(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 1/24/10 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Please turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 9. I'll be reading verses 10 through 24:
Romans 9: (10) And not only so, but also Rebekah conceiving of one, our father Isaac, (11) for [the children] not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of the [One] calling, (12) it was said to her, The greater shall serve the lesser; (13) even as it has been written, I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau. (14) What then shall we say? [Is there] not unrighteousness with God? Let it not be! (15) For He said to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will pity whomever I will pity. (16) So, then, [it is] not of the [one] willing, nor of the [one] running, but of the [One] showing mercy, of God. (17) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very thing I raised you up, so that I might display My power in you, and so that My name might be publicized in all the earth. (18) So, then, to whom He desires, He shows mercy. And to whom He desires, He hardens. (19) You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? (20) 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? (21) Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor? (22) But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, (23) and that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory, (24) whom He also called, not only us, of Jews, but also out of nations.
In this sermon, I will show, the Lord willing, that God did NOT make the reprobate for the sole purpose of damning them, and that God's dealings with the reprobate show His mercy and grace. Now some of you might be thinking, "Who are you, and what have you done with Marc?" Well, I hope to show you that these truths are in line with Scripture and are thus fully orthodox and that I haven't gone off the deep end.
We saw last time in verse 22 that God endured in much long-suffering the vessels of wrath that He had fitted out for destruction. But WHY did God do this? Is it some mystery into which we are not to inquire? Well, God TELLS us why He did this. He VERY PLAINLY REVEALS to us why He did this. And we looked at two of the reasons in the last sermon: God did this to DISPLAY HIS WRATH and to MAKE HIS POWER KNOWN. Now of course, God's displaying His wrath MAKES His power known, so there's overlap between these two reasons. But they can be distinguished, as we saw last time. God desires to show His attribute of wrath in the reprobate, and God desires to make His power known in the reprobate. His enduring with them in much long-suffering IN NO WAY indicates any attitude of favor toward them. Even their flourishing, their blossoming, their thriving, their prospering, while they are here on the earth is to harden and seal them for destruction. Let's turn over to a passage that really seals the deal about why the wicked flourish while they are here on the earth. Turn to Psalm 92, verse 7:
Psalm 92: (7) When the wicked flourish like grass, and all the evildoers blossom, [it is] for them [to be] destroyed forever.
Wow. Now that's right to the point, isn't it? The REASON the wicked flourish and blossom is so they will be DESTROYED FOREVER. It is their ETERNAL DESTRUCTION that is the REASON the wicked flourish and blossom. That's not what the common grace and common mercy advocates say, is it? They say that the REASON the wicked flourish and blossom is that God loves them and is showing favor toward them. But where's the grace and mercy toward the reprobate in this passage? You won't find it. It's a figment of depraved minds. Let's read the two verses verse previous to this - verses 5 and 6:
Psalm 92: (5) O Jehovah, Your purposes are very deep. How great are Your works! (6) An animal-like man does not know; a fool does not understand this.
We see first that the Psalmist says that God's works are great and His purposes are deep. We marvel and wonder and are amazed and awed at God's works and purposes. But does this make the Psalmist then stop and say, "It's a mystery that we are not to know"? No - in fact, he goes on to say that those who do NOT know are animal-like and fools! The word for "animal-like" means "beastly" or "stupid." So who doesn't know the true reason why the wicked flourish and blossom? Who would say that the reason why the wicked flourish and blossom is because of God's grace and mercy toward the wicked? The stupid fools.
