“Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.” (25.7)
the responsibility of the people for what befalls them could not be any clearer. People constantly want to argue “Free Will! Free will!,” but what does that will get them? Here what we see is that God’s people, in their freedom brought wrath upon themselves! I am thankful for a God who is not interested in my works towards salvation, since if he were I’d be screwed.
“Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant.” (25.9b)
Ouch! God’s servant! It is a testament to both his power and his sovereignty that God will use the wicked to enact his plan. It also speaks to our stubbornness that God would use the unbelievers to punish those who are to be called by his name. Do we see this today?
“For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished?” (25.29a)
Recall Peter’s words in chapter 4, verse 17, of his first epistle. God chooses to punish (judge) his people first, that they may be purified and come to repentance. But this serves as even greater warning for the rest of the world. If he did not spare his people, nay, if he did not spare even his son (Romans 8.32), then what hope do those not called by his name have? It is this knowledge of God’s just judgment, viewed first among his people, which will condemn all unbelievers, leaving them without excuse.
“And those pierced by the LORD on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other.” (25.33a)
What argument do Universalists have if it be the case that the Lord will “put to the sword” “the wicked” (v.31) and those pierced shall be of so great a number that they span the globe? What grounds for salvation can you base for these whom the Lord himself declares he will slay in judgment? All meaningless wishful thinking that does great violence to the glory of our Lord!