Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Decree’

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1-Chapter 10-The Knowledge of God

February 6, 2015 2 comments

CHAPTER 10-THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

When Massillon arose to deliver the funeral oration of Louis XIV, his opening sentence was: “Only God is great.” Luther once told Erasmus that his thoughts of God were too human. A person criticized a certain preacher by saying that he did not make God big enough. We believe this is a general fault of the ministry in this, our day: we do not make God big enough in our preaching. God is great, incomprehensibly great, in every attribute. The Psalmist says that “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (#Ps 147:5).

The knowledge of God is called His omniscience, which means that His knowledge is universal, reaching to all things, to all persons, and to all events. The contrast between God and man is very marked. Man knows very little; his understanding has been darkened by sin. He begins his earthly career in almost complete ignorance, and after a lifetime of study knows nothing as he ought to know it: “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know” (#1Co 8:2). While in this world the wisest of men can hardly turn over the first page in the book of knowledge. And the smarter the man is, the more he realizes his ignorance. It is the fool who thinks he knows it all. Moreover, the more valuable a truth is, the denser is the ignorance of man concerning it. The truth about God and eternal things is the most valuable of all truth, and yet the ignorance of man is more evident here than on any other subject. Moral and spiritual truths are hid to the eyes of the wise and prudent and revealed to babes: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight” (#Lu 10:21). God hath made foolish the wisdom of this world with regard to spiritual things: “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (#1Co 1:20). The world by its own wisdom cannot know God: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (#1Co 1:21). To be wise every man must become a fool, that is, he must renounce his own reasonings and accept God’s revelation about eternal things. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (#Pr 3:5).

Paul preached the gospel to both Jew and Greek alike to the natural, prejudiced Jew it was a scandal, and to the natural, proud Greek it was foolishness: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” (#1Co 1:23). Before they could see the wisdom and power of God in the gospel of Christ, they had to be called; by which call their minds were illuminated by the Holy Spirit, so that the Gospel was no longer hid to them: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (#1Co 1:24); “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (#2Co 4:4,6).

God’s understanding is infinite: “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (#Ps 147:5). The original reads, “Of His understanding there is no number.” The objects of God’s knowledge are beyond computation. The mind of man does not have a mind that can fathom the knowledge of God. David wrote concerning the knowledge of God and, after a few lines, said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (#Ps 139:6).

“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off” (#Ps 139:2). God observes us when we sit down to meditate, and when we arise to pursue the activities of life and He knows the thoughts that regulate all our ways. He knows our thoughts before we know them. Before a thought is our own, it is foreknown to God. God said of Israel, “And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware” (#De 31:21). God knew what their thoughts and actions would be before He brought them into Canaan. Christ knew what Peter’s thoughts and words would be and predicted that he would deny Him. “And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice…And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept” (#Mr 14:30,72).

“Thou compassest my path and my Iying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” (#Ps 139:3). God knows our path and our pallet. He knows us when we awake and when we are asleep. “For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether” (#Ps 139:4). God knows our speech. He knows when men take His Name in vain, and has declared that He will not hold such a man guiltless: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (#Ex 20:7). He knows when men deny His word and “poke fun” at what He has caused to be written. And He hears the lowest whisper as well as the loudest cry. Men whisper when they wish to conceal their words, but God can hear our whispers, yea, even the mutterings of our heart.

“Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me” (#Ps 139:5). David felt himself hemmed in by God. Truly there is no escape from God! “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (#Ps 139:7-10). He is behind us, recording our sins; or in grace blotting them out. He is before us, knowing all our deeds, and providing for all our needs. God is a prison house of punishment to the wicked, and a haven of rest to His weary people. Every person has to have dealings with God, therefore “prepare to meet thy God.”

“O Lord, in me there lieth not but to
Thy search revealed lies;
For when I sit, Thou markest it; no less
Thou notest when I rise;
Yea, closest closet of my thought hath
Open windows to Thine eyes.”

HOW DOES GOD KNOW?

1. God does not have to acquire knowledge. His knowledge is not the result of observation, consultation, or laborious study. It is no effort for God to know. Knowledge with man is attended with much labor; with man lifetime is school time.

2. God does not increase in knowledge. He knows no more now than He did centuries ago. His understanding is infinite from all eternity. He has always had perfect knowledge of all things. God does not need to enroll in any man’s university. There are no school days with God.

3. God knows naturally. Omniscience belongs to the very nature of God; it is one of His personal perfections. Calvin defines Omniscience as “that attribute whereby God knows Himself and all other things in one eternal and most simple act.” God’s knowledge is all direct and without any intermediaries: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” (#Ro 11:34).

THE OBJECTS OF GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

1. God knows Himself. Rational creatures are endowed by God with capacity to know themselves. Even fallen men know something about themselves, of the composition of their bodies, and of the faculties of the soul. And if creatures know something of themselves, then the Creator, whose understanding is infinite, must know Himself perfectly.

Moreover, there is perfect acquaintance among the three persons of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God, and can make intercession for the saints according to the will of God: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (#Ro 8:26,27). Jesus, speaking of God the Father, said, “Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.” (#Joh 8:55).

2. God knows His creation. He knows everything in nature. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” (#Ps 147:4). The sparrow does not fall without His knowledge and consent.

God knows everything in the realm of human experience. He knows the thoughts of men, and the ways of men, and the words of men.

“Before men we stand as opaque bee-hives. They can see the thoughts go in and out of us, but what work they do inside of a man, they cannot tell. Before God we are as glass bee-hives, and all that our thoughts are doing within us, He perfectly sees and understands.” (Henry Ward Beecher).

God knows the deeds of men. Men can hide their deeds from one another, but they cannot hide them from God. No human eye saw Cain murder Abel, but God witnessed the crime. “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (#Ge 4:9,10). Achan no doubt thought he had committed the perfect crime when he stole the wedge of gold and hid it in the earth, but God brought his sin to light. “And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done” (#Jos 7:19,20). David covered up his sin with Bathsheba, but God uncovered it, “Thou art the man!” “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; … Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife” (#2Sa 12:7,10). There are no secret sins to God; “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (#Heb 4:13).

God knows the sorrows and trials of His people. “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;” (#Ex 3:7). Let us tell our sorrows to our Heavenly Father, for “Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

God knows all events, past, present, and future. He knows all the past and never forgets. “When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble” (#Ps 9:12). Here is a verse for Hitler and all other war lords. It is merciful that we can forget some things of the past. Some men brood over the past until they are driven insane. This is not the proper attitude for the believer. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (#Php 3:13,14). There is forgiveness with God through faith in His Son, and when God forgives us He remembers our sins against us no more forever. “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (#Isa 38:17). “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee” (#Isa 44:22).

God knows the present and the future. He knows the future better than men can know the past. God’s perfect knowledge of the future is illustrated in the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. Prophecy is the recording of events before they come to pass.

THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD’S KNOWLEDGE

There is no better exercise for the soul than the contemplation of the perfection’s of God. Here is the secret of all true godliness. He who would live godly must be occupied with thoughts about God.

“The wicked hate the truth of God’s knowledge. They wish there might be no Witness of their sins, no Searcher of their hearts, no Judge of their deeds” (A. W. Pink).

The wicked fail to remember that God remembers all their wickedness: “And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face” (#Ho 7:2)

The contemplation of the knowledge of God should fill the soul with adoring wonder. How great must be the One who knows all things! None of us knows what a day may bring forth, but God knows all that will take place in time and in eternity.

The infinite knowledge of God ought to fill men with holy fear. Everything we think, or say, or do, is known to Him to Whom we must give account. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (#Mt 12:36). Meditation upon this divine perfection will be a mighty check upon the waywardness of the flesh. In times of temptation we need to say as Hagar did, “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?” (#Ge 16:13).

To be occupied with the infinite knowledge of God will fill the child of God with humility, adoration, and praise. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (#Ro 11:33).

The truth before us is an encouragement to prayer. There is no danger that our petitions will not be heard, or that our sighs and tears will escape the notice of God. No danger of the individual saint being overlooked amidst the throng of suppliants. An infinite Mind is capable of paying attention to millions as though only one man was seeking its attention. And we do not jeopardize our prayers by using inappropriate language, because God knows the thoughts and reads the intents of the heart. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (#Ro 8:26).

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1

Reply to Letter two and Three by C. D. Cole

November 14, 2014 1 comment

746 West Noel
Madisonville, Kentucky
December 17th, 1959

My Dear Marjorie:

Greetings and best wishes for a happy holiday season! When I mailed you the books, I intended to follow at once with a letter explaining that you would be under no obligation to pay for them, since you had not ordered them. But other things took precedence, and I was still planning to write when your letter arrived with enclosure. Perhaps I should return part of the money as it was more than enough to pay for what I sent. The supply of books and tracts I have written is almost exhausted, and this is one reason why I sent you what I did. The series of SIN and SALVATION have not been put in book form. I have two or three large scrap books containing articles published in various magazines. At my age (now in my 75th year), I do not expect to publish any more books. However, I have many dear friends among young ministers and some of them may want to publish some of my writings after I am gone.

With this brief introduction, I will now attend to your questions in the hope I may be of some help.

1. Peter’s exhortation to “make your calling and election sure,” is a warning against presumption. One must not take his salvation for granted without proper evidence of it. Of course he means to make it sure to ourselves, for we can make nothing sure to God. His words have to do with assurance and not to the fact of salvation. He starts with the grace of faith as God’s gift, and urges us to build upon that faith so that our lives may not be barren and unfruitful. No unfruitful believer can have assurance of salvation as a subjective experience. Apropos of your own experience while a backslider.

2. I believe “all” in #Ro 11:32 is used only in a relative and not absolute sense, else we have universal salvation. Moreover, #Ro 9:18 teaches that God is sovereign in bestowal of mercy. This does not mean that He refuses mercy to any who trust Christ for it, but that He does not cause all to look to Him for mercy— some are left to their own carnal will.

3. The Christian will be judged for his works and not for his sins. His sins have been judged in Christ and will not appear against him in the day of Judgment. Salvation is of grace; reward is for work. There will be degrees both in heaven and in hell, for both the saved and lost will be judged for their deeds—the lost will receive the degree of punishment commensurated with their evil deeds, and the saved will receive glory according to their works. I do not expect the reward of Paul, for my works have not equalled his.

Romans 2 is dealing with principles of judgment under law:

3a. It is to be according to truth (#Ro 2:2), that is according to facts;

3b. It is to be according to deeds (#Ro 2:6);

3c. It is to be without respect of persons (#Ro 2:11,12). The chapter is not showing how to be saved, but what one may expect from the law, whether he be Jew or Gentile.

Romans 14 warns believers against judging one another for various scruples in regard to eating and observing days on the ground that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Ro 14:10). We shall give account of ourselves to God and not to one another.

1 Corinthian 4 deals with the judgment of the Christian as a steward of God. We cannot judge or appraise the works of one another here and now, for there is much we cannot know, such as motives and hidden things, but when Christ comes He will know everything about us, and “then shall every man have praise of God” (#1Co 4:5). We are not qualified to judge so as to determine the place one shall have in glory—God will look after that.

4. We are to address the lost as sinners, and not as elect sinners. We do not know who the elect are until they manifest it in faith and good works. And we are to address them as in need of salvation, and urge them to trust the one and only Saviour-and to trust Him now. Shall we tell them to trust Him at once or wait until some other time?

It is true that “no one who is elected for salvation can possibly die without being saved”. But this does not mean that they will be saved apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the means of salvation are as truly elected as are the persons. #2Th 2:13,14 Paul knew more about the doctrine of election than any other man, and yet he persuaded people concerning Jesus (#Ac 28:23). He knew the elect would be saved, and yet he prayed and worked for the salvation of Israel. #Ro 9:1-3 10:1-4 11:14 1Co 9:19-22

We must not allow the doctrine of election to rob us of compassion for the lost, nor close our eyes to the urgency of salvation. #Heb 2:3 2Co 6:2

There will be things we cannot understand and doctrines we shall not be able to harmonize, but it is plainly His commanding will for us to witness to all people concerning Christ Jesus. Secret things belong to God, but the revealed things fix our duty #De 29:29

With Christian love,

C. D. Cole

 

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part II-Questions and Answers on Election

Reply to Letter One by C. D. Cole

October 24, 2014 1 comment

746 West Noel Madisonville, Kentucky October 20, 1959

Mrs. Marjorie Bond
1505 Scotland Street
Calgary, Alberta
Canada

My Dear Mrs. Bond:

Greetings in the Name of His whose Name is above every name!

Your good letter under date of the 5th, was duly received. And it could not have reached me at a busier time, which accounts for my delay in making reply. I am a clerk of Little Bethel Association, and your letter came the first day of our annual meeting. There was a lot of work in preparing for the meeting, and much more work in getting the material in the hands of the printer. At first, I thought I would write briefly, stating my situation, and promising to get to it as soon as possible. And then it occurred to me that I might save this time in the hope of getting to the matter before the time you mentioned ran out. I trust you will not take my delay as evidence of indifference on my part. Moreover, due to infirmities of age, I do not have the capacity for work I once enjoyed.

First of all, let me commend you for your honest attitude towards the doctrine of ELECTION and related subjects; and may I also congratulate you on your grasp of these doctrines. I rarely receive such a well-written letter on any subject. You put your problems in a clear perspective, which makes it easier to deal with them. And I can answer sympathetically because your problems are also my own problems. Much as I would like to solve them for you, I fear my efforts will be disappointing.