But verse 6 implies something else that is relevant to the sermon today. Who DOES know the true reason why the wicked flourish and blossom? Those who are NOT stupid fools, right? And who are those who are not stupid fools? The regenerate. The regenerate know why the wicked flourish and blossom. With this in mind, let's turn back to Romans 9 and read verses 22 and 23:
Romans 9: (22) But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, (23) and that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory,
Now at the beginning of this sermon, what was first the thing I said I wanted to show? I said I wanted to show that God did NOT make the reprobate for the sole purpose of damning them. Now we get commonly accused of believing that the only reason God made the reprobate was to damn them. No other reason - God made them just to damn them. Well, we just clearly saw in Psalm 92:6 that God makes the wicked flourish and blossom IN ORDER TO eternally damn them. So the eternal damnation of the reprobate IS DEFINITELY one reason why God made the reprobate. But I want you to notice something very important. God didn't just MAKE the reprobate and then immediately damn them. He MAKES the reprobate, causes them to be conceived in sin, hardens them in their sin, even causing them to flourish and blossom, keeping them on the earth for a specific period of time before they die and are eternally damned. As we saw in the last sermon, He BEARS WITH them while they are on the earth. Why? Well, as I said not too long ago, we saw two reasons last time, which is for God to show His wrath and make His power known, INCLUDING while they are here on the earth. But these are not in a vacuum. God wants to show His wrath and make His power known FOR THE GOOD OF THE ELECT. He wants His elect to SEE Him show His wrath and to SEE Him make His power known. So here we see that God did NOT make the reprobate for the SOLE purpose of damning them. He has OTHER purposes, which include making the reprobate for the BENEFIT of the elect.
Let's look at the first two words in verse 23. The first word is the common particle kai (KA-hee). It can mean "and, also, even, then, so, too, but, even, for, if, indeed, likewise, moreover, or, so, that, then, therefore, when, yea, yet," and so on. Many times, the meaning depends on the word or words next to it. In this case, the word next to it is hina (HIN-ah), which means "in order that," denoting PURPOSE or RESULT. I'd like to give some examples of some other places where this is used in this sense, to show you how we are to interpret this verse. There's no need to turn to these; I'm going to quickly go through them, but when you hear the word "that" or the phrase "so that," replace it with the phrase "in order that" so you can see how this word connects what comes before and after, okay?
Matthew 18: (16) But if he does not hear, take one or two more with you, so that on the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.
Matthew 19: (13) Then little children were brought to Him, that He might lay hands on them and might pray. But the disciples rebuked them.
Matthew 26: (56) But all this is happening that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled. Then all the disciples ran away, forsaking Him.
This is used a lot in Matthew when he says, "that the Scriptures may be fulfilled."
Acts 16: (30) And leading them outside, he said, Sirs, what must I do that I may be saved?
Romans 1: (11) For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, for the establishing of you;
Romans 3: (8) And not (as we are wrongly accused, and as some report us to say), Let us do bad things so that good things may come, [the] judgment of whom is just.
Romans 5: (20) But Law came in besides, that the deviation might abound. But where sin abounded, grace much more abounded,
Romans 6: (1) What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Romans 7: (13) Then that [which is] good, [has it] become death to me? Let it not be! But sin, that it might appear [to be] sin, having worked out death to me through the good, in order that sin might become excessively sinful through the commandment.
Romans 9: (11) for [the children] not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of the [One] calling,
Romans 11: (19) You will say then, The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.
Romans 11: (31-32) so also these now have disobeyed, so that they also may obtain mercy by your mercy. For God shut up all into disobedience, that He may show mercy to all.
Romans 14: (9) For this Christ both died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord over both [the] dead and the living.
1 Corinthians 2: (12) But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit from God, so that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.
And now for a passage with a whole bunch of "thats":
1 Corinthians 9: (18-23) What then is my reward? That proclaiming the gospel I may make the gospel of Christ free, so as not to use fully my authority in the gospel. For being free of all, I enslaved myself to all, that I might gain the more. And I became as a Jew to the Jews, that I might gain Jews; to those under Law as under Law, that I might gain those under Law; to those without Law as without Law (not being without Law of God, but under [the] law of Christ), that I might gain [those] without Law. I became to the weak as weak, that I might gain the weak. To all I have become all things, that in any and every way I might save some. And I do this for the gospel, that I might become a fellow partaker of it.
