"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45: 22)
This is another difficult passage for Hardshells. How and why?
Problem for Neo Hardshells - God exhorts the unsaved to be saved
A) It is not a sufficient reply to say that the command/exhortation is to "Israel"
1) "they are not all Israel which are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6)
2) it includes all the Gentiles or "the ends of the earth" (the command is thus universal)
B) It is not a sufficient reply to say that it is a "time salvation"
1) The context shows that it is not a mere time salvation. Verse 17 says this:
"But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever."
It is not some temporary or physical deliverance, but rather an "everlasting salvation." It is set against everlasting disgrace.
2) Those designated by the "ends of the earth" are those who are unsaved, but exhortations for obtaining "time salvation" are for those already saved (in neo hardshellism)
Hardshell Presuppositional Stance
1. Those already chosen and regenerated are the only ones being addressed
2. These only are being exhorted to a time salvation and this salvation is by works and not by grace
But, clearly such a stance subverts the clear teaching of the passage.
The Hardshell thinks that the salvation cannot be eternal salvation because it is conditioned upon a person "looking" to the Lord, or upon belief. Any salvation that results from looking to the Lord, or coming to Christ, etc., cannot be eternal salvation according to Hardshell reasoning. But, clearly this verse overthrows such Hardshell reasoning and presuppositionalism.
John Calvin in his Commentary on this verse wrote:
He invites the whole world to the hope of salvation, and at the same time brings a charge of ingratitude against all the nations, who, being devoted to their errors, purposely avoided, as it were, the light of life; for what could be more base than to reject deliberately their own salvation? He therefore commands all “to look to him,” and to the precept adds a promise, which gives it greater weight, and confirms it more than if he had made use of a bare command.
And ye shall be saved. Thus we have a striking proof of the calling of the Gentiles; because the Lord, after having broken down “the partition-wall” (Ephesians 2:14) which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, invites all without exception to come to him. Besides, we are here reminded also what is the true method of obtaining salvation; that is, when we “look to God,” and turn to him with our whole heart. Now, we must “look to him” with the eye of faith, so as to embrace the salvation which is exhibited to all through Christ; for “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him may not perish.” (John 3:16.)
"Look," this is all he demands of thee, and even this he gives thee.
So a sinner believes in a moment; and the moment that sinner believes and trusts in his crucified God for pardon, at once he receives salvation in full through his blood.
A Sermon (No. 60) Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 6, 1856
Further, Hardshells do not believe that it is sin, or a thing to be condemned, for men to refuse to look to the Lord for salvation. They do not believe it man's duty or responsibility to do so. But, if it is not his duty, then he cannot be charged with sin for not doing so.