I believe you are unduly disturbed over your inability to harmonize all that is in the Bible. This Book is the revelation of the Infinite and the finite mind cannot understand to perfection all that God has revealed. To be able to do so would be an argument against the Bible as God-breathed, and reduce it to a mere human production. Moreover, the determination to harmonize apparent contradictions is sure to result in one of three things, found in actual life. One will either ignore Sovereignty on the one hand, or human responsibility on the other hand, or else be plagued with a disturbed mind as you confess to having. On the one side are the so-called Primitive Baptist (Hardshells), who cannot reconcile human inability with responsibility in the matter of repentance and faith. And so they emphasize the doctrines of sovereignty, the Divine decrees, and human inability, and ignore the Scriptures which command sinners to repent and believe the gospel, hence they have no gospel for the lost. On the other hand there are those who preach the doctrines of human responsibility and the command to repent and believe, and have nothing to say about human inability, the Divine decrees, and sovereignty. Here in my own church and association, as well as throughout the South generally, there is little heard of Election, Depravity, and Sovereignty in salvation. It is because the brethren feel they cannot preach both; that the two are beyond reconciliation—the one being true, the other must be false. Now, in your case there is both the determination to accept all Scripture and to harmonize them, resulting in a confused and disturbed mind. Let us, at the risk of being called inconsistent, take all the Scriptures whether we can harmonize them or not. Dr. J.B. Moody ( one of my fathers in the faith) used to say, that if one waited to accept the doctrines until he could harmonize them, he would never accept them; the way to harmonize them is to receive them without question, and they will harmonize on the inside of the soul. This may not be exactly true, but it will be of help. I am not saying that we should make no effort to harmonize seeming contradictory doctrines, but I do warn against a persistent determination to do so. With this introduction, I will now take up your questions in their order.

1. It is true that most (I would say all) people feel that election is unjust. This is not strange since the carnal mind is enmity against God. People may love a god of their own invention, but only born-again believers can love a Sovereign God who does what He will with His own (1Jo 4:7). God’s rights with the sinful human race are the rights of a potter over the clay. We can readily see that the criminal has no claims upon the human court, and it is just as true that the sinner has no claims upon an offended God. Moreover, to say that election is unjust is to put salvation on the basis of justice, thus robbing every sinner of any hope.

When we find people who seem to be interested in salvation, we are encouraged to think they are of the elect, for the elect are not saved without becoming interested in salvation. When we pray for their salvation, we are not asking the Holy Spirit to put them on the fence where they may fall off on either side. They are already on the wrong side—the attitude of ignorant rejection of Christ —and we pray that He may translate them from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His dear Son (#Col 1:13). We pray for their conversion to faith in Christ, that they may not be left to the choice of a depraved nature. Why He does not convict and convert everybody we preach to and pray for is due to His sovereignty and not to His weakness. We do not pray to a weak God. However, we must distinguish between the desire to be saved from sin and the desire to be saved from Hell. Nobody wants to burn, but the desire to be saved from sin is a holy desire created by the Holy Spirit. When He creates such a desire His further work of conversion will follow, but we cannot assuredly determine the motive of the desire.

You ask to what extent are they (the non-elect) responsible for being lost? They are responsible for all the sins they commit and for their sinful nature also. What one does is a revelation of what he is. This is not apparent to our sense of justice. I cannot see how God can justly hold me responsible for the exercise of a sinful nature inherited—for a nature I had nothing to do with acquiring—for a nature I was born with. If I were to sit in judgment on God (perish the thought) I would say that it is not right to punish me for an inherited sinful nature. I accept my responsibility for sin even though I cannot understand the justice of it. Those who have not been “ear-marked” for salvation fall into two groups—those who have the gospel preached to them, and those who never hear of Christ as Saviour. Those who have the gospel preached to them are responsible for all their sins, including the sin of rejecting Christ, while those who never hear of Him are free from the sin of rejecting Him, although they are guilty of other sins for which they are held responsible. The heathen who have never heard the gospel will not have to answer for the sin of unbelief. Whether we can understand it or not, the sinner in all his depravity and helplessness is accountable to God.

The woman in your class who remarked that the doctrine of election makes everything so hopeless, adding that she thought anyone could be saved; that the decision was “theirs,” might be answered this way. Anyone can be saved who is willing to be saved God’s way through faith in Christ, but nobody, left to himself, wants to be saved this way. God’s way is foolishness to him #1Co 2:14 2Co 4:3-6 Ro 10:1-3

The decision is “theirs” but the decision to trust Christ is the result of a renewed mind—the result of grace in the soul. Paul speaks of the time when he thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9). In the telling of his conversion he ascribes it to the grace of God #1Co 15:10 Ga 1:14-16 There is no self-salvation, either in providing it or applying it. The work of the Spirit in us is as essential as the work of Christ for us. Paul says that the Jews were asking for a sign (they wanted him to perform a miracle) and that the Greeks were clamouring for wisdom (they wanted him to philosophize), but without catering to the wishes of either, he preached Christ crucified. Salvation through faith in a crucified Christ was to the natural Jew a scandal, and to the Greek it was foolishness. Those effectually called by the Holy Spirit were able to see the power and wisdom of God in such a plan of salvation #1Co 1:22-31 Why God does not effectually call more than He does is not due to inability but to sovereignty. As I say in my article on election, we must either limit God’s power or His mercy, or go over boots and baggage to universalism. If God is trying to save everybody and does not succeed, He is not almighty; if He is not trying to save everybody His mercy is not universal. #Ro 9:18 makes it clear that His mercy is limited and is sovereignly bestowed. Deserving mercy is a contradiction of terms. The flesh in us—remnants of depravity—rebels at this aspect of Divine sovereignty. The writer is aware of this, just as you seem to be.

2. There are passages like #Joh 3:16 1Jo 2:2 which seem to teach that Christ died for every individual. However, the word “world” rarely ever means every individual of the human race. The word “world” is sometimes used to distinguish between the saved and the lost (#1Jo 5:19); between the Jew and the Gentile (#Ro 11:11-15) and between the few and the many (#Joh 12:19). I believe #Joh 3:16 1Jo 2:2 teach that Christ died for Gentiles as well as Jews. He died for men as sinners and not as any class or kind of sinners. The Jews thought their Messiah, when He came, would deliver them and destroy the Gentiles. John says that He is the propitiation or Mercy-seat for all believers regardless of class or colour. In other words, Christ is no tribal Saviour. If we think of Christ’s death as substitutionary, then I agree with Spurgeon, that He died for the elect only. If he died as the substitute for every individual, then every individual would be saved, else His death was in vain. Now I believe there is a sense in which Christ’s death affects every person. By His death He bought the human race, not to save every individual, but in order to dispose of every individual. The right to judge this world is Christ’s reward for His suffering. All judgment has been committed unto the Son (#Joh 5:22). In the parable of the hid treasure, Christ is the man who bought the field (world) for the sake of the treasure (the elect) for the sake of those given Him by the Father (#Mt 13:44). See also #Joh 17:6-11 2Pe 2:1. Incidentally, the word for Lord in #2Pe 2:1 is Despot (Gk. despotes), and indicates more authority than Kurios (Lord).