Okay, do you see how this word is a connective word that denotes PURPOSE or RESULT? This is different than the other "thats" in the Bible. This is a special "that." To show you the difference, let's turn to a verse in Romans that has two different "thats" in it. First, Romans 3:19:
Romans 3: (19) But we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those within the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world be under judgment to God.
There are two "thats" in this verse. The first one is "But we know that." This is a different Greek word - hoti (HOT-ee) - which is a DEMONSTRATIVE "that." Now compare it to the second "that": "so that every mouth may be stopped." The second "that" denotes PURPOSE. It's the same word we find in Romans 9:23, hina (HIN-ah). Whatever the Law says, it speaks to those within the Law, hina (HIN-ah) - IN ORDER THAT -- every mouth may be stopped. Do you see the difference?
Now I hope you'll understand why this is so important and why I've taken some time to show you what this "that" means when we go back to Romans 9:23. Let's go back there, and I want to read verses 22 and 23 with two ways you can translate the phrase KA-hee HIN-ah to better show the connection: "But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, SO THAT, or IN ORDER THAT, He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory." Now do you see the importance of the word denoting PURPOSE? It shows WHY God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering the vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction. WHY did God do this? God did this IN ORDER THAT He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy! The phrase in the LITV, "and that," doesn't give you the full sense of the original and can even be interpreted as a DEMONSTRATIVE "that" instead of a "that" that denotes PURPOSE.
So this gets into the second thing I said I wanted to show, which is that God's dealings with the reprobate show His mercy and grace. Do you see how that's true? When God deals with the reprobate by enduring them with long-suffering, by giving them worldly peace and prosperity, and even by bringing them under the preaching of the gospel, does this show that God is merciful and gracious toward the reprobate? IN NO WAY. MAY IT NEVER BE. So how do God's dealings with the reprobate show His mercy and grace? Now be sure you get this: God's dealings with the reprobate show His mercy and grace TOWARD THE ELECT! When God endures the reprobate with much long-suffering, giving them worldly peace and prosperity, bringing them under the preaching of the gospel, even giving them certain talents, as well as showing His wrath toward them in this world and in hell, it is for the BENEFIT OF THE ELECT. That's what verse 23 is showing.
Now we can think of all kinds of instances in which we who are God's people benefit from His dealings with the reprobate, can't we? The list could go on and on. I'd like to mention a few. One is that through the reprobate, we learn that the things highly esteemed by the world, such as riches and power and beauty, are USELESS and WORTHLESS. So when we see wicked people who are given such things, we are reminded that we are not to pursue such things. And not only do we see that they are useless and worthless, but we see that God actually uses these things that are highly esteemed by the world to harden the reprobate, to make them proud and make them scoff and say, "Here I am, not doing what God commands, and yet I'm rich and fat and at peace. God really doesn't know what I'm doing, because look, I'm not being punished. You say God punishes the wicked, but look at me! I'm beautiful and rich and famous and at peace. So much for your God." But what is their end? Let's turn to Psalm 73 and read verses 1 through 20:
Psalm 73: (1) Truly God [is] good to Israel, to those who are of a pure heart. (2) And [as for] me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps nearly made to slip. (3) For I was jealous of the proud; I looked upon the peace of the wicked. (4) For [there are] no pangs to their death; but their body [is] fat. (5) They [are] not in the misery of mortal man; and with men they are not touched. (6) So pride enchains them; violence covers them [like] a robe. (7) Their eyes go out with fatness; they have passed the imaginations of the heart. (8) They scoff and speak in evil; from on high they speak oppression. (9) They set their mouth in the heavens; and their tongues walk through the earth. (10) Because of this His people shall return here; and waters of a full [cup shall be] drained by them. (11) And they say, How does God know? And, Is there knowledge in the Most High? (12) Behold! These [are] the ungodly who are always at ease; they increase their riches. (13) Surely I have purified my heart [in] vain; and I have washed my hands in innocence. (14) For all the day I was touched; and my chastening is at the mornings. (15) If I say, This is the way I will speak; behold, I would deceive a generation of Your sons. (16) And I thought to know this; it [was] a travail in my eyes, (17) until I went into the sanctuary of God; now I understood their end. (18) Surely, You will set their [feet] in slippery places; You will make them fall into ruin. (19) How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away with terrors! (20) Like a dream [when being aroused] from dreaming, O Lord, in awaking You will despise their image.
