29 April, 2019

Jonah 2:8—“They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy …”

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy (Jonah 2:8).

“Reference is made here to ‘idolaters’ who worship false gods and who continue to do such (i.e. reprobates).  Yet the ‘mercy’ that is offered to them, which they forsake, is their ‘own’ mercy—that is, mercy offered to them is a merciful act towards them.  They are the recipients of mercy designed for them, and yet they forsake it.”


The gospel, that there is one only God who reveals Himself in Jesus Christ, contains a promise that those who fear, trust, and obey Him will experience His mercy.  The idolater does not experience mercy, for he turns from the true God.  I do not understand, then, why any say that there is mercy for the idolater.  Jonah makes clear that there is not.  They turn their back on mercy.

If the point of the argument is that the very presentation of the gospel, which they refused to heed, was, itself, merciful, then someone is trying to find in this text a support for the “well-meant offer of the gospel.”  To that, my response would be:  (1) only if the “well-meant offer” is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture can it be read into this text.  (2) but the rest of Scripture and the Reformed confessions teach that God, in causing the reprobate to hear the gospel, is not being “merciful” to them; He is only making plain to their mind what it is that they are rejecting.

If the Bible were to teach the well-meant offer, one could read Jonah 2:8 in light of it.  If the Bible rejects the well-meant offer, Jonah cannot be used to support it.  More to the point, when looking in the Bible for support for the well-meant offer, one certainly cannot claim that Jonah 2:8 trumps Romans 9-11. (DK, 29/04/2019)



More to come! (DV)

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