12. Pondering The Hard Shalls of Holy Writ



 Chapter Twelve
Pondering The Hard Shalls of Holy Writ

It will readily be admitted that this is rather a provocative chapter title.  Our intention is not to promote a system of doctrine held by any group of professed believers.

There is an assembly of Baptists which are designated “Hardshell” because of positions to which they adhere.  They are not in any way the target of this article for defense or condemnation.  It is the “Hard Shalls and not the Hardshells that we seek to analyze.

The hard shalls that we hope to explore are those which lend themselves to a fixed interpretation.  There is unequivocally no room for misunderstanding if it be accepted that God it the origin of their definitions.  Example:  I shall be there this time tomorrow.  This is not a hard and fixed shall, for I may, or I may not, be at the desired location tomorrow.  Many things may hinder and prevent me from complying with my announcement.  Man cannot be the arranger of an absolute hard shall.  He is too fickle and mutable to be seriously considered for such a transaction.  We do not have the integrity, soundness, or faithfulness, even though our intentions may be correct, to pursue in our own power things that are complete and immutable.

On the divine side of these principles we must understand that a Holy hard shall which is unalterable is unaffected by man’s acceptance of rejection of the fixed principle, whether it be time, place, person, or position.


“The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass: and as I have purposed, so shall it stand;…For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”  (Isaiah 24:24 & 27)

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35)

“The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”  (Psalms 33:11)

 These are just a few examples of things that are eternally fixed, not in any degree subject to change regardless of whether they are embraced as truth or set aside as folly.  In synopsis, we are simply stating that only the Great God of all can author the shalls we desire to study.


Hard:=solid and firm, inflexible
Shalls: = denotes authority of determination
Conclusion:  Solid, firm, and inflexible authority and determination.

The Hard Shalls of Matthew 1: 21 & 23

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins…Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is, God with us.”

 “She, a virgin, shall conceive, and bear a son.” (Isaiah 7:14)  This announcement could not fail, it was absolute.  That which was conceived in her was of the Holy Ghost.”  (Matthew 1: 20)  The prophetic statement was “the Lord himself shall give you a sign;..a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  The New Testament counterpart is likewise infiltrated with inflexible determination worthy of Jehovah.  A virgin found grace in the eyes of God and was the recipient of the only Holy Spirit conception.  “A virgin shall be with child, she shall bring forth a son.  Thou shalt, they shall call His name Emmanuel, Jesus: for He shall save his people from their sins, What was the result of this prophecy?  “..and he, (Joseph), called his name Jesus.”  (Matthew 1: 23-25)  Eternally determined!

The first time in the New Testament that we find the words shall or shalt employed is most significant and impressive.  The content is superior to anything that man had ever dealt with before.  It concerned Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour.  Every hope, desire, and aspiration of the believer is faithfully linked to that which captures ones attention in these verses.  Without this Jesus there is no one who can rescue our being and redeem fallen man from his desperate condition.  Praise be to God in heaven these shalls are inflexible, and cannot be frustrated in any way.

If this is confirmed by His Spirit in our inner man, should we not also be greatly comforted and raised to bolder confidence in the other hard shalls of the scriptures?  The scriptures all have the same author, the identical determination, and are as absolute as their first appearance.


Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and him that knocketh it shall be opened . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?  (Matthew 7:7-8; 11)

 Asking, seeking, and knocking in truth are not mights, maybes or possibilities; they are absolutes according to the Lord’s own testimony.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst . . . All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  (John 6:35 & 37)

 And I pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever.”  (John 14:16)

Casting aside the Lord’s unqualified shalls or adulterating their validity is to repudiate the God of truth.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”  (Romans 5:9-10)

Justified by His blood, delivered from the wrath of God through Him, reconciled to God by Him, and saved by his life is the eternal shall and purpose of the redeeming Godhead.

