In recent years, I have grown more interested in what I call, “the dark side of theology.” It is the theology I have never heard preached or taught. It is only in reading that I have met the theologians who communicated this truth.
The dark side of theology is biblical. It is simply avoided by pastors and professors because it is not a popular doctrine to be taught. In some cases, pastors do not even believe the truth of this matter because of their exposure to Universalism or Arminianism with a positivist bent.
As noted, and because it is biblical, the dark side of theology is nothing new. I am indebted to the Puritans for fearlessly writing and preaching these shadowy themes. What am I writing about? It is simply the other side of salvation. The old-timers referred to it as “damnation.”
There is a multitude of humanity that has never opened a Bible. There are others who have never heard the Gospel preached. There are multitudes who have heard and yet do not believe in Jesus Christ so to be saved from the eternal wrath of God following judgment.
The unbeliever is at no time seeking God. He is never looking for Jesus as his Savior. He has no will nor ability to choose to decide to follow Jesus. There is nothing in him that desires God. The Bible is clear that he is dead, that is, spiritually dead in his trespasses and sins. He has zero interest in the things of the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14; Eph 2:1–3).
All people are born without the knowledge of Christ. Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God, must be taught to each soul. If faith is to manifest, then one must hear the Word of Christ and that Word must be brought into the heart and mind by the Holy Spirit. In this, it is obvious that God, not man, is the catalyst in salvation. Salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1).
While some unbelievers are granted faith by God because they are elect and redeemed, the vast majority of those who do not believe in Jesus will never do so. They were not appointed to eternal life (Acts 13:48). God the Father never predestined them to adoption as sons, nor did He give them to God the Son as His possession (Jn 17:2, 6, 24). Hence, the unbeliever who does not belong to Christ, does not belong to God the Father. God’s Spirit will never do His work in this majority of humanity.
The natural man has a sin nature inherited from his first parents, Adam and Eve (Eph 2:3). Sinning is man’s daily practice. Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4). Sin is the reason for the state of the world and the state of every person. Death is the conclusion of sin, and it is appointed once for a man to die and then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27).
The judgment already exists (Jn 3:18) for in Adam all die (1 Cor 15:22). The execution of the eternal death sentence will occur on the last day when Christ returns, and the resurrection of the dead is commanded by Christ the Lord. As vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, the unbelieving unredeemed, unregenerate will be raised to judgment. The body and soul of the reprobate will enter eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).
In protest, the reprobate judges God for not saving everyone. The reprobate himself provokes the glorious display of God’s perfect justice. Who is worthy to be judge and/or to be judged? God has entrusted judgment of the living and the dead to Jesus Christ, our Lord. The reason is that He is the Man without sin, who is exalted to the great white throne of God. His judgments are true and just, and all must give an account to Him (2 Cor 5:10).
Preachers deceive people when they refuse to venture into the dark side of theology. They have bloodguilt upon them when they do not warn all people of the wrath of God to come. They must call all men everywhere to repent from sin and to God. They must preach Christ and Him crucified, in order to be found faithful as a slave of Christ entrusted with a stewardship.
As a simple herald of the Gospel, the preacher is not responsible for anyone’s conversion to Christ. It is the Spirit who gives or withholds life to each person. The natural man does not have the Spirit. The spiritual man does have the Spirit because the Spirit caused him to be born again (Eph 2:5; 1 Pet 1:3) and indwells him (Rom 8:9, 11).
It is God’s prerogative to do with His creation as He wishes. In His revealed Word (Bible), God has told us that only a remnant of people will be saved, and this is according to His gracious choice (Rom 11:5). The unbeliever is the one who scoffs at the doctrines that explain his own plight and doom. As for the believer, he not only believes the dark side of theology, but it causes him to fear God in all humility, and he gives thanks to God for so great a salvation (1 Thess 5:18; Heb 2:3).
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 10, 2021