The Bible is very clear that God reveals Himself, not to all people, but to those He chooses according to His free will. In other words, no one can know God the Father, unless Jesus wills to reveal Him to them (Mt 11:27).
Particular revelation was a cause for praise in Old Testament, “He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel, 20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His ordinances they have not known them. Praise the Lord (Ps 147:19–20)!”
God sends His Gospel preachers to whom He reveals Himself, even denying the path of those preachers from reaching certain others (Acts 16:6–7). Paul preached that God had left the nations to go their own way (Acts 14:16), that way being the way of destruction. Even with the Gentile inclusion, after Pentecost, the doctrine of the remnant still stands (Rom 11:5; 2 Tim 2:10).
These examples ruin the Arminians’ misuse of 2 Peter 3:9, where they claim that God does not wish for anyone, anywhere to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 is only one link in the great chain of errors in the misconceived Arminian system of man-centered theology.
The Arminians claim that God shows Himself ready to reveal Christ to all men. While claiming God is Savior, they deny this by positioning man as the final agent, of determining who is saved and who is not saved. In their scheme, God sends preachers with the well meant offer of the Gospel. In their Gospel, God has demonstrated His love for everybody, everywhere, by sending Jesus to die on the cross to pay for everyone’s sins.
In fear of taking the next logical step to Universalism, the Arminian changes the unconditional covenant of grace to a conditional covenant of works. In fear of appearing too Roman Catholic, the Arminians claim there is only one work, not many. The one work is the obedience of faith, where every man decides for himself whether he will let Jesus save him…or not.
For those who have never heard of Jesus or the Gospel of salvation, some Arminians blame the church, for not working hard enough to get them into a possible position of being saved. Other Arminians go so far as to imagine there must be more than one way of salvation. Apparently, God’s common grace is sufficient and efficient for all people to have the possibility of being saved, but no one is actually saved, until he or she decides.
Common grace is an Arminian conception, derived from their denial of the total depravity of man. Hindered man is able to respond to the light of nature in God’s creation, which apparently reveals God and His salvation to all people. Man’s simple task is to cooperate with God, based on whatever general revelation and general grace has been afforded to that person. It is the person’s responsibility to make a good choice.
People can improve their chances of making a right, free will decision, by improving how much grace is given to them by God. One may have nature, while another has chosen to diligently seek God, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, and God will reward these seekers with His Law, which is more light for their consideration. For this reason, Arminians are constantly fighting with the world to have the Ten Commandments posted in public places.
All of these notions serve to support the grudging acknowledgement that the Bible uses words like, “predestined,” “elect,” and “grace” — these must be redefined to keep man in the driver’s seat and God in the back seat. God, according to the Arminian, looks down the tunnel of time to see who will choose Jesus and who will reject Him. Hence, with this foreknowledge, God is now able to respond in eternity past and before Creation, to predestine the elect, who selected themselves for salvation in time.
God has subjected Himself to the free will of man, in every aspect of the actuation of salvation. Now that we have entertained a relevant portion of man-centered theology, let us turn to the truth of God-centered theology, the theology of our fathers, the Reformers.
God’s revelation of Himself, as we began this article, is particular. By sending His Holy Spirit to his elect, redeemed — the Word of Christ, who is the head of the Israel of God (Is 49:1–6; Gal 6:16; Col 1:18), imparts the knowledge of the truth of God’s sovereign grace to His chosen people (1 Pet 2:9), giving them faith (Rom 10:17; Phil 1:29) to fear God (Prv 1:7).
History proves the grace of God unto salvation is not to all people, nor is His love, nor is Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. Both the Arminian and the Universalist are together wrong in these matters of fiction, authored by them.
Purported common grace, being the light of nature or even the Law of God, does not bring anyone to evangelical salvation. Common grace is a myth, and the Law only condemns all in Adam (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:22). The light of nature is so dim, there is no knowledge of salvation in its general revelation.
Christian, once again you are confronted with amazing sovereign grace. Grace that predestined you to election as God’s children (Eph 1:4–5; 1 Jn 3:1, 10), by God’s free will and choice (Jn 1:13; Rom 9:16; 11:5), has been revealed to you in particular. God’s Spirit found you when you were lost (Lk 19:10). He raised your dead soul to life (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). He has taught you about His everlasting love for you (Jer 31:3), as a member of Christ’s body, His church (Is 49:6; 1 Cor 12:13).
God’s Spirit sought you, to fulfill God’s eternal purpose for you in Christ (Eph 3:11). Christ has chosen by His own free will, to illumine you, even indwell you with His Spirit (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 1:21–22; Jas 4:5). He has not chosen this particular revelation to be illumined, as it is preached to all Creation (Mk 16:15), to vessels of wrath prepared for destruction — that is, the unelect, unredeemed, unregenerate, unbeliever. Fully responsible themselves, these die in their sins, having not received the mercy of God (Rom 9:15, 22). They cannot see the kingdom because they are not born again of the Spirit of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Cor 2:14; Heb 12:14).
Your Father’s particular election (Eph 1:4–5), followed by Christ’s particular redemption (Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 2:24), followed by the Spirit’s particular application (Rom 8:9), by way of his particular revelation (Mt 11:25–27; Lk 10:21), is your salvation. God has done it all by Himself and for Himself that all would boast in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the great things they have done (1 Cor 1:30), to actually save God’s people from their sins (Mt 1:21) and from His wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10). Got revelation? Rejoice!
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 13, 2022