In #2Pe 3:9, the apostle is explaining why the Lord has not returned to this earth, the reason being, that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This refers to His will of purpose. It is God’s purpose that all should come to repentance and be saved. In longsuffering He waits until all the “us-ward” have been brought to repentance. The “us-ward” are described as those who had obtained the like precious faith (#2Pe 1:2); who had ben given all things that pertain to life and godliness (#2Pe 1:3); and who had escaped the corruption that is in the world (#2Pe 1:4). In #2Pe 3:15, the apostle tells the same “us-ward,” that they are to account the longsuffering of the Lord as salvation. Christ’s longsuffering towards the elect keeps Him on His mediatorial throne until all have been saved. Had He come sooner than planned, many of the elect would not have been saved. I have been a Christian for 51 years, and if He had come before my conversion, I would have perished in my sins. It is not His will of purpose that any of those given to Him by the Father shall perish. The words “all” and “every” are hardly ever used in the absolute sense #Mt 3:5-7 1Co 4:5 The “all” of #2Pe 3:9 are all of the “us-ward” who shall be brought to repentance. This is not good grammar, but it is good theology and necessary to plainness. Christ will not come in judgment until all those given Him by the Father have come to repentance. When He comes He will usher in the new era of the “New heavens and a new earth,” wherein dwelleth righteousness.

3. The story told you by your dear father has been duplicated in many cases of people who seem to be under deep conviction, and yet oppose those who try to lead them to Christ. Such conviction is not of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of the sin of unbelief and leads to faith in Christ. Such cases do reveal the fact of the enmity of the carnal mind towards God, and not a mind wrought upon by the Holy Spirit. A case in point is that of Felix who trembled at the preaching of Paul and then dismissed him until a more convenient season (#Ac 24:25).

There is a natural conviction of sin which may be felt by everybody when confronted by his sin (#Joh 8:9), and there is evangelical conviction by the Holy Spirit, and leading to repentance and faith. God never abandons the good work He begins in the soul (#Php 1:6). The Holy Spirit, in my judgment, never tries to regenerate one of the non-elect. There is much Scripture for this. The New Testament speaks often of those given to the Son by the Father and their salvation is assured. These are called “sheep” and “elect” before they come to Christ. #Joh 6:37-44 10:14-16,25-28 2Ti 2:10 You ask whether or not the woman referred to was an “elect”? I do not know. I can only say that at the time she gave no evidence of being an elect. However, later she may have been convicted by the Holy Spirit of the sin of unbelief and brought to repentance. We can only judge whether a person is an elect or not by his attitude toward the gospel of Christ. If she were a sheep of Christ, she did come to His at some later date, for Christ says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”.

4. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (#Mt 20:16 22:14). Calling in the New Testament usually means the effectual call to salvation—saints are made by a Divine call, but it cannot mean that many hear the invitation to accept Christ who have not been chosen by God to salvation (#1Th 1:4-7 2Th 2:13). Calling and choosing are not the same. The choosing or electing took place in eternity past; calling takes place in time and brings about conversion to faith in Christ. There is a general call given to every sinner in gospel preaching, and there is the special call of the Holy Spirit, inducing acceptance of the general call. The general call in gospel preaching is to men as sinners; the special call by the Holy Spirit is to the elect and results in salvation. Romans 8:28 refers to this effectual call. #1Co 1:26 Ga 1:15,16

5. You complain of being “caught up in a sort of fatalistic attitude —that what is to be will be”. There is a vast difference between cold, impersonal something called “fate,” and the providential workings of a great and wise God. Things do not come to pass by cold fate, but by God, “Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (#Eph 1:11). Dr. Charles Hodge was once asked if he believed what is to be will be. He replies, “Why yes I do; would you have me believe that what is to be won’t be?” Prophecy is the Divine prediction of many things which are to be, and these predictions have been or will yet come to pass.

The second paragraph of your letter on this subject expresses a glorious truth. God is ruling this world, making even the wrath of man to praise Him; the remainder of wrath men might do, He restrains. #Ps 76:10 Pr 21:1

Referring to the 1st paragraph of your letter on page 27 it is true that the elect will be saved, and that my failure to witness will not thwart God’s purpose to save them. God uses me, but He is not dependent upon me. I dare not think that God is helpless without me; if I fail He can use someone else. I am not to witness because of any assured results, but in obedience to His will of command. I cannot know His will of purpose concerning those to whom I bear testimony, We are to witness to people as sinners and not as elect sinners. Election has nothing to do with our obligation to witness. Isaiah preached when he was told there would be no good results in the way of response from the people. #Isa 6:8-13

Your letter closes with questions concerning prayer. I have no hope of giving much help here, but will make some observations. Prayer is one of the means by which God brings to pass what He has decreed. Answered prayer is indited by the Holy Spirit. He knows the mind and will (purpose of God) and makes intercession for us according to the will of God (#Ro 8:26,27). How one may know that his prayer is indited by the Holy Spirit, I cannot tell. But the Holy Spirit leads us to pray for that which is within the circle of the Divine will, and if we ask anything according to His will He heareth us (#1Jo 5:14). We are taught to pray for His will to be done. This shows we are not to try to change His will by our praying. This would take control out of His hands and put us in charge.

Whether we can harmonize our praying with His decrees or not; It is our duty to pray because He commands it (#Lu 18:1). Prayer implies two things: our inability and His ability. Prayer is an act of dependence upon God who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” #Eph 3:20.

I do not presume to be able to reconcile the doctrine of Divine decrees with such passages as #Jas 4:2,3 5:16. But I can see how prayer can prevail without changing God, when I think of it as one of the means by which His will of purpose is effected. In Mueller’s case, I can think that he was led by the Holy Spirit to spend the night on his knees as the means of getting milk for the children. We have the same difficulty in the case of Paul’s ship-wreck as recorded in Acts 27. When all hope of being saved was gone (#Ac 27:20), the angel of God told Paul there would be no loss of life. He then comforts the despairing sailors, soldiers, and prisoners, saying, Be of good cheer; for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me (#Ac 27:25). Then later when the sailors were about to abandon the ship, Paul said to the centurion and soldiers “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (#Ac 27:31). God had declared there would be no loss of life, and Paul believed Him, and yet he believed their safety depended upon the sailors staying with the ship. We might charge Paul with inconsistency but there it is.

