Impartial Grace: Joel

You will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Yahweh, your God, and there is no one else; and my people will never again be disappointed. It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days, I will pour out my Spirit.

(Joel 2:27-29, emphasis added)

These are Old Testament promises that apply to the New Testament world. God is speaking through His prophet Joel. Israel will suffer. He lets His chosen nation know that He will always be with them. He will always hold them. He will end their oppression and He will end their shame. God tells Joel to tell the people that He will “pour out my Spirit on all flesh….” No person will be exempted from this great display of His Sovereign grace, His limitless mercy, or His overwhelming love. His Spirit will be poured out on all flesh.

Israel is who we are. As believers in Christ Jesus we have been grafted into the vine. The unproductive branches have been cut away. The fruit we become is His fruit. The sons and daughters of Israel will experience His unmatched love; His unconditional love. His Spirit will not be poured out on us only. His Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. He will pour out His Spirit on “…male and handmaids in those days….” These people are not Israel, that is to say, they are not necessarily believers in Christ. These are people who are “the least of these.” These are people who serve Israel. They are captives.

The orthodox doctrine of eternal conscious torment discounts that “all flesh” is truly “all flesh.” John MacArthur is a gifted preacher. He is a prolific writer and is an expositor of God’s Holy Word. Dr. MacArthur is a leading authority in orthodox traditionalist doctrines. Dr. MacArthur preaches this about these scriptures in general and the book of Joel specifically. 1 He says, “It is a day when judgment is poured out on sinners that subsequently leads to blessings on the penitent, and reaffirmation of God’s covenant with His people.” Dr. MacArthur tells his audience “clearly Joel is referring to the final terrible Day of the Lord.” Dr. MacArthur tells us the account of Pentecost in Acts “was not a fulfillment, but a preview and a sample of the Spirit’s power.” The Spirit’s power will be poured completely during Christ’s reign. Dr. MacArthur teaches “…the pouring of God’s Spirit onto all flesh….” is better thought as a pouring of judgment on all flesh. But that is not what we are being told in these verses. These scriptures mean God “…will pour out His Spirit on all flesh.” There is no person who will be untouched by God’s Holy Spirit. God will become “…all in all.” This is Impartial Grace.

1 Dr. John MacArthur. “Joel” Grace To You, Bible Introductions. July 26, 2010. https://www.gty.org/library/bible-introductions/MSB29/joel?term=Joel 2. Date accessed: 04/02/2018.

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