By Mike Ratliff
4 Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. Deuteronomy 29:4 (NASB)
God is Sovereign. He is on the throne in Heaven. He is high and lifted up. The seraphim around the throne of God cry to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” The arrogant and the proud have no portion with Him for all who encounter Him will immediately see their sin and cry, “Woe is me for I am ruined!” These may fall on their face before the throne, but they do so because “It has been given” to them to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. They have been given a heart to understand and eyes to see and ears to hear the truth, grasp it, know it, believe it, submit to it, and be changed forever by it.
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Matthew 13:10-13 (NASB)
The Lord Jesus affirms that the ability to comprehend spiritual truth is a gracious gift of God, which He bestows sovereignly on His elect (v11). On the other hand, the reprobate are passed over. They reap the natural consequence of their own unbelief and rebellion, which is spiritual blindness (v13). God’s sovereign choice lies behind the hardening of their hearts towards the truth of God. Our Lord spoke in parables to the multitudes. These parables served as instruments of judgment by hardening the impenitent. Is this still going on today? Yes it is. When we teach the truth to the skeptical and all it does is make them even more defiant then we know for sure that they have been hardened. The reverse is true as well though. When people actually believe the Gospel and are saved it is because God has drawn them to the Son (John 6:44) in His mercy and by His grace through the faith He gives them they believe and repent and are justified (Ephesians 2:1-10).
14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’
29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:14-30 (NASB)
Here in this very familiar parable of our Lord we see a parallel with His statements in Matthew 13:10-13 in which He says, “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” Those, to whom it is given, the recipients of divine grace, inherit immeasurable blessings in addition to eternal life and the favor of God (Romans 8:32). On the other hand, those to whom it is not given, the reprobate, who despise the riches of God’s goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering (Romans 2:4), burying them in the ground and clinging instead to the paltry and transient goods and ways of the world, will ultimately lose everything they have (Matthew 6:19; John 12:25). They will be cast into outer darkness, in that place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Gospel is hid to them that perisheth. This statement is taken from the note next to Matthew 13:12 in the Geneva Bible. If you have ever tried to witness to one who has walked away from their profession of faith in apostasy then you will know that this is a true statement. To know the truth, to grasp the truth, to believe the Gospel is the gift of God. Saving faith belongs only to those to whom it has been given.
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10 (NASB)
I pray that all who read this far in this post have submitted themselves unto the Sovereignty and will of God in complete understanding that to be in Christ is the result of God’s grace and effectual calling not because of any works or merit.
Soli Deo Gloria!