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.    

The Road of No Return

The Road of No Return
Robert Wurtz II

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38, 39)

Our passage is a sobering conclusion that leads up to Hebrews 11 where the writer gives multiple examples of people who died in faith. The faithful of Hebrews 11 pleased God. They are contrasted with those in chapter 10 who hear the Gospel and yet go on as if they never heard. God said, “My soul will have no pleasure in them.” They are unfaithful and are compared to those who died without mercy after they heard and then despised Moses’ Law. The word preached did not profit them because it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it. Some hear and then “draw back” unto perdition (total destruction). We are left to contemplate their fate by considering a great question: Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 MKJV)  

They Died Without Mercy

There are many examples of people who died or were sorely punished for profaning the holy things of God. Nadab and Abihu were burned up for offering strange fire. They died for their innovation. So serious was their crime that their father, Aaron, was not allowed to mourn their death. Uzzah was another innovator. In the time of David he and his assistants placed the Ark of the Covenant on a “new” cart- as if his new idea somehow trumped God’s ancient laws. When his new idea started to fail he made the mistake of reaching up to steady the Ark. As we know, he was smitten dead for his error. Many years later King Uzziah became another innovator. Though withstood by some eighty valiant men he went into the House of God to offer incense and was smitten with leprosy. He died that way. In time Belshazzar the Babylonian ruler was another innovator. He decided to liven up his party by bringing in and drinking from the sacred cups of the Levitical priesthood that were captured when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. A hand appeared on the wall with a message that in effect he had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. He was killed that night. 

The time would fail to mention others such as Achan who decided to flagrantly disobey God by stealing the spoils that were to be set apart to God. He and his whole family perished for their sin and their bodies burned. These are the type of stories that ought to come to mind when we read the words, Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 

Profaning

To “profane” something means to trample it down as was the ground outside the door of the Tabernacle. The ground outside the door was like any other ground on earth; but when you passed the thresh hold into the House of God, you were in another world. In a figure- you just passed into the heavenlies. This was God’s domain. It was utterly sacred. To err here is to risk ones life. And yet all of these things were merely figures of the truth. Men died for treating this place as “common” and “unholy.” To tread here as if you were any place else was to be met with judgment. God was teaching us the difference between the holy and the profane.

How more worse punishment do you suppose one deserves who is trampling the Son of God? They are profaning the blood of Christ as if His death were no different than any other man’s death. Some may reverence the work of the cross with their mouth, but their rebellious and sinful actions are trodding Christ under foot. Interestingly, the same Greek word is used here for men who trod under foot salt that has lost its savor. Nobody in their right mind would think of trampling under foot the Ark of the Covenant, the blood of the sacrifices, the holy anointing oil or the other sacred objects of Temple service; nevertheless, Jesus Christ is trampled under foot on a regular basis by multitudes of people who have heard the Gospel and have not repented and turned to Him in faith. They think they are waiting to “get saved” when they are ready; but they are really trampling Christ and His shed blood under their feet. People under the Old Covenant died without mercy under two or three witnesses. What punishment do these people deserve? This is what the writer to the Hebrews is asking us to consider.

People all over the world will wake up today having heard the Gospel at some point in their life and will go on sinning as if it’s no big deal. Some are so proud and rebellious that they have heard bits and pieces and scorn the message- refusing to take time to hear the whole thing. They are their own worst enemy. Most are crazy enough to believe that what they are doing is normal and that people live in sin all the time and repent when they get ready. I have wondered all my Christian life where this notion of “I’ll get saved when I’m ready” comes from. Many ministers almost console people that reject Christ as if they are afraid they are offending them. As if what they are doing is no big deal. Truly, to reject Christ is the worst of all sins because it is a road covered with Christ and His shed blood. It is a road of no return. It is the pathway to total perdition. In the New Testament when a person rejected the Gospel Jesus said to wipe the dust off your feet as a testimony against them for the day of judgment (Mark 6:7-13). Wiping the dust off was a way of totally disassociating yourself from the person’s actions. It suggested that you are now free from the blood of that person. Your conscience is clear- even as Paul told the Ephesians when he left them for the last time. 

In modern times multitudes of people are taking a cavalier and neglectful attitude towards repentance and faith. This is the very thing that the writer to the Hebrews repeatedly warned about. He tells us four times that “today if we hear His voice we are not to harden our heart.” To continue on is to presume to trod underfoot the Son of God, His blood and the covenant that God is offering. To complete the description of the sin one is said to do “despite unto the Spirit of grace.” This is the Holy Spirit. Men resist the Holy Spirit, grieve, and vex the Holy Spirit- but here they are said to insult the Spirit. This is the meaning of Greek word. The root word huper carries the idea of acting superior to. “You are not my boss!” type of attitude. Even if a person does not say it, Hebrews says that is what they are doing when they reject repentance and faith. 

