August 2014 • Volume XV, Issue 4
Hating Your Own Life (1)
In Luke 14:26, the Lord Jesus teaches that each one of
us must “hate” his or her “own life.” But what does this
Especially given contemporary forms of expression, it
ought to be said, first, what hating your own life does
not mean. It does not require or encourage the following
attitudes or speech: “I hate the way I look—my hair, my
face, my body!” “I hate my wardrobe; I have nothing nice
to put on!” “I hate being unpopular at school; no one
likes me; I have no friends!” “I hate having no
boyfriend or girlfriend; nobody wants me!”
Others complain, “My marriage is no good. I am trapped
in it. I wish I could leave him [or her]!” “My children
get me down!” “My house is a dump. Who in their right
mind would like to live here?” “I hate my job; I don’t
want to be stuck doing this for the rest of my life!” or
“I hate not having a job!”
Others hate their bad health or their disabilities or
their being old.
Sadly, there are many people who hate their place in the
world. They lament that they have no money, no future,
nothing to look forward to, no joy and no peace.
This is not what our Lord is referring to when He said
that we must hate our own lives. What I have been
describing is the self-pity that we can so easily slide
into when, contrary to Romans 8:31, we think things are
against us, when we take our eyes off the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit, the God of all grace.
This is a very dangerous thing, beloved, because you are
moving away from faith in the Triune God and the
greatness of your salvation in the cross of Christ. You
are also forgetting about other people and your calling
towards them. You are indulging in self-pity. Constant
worrying about yourself and your problems rapidly
spirals deeper into self-absorption.
It is hard, if not impossible, to think or say, “I hate
my job, I hate my marriage, I hate the way I look, I
hate everything!” without blaming God. After all, He is
the sovereign Lord over all things. His testimony is
that “all things work together for good to them that
love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose” (Rom. 8:28). However, the sinful “hating”
described above is a loud protest: “No, they don’t! At
least not for me!” But think what you are saying! You
are contradicting God’s holy Word!
I have explained especially what hating your “own life”
does not mean because hating your life, in the way
spoken of above, is characteristic of those afflicted
with depression. Hating one’s life, in this sense, will
lead to suicidal thoughts. For if you hate A, B, C,
etc.—that is, if you hate your “life”—why would you want
to continue to live? People trapped in these thoughts
begin to wonder, “Why should I not kill myself?” This
whole way of thinking is of the flesh, not the Holy
Spirit. This is worldly despair, not faith in God’s
What then is it to hate your life? Hating your own life
involves hating your own sinfulness and sin. Every
disciple of Jesus Christ must and does hate his or her
old man of sin, the old nature. Paul laments in Romans
7, “in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good
thing” (18) and “what I hate, that do I” (15)! Thus
Christ’s command to hate your life includes hating the
old man, the evil source of all your evil thoughts and
lusts and words and deeds, and your sinful works. God
hates them and you do too!
God’s children hate themselves as those who are
sinful and who sin. Job confessed, “I abhor [or
loathe and detest] myself, and repent in dust and ashes”
(42:6). Isaiah exclaimed, “Woe is me! for I am undone;
because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the
midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have
seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (6:5).
True Christian disciples also hate their own
self-righteousness. The Apostle Paul explains, “But what
things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for
whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do
count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil.
3:7-8). We loathe these things because they would rob us
of righteousness in, and fellowship with, the Lord
Those who follow their Saviour, in hating their own
lives, detest and reject those things which hold them
back from serving Him wholly. If you cannot control the
use of your television (which is quite possible) or if
your children can’t control the use of your TV (very
possible), then either establish, maintain and enforce
clear, godly guidelines or get rid of your television.
If you or your children are watching sinful DVDs or
listening to ungodly music, remember that the local
council collects your bin once a week or fortnight.
Thrust this rubbish away from you, for Jesus Christ is
also Lord of your “entertainment.”
The incarnate Son of God instructs us, “Take no thought
for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall
drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on”
(Matt. 6:25). Matthew 6:19-34, in the Sermon on the
Mount, explains more fully the things included in your
“own life” in Luke 14:26.
The kingdom of God takes priority over food and drink,
clothing and shelter. In His first temptation, Christ
was urged by Satan to turn stones into bread. His
fitting response was: “It is written, Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). On another occasion, the
Lord declared, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air
have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his
head” (Luke 9:58).
So if you are faced with starvation or renouncing
Christ, or with losing your home or apostatizing, you
must cling to the Saviour and let all these things go,
for discipleship is the call to hate your life and the
things of your life. Rev. Stewart
Is Grace Resistible? (2)
In the last News, I began an answer to a question
that arose in a debate the questioner had with an
Arminian who denied that the grace of God in salvation
was irresistible. Grace, he said, was resistible: it
could be resisted and frequently is resisted. The
Arminian referred to two texts.
