Regeneration or Reprobation (Revisited)

Regeneration or Reprobation (Revisited)
Gospel Hardened
Robert Wurtz II

The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed by the fire; the founder is smelting in vain: for the wicked are not drawn off. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them (Jeremiah 6:29-30).




There are many people in the world today that are in inconceivable danger. Rebellion has taken root until it has taken their mind. The same was true of the people in the time of Jeremiah. God had turned the temperature up in the lives of these Israelites until the bellows caught fire and burned up. This is an awful picture of people that refuse to turn to God no matter what He does to arrest their attention. C.S. Lewis used to say that “pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Pain is a form of distress, and it comes in many forms. Matthew Henry once said that “God is never at a loss for a means of dealing with rebellious people; His quiver is always full.” 

No matter what God does, the rebellious refuse to repent and believe. It is a sad and vexing reality. God provides the necessities of life as an expression of His goodness, and yet sinners go on pretending He has done nothing at all. An attitude of “expectation” and “entitlement” enters in, along with a general ungrateful spirit, ripening the person for total destruction. They credit anything and everything for what they are or have, except the God that provided. What happens? God’s goodness is disregarded and scoffed at — so He has to turn the temperature up; that is to say, He has to bring greater pain and distress. Contrary to the health and wealth heresy gospel, God is not in the business of giving people good and comfortable lives; He is about saving souls. Did Jesus shed His blood so men and women could be comfortable? Obviously not. God wants sons and daughters. God wants people who will agree with what is right and surrender their lives to Him. 

Many people want Heaven, they just want a heaven after their own lusts. They don’t want God to be there. They blasphemously envision partying and all kinds of sinful acts going on there. Just attend a funeral of a lost sinner, and you will hear the comments of how the dead are enjoying a Jack Daniels or some other crazy notion. I have been to funerals where the deceased were given 4 aces in their hands or a pack of smokes in their pocket as if they were headed to some Las Vegas style poker match. Horrified as I was, this is the mentality of the reprobate. They have lost all sense of rationality and right and wrong. Having heard Gospel messages perhaps hundreds of times throughout their lives — they became Gospel hardened. Their faculties have become pickled, and I wonder whether God will ever grant them repentance. 

Many are simply unwilling to be saved; that is, they are unwilling to be saved on the terms upon which God will save them. Some so-called ministers understand this, so they modify the Gospel to make it more acceptable. Paul makes a staggering statement in Acts while speaking to a massive group of soon-to-be reprobates, Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). Many ministers preach as if God is asking people if they would like to repent. This is not the case at all; God is commanding all men everywhere to repent. It is a direct order from God. You and I are commanded to repent. To ignore this command for one more second is to invite a greater level of reprobation and with it a growing doubt as to whether or not you will ever be saved. 

Ask sinners whether they are willing to be saved, and they almost universally and sincerely say “yes,” but they will only be saved upon their own terms. However, when the minister offers God’s terms for salvation, they make excuses. The only terms on which they can possibly be saved, they reject. As the rich young ruler, they go away sorrowful. I think about the hundreds of people that I have ministered to over the years that have turned away from Christ just like that rich young ruler. Some went away sorrowful, not having great possessions, but have little more than the shirt on their back. You do not have to be rich to become a reprobate, all you have to do is keep resisting God and rejecting the Gospel. 

I have seen perhaps thousands of people go forward to make commitments to serve God over the years, and yet they never followed through. Was it not an insult to God to make a false commitment? The only true reason that anyone is not a Christian, is that they are unwilling to repent, turn to Christ and obey the Gospel. Many have done this until they don’t even feel God anymore; they are reprobate. The bellows are burned up from fanning the flames of adversity in their life, and yet they have only hardened and became more evil. They have treasured up wrath against the day of judgment; they have trodden under foot the blood of Christ; they have traded almost nothing for their everlasting soul. Many keep telling themselves there is time, and that they will repent in the end. They are blinded even now and are being made into vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. Like Pharaoh, they are becoming increasingly bolder in their sinning. They don’t feel conviction or their conscience. The Holy Ghost has been grieved away, and their conscience is seared with a hot iron. With each passing second, they are hardening all the more- getting farther from God and the ark of safety. 

I look at young people that are now adults and tremble. People that have heard things that many prophets and great men desired to hear and did not hear them. God has poured out His Spirit to them and shown them many signs and wonders. Nevertheless, the rebellion and the reprobation goes on. The trouble is, I have been at the bedside of the rebellious as they we passing into eternity. Many people think they will come to God on their death bed, but I have watched the blank stares when you try to share the Gospel. I have been told of the terror that the person felt knowing in a short while they were about to face God; only to never see them alive again. They lived their whole lives rebelling against God and playing games — never getting serious about their soul. Now they are in their grave. I have watched many at the end of their life struggle to receive the grace of the Gospel. Years of running and rebelling had finally caught up. 

