25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
In my life, I’ve read a lot of theology books. They aren’t Scripture, by any means; the Bible is our only absolute guide in matters of faith and doctrine. But I’ve found that an understanding of theology comes in handy for a preacher.
In the course of a week I rub shoulders with Christian people from all different sorts of denominations. Theology helps me to understand WHY people hold certain beliefs, even if I don’t agree with them. It also allows me to have fellowship with them, based on the Christian fundamentals on which we are in agreement.
It’s pretty well known in my congregation that I read theology. One time somebody in the church asked Susan if she read theology, too. She told them that she didn’t. “One theologian in the family is enough,” she explained.
That’s probably right.
However, my non-theology-reading wife surprised me the other day. I realized my ongoing exploration of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin must be rubbing off on her. You see, our two Siamese kittens (Eleanor and Mac) were being naughty while she was trying to get dressed for work. (I think they jumped up on the middle of her vanity and into the middle of her make-up while she was trying to apply mascara.) I listened as Susan reached far back into the subconscious recesses of her brain to pull out a piece of impressive theological vocabulary. Pointing her finger at the cats, she shouted, “Get down! You…..you….bad…little…. REPROBATES!”
Well, let me tell you, that made me laugh out loud. Let’s go to the dictionary and you’ll see why:
1. a depraved, unprincipled, or wicked person:
a drunken reprobate.
2. in theology, particularly Calvinism,
a person beyond hope of salvation.
So now you see why I laughed. Susan didn’t just say the cats are so bad that they AREN’T saved. She actually told them that they’re so bad that they CAN’T BE saved!
(Did you laugh? Well, it’s funny to me, at least. It might just be a preacher thing. I hope there isn’t just the sound of crickets chirping out in Motherlode Land. But I digress….)
Since we’ve defined the theological word “reprobate,” that certainly leads to a question. Is there really such thing as a reprobate? Are there really people who are so far gone that they are beyond the grace of God?
I’ll go to the Holy Scriptures to answer this one. “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance… and a knowledge of the truth.” The Bible clearly teaches that there’s no person so bad that the love of Christ can’t reach them. There are no sins so awful that the blood of Christ can’t cleanse them. After all, isn’t that what John 3:16 is all about?
Oh, there are so many things I’m glad about this morning!
I’m thankful for my clever wife and the joyful life we have together.
I’m thankful for mischievous kittens and the new shenanigans they think up each day.
I’m thankful for the forgiveness of sins, freely given by the Saviour, our Lord Jesus.
And I’m thankful that, in the eyes of God, there’s no such thing as a reprobate.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the kittens have to sleep in “jail” because they keep pouncing on people’s heads in the middle of the night.) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.