“The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2Timothy 2:19). “My word…shall not return unto me void” (Isaiah 55:11).
There is a threefold end of purpose in God desiring the promiscuous proclamation of his gospel in all the world. One, the Lawgiver, on his authority, he has the sovereign right to dictate to man his duty. Second, it comes from the goodness and grace of a Lord who never ceases to bless his creature, though they are guilty and completely unworthy. And that by revealing to him the way of salvation, and bestowing the blessings of God upon him. But then we understand it is not his will either to call nor save all men, albeit all who hear the gospel call. So what of the reprobate? To what purpose does the gospel come to them, for they also hear it? Third, the justice of the Judge, who desires to convict the stubborn, rebellious sinner, thus rendering them without excuse. The wickedness of their hearts is discovered (Luke 2:35), along with its inexcusableness (John 15:22). Thus the man and his conscience also may know that the wrath of God justly stands against him, who whilst knowing his Master’s will, does not do it, neither does he wish to do it (Luke 12:47). God is glorified by his grace and absolutely vindicated in his justice.
Conclusion: God does not and cannot in calling intend the salvation of those whom he has reprobated from eternity and from whom he decreed to withhold faith and the other means to salvation. Or else he would be intending what he knows is contrary to his own will and what he has known from all eternity will never happen. And that it wouldn’t happen, why? Because he himself, who alone can make it happen, does not wish to do so. For in calling God shows what he wills that man should do, but not what he, God, wills to do. The calling signifies what God is pleased to give to repentant believers, but not what he has actually decreed to give to every person, head for head. If God seriously planned the latter he would add to the external preaching of the gospel the internal power of the Spirit, without which it ever remains inefficacious.
(©️ James R Hamilton, September 2018)