Reprobate? Objections & Answers

A gem of an excerpt from Chapter 6, “Eternal Predestination: Election and Reprobation,” in Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Vol. 1, 245-246.

Objection: I feel within my heart that I am not one of the elect but rather a reprobate, and that therefore I shall never be converted.

Answer: This is an untruth and nothing but imagination. No man can know whether he is a reprobate because God has not revealed this in His Word. The Lord does not have such intimate communion with the ungodly that He would make this known to them in an extraordinary way.

Objection: Some have known this, such as [Francis] Spira and others.

Answer: They had no knowledge of this but it was mere imagination. I am neither suggesting that their imaginations could not have been true, nor that they did not belong to the elect, all of which could be true. I am saying, however, that they neither knew this from Scripture nor from immediate revelations, but rather from their imagination. It has happened that some who with such certainty imagined themselves to belong to the reprobate, just as these others, were subsequently converted. Others who were already converted received much assurance concerning their election.

Objection: Those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost know that they are reprobates.

Answer: Those who have sinned against the Holy Ghost are indeed reprobates: however, such do not come to repentance after the commission of this sin, but persevere in wickedness and without any sensitivity continue in their rage against God. Since therefore you neither know nor are able to ascertain this, and all this is but imaginary, why are you then so foolish to torment yourself with unfounded imaginations?

Objection: I know that I am unconverted, have once been enlightened, and that I have been hardened under the use of so many means. May I not conclude my reprobation out of all this?

Answer: Suppose that you are presently unconverted, have resisted previous enlightenment and conviction, and have hardened yourself against the Word of God; even then you may not conclude your reprobation, for you can still be converted. It is also possible that you are neither conscious of your own condition nor of the grace which the Lord has already granted you. It is one thing to be a recipient of the life of grace, but it is additional grace to be conscious of those things which God has granted us. No matter how you view your state, you cannot know whether or not you are a reprobate, and therefore ought to desist from this foolishness and reject it outright.

Thirdly, let the revealed will of God be your guide. In the gospel God offers His Son Jesus Christ, inviting all who are desirous to come to Him to do so. He promises that all who believe in the Son will have eternal life, while promising at the same time that none will be cast out who come to Him. God will never damn anyone but for his sins. God does not prevent anyone from repentance, believing in Christ, and salvation. God is not the cause of anyone’s damnation. Man and his own free will are to be blamed for the fact that he lives an ungodly life, and it is therefore just when God punishes and damns him for his sins. Let the Word of God be your rule and cease from entertaining these haughty imaginations. Seek Christ, believe in Him, pray, do battle against sin, and believe, so that, by proceeding according to Scripture, you will be saved. This way is both a steadfast and safe way.

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