He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  . . . who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or period, or sword?  . . . For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:32, 35, 38-39)

 Every possible hindrance or intrusion is excluded by the hard shalls which are bound up in the love of God which is manifested in Christ Jesus.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:19)

 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  (Hebrews 9:14)

 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.  (Hebrews 10:37)

 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  (James 1:5)

 Many are the portions of the word which reveal the unrestricted hard shalls of the Godhead.  Can you imagine the disastrous results if God were not the Lord of His own Word and purpose?


“. . . for he shall save his people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:21)

 Salvation is not something that the chosen people of Jesus either accept or reject.  It is the purpose of God from all eternity which they receive at the appointed time.  Involved are the saving acts of Christ Jesus to a much greater extent than the people who are the objects of His affection.  What Jesus did was divine action.  What the quickened child does is predestinated reaction.  The solid firm, and inflexible shall of Jesus will not tolerate the amalgamation of uncertainty in the potent scheme of redemption.  The elect are encircled with eternal benevolence which their fallen condition did not and could not obliterate.

Sin condemned and repentance granted to the people of Jesus is to say the very least, majestic.  Man neither condemns his sins nor repents of them as a result of his own volition.  He will have his sins removed, but all of these transactions are authentically the performance of God unto man.  Man because of new life, seeks the giver of that new life.

To expect a totally depraved dead sinner to supersede principles that Adam and Eve did not sustain in their created state is an unreliable conclusion.  If Adam and Eve fell in Eden and devastated their exalted position, what possible prospect is appropriate for the servants of sin who are in the bondage of iniquity, and are happy in that condition.  Even redemption does not expel sin’s ever-warring presence.

Everlasting salvation involves satisfaction in all three persons of the Trinity.  It, of necessary, must include a predestination with regard to the people Jesus shall save from their sins; a quickening of the sinner, a regeneration wherein the child is made alive; a calling which is declared “Holy” according to the scriptures, and a turning away of every believer from his iniquities.  These requirements ought to be substantial enough to reinforce the fact that man cannot do anything in the direction of God without God.  “Salvation is of the Lord!”  It is His purpose, and He shall bring it to a holy and infallible end.

Jesus Christ must save all of the elect of God or be found insufficient with respect to the will of His Father.  To place fallen man in the position of initiator with regard to repentance, and make Christ’s obedience to God contingent upon man’s actions concerning salvation is a conjecture so twisted that to ponder such as possible is to disavow deity and replace truth with a hellish fabrication.  However, is this not the substance of much preaching and teaching that many are exposed to today?  This is true to the extent that proponents of God’s absolute sovereignty are piping sentences which would lead one to believe that complete redemption is in some degree man’s choice and optional.  Teachings of this nature leave the faithful cisterns empty.  What man does toward Jesus must be received as the work of Christ and the fruit of redemption.

God-wrought faith not only receives Jesus as the perfect Saviour, but also as the complete Saviour.  Everything is the Lord’s.  To depart from that conviction is to depart from the Saviourhood of Jesus.

Let us consider that from concept to final glorification, the believers are clay and the potter is the Lord.


Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? . . . And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.  (Romans 9:21 & 23)

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 1:6)

 These truths can be expanded to even greater advantage for the believer’s confidence.  Our Father is not leaving the so called minor functions and happenings to the discretion of the energetic and pragmatic.  The preacher, confessor, sinner and saint all are miniature components to be used by the Divine architect as pleases Him.


“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.: (Ephesians 2:10)

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that the might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  (Romans 8:29)

“Now the god of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will ,working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ: to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen”  (Jude 24-25)

“What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?”  (Romans 8:31)

Mention was made before that in the salvation of the elect, all persons in the Godhead must be satisfied.  The divine record extols the finished work of Christ with glory and honor.


Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed . . . and the Lord had laid on him the iniquity of us all . . . for the transgression of my people was he stricken . . . Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his deed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be SATISFIED.”  (Hebrews 1:3)

“ . . . when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”  (Hebrews 1:3)

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Who is gone into heave, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”  (1 Peter 3:22)

This is the report of the Father’s SATISFACTION of Christ’s atoning accomplishment:  the resurrection and ascension, the capstone of the Father’s pleasure in all that Jesus achieved.

