of the “covenant” in reformed circles. In fact, it could be argued that “covenant” is more a reformed doctrine than even election.Throughout the biblical record of covenant establishment, God makes covenant with believers and their children. This is true with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Christ. (Made explicitly clear by Peter in Acts 2 – “This promise is for you and your children” and Jesus in Matthew 19 – “to such belongs the kingdom of heaven…”) The larger discussion would demand an answer to the question, “What has been the consistent scriptural teaching (Old and New Testament) regarding the position of children of believers? The only answer is that of full membership in the covenant.As for attempting to peer into the eternal counsels of God and determine who is elect or reprobate, the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children that we may do all the words of His law (deut. 29:29). This can rightfully be done without any need of presumptive regeneration, while readily admitting that God is certainly free to work in extraordinary ways in the hearts of children before they attain to any level of intellectual maturity (in the womb, for example).What does this mean practically? Quite simply it means we nurture our children in the faith, rather than formally “evangelizing” them. They are to be included in the life of the church. They are to be taught (viz. catechized) to love God and His word. They are expected to grow up into mature faith. This is growth on the vine, and as Christ’s teaching makes clear, having grown on the vine does not necessarily exclude the possibility of being removed from that vine because of a lack of fruit.
I’m saying maybe (and perhaps likely, as the Old Testament seems to point to a grander efficacy of covenant succession to come in the New Covenant)I am not saying that all who are born into the covenant are elect. (hence the previous comment that “Covenant is bigger than Election”) Nor am I saying that one can fall away from election (that would be a contradiction of terms), but those who fall away DO fall away from SOMETHING and Hebrews seems to indicate that it is indeed a sanctification by the blood of the covenant.This begs a discussion of baptism….perhaps later 🙂
I am working on a knowledge of Covenant Theology, but don’t know near as much as you. But, I still have some problems with what it seems like you’re saying.I’m still unclear as to your answer to my question though. Do you believe that one of the benefits of a child who is born into the covenant community is that his sins have been paid for by Christ?
So sanctification can come before regeneration, repentance and justification (for the children of believers)?This flies in the face of how I understand salvation. If they are not saved (because, as you said, not all of them are), how much sin is being covered? A partial covering of some of their sins? How does that relate to the practical application of limited atonement? Jesus died for the sins of the elect and some of the sins of children of unbelievers?Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
I think you might need to think some of this through within the context of the older administrations of the covenant. Though throughout God’s redemptive progress there are marked changes in appearance, the covenant of grace, in essence, is the same throughout the ages.Circumcision is, according the Paul, a sign of the surgical removal of the sinful flesh. And he makes clear that this sign is the spiritual equivalent to baptism in water. (Col. 2:11-2) (the washing away of sinful impurity). Both signs point away from the recipient to the work of Christ, which makes both the removal of the sinful flesh and the purification of the flesh possible through his life, death, burial and resurrection. Yet, both Ishmael and Isaac received the sign of the covenant, the sign of the removal of sinful flesh. (could we table the gender discussion for the time being? 🙂 )So here’s the million dollar question:Was Isaac more entitled to the sign of the covenant than Ishmael? What about all the other generational recipients of the sign within the true olive tree who were “cut off” because of unbelief? Within the covenantal progression, God has marked out a “people” for himself (“I will be your God and you shall be my people, and your children after you” Gen. 17:7-8; By Peter – “For this promise is for you and for your children” Acts 2:39) that has included individuals, their families and subsequently their societies, and that “people” is an objectively recognizable group, set apart for the task of bringing all things into submission to Christ’s kingdom.The hang-up I have over a good amount of your reasoning is two-fold: that it would even deny the sign of circumcision to children of Jewish believers (because it was a sign of a redemptive significance that they had not actively appropriated for themselves by public profession of faith) and that it is too concerned with the secret counsels of God and determining who is elect, propitiated, eschatologically redeemed and sanctified. I referenced Deut. 29:29 for this reason. God had given commands to his people regarding what to do (including instruction on the position of their children and the task they had been commissioned with in teaching the law of God to them in order that they would not harden their hearts like the previous generation) What do we say to this? That we will somehow change God’s decree if we follow a proper formula? Certainly not. We will not thwart God’s decreed plan, nor will we change his mind, but He has decreed that his plan be worked out through ordinary means. And the ordinary things are those which have been revealed to us…the secret things still belong to the Lord. Providing a Godly offspring, a holy offspring, to married believers is part of that divinely ordained plan. (Malachi 2:15; 1 Cor 7)Sanctification, in its most stringent definition, is simply a setting apart from some thing to another thing. We commonly use it to refer to the antithesis of mortification that works itself out in becoming more and more able to live unto Christ. This is completely congruent with Peter’s admonition to “make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10) and Paul’s admonition to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…” (Phil. 2:12) Because of God’s covenant faithfulness, he gives himself as covenant God to believers and their children (I will be your God). Scripture is clear on the inclusion of His people’s children in his gracious covenant.As to how much they are sanctified, we may need to quibble with the writer of Hebrews, unless we recognize that those who belong to the visible body of Christ (believers and their children) truly are united to Christ, while not definitively in an eschatological sense, but certainly in an objective sense that God takes very seriously.What does this do for the need of active faith? It does much, but first we must realize the distinction between the ground of our justification and the instrument of our justification; the distinction between the objective and the subjective. The work of Christ is objective fact and is the only ground of our justification. Obedient faith is the subjective reality and hence the instrument by which justification is obtained. (And let us not forget that even that obedient faith is quickened in us by God’s graciousness, rather than it somehow inorganically springing up within us) The same is true for all who come into Christ’s church, whether by professed faith or by progeny, but both are expected to make that calling sure by the exercising of obedient faith. Godly parents, seeking to raise their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) should expect the same fruit in their children, they are to be taught (viz. catechized) to love God and His word. They are expected to grow up into mature faith. Any wise and gracious parent knows that they do not chasten their 1 year old for a difficulty found in saying “anthropomorphism”, yet at twenty-one the expectation should be quite different. I would suggest that God is quite similar in expecting from His people the measure of faith that they are capable of exhibiting as they grow in His truth because He is not a God who forgets His promise to be a God to us and to our children.
Obviously there is an extensive amount of research and discussion to put us on the same page so we can even begin to discuss this. My request is that we take this offline. If anyone else reading this would like to be kept in the loop, email me or Jon and we will oblige.
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