Only when men refuse to compare Scripture with Scripture and to read the mind of the Spirit in the complete revelation of the one truth unto salvation, could they fall upon the cheerless and forbidding thought, that the God of love created some men to an inevitable doom of death and endless misery, and that Christ was sent to be the cause of their destruction, as He was sent to be the cause of life and salvation to others more favored of God. There is nothing clearer in the Bible than that God, who so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son to save it, desires the damnation of none, desires the salvation of all.
“As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” Ez. 33:11.
Therefore He gave His only Son to be a Savior for the entire human race.
“For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Tim. 2:5-6.
Hence also the tidings were ordered to be published to all people, because Christ the Lord came to bring all to glory. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,” is the divine commission. Mark 16:15.
In the design of God the Lord Jesus came to save all men from the curse which was upon them all on account of sin. We are expressly told that the condemnation of sinners was not the object of Christ’s coming.
“God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.
It impeaches the mercy of God and brings dishonor upon His holy name, and it deprives human hearts of the comfort of Holy Scripture and drives them to despair, when the harsh and cruel doctrine is taught, that God is the cause, which means that God is the fault, that so many stumble at Christ and fall.
Such a thought be far from us, brethren, because it is an unscriptural and ungodly thought. That would be an explanation that darkens the whole Gospel. But Christ is ours only by faith, and because many do not believe in Him and thus refuse the salvation which He brings, they perish. That is the true explanation, which the Holy Ghost Himself has given. For it is written:
“Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling-stone; as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling-stone and rock of offense, and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” Rom. 9:31-33.
The Son of God came into the world to bring salvation to all men. That salvation is not to be forced upon any soul. The grace which secured the redemption and offers it to souls by the Word and Sacraments also renders them able to receive it, without rendering them unable to reject it. Men have the dreadful power of resisting the grace of God which bringeth salvation. That they will not come and be saved when the Lord calls them and offers salvation, that is the reason why Christ is set for their fall. The only help that is possible they put from them, and rejecting their only hope they must perish. Hence our Lord exclaims:
” O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent: unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” Matt. 23:37.
That is the explanation of the lamentable fact. Men reject the Savior and die.
All from Loy, Matthias. Sermons on the Gospels for the Sundays and Chief Festivals of the Church Year. Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1888. This rare book from the beloved teacher and professor was a generous gift from a reader. It is being scanned and cleaned up, and will be released in paperback and as an e-book by LutheranLibrary.org