Condemned for Unbelief
Calvinists make the claim that man's eternal state is predestined by God. They say that some are predestined to heaven and the others are predestined to eternal judgment. This is supposed to be according to God's justice and for his glory. But is it just to predestine someone for hell and then call that justice? R.L. Dabney stated it this way:
"The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice"
Dabney says that those who are “predestined” for hell were simply “passed by” and therefore not offered Jesus' gift of salvation. Those who are unable to believe in Jesus are simply punished for their sins which they are already dead in anyway. The problem is this is not why the Scriptures say people are sent to hell. Consider this passage:
John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Some people are not simply passed by while others are saved. They are condemned for their unbelief. Man is born dead in his sins and to punish man for that sin is just. However, we see that since Christ came and offered himself as a sacrifice He now condemns men for whether or not they believe in him. Those who believe are saved, but those who do not are condemned, not for their sins, but because they did not believe.
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
This passage is not suggesting that Jesus just passed some people by, this passage says that God's wrath is up on them for no other reason than rejecting the Son. They are condemned for their unbelief, something God obviously did not predestine them to do.
Why was the Holy Spirit sent to the earth? The Scripture says He was sent to convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. Look closely at what this passage has to say about our guilt of sin.
John 16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
The Spirit does not convict the world of sin because they already dead in it and He simply passes them by not giving them an opportunity to believe. They are convicted because men do not believe in Jesus. It is their unbelief that causes them to be punished and convicted for their sin. How could God punish man for something he has purposefully withheld from the opportunity to do? That would not be just by any definition of the term. The truth is God would do no such thing. While men do indeed die in their sins they do so only if they refuse to believe.
John 8:23 But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins."
God is both just and merciful and that is why whosoever believes will be saved. Scripture does not say that whosoever has been enabled to believe will be saved, but whosoever will believe and He gives everyone the opportunity to do just that.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.