We see first that Asaph confesses His sin in envying the wicked, but then He goes into the sanctuary of God and understands their end. Note that Asaph compares his own chastisement by God to the worldly peace and prosperity of the wicked. And when he sees the end of the wicked, that temporal chastisement doesn't look so bad, does it? So there's a benefit right there of seeing how God deals with the reprobate in comparison to how God deals with His people. We see that when God chastises us, it is for our GOOD, and we need to be THANKFUL for it, because we see the wicked, who are NOT chastised, being fitted out for destruction. Hebrews 12:8 says that if we are not chastised - disciplined - by God, then we are bastards, and not true sons of God. Thus, when we see that the wicked are NOT chastised, we see that they are BASTARDS, and we see God's mercy and grace toward us in chastising us, giving evidence that we are true sons of God. And think of this - God uses the wicked to chastise us for our good. He causes the wicked to hate us and persecute us, sometimes for the purpose of chastising, sometimes not, but always for our good, for our blessing. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:11-12, "Blessed are you when they shall reproach you, and persecute you , and shall say every evil word against you, lying, on account of Me. Rejoice and leap for joy, for your reward is great in Heaven; for in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
We also see here that God's giving the reprobate worldly peace and riches is IN ORDER TO set them on slippery places IN ORDER TO destroy them! How, then, must we, God's people, look at worldly peace and riches? We are taught by God's dealings with the reprobate to realize that they are not signs of God's blessing and are not to be pursued. It makes me think of the seed that was sown on the thorny ground. Let's turn over there, because this, too, is an example of how God uses the reprobate to teach His people. Let's turn to Mark chapter 4 verses 14 through 19:
Mark 4: (14) The sower sows the Word. (15) And these are those by the wayside where the Word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the Word having been sown in their hearts. (16) And likewise, these are the ones having been sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the Word, [they] immediately receive it with joy, (17) yet they have no root in themselves, but are temporary. Then trouble or persecution having occurred through the Word, immediately they are offended. (18) These are those being sown into the thorn bushes, those hearing the Word, (19) and the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts about other things entering in, [they] choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.
So here we see the effect of the preaching of the gospel on the reprobate. In the first instance, Satan comes immediately, and what is preached is quickly forgotten. In the second instance, there is an outward joyful profession of belief in the gospel, but there is no root, which means they do not truly believe -- they have no real conviction. So when trouble or persecution come, what happens? Think of a tree that is just stuck in the ground with no roots. What happens when the wind blows? It just topples over. So persecution and hardship come, and these people have no real conviction, so they give up their professed belief of the gospel. Their house was built on sand, and when the wind and rain came, their house collapsed. In the third instance, these people hear the gospel, but it is choked out by the deceitfulness of riches and unlawful desires about other things, and they fall away. How God deals with these different kinds of people who hear the gospel but do not abide in the doctrine of Christ is a great lesson to us, isn't it? And we've experienced this with people we've met, haven't we? It continues to be painful each time we experience it, but we are made wiser because of it. There are the people who give up their professed belief of the gospel when hard times or persecution come, showing they did not have roots. This is of benefit to us, because when we experience hard times or persecution and continue in the faith, God shows us His grace and mercy by causing us to stand firm in the gospel. Then there are the people do not believe the gospel because of the desire for riches and other things that the world highly esteems. This is of benefit to us, because it shows us the DECEITFULNESS of riches and how desire for things is incompatible with belief of the gospel. God shows us that riches are deceitful. And charm is also deceitful, and beauty vain, as Proverbs 31:30 says. So we benefit a lot from seeing how God uses hard times, persecution, riches, and lust to harden the reprobate for destruction.
