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Reprobation is clearly taught in Holy Scripture. It is a doctrine which should fill our hearts with praise to God our Savior, the Triune Jehovah. Election is God’s choice of some to eternal salvation in Christ. Reprobation is God passing by, not choosing others. Predestination is God’s sovereign, eternal purpose of grace toward and for his elect. Reprobation is God leaving all others to themselves. Salvation is God’s mighty, wondrous works and operations of grace for, in, and upon his chosen. Reprobation is God abandoning others to themselves. Election is God loving Jacob and all the sons and daughters of Jacob. Reprobation is God hating Esau and all the children of Esau. Eternal life is God refusing to leave you alone. Reprobation is God leaving you alone. Salvation is God not leaving you to your will, your choice, and your way. Reprobation is God leaving you to your will, your choice, and your way.
Believe Not, Because
Read John 10:26. Here the Lord Jesus Christ asserts, with unmistakable clarity, the Bible doctrine of reprobation. — “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Read those words again. Be sure you read them just as they stand. Read nothing into the text. Leave nothing out of the text. Do not rearrange the words of the text. Read it just as it stands. Here is reprobation asserted, asserted by the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinner’s Friend. — “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”
What unspeakably solemn words those are! The Lord Jesus is the only man who ever lived who knew who the elect are and who the reprobate are. He alone knows who his sheep are and who the goats are. And here he asserts in the plainest terms possible that these Jews, who caviled at his doctrine in rebellion and unbelief, these men who wilfully stopped their ears and would not hear him, these people who were offended at his doctrine, were reprobates. Now that their character was fully manifested, the Lord did not hesitate to tell them that they were abandoned of God, left to themselves, reprobate. What an unspeakably solemn thing this is!
The force of our Lord’s words is definite and clear. Yet, preachers and theologians and commentators, in their unbelief, have done their best to cut these words out of the Bible altogether. Almost all the commentators explain away the meaning of our Lord’s words in John 10:26 by reversing their order. They rearrange the Master’s words to make them mean what they want them to mean. They read the text this way: — “Because ye believe not, ye are not of my sheep.” — But the text reads, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”
Men always turn the things of God upside down, especially lost religious men. When man comes to something in the Word of God he doesn’t like, something that doesn’t fit his religious system, something that is contrary to his high opinion of himself, instead of bowing to and receiving that which is written in the Book of God, he either ignores it, or rearranges it according to his own whims.
Here the Lord Jesus not only charges these very religious, very devoted Jews with unbelief, but he also tells them why faith had not been granted to them. — They were not of his sheep. They were not numbered among the favored people of God. They were not chosen of God. They were not among God’s elect.
Faith in Christ does not make us his sheep. Rather faith in Christ is the evidence that we are his sheep (Hebrews 11:1). If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you believe because you were given to the Good Shepherd as one of his sheep before the world began. If you continue in willful, obstinate unbelief and perish in your sins, it is because God has left you to yourself, because God has abandoned you to your own will, your own choice, and your own way. You are reprobate.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep!” — What do those words mean? Does the Lord Jesus Christ speak those awful words to you? Obviously, our Lord here asserts the reprobation of those people standing before him who would not believe his gospel. The fact is there are goats as well as sheep in this world. There are reprobates as well as elect sinners among Adam’s sons and daughters. There are vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy in this world (Romans 9:10-24; 1 Peter 2:6-8; Jude 4; John 12:39-40). The same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay; and the same gospel that melts the hearts of God’s elect hardens the hearts of the reprobate.
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep!” — What do those words mean? I’ll tell you exactly what they mean. Those words mean. — I never loved you (Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 9:13). — I never knew you (Romans 8:29-30). — I never chose you (Acts 13:48). — I never entered into a covenant to save you (Jeremiah 31:31-34). — I am not your Surety (Hebrews 7:22). — I did not redeem you (Isaiah 53:8; John 10:11, 15). — I did not come to save you (Matthew 1:21). — I have never prayed for you (John 17:9, 20). — I never called you (Romans 8:29-30; 2 Timothy 1:9). — I sent you a strong delusion that you should believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). — I have set the world in your heart, so that you cannot find my work and know me (Ecclesiastes 3:11). — I have blinded your eyes so that you cannot see (Isaiah 6:9-10; John 12:39-40; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
“Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep.” — That means God is determined to destroy you. There is no hope for your soul.
God has mercy on whom he will; and whom he will, he hardens. There is no question about that fact. And your unbelief will not nullify God’s purpose or alter his will. You everlasting damnation will cause no grief in glory. The only person you injure by your rebellion is yourself. And you heap upon yourself the fire of hell forever by your unbelief. God will send you to hell because you demanded that he leave you alone. God will send you to hell only because you justly deserve to go to hell (Romans 6:23; Proverbs 1:23-33; 29:1). If you go to hell, it will be your fault alone. You will have no one to blame but yourself.
Our Lord’s assertion of reprobation should inspire praise and thanksgiving in the hearts of his elect (vv. 27-30). The Lord God could have left you to yourself. He could have abandoned you. But he chose you to salvation! Every time we think about God’s just judgment upon poor reprobates, lost forever, forever abandoned by him, let us lift our hearts in praise to our great and glorious Lord God, the God of all grace, the Father of mercies, who has saved us by his grace (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).