As to praying for the sick, we must always pray without knowing what the Divine will is in every particular case. It is appointed unto men once to die, and when the appointed time comes our praying will not cancel the Divine will. David recognized this in praying for his sick child. He fasted and prayed while the child was alive, but when the child died, he bowed to the manifest will of God and said, “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me that the child may live?” #2Sa 12:22. Paul’s prayer for the thorn to be removed is another case of asking for something outside the circle of God’s will of purpose. Paul prayed without knowing the will of God, and when it was made known to him, that sustaining grace would be given rather than the removal of the thorn, he bowed in sweet submission and said, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (#2Co 12:9).

My mind often reverts to the terrible war between our North and our South—the so-called “Civil War”. There were men of God on both sides—men of piety and prayer—who pleaded with God for victory. I believe it is conceded that the most outstanding men of God belonged to the Southern Army—such men as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Johnston. And now all of us rejoice that it was God’s will for the Union to be saved.

It is becoming in all of us to seek our Father’s face and pray for His blessings, and then bow in reconciliation to His mysterious providence in our lives.

“God holds the key of all unknown, and I am Glad;
If other hands should hold the key, Or if He trusted it to me,
I might be sad

“What if tomorrow’s cares were here Without its rest!
I’d rather He unlocked the day; And as the hours swing open, say,
‘My will is best.’

“The very dimness of my sight Makes me secure;
For groping in my misty way, I feel His hand; I hear Him say
‘My help is sure.’

I cannot read his future plans; But this I know;
I have the smiling of His face, And all the refuge of His grace,
While here below.

“Enough! this covers all my wants, And so I rest!
For where I cannot He can see, And in His care I safe shall be,
Forever blest.”

We are all poor sinners in the need of an adequate Saviour. This Saviour is the Lord Jesus Christ Who says, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”. If Christ is the Saviour of sinners, this poor sinner can qualify for salvation. I praise Him for dying for me, and I praise the Holy Spirit for making me to realize my helplessness and for taking the things of Christ and showing them to me (#Joh 16:14,15).

May the Lord bless you in the coming discussion on Nov. 5th, and make you a blessing to others! I wish I might have been of more help in this reply to your questions. Let me exhort you not to worry over failure to be able to reconcile doctrines which seem to our finite minds to be contradictory.

With heartfelt thanks for this opportunity to discuss with you some of the deep things of God, I am

Yours in gospel bonds,

C.D. Cole

 

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part II-Questions and Answers on Election

Introduction

Part two of this booklet on the Bible doctrine of Election consists of a correspondence between Mrs. Marjorie Bond (widow-now Mrs. Milton Moorhouse), and Dr. Cole. The letters are self-explanatory. I have written to Mrs. Moorhouse and she has graciously given me permission to use the letters to be put into this booklet. Since the thoughts of Mrs. Moorhouse run in the same channels as the rest of the people that question the doctrine of election I have decided to leave it as near as it was written in their correspondence. I have taken some of the remarks out that do not pertain to this doctrine and have tried to leave it so that it would be instructive and interesting.

Dr. Cole is now with the Lord. Before he departed this life he sent me this material to see if it could be printed. I believe that this booklet will be a great help to those that are honestly desiring to know the true teaching on this doctrine. God richly blessed Bro. Cole in that he was able to put his thoughts into easy to be understood language. It is our privilege to be able to print Dr. C.D. Cole’s writings.

To the persons that read this booklet, our prayer is that you might see the greatness of our Lord, and that you might see as James declared in #Ac 15:18 “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world”. Also as Paul says in #Eph 1:11 “Who worketh all things after the council of His own will.” Our heart is made glad and to rejoice in the fact that God chose me to salvation. If it were not for the doctrine of election, Baptists would have used worldly means to bring men to Christ. But Baptists, down through the ages, have been mission-minded, knowing all the while that all are responsible to come to Jesus when the gospel is preached and yet knowing that no one would be saved but God’s elect ( #Joh 6:37). Jesus said in #Joh 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me”. The doctrine of election will make us mission-minded because we know that our preaching is not in vain in the Lord but will prosper wherein it was sent. Paul said, “I endure all things for the elects sake” (#1Ti 2:10).

May the Lord bless this booklet and cause many that heretofore have not understood this glorious doctrine to see that our salvation from beginning to the end is of the Lord, and that all that know Him would praise Him for His abundant mercy shown toward His people.

Alfred M. Gormley
Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part II-Questions and Answers on Election

Part7-Objections Considered and Answered

October 3, 2014 1 comment

Many are the objections brought against this doctrine. Sometimes the objectors are loud and furious. Alas! that so many of these objectors are in Baptist ranks. To preach this old-fashioned doctrine of our faith as did Bunyan, Fuller, Gill, Spurgeon, Boyce, Broadus, Pendleton, Graves, Jarrell, Carroll, Jeter, Boyce Taylor and a host of other representative men of our denomination is to court the bitterest kind of opposition. John Wesley himself never said harsher words against this blessed tenet of our faith than do some so-called Baptists of today. Arminianism that offspring of popery, has had an abnormal growth in the last decade or two as the adopted child of a large group of Baptists.

1. IT IS OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION LIMITS GOD’S MERCY. Right here we criticize the critic, for he who makes this objection limits both God’s mercy and power. He admits that God’s mercy is limited to the believer, and to this we agree; but he denies that God can cause a man to believe without doing violence to the man’s will, and thus he limits God’s power. We believe that God is able to give a man a sound mind (#2Ti 1:7) and make him willing in the day of His power. (#Ps 110:2) At this point we must face two self-evident propositions. First, if God is trying to save every member of Adam’s fallen race, and does not succeed, then His power is limited and He is not the Lord God Almighty. Second, if He is not trying to save every member of the fallen race, then His mercy is limited. We must of necessity limit His mercy or His power, or go over boots and baggage to the Universalist’s position. But before we do that, let us go “to the law and to the testimony,” which says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion…Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom He will He hardeneth” (#Ro 9:15-18). It needs to be said for the comfort and hope of great sinners, that God’s mercy is not limited by the natural condition of the sinner. All sinners are dead until God makes them alive. He is able to take away the heart of stone. No man is too great a sinner to be saved. We can pray for the salvation of the chief of sinners with the assurance that God can save them if He will. “The King’s heart is in the hands of the Lord as the river of water; He turneth it whithersoever He will” (#Pr 21:1). We rejoice to say with Jeremiah that there is nothing too hard for God. We can pray for the salvation of our loved ones with the feeling of the leper, when he said, “Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean” (#Mt 8:2). When Robert Morrison was about to go to China, he was asked by an incredulous American if he thought he could make any impression on those Chinese. His curt reply was, “No, but I think God can.” This should ever be our confidence and hope when we stand before sinners and preach to them “CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED”.

