02 September, 2016

Psalm 81:11-12—“… I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts …”



But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would have none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts: and they walked in their own counsels (Psalm 81:11-12 KJV).


COMMON GRACE ARGUMENT:
This text is quoted to support the doctrine of a general operation of the Holy Spirit whereby the progress of corruption is checked in the fallen human nature. The contention is that if God “gives a man over” to sin, He must first of all be “restraining” the power of sin; and only after failing to restrain this power, God ceases His restraint.


(I)

Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Common Grace Considered, pp. 122-123]

The meaning of [this text] is rather … that God punishes sin with sin. God’s wrath is revealed in His terrible judgments upon the wicked. One of those judgments is that God pushes as it were the sinner into greater sin. [For example,] Romans 1 uses the language, “gives them over.” Idolaters who change the glory of God into an image made like unto corruptible man are punished by being given over to homosexuality. History is replete with examples of this. God is, after all, sovereign. He gives the sinner over to the sin that his wicked heart craves. Sin multiplies and becomes worse. And all this takes place until the cup of iniquity is filled. But all this has nothing to do with any kind of inner restraint of sin in the hearts of the wicked.


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(II)


Rev. Herman Hoeksema

[Source: The Rock Whence We Are Hewn (RFPA, 2015), p. 406]

Further, synod referred to a triplet of texts, Psalm 81:12–13; Acts 7:42; and Romans 1:24–26, 28, which teach that God gives the sinner over to all manner of evil, iniquity, and corruption. No exegesis can possibly deduce from these passages the doctrine of a general operation of the Holy Spirit whereby the progress of corruption is checked in the fallen human nature. Directly the texts teach exactly the opposite, for to give over is the very opposite of to restrain. Nor do the texts presuppose a restraint by the Holy Spirit prior to the giving over.


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(III)


More to come! (DV)

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