How many people believe that when they have finally sown all their wild oats they will settle down and “get saved.” That is the most dangerous thing they could possibly do. To go on refusing to repent after God has already ceased overlooking sin and ignorance is to invite judgment worse than dying without mercy. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 MKJV) If you are doing such things you are no sowing wild oats- you are trampling down the blood of Christ. You are not having a little fun before you get old and gray- you are insulting the Holy Spirit. The only remedy is to stop it- right here and right now- turn from all your sin and turn to Christ. It is your only chance. While it is said, “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Hebrews 3:15)
 
   
 

The Effects of Sin Upon Beliefs

The Effects of Sin Upon Beliefs
Robert Wurtz II


But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till [there wasno remedy.(2 Chronicles 36:16)

I sometimes wonder what it will take before some people finally turn to Christ sincerely. As a young boy in the seventies, I recall in Sunday School and church being told about all kinds of terrible things that would happen in the ‘last days.’ It would send terror through me. Nevertheless, the truth is, nobody in those days even had the mental and moral depravity to be able to express the level of evil and wickedness that exists in our times. I doubted things could ever get as bad as what the teachers and preachers used to say; but, here we are and in many ways we have blown past their wildest imaginations. Why is this happening? How has it come to this?

The Noetic Effects of Sin

Theologians refer to the condition in which there is an obstinate refusal to acknowledge simple facts about God and His creation they call “the noetic effects of sin.” The fall of man and his and her insistence in continuing in sin has dropped a cloud of darkness over multitudes. Because people refuse to acknowledge God as His creation puts forth its evidence of His existence, He gives them over to their foolish hearts. Denial is, likewise, described by psychologists as a defensive means of coming to terms with difficult facts. People refuse to allow the truth to come into their consciousness. They are stubbornly and deliberately obtuse. This would be bad enough if we were talking about trivial matters; but this is the mentality behind the machinery that is building our culture! 

Some people envision a world that can determine morality independent of God and His word. As Dawkins has put it, “God is no longer necessary.” Nevertheless, we see where it is heading. Recently, an article was put forth in the British newspaper, ‘The Telegraph’ stating, “Killing babies (sic) no different from abortion, experts say. Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.”

Experts? Expert in what? Rebellion? In light of this, it is obvious that fallen man is becoming increasingly incapable of rightly choosing what is good and evil (moral). Why? Because of the noetic effects of sin. Sin and rebellion have a direct effect on a person’s moral judgments. This is almost scary to think about. In the 1980s, there was a campaign promoted by the Partnership For A Drug-Free America (PFDFA)using the slogan, “This is your brain on drugs.” A person would say “this is your brain on drugs” and drop a couple of eggs into a hot frying pan. The searing sound and sight gave the impression that drugs fry your brain. In like fashion, sin fries your moral judgment. The more you partake the more dull it becomes. In fact, we can see from scripture that sin hardens a person’s heart. The problem is that it plays out in three ways:  

1. The heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

2. The devil comes in and further blinds their minds. 

3. God sends strong delusion to those that have pleasure in sin. 


This is the process by which the masses have their judgment totally out of calibration. This is the consequence of rebelling against truth- while enjoying the temporary pleasure of sin. This is how men and women are conditioned to call good evil and evil good.

God has given us an inward “a priori” knowledge of Himself. This is why the Bible never makes a case for the existence of God. People try to put God on trial, but they already know God exists. Moreover, His moral law is the basis of civilized society. When God and His word are removed- the society ceases to act civilized. They may never admit it or they may insist on constantly updating their definitions (v 1.01, v1.02, v1.03, etc.); but their own heart condemns them. This is why they hate Christians. Anyone that says something to awaken their conscience is violently detested. 

We know God is good (moral) because it is His very nature. Like Job, we may not understand at the time what God is doing, but we can trust that He is good. However, indolence and pride rule the day. They reject the light and eventually lose their moral reasoning ability. Ever wonder why its seems impossible to rationalize with people on hot-button moral issues? To them fornication, abortion and to some even infanticide passes muster as “moral.” It is “immoral” to them, to inhibit folk from expressing fornicative acts and prohibiting abortion! And there is no reasoning with some even when the baby is being killed out of the womb. They obstinately refuse to SEE it as immoral. The masses keep on rebelling against what God has told them and then have the nerve to sit back and blame Him for so much of the problems in our times. Amazing! But again, it is the noetic effects of sin on their reasoning ability. The more they sin the darker their mind and reasoning gets. If some of these minds were moral calculators, 2+2 = 6. 