Jesus would not have ascended to the Father unless and until all the sins of the elect had been forever forgiven.  The verses already recited substantiate that position.  It was not until Jesus had purged our sins that He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.  (Hebrews 1:3)

The ones being saved are the very ones who were predestinated until salvation.  The eternal redemptive shalls of Matthew 1:21 spoken by the angel of the Lord make salvation positively certain therein rendering it an “Holy Calling” (2 Timothy 1:9).  What God has so ordered cannot be disannulled by any power or being.  “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS:  for he shall save his people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:21)


“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”  (John 17:2)

“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”  (Acts 13:48)

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”  (Romans 8:29-30)

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will . . . In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”  (Ephesians 1:4-5, 11)

“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth.”  (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

To multiply verses dealing with predestination would seem almost redundant if our condition as men were not so based toward evil and unbelief.  The scriptures have well denied men as liars, and only God as true (Romans 3:4).  The elect therefore will be made alive by the same God that predestinated them unto salvation and belief in the truth.  There are no exceptions to God’s rule.


“and you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; . . . Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved).”  (Ephesians 2:1, 5)

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  (John 6:63)

“. . . being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit.”  (1 Peter 3:18)

“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things. . . ”(1 Timothy 6:13)

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”  (Colossians 2:13)

To imagine the spiritually dead seeking Jesus for life is no different than to suppose that the physically dead could seek him.  The God of all hath pronounced that man by nature can receive nothing of the spirit, not even the word.  “Man must have the Spirit, to know the spirit.”  “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”  (Romans 8:16).

“Man’s heart is enmity to God, – to God as revealed in the Gospel, – to God as the God of grace . . . For we know that the unrenewed will is set against the gospel; it is enmity to God and His truth.  The more closely and clearly truth is set before it, and pressed home upon it, its hatred swells and rises.  The presentation of truth, however forcible and clear, even though that truth were the grace of God, will only exasperate the unconverted man.  It is the gospel that he hates; and the more clearly it is set before him, he hates it the more.  It is God that he hates; and the more closely God approaches him, the more vividly that God is set before him, the more does his enmity awaken and augment.  Surely, then, that which stirs up enmity cannot of itself remove it.  Of what avail, then, are most energetic means by themselves?  The will itself must be directly operated upon by the Spirit of God:  He who has made it must remake it.  Its making was the work of Omnipotence: its remaking must be the same.  In no other way can its evil bent be rectified.  God’s will must come into contact with man’s will, and then the work is done.  Must not God’s will then be first in every such movement?  Man’s will follows; it cannot lead.”  (Horatius Bonar)

The all-wise God has revealed that natural men are in total and slavish unbelief.  Regeneration is the awe-inspiring work of the Holy Spirit.


“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  (1 Corinthians 2:14)

“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief.” (Romans 11:32)

A calling worthy of the Godhead is emphatically holy.  If it were flawed, could we declare such holiness, or if it fails in its object, misses the mark in the minute, would it be a holy calling?  This would not only be deemed unholy, but vile, or as once stated, “wretchedly bad.”


THE HOLY CALLING:  “them he also called: and whom he called, them  he also justified.”  (Romans 8:30).

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”  (2 Timothy 1:9)

THE WILL OF GOD HE FATHER:  “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (John 6:38-40)

JESUS DID THE WILL OF HIS FATHER: I HAVE GLORIFIED THEE ON THE EARTH: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”  (John 17:4)

ALL OF THE ELECT ARE LEAD TO REPENTANCE:  “Unto you first God, having raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”  (Acts 3:26)

“. . . that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”  (Romans 2:4)

Such is the clear teaching with regard to the solid, firm, inflexible and authoritative determination of the Hard Shalls of Holy Writ

All that are taught of the Father have learned that Jesus is a perfect and complete Saviour (John 6:45), not only in salvation, but in each facet of every moment of life.  Jesus Christ is the one who will deliver us from all our distresses.  “Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.  He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”  (Psalms 107:19-20)

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