Of the funerals and memorial services, I have presided over, I often come back to the words of Solomon. He had it all. He had everything this world wants and in super abundance. He was drowning in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. He called it all vanity. Nevertheless, he ended his thoughts with these words I would like to leave in this entry to those who are following a similar path;  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; […] Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.    

I Fear For You

I Fear For You
Robert Wurtz II

 I fear for you, lest my work towards you has been wasted. (Galatians 4:11)

 Of all of Paul’s letters, this is the only one we know of that was written with his own hand writing. Generally he began his letters with a greeting, written with his own hand, and then dictated the letter to a trusted helper (amanuensis). He then closed the letter with his own hand so that the recipient would know it had come from Paul and was authentic. This was likely due to poor eyesight or poor handwriting that prevented Paul from writing neatly and uniformly. This letter to the Galatians was written from beginning to end with Paul’s own handwriting. Can you imagine the reaction of the people receiving this letter? It would likely have looked like a child had written it, because the letters would have been so large (Galatians 6:11 NKJV) What could possibly be so urgent that Paul would take up his pen and write an entire epistle all by himself? the readers knew immediately that this was a very serious situation. Why did he do it? I fear for you, lest my work towards you has been wasted. (Galatians 4:11)

The Bellows is Burned!



I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way. They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters. The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them. (Jeremiah 6:27-30)


This is a most troubling passage. The prophet employs the metaphor of a founder (similar to a blacksmith) to show how God had ‘turned the temperature up’ in the peoples lives in an attempt to see them purified, but they would not repent. In ancient times a founder would build a fire inside a fire proof box and then use a large bellows to force air into the fire making it hotter and hotter. This is how the temperature could rise to melt and purify metals. Our passage is dealing with God as the Founder heating a person’s life up until the fire got so hot that the bellows burned up! This is an amazing picture of God trying to see folk saved that just got worse and worse in the process until figuratively even the bellows caught fire. Amazing! That is a hopeless situation. Everything just consumed in the fire. Some people will never repent no matter how difficult the circumstances become or what God employs in their life to secure their repentance. It was a total waste of time or in Paul’s words, 
I fear for you, lest my work towards you has been in vain. (Galatians 4:11)


Fearing for others

Have you ever been at the bedside of a person that knowingly and willfully lived for the Devil all of their life and then tried to come to God at the end? I have. I know of a man that cursed and blasphemed as if God was not listening- all the while knowing the Bible and what was right and wrong. After many years of this I watched him struggle to believe that God could forgive him. At last he told me after many weeks that knowing he was facing the Judgment of God he was scared ________, having used and explicative. Those were the last words I ever remember him saying to me. He died the following week. I think of a man now deceased that others and I poured countless hours into. He would mock and make light of the things of God as if God was not watching him. The time would fail to tell of people I have ministered to, living and dead that I fear for. We all know people like this. The stories are common place. What was the problem? 

Rebellion

It was rebellion pure and simple. Rebels often portray themselves as victims. God is not buying it. Seven billion people in this world and every one of them has a story. Jesus contrasted societies to bring reality home to the Jews. He talked about Sodom and Gomorrah rising up in judgment; a people known for their perversion. He spoke of Nineveh that was the capitol of Assyria- an empire so violent that God nearly wiped their capitol city off the face of the earth, rising in judgment against those that would not believe. Why? Because Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and the people of Sodom would have repented in sackloth and ashes if they had heard the preaching of Jesus. We have heard it! What about us? We think God sent Sodom to hell and turned the temperature up, but Jesus said it will be worse for us than for them on the day of judgment. Paul said, “I fear for you!” Amen.   

Foolishness

Rebellion is deceptive because the person rebelling doesn’t realize that the enemy is at their beckon call providing them with the resources they need to rebel. He is the master excuse seller. He is the manufacturer of lies and can churn them out at a pace to make Henry Ford step back. He gets the people doped up or drunk and then they start uttering all kinds of Satan’s horrendous blasphemies and lies against God and Heaven. Some commit sins that would make a demon tremble. Many of these are people that once knew the truth that are turning back to other gods not knowing that they may well be damning their own soul in their folly. Paul said, “I fear for you!” Many have hardened their hearts and seared their conscience until they don’t even feel conviction anymore.   

 As Paul was dealing with the situation at Galatia, we too have to deal with folks turning away from the faith in our times; people that play games with God not knowing the danger they are in. “I fear for you” is not just an expression: it is a reality that many of us as ministers feel for folks that live in rebellion. It is a dangerous thing to live in sin and know better. Judgment will be proportional to knowledge. But even now in this life I have seen the hand of God’s judgment upon people. Even as I type this my mind is swirling with names and faces of people that I have sought to reach with the Gospel and they have trod it all under foot- generally with the attitude that they will serve God when they get ready. I fear for them.     

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