It is true the doctrine of Reprobation is one which causes much division among professing Christians. Yet the Bible teaches this somber, sobering truth in both the Old Testament and New.
Francis Turretin, the 17th century Protestant Genevan Reformer, defined reprobation as
….the eternal, unchanging and most free purpose of God by which he decreed not to pity some certain men lying in exactly equal corruption and guilt with others, but to damn eternally those left in sin (on account of it) in order to demonstrate his glorious justice, liberty and power (Institutes, vol. 1, p.380).
Had God purposed to give all men an equal opportunity to be saved, He would not have denied Gospel preaching to untold billions of His creatures. We know this to be true from both OT and NT testimony.
He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord (Psalm 147:19-20 KJV).
In past generations [God] allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16 ESV).
Everything God does has purpose.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [God’s] purpose (Romans 8:28 KJV).
The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil (Proverbs 16:4 NASB).
All God’s purposes are wise and righteous. God does not purpose anything which is foolish or unjust.
Furthermore, His purposes are eternal. Salvation of the Gentiles was an integral part of God’s eternal purpose to save.
…according to [God’s] eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:11 NIV).
God’s purpose to save was according to His eternal will to have mercy and compassion upon whom He will.
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion (Romans 9:15 KJV).
By making this statement to Moses, the Lord God declares it His prerogative to save by grace whom He wills, according to His good pleasure.
In the OT, Israel was the major recipient of His mercy. Today, the Gentiles, who are called Christians, are the major recipients of His mercy.
Those outside of OT Israel, as well as those who remain outside of the universal professing NT Christian Church, are not recipients of God’s saving mercy and grace.
These do not receive forgiveness of sins. They remain dead in their trespasses and sins, for which they will be judged.
This final judgment of unbelievers was part of God’s eternal purpose to punish unrepentant sinners.
And God knew exactly who those sinners would be, before they were born, before they did evil.
For God knows those who are His, as well as those who are not His.
The Lord knows those who are His (2Timothy 2:19).
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not…….And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:22-23 KJV).
God’s knowledge is eternal. He always knew who were His and who were not.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world (Acts 15:18 KJV).
From eternity God has chosen a people for His name. He chose them before they did anything to deserve their election. These are called the Elect vessels of mercy. To these alone He gives saving grace and all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ….including saving faith.
He does this because it pleases Him to do so.
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him:
In love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:4-6 KJV).
Furthermore, God’s eternal will is immutable.
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29 KJV).
The Elect will receive that which they do not deserve: saving grace.
The Reprobate will receive that which they do deserve: justice.
God is under no obligation to give saving grace to anyone.
God is, however, under obligation to judge sin. His holiness demands it.
The Elect are saved by grace, Christ having taken upon Himself their guilt and deserved punishment.
The OT Reprobate will not be judged for rejecting Christ of whom they never heard. Instead they will be punished for all other sins for which they are guilty.
The NT Reprobate who have heard of Christ, yet rejected the truth, will be judged for the sin of unbelief, as well as all other sins for which they are guilty.
The truth of Reprobation disturbs many because it glorifies the freedom of the Potter to do with His own (all of whom are guilty in Adam) as He wills, not as man wills.