The one reads, “And the Lord thy God will circumcise
thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord
thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul,
that thou mayest live” (Deut. 30:6).
The other text is found in John 12:47: “And if any man
hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I
came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”
The argument of the Arminian in connection with John
12:47 is: “Grace is not irresistible, because otherwise
the whole world would be saved ... This text is good
[i.e., proves his point, he thinks] because it gives no
chance to the Calvinist to say that the word ‘world’
means ‘world of the elect ...’ The text cannot be
talking about the internal or external call. The text
says that Jesus came to save the world.”
I turn first to Deuteronomy 30:6. I have some trouble
understanding how this text overthrows the truth of
irresistible grace. It seems to me that it teaches
exactly the opposite. If the sovereign Lord God
circumcises one’s heart, and gives physical circumcision
as a sign and seal of the circumcision of the heart,
then circumcision is a sign and seal of what God does,
not what we do. If God circumcises our hearts, we are
It is possible that the Arminian means that the rite of
circumcision itself gives grace to everyone circumcised
and that, because all who are circumcised are not saved,
those who are not saved have successfully resisted the
grace of God.
But the text does not say that all who are physically
circumcised receive grace. It does emphatically assert
that the reality of which circumcision is a sign and
seal, that is, the circumcision of the hearts, results
in salvation. The point is that circumcision itself does
not save; nor does the text say anything like that.
Circumcision is but a sign and a seal. The grace given
that saves, of which circumcision is only a sign, is not
resistible. It is God’s grace and God’s grace saves.
The fact is that the rite of circumcision, which was
replaced by baptism in the new covenant (Col. 2:11-13),
was performed on all male members of Israel because they
all belonged to the old testament church. Circumcision
was an outward sign of the inward working of grace. It
accompanied the gospel preached to Israel. And just as
the gospel was heard by all, the sign accompanying the
gospel was performed on all. But just as the preaching
of the gospel did not give grace to all who heard it, so
also circumcision did not give grace to all who were
circumcised. Nor does water baptism give grace to all
who are baptized.
We must never forget what Paul says in Romans 9:6: “For
they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” God
Himself makes the difference between Israel as a nation
and the true Israel of God. He makes that distinction by
sovereign election and reprobation. And so, Paul writes,
“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on
them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” (Gal.
6:16). God’s Israel are the elect, not everybody in the
nation. Paul explains in detail what he meant in Romans
9:6 in Galatians 3. Arminians wish that Romans 9 and
Galatians 3 were not in the Bible.
In John 12:47, the Arminian seems to me to hang his
argument on the word “world,” as if that word referred
to all men who have ever lived, are living now and will
live in the future.
I feel a little embarrassed even discussing this point,
for hundreds of biblical theologians and saints,
beginning with Augustine who died in AD 430, have proved
beyond a shadow of doubt that the word “world” in
connection with Christ’s work, never means every man who
ever lived or will live. The literature is so extensive
that the books would fill shelf upon shelf in any
library. Why does the truth have to be repeated time and
time again, without number? It is obvious that if one
wants to make the word “world” refer to all men head for
head, not even the angel Gabriel could change his mind.
I think it was the Baptist, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who
said that not once in all of Scripture does the word
“world” mean every man, head for head.
I recall a noted theologian in the Presbyterian
tradition who was speaking on the truth that Christ died
only for the elect. He took his seat while people were
preparing questions. As was to be expected, one young
man, newly out of graduate school, said, “Yes, but
doctor, what about John 3:16?” The theologian all but
exploded out of his chair and ran to the lectern. In
a palpably disgusted voice, he said, “Every man? The
world is constituted, as the text says, of believers!
Read it, young man. Believers constitute the world!”
With that, he turned and sat down.
If grace is resistible, then Christ died in vain.
Christ’s death on the cross paid for all the sins of
those for whom He died. Christ’s perfect sacrifice
earned full salvation for those for whom He died. Does
anyone dare to say that Christ died for someone who goes
to hell? It seems to me that that comes very close to
Christ died for the true world of the elect. The elect
are, according to such passages as Ephesians 2:20-22,
the temple of God built upon Christ the Cornerstone. The
reprobate are the scaffolding that is necessary for the
erection of the building but which is torn down when the
building is complete.
The elect are the corn kernels and not the root, the
stalk, the tassel, the husks or the cob. All are
necessary for the corn to grow and ripen, but are
useless when the corn is picked and eaten.
The church is God’s true world redeemed in Christ. They
are surely saved by God’s irresistible grace. Prof.
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