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Divine Reprobation in Proverbs


Solomon also gave instruction to his readers regarding the doctrine of reprobation, the truth that while God has chosen some sinners to inherit eternal glory, He has passed by others, leaving them in their sins. These He justly condemns for their sin. For His own glory, God has chosen to not choose some, with intentional design and inscrutable purpose:

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. —Proverbs 16:4

The wicked exist under God’s sovereign plan in order to fulfill His eternal purposes. Though this may be difficult to accept, it is perfectly consistent with God’s just punishment of the wicked. God is glorified in them, even in the day of their trouble. Ross notes, “God in His sovereignty ensures that everything in life receives its appropriate retribution. On the surface the verse strikes an immediate impression for God’s sovereignty: all God’s acts are part of His plan.” Derek Kidner adds, “Ultimately there are no loose ends in God’s world. Since the wicked are punished in the end, this proverb explains that that is His plan for them.” Even the reprobate fulfill the higher purposes of God’s eternal plan.

—Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 155–156.

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