2. ANOTHER OBJECTION TO ELECTION IS THAT IT MAKES GOD UNJUST. This objection betrays a bad heart. It would obligate the CREATOR to the CREATURE. It makes salvation a divine obligation. It denies the right of the potter over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to honour and another to dishonour. By the same parity of reasoning it makes the governor of a sovereign state unjust when he pardons one or more men, unless he empties the prison and turns all the prisoners loose. Our view of election is in harmony with what even the Arminians allow to be proper and just for a human governor. All can see that a governor, by pardoning some men, does not harm others, who are not pardoned. Those who are not pardoned are not in prison because the governor refused them a pardon but because they were guilty of a crime against the state. Isn’t God to be allowed as much sovereignty as the governor of a state? Salvation, like a pardon, is something that is not deserved. If it were deserved, then God would be unjust if He did not bestow it upon all men.

Salvation is not a matter of justice but of mercy. It wasn’t the attribute of justice that led God to provide salvation but the attribute of mercy. Justice is simply each man getting what he deserves. Those who go to hell will have nobody to blame but themselves, while those who go to heaven will have nobody to praise but God. #Ro 9:22,23

3. IT IS AGAIN OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION IS AGAINST THE DOCTRINE OF WHOSOEVER WILL. But the objector is wrong again. Our view explains and supports the doctrine of “WHOSOEVER WILL”. Without election the invitation to “WHOSOEVER WILL” would go unheeded. The Bible doctrine of “WHOSOEVER WILL” does not imply the freedom or ability of the human will to do good. The human will is free, but its freedom is within the limits of fallen human nature. It is free like water; water is free to run down hill. It is free like the vulture; the vulture is free to eat carrion, for that is its nature, but it would starve to death in a wheat field. It is not the buzzard’s nature to eat clean food; it feeds upon the carcasses of the dead. So sinners starve to death in the presence of the bread of life. Our Lord said to some sinners, who were in His very presence “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life” (#Joh 5:40). It is not natural for a sinner to trust in Christ. Salvation through trust in a crucified Christ is a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to the Greek; it is only the called, both Jews and Greeks, who trust it as the wisdom and power of God. #1Co 1:23,24

Here is a physical corpse. Is it free to get up and walk around? In one sense, yes. It is not bound by fetters. There is no external restraint. But, in another sense, that corpse is not free. It is hindered by its natural condition. It is its nature to decompose and go back to dust. It is not the nature of death to stir about. Here is a spiritual corpse—a man dead in trespasses and sins. Is the man free to repent and believe and do good works? Yes, in one sense. There are no external restraints. God does not prevent but offers inducements through His Holy Word. But the corpse is hindered by its own nature. There must be the miracle of the new birth, for except a man be born from above he cannot see or enter into the Kingdom of God. #Joh 3:3-3:5

It is painful to some of us to see our brethren forsake the faith of our Baptist forbears at this point and join the ranks of the Roman Catholics and other Arminians. If anyone doubts this charge let him read the article of faith adopted by the Catholics at the council of Trent (1563). I quote their statement on the freedom of the human will—”If anyone shall affirm that since the fall of Adam man’s free-will is lost, let him be accursed.” But alas, in this day, such a spirit is not confined to the Roman Catholics. Horatius Bonar makes the following quotation from John Calvin: “The Papist theologians have a distinction current among themselves that God does not elect men according to their works which are in them but that He chooses them that He foresees will be believers.”

Ah, the real trouble with the objector is not election; it is something else. His real objection is to total depravity or human inability to do good. I can do no better here than to quote from Percy W. Heward of London, England. He says, “It seems to me that the majority of objections to God’s sovereign grace, to God’s electing love, are actually objections to something else, namely objections to the fact that man is ruined. If you probe beneath the surface you will find that very few object to election. Why should they? Election harms no one. How can the picking of a man out of doom harm anyone else? The real objection at the present day is not to election, though that word is made the catchword of sad controversy—the real objection is to that fact which is revealed in Psalm 51, that we are shapen in iniquity, that we are born sinners by nature, dead in sins, until, as we read concerning Paul in Galatians 1, “It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me…” Ah, beloved friends, we deserve nothing but doom. Acknowledge this and election is the only hope. Acknowledge that we are poor lost sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, only evil continually; acknowledge that there is in man no natural spark to be fanned into a flame but that believers are born again of incorruptible seed which the Lord places; acknowledge that if anyone is in Christ that there is a new creation, for we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus; -and election must be at once recognized.”

Every real believer on his knees subscribes to our view of election. You cannot pray ascribing some credit to self. Sovereign grace will come out in prayer though it may be left off the platform. No saved man will get down on his knees before God and claim that he made himself to differ from others who are not saved, but with Paul he says, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” And in praying for the lost we supplicate God to convict and convert them. We do not depend upon the freedom of their wills but beg God to make them willing to come to Christ, knowing that when they come to Christ He will not cast them out. #Joh 6:37

A Methodist minister once went to hear a Presbyterian minister preach. After the sermon, the Methodist said to the Presbyterian, “That was a pretty good Arminian sermon you preached today.” “Yes,” replied the Presbyterian, “We Presbyterians are pretty good Arminians when we preach and you Methodists are pretty good Calvinists when you pray.” MORE TRUTH THAN POETRY HERE

4. IT IS ALSO OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION IS A NEW DOCTRINE AMONG MISSIONARY BAPTISTS. The fact is that it is so old-fashioned that it has about gone out of fashion . The ignorance betrayed in such a claim is indeed pitiable. In refutation we resort to two sources of information (a) Confessions of faith; (b) Statements of representative preachers and writers.

4a) CONFESSIONS OF FAITH

The Waldenses declare themselves as follows: “God saves from corruption and damnation those whom He has chosen from the foundation of the world, not from any disposition, faith or holiness that He foresaw in them, but His mere mercy in Christ Jesus His Son, passing by all the rest according to the irreprehensible reason of His own free-will and justice.” THE DATE OF THIS CONFESSION WAS 1120 !

The London Confession (1689) and the Philadelphia Confession (1742) read as follows: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined or foreordained to ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace; others being left to act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.”

The New Hampshire Confession (Article 9): “We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God according to which He graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free-agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise holy and unchangeable; that it utterly excludes boasting and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of His free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the Gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence.”

4b) REPRESENTATIVE PREACHERS AND WRITERS!

John A. Broadus, former president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: “From the divine side, we see that the Scriptures teach an eternal election of men to eternal life simply out of God’s good pleasure.”

A.H. Strong, former president of Rochester Theological Seminary: “Election is the eternal act of God, by which in His sovereign pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, He chooses certain of the number of sinful men to be recipients of the special grace of His Spirit and so to be made voluntary partakers of Christ’s salvation.”

B.H. Carroll, founder and first president of the Southwestern Baptist Seminary: “Every one that God chose in Christ is drawn by the Spirit to Christ. Every one predestined is called by the Spirit in time and justified in time, and will be glorified when the Lord comes.” Commentary on Romans, page 192.

