By Patrick Hawthorne
6 “Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. 7 You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious! (Ezekiel 2 NLT bold/underline mine)
This message has been burning within me for several weeks. The problem is that I just did not know how to get it out in a cohesive, non-argumentative manner. So, after praying about it and asking the Lord to guide my thoughts I will just jump in with both feet and “Let er’ rip.”
The thought that has been running around in Ye Ole Cranium is, “God is calling. Are we listening?” There is a popular teaching asserting that God calls some but not others to salvation and that His call is irresistible, meaning that those whom He calls cannot resist that call. A large portion of this teaching comes from Romans Chapter 9.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? (Romans 9:19-21 NKJV bold/underline mine)
Reading chapter 9, I honestly understand why some are guided by the thought that God calls some but not others. As such, my desire is not for argument but to present another thought that might shed light to this subject.
My assertion is that, as in Ezekiel 2 and several more places in Ezekiel, God is calling, yet He DOES know who will hear and who will not. Looking back at verse seven of Ezekiel 2, the Lord says, “You must give them My messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen for they are completely rebellious. Yet, later on in Chapter nine, He gives instruction to mark those who sigh and cry at the rebellion of the people; kill the rest. This indicates that He DOES know who will listen and who will not.
Now, let’s apply this to the New Covenant – New Testament.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3: 9-10 bold/underline mine).
What if – and I truly believe this to be – but what if the Lord is actively calling all to repentance through His Holy Spirit knowing that some will answer the call but others will not? As we see from Ezekiel, God does send out the messengers with His words of warning. Yet, He knew that some would receive those words and some would not. Consider the words of Stephen, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” (Acts 7:21 KJV underline/bold mine)
Let’s take this a step further. If God knows who will heed the message and who will not, does He now have the right to use to His benefit those who He knows will refuse His call? Absolutely…and I believe this is the heart of what is being conveyed in Romans Chapter 9 which is a continuation of thought with Romans chapter 1 where He has written…
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
Again, my reasoning for writing this post is not to be argumentative but to show that God, as stated in His Word, is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance. So, my question remains. “God is calling. Are we listening?” Be blessed.