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THE ELECT HAVE OBTAINED IT

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, August 28, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded" (Romans 11:7).


We might translate this text as, "The elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded." The elect refers to those who are given grace and turn to Christ. "And the rest were blinded." This speaks of an act of God, in which He may judicially blind those who harden their hearts.

This not only speaks of the Jews in Israel at the time of Christ. It is what happens to everyone who refuses Christ until God's Spirit is removed, "and the rest were blinded."

I have seen this many times in my 47 years in the ministry. I have seen people who were greatly enlightened, but who hardened their hearts until God blinded them. I have seen this happen to people who were raised in the church. I have also seen this happen to newer people as well. They came to church for a time but, not having obtained salvation, they were soon blinded by a judicial act of God, by the judgment of God.

"The elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded"
    (Romans 11:7).

We are often surprised at who obtains salvation and who is, instead, blinded, or passed by. In the Bible, we see two thieves hanging on crosses, one on either side of the Cross of Christ. One thief is elect and obtains salvation. The other one is blinded, and dies without Christ. This surprises us, that one obtains it and one is blinded.

In our evangelistic meetings at camp we were also surprised at who obtained it and who were blinded. Most of those who obtained it were not the ones we expected. Of those who were hopefully converted, only two were ones we thought might be saved. The other seven were quite unexpected by Dr. Cagan and me. Only two college-age young people, who we had high expectations for, obtained it. The other hopeful conversions were quite unusual and quite surprising to us. We thought of the words of Christ,

"But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first" (Matthew 19:30).

Many of the college students were counted by Dr. Cagan and me as "first." But they came out "last," while those children, and others, surprised us, and they that were last became first, and were awakened and hopefully converted. Jesus said,

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen" (Matthew 20:16).

What does that mean? It may well mean,

"The elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded"
     (Romans 11:7).

And why did the elect obtain it? Well, because they had ears to hear, and eyes to see. They listened carefully to the sermons. They saw their sins. They came to Christ. It's as simple as that. "And the rest were blinded," I am afraid. I hope that is not true, but I am afraid it might be.

You see, "the rest" had heard it all before, and, so, they closed their minds to it. They had already seen the video of Pastor Wurmbrand's scars, received from red-hot pokers, tortured for Christ. They had seen that before. And since they had already seen it, their minds were closed to it. They had already heard Dr. Chan speak - many times. And, so, the utter simplicity of his heart, and the transparent honesty and earnestness of his sermons did not touch them. They had already heard him preach and pray, so their minds were closed to what he said. They had already heard me preach - many, many times. And so, no thundering voice of mine could penetrate their wall of resistance. They had already heard my denunciations and pleadings. And, so, my sermons did not touch them. Their minds were closed to what I preached.

But the elect were not so. When they heard Pastor Wurmbrand on that video, they were struck with awe and wonder. They listened to him as though he were the Apostle Paul, fresh from the chains and darkness of a Roman prison. They heard Dr. Chan as though he were the physician Luke, fresh from an encounter with Jesus Christ. They heard my thundering preaching as though I were Luther, proclaiming the terrors of God's law and the consolation to be found in the bleeding wounds of Christ.

"The elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded"
     (Romans 11:7).

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen" (Matthew 20:16).

Before Pastor Wurmbrand was put in solitary confinement he was able to speak to other prisoners in that Communist concentration camp. One man, named Stancu, said to him,

[George] Bernard Shaw once suggested that people are so inoculated in childhood with small doses of Christianity that they seldom catch the real thing (Richard Wurmbrand, In God's Underground, Living Sacrifice Book Co., 2004 reprint, page 120).

Has that happened to you? Have you been inoculated? Have you received so many small doses of Christianity that you cannot receive the real thing?

To experience a real conversion you must see everything with new eyes and hear everything with new ears. The truths you read about in the Bible must become valuable to you. The worth of your soul, the sins of your heart, the awfulness of eternity apart from Christ - these things must grip your very soul in a new way or there will be no conversion.

Dr. Cagan and I have seen children, and unexpected adults, suddenly confronted by their sins and their evil hearts. We have seen them weep for their sins. We have seen them clutch Christ. We have seen them pass over the border of this world and encounter Christ by faith in the realm of the spiritual. We cannot rationally explain this sudden faith, this divine-human encounter. It was not produced by something that we said or did. We told them the same words which they had heard many times before. But suddenly God spoke within their hearts. They felt the wrath of their sinful natures. They rushed to Christ by faith. They were washed clean from their sins by His Blood. They were born of God. They were now in Christ Jesus. This is the miracle of conversion. This is the wonder of salvation. This is the reason Christ came to earth to die on the Cross. This is why He shed His Blood - so that their sins could be washed away forever! This is why He rose physically from the dead - to give them life.

"The elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded"
     (Romans 11:7).

"Oh pastor," someone may say, "I do not want to be blinded. I want to be one of the elect." Then make your calling and election sure! Do not reject the Spirit of God, penetrating you and revealing to you your polluted and deceitful heart. Then be drawn to Christ. Be plunged beneath the flow of His Blood.

My mother had been in and out of church many times throughout her life. Yet her mind was foggy and unclean regarding the gospel. She couldn't grasp it. It seemed strange and foreign to her mind.

She heard my two boys singing in the backyard of our home. They were only about seven years old. She heard them singing,

Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
   ("Are You Washed in the Blood?" by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1839-1929).

She commented on it to me later in the day. She said, "What a strange song that is for little boys to sing."

Yet, not long after that, it no longer seemed strange to her. She came to Christ and was converted. She said to me, "He's real, Robert. When He came to me, He smelled so clean and fresh." I never heard anyone say that before. I never read it anywhere. I know of no one who had that experience in conversion, but her. But that was my mother's experience, when she came to Jesus Christ by faith.

You must not expect that to happen to you - but you can come to Christ by simple faith, and you, too, will be washed in the Blood of the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Even though you do not have the exact experience she had, the Bible promises that if you seek Christ you will find Him.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Colossians 3:1-4.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Too Long I Neglected" (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE ELECT HAVE OBTAINED IT

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded" (Romans 11:7).

(Matthew 19:30; 20:16)