J.P. Boyce, founder and first president of Southern Baptist Seminary: “God, of His own purpose, has from eternity determined to save a definite number of mankind as individuals, not for or because of any merit or works of theirs, nor of any value of them to Him; but of His own good pleasure.”

W.T. Conner, professor of theology, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas: “The doctrine of election means that God saves in pursuance of an eternal purpose. This includes all the gospel influences, work of the Spirit and so on, that leads a man to repent of his sins and accept Christ. So far as man’s freedom is concerned, the doctrine of election does not mean that God decrees to save a man irrespective of his will. It rather means that God purposes to lead a man in such a way that he will freely accept the gospel and be saved.”

Pastor J.W. Lee, of Batesville, Miss.: “I believe that God has foreordained before the foundation of the world that He would save certain individuals and that He ordained all the means to bring about their salvation on His terms. Men and women are not elected because they repent and believe, but they repent and believe because they are elected.”

To the above list of well known and honoured Baptists we could add quotations from Gill, Fuller, Spurgeon, Bunyan, Pendleton, Mullins, Dargan, Jeter, Eaton, Graves, and others too numerous to mention. It is sadly true that many of our pastors hold election as a private opinion and never preach it. We personally know a number of brethren who say that election is clearly taught in the Bible, but that we cannot afford to preach it, because it will cause trouble in churches. This is worse than compromise: it is surrender of the truth. It is a spirit that leads preachers to displease God in order to please men. The writer believes that silence upon this subject has wrought more harm than open opposition to it. Those who openly oppose election will, sooner or later, make themselves ridiculous in the eyes of all Bible loving Baptists.

5. IT IS FURTHER OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION MAKES MEN CARELESS IN THEIR LIVING. It is said that belief in the doctrine leads men to say, “If I am elect, I will be saved; if I am a non-elect I will be lost, therefore, it matters not what I believe or do.” The same objection has been persistently made against the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. This is bald rationalism. It is the setting of human reason against divine revelation. It takes no account of the operation of the grace of God in the human heart. If Baptists surrender election on such a ground, to be consistent, they will have to surrender the doctrine of preservation on the same ground. Election does not mean that the elect will be saved whether they believe on not, nor does it mean that the non-elect will be damned regardless of how much they may repent and believe. The elect will be saved through repentance and faith, and both are gifts from God as already shown; the non-elect do not repent and believe.

The objection we are now considering is simply not true to fact. Believers in election have been and still are among the most godly. Augustus Toplady challenged the world to produce a martyr from among the deniers of election. The Puritans, who were so named because of the great purity of their lives, with few exception (if any), were believers in personal, eternal, unconditional election, and of course, in the security of the believer. Modernism, that spawn of the pit, is rapidly adding to the number of its adherents, but they are coming from the ranks of Arminianism. Others have challenged the world to find a single Higher Critic, or a single Spiritualist, or a single Russellite, or a single Christian Scientist, who believes in the absolute sovereignty of God and the doctrine of election. Without an exception these awful heretics are Arminians to a man. This is a significant fact that is not to be winked at.

6. OBJECTORS CLAIM THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION DESTROYS THE SPIRIT OF MISSIONS. They boldly assert that if unconditional election should find universal acceptance among us that we would cease to be a missionary people. There is an abundance of historical evidence with which to refute this claim. Under God, the father of modern missions was William Carey, a staunch Calvinist. Andrew Fuller, first secretary of the society that sent Carey to India, held tenaciously to our view of election. It did not destroy the missionary spirit of these men. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Belief in election did not destroy the missionary spirit in Judson, Spurgeon, Boyce, Eaton, Graves, Carroll and a host of other Baptist leaders. The Murray church, which Dr. J.F. Love called the greatest missionary church on earth, heard election preached by Boyce Taylor for nearly forty years. The greatest missionary churches among us today are those that have been purged from the heresies of James Arminius.

Election is the very foundation of hope in missionary endeavour. If we had to depend upon the natural disposition or will of a dead sinner, who hates God, to respond to our gospel, we might well despair. But when we realize that it is the Spirit that quickeneth, we can go forth with the gospel of the grace of God in the hope that God will cause some, by nature turned away, to be turned unto Him and to believe to the saving of the soul. Election does not determine the extent of missions but the results of it. We are to preach to every creature because God has commanded, and because it pleases Him to save sinners by the foolishness of preaching. We believe more in election than the Anti-mission Baptists. We believe that God elected means of salvation as well as persons to salvation. He did not choose to save sinners apart from the gospel ministry. #Ro 1:16

Election gives a saneness to evangelism that is greatly needed today. It recognizes that sinners “believe through grace” (#Ac 18:27) and that while Paul may plant and Apollos may water, God gives the increase. Arminianism has had its day among Baptists and what has it done? It has given us man-power, but robbed us of God’s power. It has increased machinery but has decreased spirituality. It has filled our churches with Ishmaels instead of Isaacs by its ministry of “sob stuff” and with the methods of the “counting house”.

If this little tract need further Scriptural support, the following Scriptures will give it: #Ps 65:4 Ac 13:48 Joh 6:37,44,45 17:1,2 Mt 11:25,26 1Co 12:3 2Co 10:4

 

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election

Some False Views Examined and Refuted

September 19, 2014 1 comment

Many professing Christians really have no view of election. They have not given it enough thought and study to even have any opinion about it. Many have erroneous views. We shall notice some of them.

1. The view that men are elected when they believe—This view is easily refuted for it is contrary to both common sense and Scripture. Election is to salvation, and therefore, must precede salvation. It is nonsense to talk about electing a man to something he already has. The man has salvation when he believes and hence election at that point would not be necessary. ELECTION TOOK PLACE IN ETERNITY; SALVATION TAKES PLACE WHEN THE SINNER BELIEVES.

2. The view that election pertains only to the Jews—This view robs Gentiles of the comfort of #Ro 8:28-29 Moreover, Paul, who was an apostle to the Gentiles, says that he endured all things for the elect’s sakes that they might obtain salvation. #2Ti 2:10

3. The view that election took place in eternity, but that it was in view of foreseen repentance and faith. According to this view, God, in eternity, looked down through the ages and saw who would repent and believe and those who He foresaw would repent and believe were elected to salvation. This view is correct in only one point, namely, that election took place in eternity. It is wrong in that it makes the ground of election to be something in the sinner rather than something in God. Read #Eph 1:4-6 where election and predestination are said to be “According to the good pleasure of His will” and “To the praise of the glory of His grace”. This view thought the popular one with the majority of Baptists today, is open to many objections.