Let's turn over to 1 Corinthians 11:19:
1 Corinthians 11: (19) For also heresies need to be among you, so that the approved ones may become revealed among you.
Do you see what that's saying? Heresies are NEEDED. There MUST be heresies. They are for the GOOD of God's people. How can heresies be for the good of God's people? Well, I first need to say that this is not talking about the heresies OF God's people. This is talking about the heresies that come up AMONG those who profess to believe the gospel. Now just think of a group of people who profess to believe the gospel, and some of them truly believe the gospel, and some of them to NOT truly believe the gospel. But at the moment, since all profess to believe the gospel, they are all in fellowship with one another. Now we have already seen that some can fall away by troubles or persecution, and some can fall away by riches or lust. But what is one of the MAIN ways that people fall away? It is from HERESIES. So why is it a good thing that heresies come up among a group of professing believers? Well, it serves to WEED OUT the ones who don't truly believe the gospel! It serves to show who is a true believer and who is NOT a true believer. As this passage says, "so that the approved ones may become revealed among you." Heresies come along in order to weed out the unbelievers and to reveal the true believers! When's the last time you thanked God for heresies? Yet heresies are a GOOD thing when they DECREASE the number of people in a certain fellowship to the true believers! We've experienced this many times, too, haven't we? We're fellowshipping with certain people, and some heresy comes up, and those who are unbelievers are carried off by that heresy, while others stand firm, showing who among us is approved, which is another showing of God's grace towards the vessels of mercy.
Let's now turn to Proverbs 13:22:
Proverbs 13: (22) A good [man] leaves an inheritance to his son's sons, but the wealth of the sinner [is] laid up for the just.
This shows us that God, in His providence, uses even the wealth of the wicked for the good of His people. Far from wealth being "common grace" toward the wicked, it actually is grace toward the JUST. Any time the wicked are given talents or things that are good in and of themselves, it is not for the benefit or good of the wicked. It does not show God's grace or mercy toward the wicked. It is for the benefit and good of the JUST. It shows God's grace and mercy toward the just. Think of music as an example. When a wicked person makes beautiful music, is this evidence of God's favor, of God's grace, of God's mercy toward that wicked person? No it's not! Is this denying that the music is beautiful? No. Why, then, does God cause the wicked to make beautiful music? For the good of the elect! WE, God's people, are able to enjoy some of the things that the wicked make. I say "some," because much of what the wicked make is inherently wicked, and for God's people to enjoy it would be wicked. But again, let's think of music as an example. If a wicked person makes music that isn't accompanied by wicked lyrics, it can be enjoyed by the just, and this is a demonstration of God's grace and mercy toward the just.
Now think of something a lot more profound and important than art. Think about how God has preserved His Word down through the ages. In particular, think about how God's Word was preserved by the Jews. What were the people who were in charge of making copies of God's Word called? SCRIBES. They didn't have electric printers or copiers back then, so how did they make copies? They actually took a previous copy that was written down and wrote down the exact words of the previous copy. Think about how long that took and how meticulous the scribes needed to be in order to make sure there were no errors. Yet we see that Jesus lumped the scribes in with the Pharisees as wicked hypocrites! Why were these scribes so careful, so meticulous? They thought that their careful, meticulous, errorless work recommended them to God and formed at least some part of their acceptance before God and their worthiness for heaven! These were wicked people! Yet God used them for the good of the elect! He caused them to be so precise, even out of wicked motives, that we can be confident that we have God's perfect Word today.
