Christian: So, then, to whom He desires, He shows mercy. And to whom He desires, He hardens.
Conditionalist Calvinist: A couple of questions for you, sir:
1) Do YOU deserve God’s mercy?
2) Do not we ALL deserve God’s hardening?
Christian: To your first question. No sinner deserves God’s mercy. God at His appointed time shows unconditional mercy to those for whom Christ died by means of the gospel (Galatians 4:1-6). The gospel is not a conditional offer or promise to save His people IF ONLY they would perform some specified condition. For God saves His people conditioned SOLELY on the work of Christ. Salvation is conditioned exclusively on the work of Christ apart from the sinner’s efforts (Romans 3:28).
The gospel truly is “good news” because it is an UNCONDITIONAL PROMISE of God to save His people CONDITIONED on the work of Jesus Christ ALONE. There are no conditions that God’s people have to meet or have to be enabled to meet. Now, why IS that? It is because Christ has already met the conditions for the salvation of His people. Christ said “It is finished,” and thus His death demands and ensures the salvation of all whom He represented (Romans 5:14-21).
Faith is NOT the condition for salvation; a perfect righteousness that answers the demands of God’s holy law and justice is the condition for salvation:
“For Moses writes of the righteousness which is of the Law: The man doing these things shall live by them” (Romans 10:5).
“For as many as are out of works of Law, these are under a curse. For it has been written, Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things having been written in the book of the Law, to do them” (Galatians 3:10).
Adam’s disobedience demanded the death of all whom he represented, just as the perfect obedience and propitiatory blood of Christ demands the life of all whom He represented (Romans 5:14-21). True faith believes this truth. The faith of God’s elect believes that Christ met ALL THE CONDITIONS FOR THE SALVATION OF HIS PEOPLE (Matthew 1:21). Faith does not ADD to the finished work of Jesus Christ by asserting that it is a condition for salvation (“instrumental condition” or otherwise). Rather, faith believes that salvation is conditioned on the propitiating blood and imputed righteousness of Christ ALONE.
To your second question. ALL sinners deserve God’s hardening, for all are continually falling short of the glory of God in their own character and conduct (Romans 3:23). God unconditionally and actively hardens those for whom Christ did NOT die (i.e., the non-elect) in order to more fully reveal to the elect His saving love towards them. The purpose of God in creating those for whom Christ did NOT die is to display His power, wrath, and hatred of sin and unbelief (Romans 9:22-23). The inevitable outworking of God’s unconditional hatred of those (Romans 9:13) for whom Christ did NOT die is living out their lives in rebellion against God. This rebellion of theirs is the result of God actively causing them to hate His glory, persecute His people, and oppose His gospel, that He may justly punish them.
Conditionalist Calvinist: But doesn’t God love and desire to save the non-elect in some non-saving sense?
Christian: God does NOT have any love toward those for whom Christ did NOT die or any desire to save them, for God does not show love at the expense of His justice. The good things that God gives to them in this life lead only to their destruction, increasing their guilt for their thanklessness to God. Jesus Christ did not die for the reprobate in any sense whatsoever, and they do not benefit in any sense whatsoever from His death. Scripture, in speaking of God’s love for “all men” and “the world” is not speaking of all men without exception. Rather, these words refer to God’s love for all men without distinction – that is, regardless of their nationality or status. [see Psalm 2:4-5; 5:5-6; 11:5; 73:11-12; 92:7; Proverbs 3:32-33; 11:20; 12:2; 16:4-5; 17:15; John 3:16; 15:22; 17:9; Romans 9:13; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Peter 2:8; 1 John 2:2; 4:10]
Conditionalist Calvinist: Then what, pray tell, is the purpose of preaching the gospel to the non-elect for instance? Is not the gospel a “well-meant offer”?
Christian: God uses the preaching of the gospel as a special means of hardening the reprobate. [see Isaiah 6:9-12; Matthew 13:13-15; Mark 4:11-12; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16]
Conditionalist Calvinist: Lovely. I bet you’re very PROUD of this.
Christian: Contrary to the aspersions of the enemies of God, this doctrine of reprobation does not make believers exalt themselves over other men; instead, it humbles them and causes them to tremble before Almighty God, thankful that He has graciously numbered them among the elect rather than the reprobate. [see Romans 9:15-16,23,29; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-13]
To Christ alone be glory in saving those for whose sins He died and for damning those for whose sins He did not die. May God use His Truth to glorify Himself, to edify His regenerate elect, to bring His unregenerate elect to Himself, and to harden the reprobate for destruction.
Conditionalist Calvinist: Your God is a perversion, and your faith is a perversion.
Christian: Get thee to Romans 9:18-20:
“So, then, to whom He desires, He shows mercy. And to whom He desires, He hardens. You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? Yes, rather, O man, who are you answering against God? Shall the thing formed say to the One forming it, Why did You make me like this?”