Making ‘Adjustments’

I’m amazed at how easily one can get used to outrageous behavior. Think of the workers in the death camps of WW II that could do their work and go home to their family at night with seemingly no pain of conscience. This ought to shake us. What are human beings really capable of? I think the thing most dangerous to mankind is their proficiency in willful ignorance. They are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Why? Because there is a dishonesty with themselves at the core of their reasoning. The noetic effect of sin has done this. They don’t follow Divine evidence, they tamper with it mentally until it goes in the direction of their wretched lifestyle and evil desires. But what about Christians? Can they be effected by the mindset of the world? Absolutely! This is what Paul expressed in Romans 12 when he said, Do not be conformed to this world.” We have to get away from worldly influences that can mess our minds up. Soon we will think all manor of sin is ‘moral’ and ‘ok’ if we are not careful. 

Universal Madness

Imagine the madness of our times. We have tsunamis wiping out whole cities, bodies washing up on shore by the thousands, earthquakes unsettling the masses in divers places, volcanoes erupting in a wild spectacular combination of molten rock and lightening storm; and yet there is almost a yawn in the mouth of the people. What hardness of heart has allowed even the most spectacular phenomena to have no effect? Sinkholes open up in the earth in South America as if we were facing a foretaste of the Abyss. People seem to carry on as if these foretastes of Hell are merely assessed for their shear entertainment value. Christians being brutally murdered by machete wielding Islamic fundamentalists in third world nations as if they were demon possessed. Men and men and women and women getting married. And then if someone says something about it somehow they are “politically incorrect” or “intolerant.” Has there ever been such high-handedness as we see in our times? It’s almost as if the people have convinced themselves that they have effectively killed God and now are free to act out and do whatever foolery they can imagine no matter how vile.

Where do things go from here?

Imagine a tour bus load of people heading down Pikes Peak with no brakes. The bus is starting to perform all manor of wild acrobatic acts as if Evil Knieval were at the wheel. All the while the people are looking out the windows, popping their champagne and toasting to their fine accomplishments and education. Nobody seems to be hearing the sound of rubber burning off the tires or the creek of the suspension- taxed to its design limits. It’s as if they have convinced themselves that, “Were so educated, we don’t even recognize Newton’s basic laws anymore! Were the generation of the Antinomianists; we do what’s right in our own eyes no matter what it is.” The problem is, the bus is picking up speed and we just passed acceptance of homosexual marriage, and a sign that says, “Sharia Law Ahead.” Stop and ask yourself a question; whether you are an evangelical or an atheist; “Where is this ‘midnight bus to Memphis’ headed?” What will be acceptable in 10 years that would horrify us now? How long until child molestation is legal or until various forms of murder is acceptable? How long until we pass the moral degeneracy of the Nazi’s? Because this bus is rolling on the unlocked wheels of unrestrained wickedness and hardly a rider on board seems to be blushing no matter how reckless and hopeless their plight. 

The Long-Suffering of God

God is waiting today even as He did in the days of Noah. Yet men and women are hardening thmselves more and more. The Galileans are lying dead in the streets and the Tower of Siloam seems to fall every night and folk just keep on as they whist not that unless we all repent we all will likewise perish. It will be too late to mock God when the tide of His judgments are carrying all before it. It will be too late when Hell enlarges itself once again to make room for the bus riders that die by the billions on the way down the mountain. God is not willing that any perish, but man is not willing to hearken unto God and repent. Yet, there will come a point, when the hand of God is directly responsible for the plagues that come upon this earth. There will be no guessing. The Revelation gives a sobering and frightful account, “yet they repented not… but rather blasphemed the one that had power over these plagues…” This is hardness ad infinitum.

Calling Upon God

Hardness brings with it an anger towards God and a destructive self-confidence. Think of Pharaoh. He pursued the people of God after seeing the Finger of God manifest over and over. Soon… he was face down in the water. This is a grim picture of our times. So many are rejecting the Light that they have and partying on as if there is no bottom on this bus ride. The light that now shines is now passing through the prism of God’s longsuffering and grace; but the time will soon come when the rainbow around His throne will turn a brilliant and blinding white as the prism of mercy is gone forever. May men hearken to His voice and receive His grace even now before it is finally too late.  

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