by Dr. James Willingham
Reprobation seems to be one of the most reprehensible of doctrines. It is often portrayed as simply being predestined to Hell. Actually, it a decision of God to let the sinner alone, to leave him or her in their sins. The condemnation to Hell is for sins actually committed – not because of reprobation. All men are lost, fallen, sinful, dead in trespasses and sins. Dr. John Gill declared that God did not decree to damn any man but for sin. It is sort of like giving the criminals the leeway to commit a crime in order to make their conviction sure. To put it another way, they condemn themselves.
Interestingly enough, the doctrine of reprobation is just as much a doctrine of invitation to salvation as is the doctrines of predestination, total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. We find our Lord combining depravity and reprobation in His statement to the woman of Canaan, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”(Mt.15:26) The term dogs is a denigrating word in church history; it expresses how the Jews felt toward the Gentiles in our Lord’s day. Some even feel that way today. Peter underscores the very idea in his statement, “The dog is turned to his vomit again.” The repulsive description surely conveys the idea of reprobation, and our Lord’s use of the term dogs is suggestive. However, the same word is treated as an invitation by the woman. She actually agrees with the Lord, turning His words upon Him, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”(Mt.15:27). Any of God’s words in His written word can be used to reach souls for salvation. I have read of one who was converted from reading the genealogy of our Lord. And, contrary to the opinion of some, even the sinner’s prayer can be used to lead that person to Christ for salvation. My brother-in-law was won to Christ by a Calvinist using the sinner’s prayer/
That man, the Rev. Bob Kleinschmidt had a sermon on Acts 16:14 with three points which both my brother-in-law and I have used in sermons: I. Her Hands were stilled. II. Her heart was opened. III. Her house was saved.