Home > Barry Horner, Creation, doctrines, eschatology, Israel, J. C. Ryle, premillennialism > God’s People Are Not Offended By God’s Word

God’s People Are Not Offended By God’s Word


How well J.C. Ryle expresses my own understanding:

two points appear to my own mind to stand out as plainly as if written by a sunbeam. One of these points is the second personal advent of our Lord Jesus Christ before the Millennium. The other of these points is the future literal gathering of the Jewish nation, and their restoration to their own land. I tell no man that these two truths are essential to salvation, and that he cannot be saved except he sees them with them with my eyes. But I tell any man that these truths appear to me distinctly set down in Holy Scripture, and that the denial of them is as astonishing and incomprehensible to my own mind as the denial of the divinity of Christ.

One thing I frequently struggle with is the true spiritual condition of those who profess Christ, yet show a general lack of fruit in their lives, including in their attitude towards some (supposedly) non-essential doctrines, especially in regard to matters regarding the past (creation) and the future (God’s future plans):  the very things for which we must trust our God the most, since a) we weren’t there in the past, and b) we cannot know the things of the future.  I realize that this is not something for us to know (the true hearts of others), that such things are in God’s hand, and so continually I bring the matter in prayer before God even as I pray for God to give them the heart-change that only He can do.

It comes back to something Jim McClarty has expressed, very simply:  God’s people are not offended by God’s word.  God’s people love God’s word.  Our understanding of spiritual matters comes from the Holy Spirit present in all believers, and we can only understand spiritual matters when we have the mind of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 2:11-14).  Barry Horner has also expressed the basic thought that all true believers have within them a natural love for God’s people, Israel, within the bounds expressed in Romans 11, that “As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs.”

So when I come across someone who professes faith in Christ, yet is very offended by some of the things clearly taught in scripture, I am troubled and wonder about their true spiritual condition.  It is one thing to be challenged by God’s word, and then to search the matter out and attain a better understanding  — something we all face in our walk with Christ.  After all, we are all finite creatures, limited in our understanding and so we continually learn as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But what about the case of one who consistently shows only hatred of particular doctrines, who refuses to even consider the possibility, and refuses to look at what God’s word has to say about the matter?  I have observed such behavior in regards to the Bible teaching regarding creation, as well as with respect to God’s people, the Jews.  Add also the case of people who profess Christ but *vehemently* reject God’s sovereignty and insist on man’s free will.

Looked at another way, we are all being sanctified, being made ready for Christ in this life.  As a popular song lyric (from Wayne Watson) says, “One day Jesus will call my name.  As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same. I want to get so close to Him, that it’s no big change on that day that Jesus calls my name.”  People who in this life hate God, will not be happy in heaven — such a place would be miserable for them.  To take the analogy further, if someone in this life says they love God, but hates Jews and detests the idea that God will in the future restore them to a place of prominence among the nations:  how are they going to react after this life?  Will they really be happy in heaven, in the presence of God, when they learn that truth which in this life they hated?  Again, as J.C. Ryle expressed, “the denial of them (the two truths) is as astonishing and incomprehensible to my own mind as the denial of the divinity of Christ.”

Certainly all believers desire the salvation of the lost generally, and all believers have at least some concern for Israel and at least recognize their place in history.  Even in my early days as a Christian, though I knew nothing about eschatology (in any form) or any  doctrines beyond the basic gospel message of salvation for sin through Christ’s blood shed on the cross, I never hated or despised any person, or any people group including the Jews, and appreciateded the basic historical facts concerning the role of Israel in history.  From my basic reading from Christian bookstore material, I found it an interesting, curious fact, that the Jews as a people still existed, unlike all the other nations of the Bible times.  I could not have explained why, or connected it with God’s future purposes, but still noted it.

So how do I respond to the professed Christian who generally shows very little interest in spiritual matters and spends the vast majority of his time in secular business pursuits?  That Christian who views regular church attendance as important (in a legalistic way), looks down on those who don’t attend every Sunday and Wednesday as being carnal and worldly, yet scorns any extra devotions or study as being superficial and unnecessary — “I do my daily Bible reading” and “knowledge puffs up” (therefore we shouldn’t study so much) .  More troubling still is that professed believer’s oft-stated hatred of Jews and anything related to the Jewish people — including his insistence that God is through with Israel, and his utter abhorrence of the idea that God would choose anyone based on physical characteristics (i.e., ethnicity, therefore Israel has no greater importance than any other ethnic group).  Can such a person really be a Christian, who expresses such hatred of Jews and puts them as morally on the same level as Muslims (this after I point out that no Jews have tried to blow us up, doing the terrorist acts of many Muslims in this country)?  He won’t get into discussions concerning the actual Bible texts, but only says “you’re wrong” and dismisses the subject.

My responsibility to that person remains the same — love your neighbor as yourself; and do good to your enemies.  I cannot know such a person’s true spiritual condition, but can only judge it in light of what he says and the extent to which it agrees or disagrees with God’s word — but in the final analysis this is something I really must trust the Lord to deal with.  Meanwhile, as Spurgeon said concerning those who cannot yet see certain doctrines (and in this context he spoke specifically about the Millennial kingdom), pray for them — do not try to argue with them with words, for they must come to understand it for themselves, not by external arguments from other people.  I also consider the truth of 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (the believer’s rewards), that the hardened and doctrine-unbelieving Christian is losing out for himself, only harming his own future enjoyment and the full capacity to love God that much more.  Another great scripture to remember is that God has called us to live in peace and to get along with each other, as much as possible (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).

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