October 11, 2017
Why the Cross?
The Cross Received and Rejected
Psalm 76:10 (NASB)
For the wrath of man shall praise You;
With a remnant of wrath You will gird Yourself.
The Bible teaches that God will be glorified in His saints the day of His return, but the Bible also teaches “Surely the wrath of man shall praise you; the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt” (Ps. 76:10).
Proverbs 16:4 also states that “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” What good purpose could come from the terrible day of judgement that will fall upon wicked people? What type of praise will God receive for having executed His wrath upon men?
Romans 9:22-23 “What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy which He has prepared beforehand for glory…?”
God Almighty is not ashamed of His attributes. He desires to make known His mercy, but also to be revealed as great in wrath, awesome in power, and just to punish.
In David’s prayer of repentance after committing adultery with Bathsheba he says “Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgement (Psalm 51:4).” We know that God does not need to be “justified” in a sense like we do, but rather this word means He will be shown as righteous and just, and will make manifest what He already is. Our sin brings us guilt that is like a rotting in our bones. It can tear apart families and leads us down the road to death. All of sin’s results, including final judgement will cause men to be undeniably sure that all of God’s judgements and words were blameless.
Paul quotes Psalm 51:4 and brings up this argument: “But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world” (Romans 3:5-6)?
This is ample evidence to show God desires to show forth His justice, and that He will be right and fair in doing so. When we accuse God of being unfair, we elevate ourselves above God and are considering that God may be unrighteous. God’s plan and execution of redemption and judgement is perfect. At the final judgement the redeemed will glorify God for dealing perfect justice, and their praises will be exalted higher upon the visual realization of what they have been spared from.
Those who receive Christ are called “the redeemed;” those who reject Christ are called “reprobates.”
In 1947 the cover of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine featured a clock with its hands seven minutes from midnight. This clock, known since as the Doomsday Clock, was supposed to illustrate how close the world was to final destruction. What’s wrong with the world? Answer: People.
The world has not been destroyed these past 55 years, but since that famous clock was introduced billions of people have personally and individually died. In fact, the world's death rate remains constant at 100%. It would be a tragedy of eternal proportions for the clock to strike midnight and the sinner to die a reprobate. A reprobate is one who rejects Christ (Psalm 2:12).
The Definition of a Reprobate
The word comes from Latin and means "to disapprove." Probate in English means "to prove." The Bible uses the term reprobate at least 10 times (8 in the New Testament) and it translates the Geek word adokimos (Romans 1:28) which means "to not stand the test." This word was used in the market place for the results of the testing of precious metals. It carries the idea that God "disapproves and then condemns as unworthy." This seems to be what Jesus is describing in Matthew 7:23 when the Lord says, "Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." By nature, we all are reprobates, but God, by grace, has chosen to make approvable the disapproved. This is the process of salvation. This is also why the Apostle Paul tell us to… "examine... prove... and know... lest ye be reprobates" (II Corinthians 13:5). What are signs?
The Description of a Reprobate
A short description - The person "disapproved by God" is easily identified by the writings of the Apostle Paul. A reprobate is one who "senselessly loves darkness” (see Romans 1:21). “Their foolish (senseless) heart was darkened." The word darkness comes from a word that means "to cover, like a tent." It is the nature of a reprobate to love darkness! The gospel is universally rejected (John 3:16-21).
A specific description - (see Appendix #1)
A summary description - a reprobate is one who never turns from sin (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
The Destruction of a Reprobate
For those who are deliberate in their theological thinking an objection arises. How can God punish the person who sins against Him when the sinner does what he does because it is his nature to do it? We are "born in iniquity" and yet Jesus says "depart from Me ye that work iniquity." How is that fair? "We are sure that the judgment of God is according to the truth" (Romans 2:2). We must never forget that God is righteous in condemning sinners who love their darkness! He sets the standard of what is right. You are without excuse and escape. The only hope that a reprobate has is that God melts his heart.
The Mark of the Redeemed Is Love (Agape)
- Love is the mark of genuine Christianity.
Jesus said by our love "all people will know" that we are His disciples (John 13:35). "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (I John 4:16).
- Love is the most misused word in the English language.
It is misused because love has come to mean something other than God's definition. Have you used a word in conversation that means something else to other people? Love is a verb, not a noun. Love is the active, selfless, and faithful giving of oneself for the good of another.
- Love is something that is both caught and taught.
When you see it, you know it. Love overflows our hearts when love fills our hearts.
- Love is a gift from God and the gift of God.
- The power of the cross is seen by comparing God’s love to the activities of the reprobates.