Another benefit that the elect have from God's dealings with the reprobate is to show what God has saved us from, both on this earth and after death, and what makes us to differ. What is the definition of mercy? It is NOT giving something to us that we DO deserve. God says that we, the elect, are vessels of MERCY. That means that we were NOT given something that we deserve. God put the reprobate here to show us what all of us deserve, in order to show us what mercy is really all about. As we observe the wicked on this earth, how vile and disgusting they are, whether they are moral or immoral, we can see what we COULD have been if not for the grace of God. God determined to include both the elect and reprobate in one common fall, in order that both should be equally ruined and undone, equally guilty and defiled, and equally in need of a righteousness that neither could produce on their own. Ephesians 2:3 says that we were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. So what makes us to differ from the reprobate? Both the elect and reprobate have nothing in themselves to recommend them to God. Both are conceived in sin and under God's wrath. Thus, we see that it is only the work of Christ as a result of God's fore-loving us that makes us to differ. And as we read about the final eternal torment of the wicked in hell, we see what the wages of sin is, in order to show what we have been saved from. The first part of Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death." This is everlasting death in hell. This is screaming in the torments of hell forever and ever. As we see that this what happens to every single one of the reprobate, we have to fall on our faces in thanksgiving to God who saved us from wrath. We would not know what everlasting wrath is if it were not for the reprobate. We would not know what Jesus Christ suffered on the cross if it were not for the reprobate. Jesus Christ suffered the full, unmitigated fury of God's wrath against our sins on the cross. It was the equivalent to suffering the very pains of hell. The eternal punishment of the reprobate in hell gives us an idea, although we cannot fully comprehend it, of what Jesus suffered for our sins. Without Jesus Christ, every one of us deserves to be punished in hell for eternity. Yet Jesus Christ took our place as our substitute and endured the suffering that we deserved. What marvelous, infinite love and grace and mercy! The second half of Romans 6:23 says, "but the gift of God is everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord." So sin deserves everlasting death, and we see that in the reprobate. But, in contrast to that, the gift of God is everlasting life in Christ Jesus. God has given us the reprobate as a contrast, so we might thank and praise Him for all eternity, knowing that there was nothing in us that made us to differ from the reprobate, but something totally outside of us -- the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Speaking of contrasts, let's look at Isaiah 43:3-4:
Isaiah 43: (3) For I [am] Jehovah your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt [for] your atonement; Ethiopia and Seba instead of you. (4) Since you were precious in My eyes, you are honored, and I love you; and I give men instead of you; and peoples instead of your soul.
This is a very profound passage. God first says that He gave Egypt for Israel's atonement. What does this mean? Well, it is contrasting what God did to the Egyptians with what God did to the Israelites. Remember the plagues? They were all inflicted on the Egyptians, while the Israelites were spared. In the last plague, God killed the all the firstborn in Egypt, and He saved all the firstborn in Israel based on the blood of the lamb. Then, when the Egyptian army pursued Israel, Israel went through on dry ground, while the Egyptian army was destroyed. The destruction of Egypt made way for the salvation of Israel. They were connected to each other. Then Cush and Seba and other men and peoples are mentioned as being appointed in their stead, specifically instead of their life. All these men and peoples were destroyed instead of them. This is a picture of the elect and reprobate. The reprobate are destroyed instead of the elect. The elect look at the reprobate and say, "They were destroyed instead of me." Think of Daniel in the lion's den, who was delivered from the mouths of the lions, and his enemies were then cast into the same den and were torn into pieces. This reminds me of Proverbs 11:8; let's turn there:
Proverbs 11: (8) The righteous is delivered from distress, and the wicked goes in instead of him.
God delivers the righteous, and the wicked go in instead of the righteous. God has given us the reprobate to show us what he has delivered us from. They have been destroyed, and we have been delivered. How thankful should we be when we see these passages! How thankful should we be when we see how God deals with the reprobate! God has truly made known the riches of His glory on His vessels of mercy by demonstrating His wrath, making His power known, and enduring the vessels of wrath whom He fitted out for destruction. Praise God in the highest for showing His mercy by giving us the reprobate for our good, to teach us many truths, and to destroy the reprobate instead of us, not because there was anything in us by nature that made us to differ from the reprobate, but solely because of the grace and mercy He has shown us in the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.