LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Why parables?


If the way in which a man is saved is synergistic (man chooses to believe in God) – and not monergistic (God’s work alone for man’s regeneration) – then why did Jesus speak in parables, the purpose of which was to obscure the truth from those who were not His?

And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven."
- Mark 4:11-12

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18 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Additionally, this goes contrary to the view that Jesus wants all people to be saved and come to Him.

Playing the devil's advocate: why did Jesus have to speak in parables if He is the one who sovereignly bestows faith? IOW, it appears that the people could have perceived, understood, and been forgiven if it weren't for the parables.

Matt. 11:27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."

August 04, 2007 10:14 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Jonathan,

Jesus said a lot of things that make me wonder why He said them the way He did. They often make we wonder and want to dig in deeper.

It's a good question you ask.

Will you indulge me a little Matthew Henry on that thought?

"Know ye not this parable? Know ye not the meaning of it? How then will ye know all parables?”

(1.) “If ye know not this, which is so plain, how will ye understand other parables, which will be more dark and obscure? If ye are gravelled and run aground with this, which bespeaks so plainly the different success of the word preached upon those that hear it, which ye yourselves may see easily, how will ye understand the parables which hereafter will speak of the rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles, which is a thing ye have no idea of?”

Note, This should quicken us both to prayer and pains that we may get knowledge, that there are a great many things which we are concerned to know; and if we understand not the plain truths of the gospel, how shall we master those that are more difficult? ...

"If we have run with the footmen, and they have wearied us, and run us down, then how shall we contend with horses?" Jeremiah 12:5.

(2.) "If ye know not this, which is intended for your direction in hearing the word, that ye may profit by it; how shall ye profit by what ye are further to hear? This parable is to teach you to be attentive to the word, and affected with it, that you may understand it. If ye receive not this, ye will not know how to use the key by which ye must be let into all the rest.” If we understand not the rules we are to observe in order to our profiting by the word, how shall we profit by any other rule?

"Observe, Before Christ expounds the parable,

[1.] He shows them how sad their case was, who were not let into the meaning of the doctrine of Christ; To you it is given, but not to them. Note, It will help us to put a value upon the privileges we enjoy as disciples of Christ, to consider the deplorable state of those who want such privileges, especially that they are out of the ordinary way of conversion; lest they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. Mark 4:12.

"Those only who are converted, have their sins forgiven them: and it is the misery of unconverted souls, that they lie under unpardoned guilt.

[2.] He shows them what a shame it was, that they needed such particular explanations of the word they heard, and did not apprehend it at first. Those that would improve in knowledge, must be made sensible of their ignorance."

August 04, 2007 10:51 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

You know, still thinking about your question, Jonathan - it's really one of those "why does God do anything the way He does" questions?

I mean, it's all for His glory in the end - from beginning to end - so we know it's for that, but exactly why it's done the way it's done, I'm not sure Scripture reveals. One possible answer would be a verse that precedes the one you provided, only from the book of Luke:

Luke 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Luke 10:22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

August 04, 2007 11:00 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

then why did Jesus speak in parables, the purpose of which was to obscure the truth from those who were not His?

If we affirm total inability and monergism in salvation, then Jesus did not have to conceal truth from the non-elect. Rather, it requires Jesus to reveal truth to the elect.

It seems Jesus was very careful to not openly and regularly assert that he was God and was going to die on the cross as an atonement for the sins of those who believed his message. He referred many times to "my time has not come".

August 04, 2007 11:00 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Our Lord spoke in parables to blind the hearts of the Jewish people so that tjhey would reject Him.

Had the Jews accepted our Lord as messiah, they would not have had Him crucified.

August 04, 2007 11:17 AM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

Good post, Jonathan.

August 04, 2007 8:00 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

The parable of the lost sheep shows that the Good Shepherd shall leave the 99 and seek the lost sheep, and bring Him home to inherit the kingdom.
There are those who are not His sheep, and so they will not believe.

Seems some parables are not so difficult, but others are very difficult, even for the born again believer to grasp, and the world will never understand.

I try to remember that those whom I love, and are not Christians, are dead in their sins. They are walking corpses. And yet the Lord uses the Church in many ways to reach His lost sheep. Many of the things we do as witnesses to the unbelievers will be used by God to bring them to a day, when He opens their eyes, and changes their hearts.

August 04, 2007 8:09 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

More from Matthew Henry:

"Note, Those who know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, must acknowledge that it is given to them; they receive both the light and the sight from Jesus Christ, who, after his resurrection, both opened the scriptures, and opened the understanding,"

Henry then cites Luke 24:27 and 45 to prove his point:

24:27 - "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself"

24:45 - "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,"

August 04, 2007 10:30 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Our Lord spoke in parables to blind the hearts of the Jewish people so that tjhey would reject Him.

Had the Jews accepted our Lord as messiah, they would not have had Him crucified."

August 04, 2007 11:17 AM

Matthew, I'm curious, what would happen to those who died during that period when Christ was purposely
hardening them?

August 05, 2007 12:51 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, whatever happened I know the Lord is good.

Maybe they would have had their hearts unhardened the moment before their death.

August 05, 2007 5:31 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

... Or one could say that all the hearts were originally hard, and only those whose hearts were softened heard, and eventually understood...

August 05, 2007 6:27 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

The period of hardening was only meant to be for the duration of our Lord's earthly ministry.

The situation changed after the cross when the Gospel was offered to Israel:

26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Acts 3

August 06, 2007 3:21 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Isn't this a view forwarded by a certain Tim Warner? Did Darby, or Scofield, or Chafer hold this view? Does Ryrie? Do Blaising or Bock?

August 06, 2007 8:17 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

No, as far as I know, Tim Warner is the only person who advocates this view.

August 06, 2007 8:43 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, you are welcome here anytime!

Your friend,
Mark

August 06, 2007 8:46 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thankyou.

By the way, you can read the sermon I preached yesterday on my blog. I would value your feedback.

God Bless

Matthew

August 06, 2007 9:00 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

The period of hardening was only meant to be for the duration of our Lord's earthly ministry.

Matthew,
What then about Romans 11:25?:

I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Paul is writing after the Lord's earthly ministry has passed. And obviously the fullness of the Gentiles coming in did not happen only when the Lord walked this earth.

August 06, 2007 10:03 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Indeed. The hardness continues.

Because the Jews continued to reject the Gospel after the Lord's death and ascension, the hardness that began during our Lord's earthly ministry continued. The Jews are perpetuating their own hardness.

August 06, 2007 10:25 AM

 

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