3a) It denies what the Bible says about man’s condition by nature. The Bible does not describe the natural man as having faith. #1Co 2:14 Joh 3:3 Both repentance and faith are gifts of God, and God did not see these graces in any sinner apart from His purpose to give them. “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins,” #Ac 5:31 “When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, ‘Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life’,” #Ac 11:18. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgement of the truth” #2Ti 2:25. See also: #Eph 2:8-10 1Co 3:5 Election was not because of foreseen faith, but because of foreseen unbelief. It is not the election of God’s faithful ones, but the faith of God’s elect, if we are to keep Scriptural words. #Tit 1:1

3b) It makes the human race differ by nature, whereas, the Bible says, we are all by nature the children of wrath and all clay of the same lump. #Eph 2:3 Ro 9:21 Men are made to differ in the new birth. #Joh 3:6

3c) It perverts the Scriptural meaning of the word “foreknowledge”. The word as used in the Bible means more than foreknowledge about persons, it is the foreknowledge of persons. In #Ro 8:29,30, the foreknown are predestined to the image of Christ, and are called, justified and glorified. In #1Pe 1:2, the word for “foreknowledge” is the same as “foreordain” in the twentieth verse of the same chapter, where the meaning cannot be “foreknowledge” about Christ. God’s foreknowledge about persons is without limitations; whereas, His foreknowledge of persons is limited to those who are actually saved and glorified.

3d) It is open to the strongest objection that can be made against the Bible view. It is often asked, “If certain men are elected and saved, then what is the use to preach to those who are not elected?” With equal propriety we might ask, “If God knows who is going to repent and believe, then why preach to those who according to His foreknowledge, will not repent and believe?” Will some repent and believe whom He foreknew would not repent and believe? If so, He foreknew a lie.

Right here is the weakness of much of modern missions. It is based upon sympathy for the lost rather than obedience to God’s command. The inspiration of missions is made to rest upon the practical results of missionary endeavour rather than upon the delight of doing God’s will. It is the principle of doing a thing because the results are satisfactory to us.

If we are faithful, God is as pleased with our efforts as when there are no results. Ponder #2Co 2:15,16 The elect prior to their conversion are known only to God. We are to preach the gospel to every creature because He has commanded it. He will take care of the results. Compare with: #Isa 55:11 1Co 3:5,6 Joh 6:37-45 It is ours to witness; it is His to make our witnessing effective.

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election- Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election

General Remarks to Disarm Prejudice

September 12, 2014 1 comment

There is no doctrine so grossly misrepresented. Brother A.S. Pettie’s complaint against the enemies of total depravity is equally applicable here, when he says, “From hostile lips a fair and correct statement of the doctrine is never heard”. The treatment that the doctrine of election receives from the hands of its enemies is very much like that received by the primitive Christians from pagan Roman Emperors. The ancient Christians were often clothed in the skins of slain animals and then subjected to attack by ferocious wild beasts. So the doctrine of election is clothed in an ugly garb and held up to ridicule and sport. We will now try to strip this glorious truth of its false and vicious garment with which enemy hands have robed it, and put upon it the garments of holiness and wisdom.

1. Election is not salvation but is unto salvation. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election (elect) hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (#Ro 11:7). “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation” (#2Th 2:13). Now then, if the elect obtain salvation, and if election is to salvation, election must precede salvation. Men are saved when they believe on Christ not when they are elected. Roosevelt was not president when he was elected, but when he was inaugurated. There was not only an election to, but an induction into the office. God’s elect are inducted into the position of saintship by the effectual call, (the quickening work of the Holy Spirit) through which they become believers in the Gospel. See: #1Co 1:29 2Th 2:13,14

2. Election is not the cause of anybody going to hell, for election is unto salvation. Neither is non-election responsible for the damnation of sinners. SIN is the thing that sends men to hell, and all men are sinners by nature and practice—sinners altogether apart from election and non-election. It does not follow that because election is unto salvation that non-election is unto damnation. SIN is the damning element in human life. ELECTION HARMS NOBODY.

3. Election belongs to the system of grace. In Paul’s day there was a remnant among the Jews who were saved according to the election of grace (#Ro 11:5). The attitude of men towards election is the acid test of their belief in grace. Those who oppose election cannot consistently claim to believe in salvation by grace. This is seen in the creeds of Christendom. Those denominations that believe in salvation by works have no place for the doctrine of election in their confessions of faith; those that believe in salvation by grace, apart from human merit, have not failed to include election in their written creed. One group is headed by the Roman Catholics, the other group is headed by the Baptists.

4. Election does not prevent the salvation of anybody who wants to be saved. But the distinction needs to be made between a mere desire to escape hell and the desire to be saved from sin. The desire to be saved from hell is a natural desire—nobody wants to burn. The desire to be saved from sin is a spiritual desire resulting from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and God’s electing grace is the very mother of this desire. To represent election by saying that God has spread the Gospel feast, and a man comes to the table hungering for the bread of life; but God says “No, this is not for you, you are not one of my elect,” is to misrepresent the Holy Doctrine. Here is the truth—God has spread the feast but the fact is nobody wants to come to the table. “They all with one consent began to make excuse”. God knew just how fallen nature would act, and He took no chance on His table being filled, so, He tells His servant to go out and compel them to come (#Lu 14:23). Were it not for the redemptive work of Christ there would be no Gospel feast; were it not for the compelling work of the Holy Spirit there would be no guests at the table. A mere invitation brings nobody to the table.

5. Election means that the destiny of men is in the hands of God. Many of us have regarded as an axiom the statement that every man’s destiny is in his own hands. But this is to deny the whole tenor of Scripture. At no time is the destiny of the saint in his own hands, either before or after he is saved. Was my destiny in my own hands before I was saved? If so, I regenerated myself; I resurrected, by my own power, myself out of a state of sin and death; I am my own benefactor and have nobody to thank but myself for being alive and saved. Perish such a thought! By the grace of God I am what I am. #Joh 1:13 Eph 2:1-10 2Ti 1:9 Jas 1:18

Is my destiny in my own hands now? Then I will either keep myself saved or I will lose my salvation. The Bible says we are kept by the power of God through Faith. #1Pe 1:15 Ps 37:28 Joh 10:27-29 Php 1:6 Heb 13:5

If my destiny is not safe in my own hands after I am saved then how could it be thought to be safe in my own hands before my conversion?

The saint dies, his body is consigned to the grave and becomes a dust-heap. Is his destiny in his own hands then? If so, what hope has he of ever coming out of the grave with an immortal and incorruptible body? None at all if his destiny is in his own hands.

Such a theory, that the destiny of the saint is or ever has been in his own hands, reverses the very laws of nature and implies that water can rise above the level of its source; that man can lift himself into the attic by his boot-straps; that the Ethiopian can change his colour, and the leopard can remove his spots; that death can beget life; that evolution is true and God is a liar. The theory that one’s destiny is in his own hands begets self-confidence and self-righteousness; the belief that destiny is in the hands of God begets SELF-ABNEGATION AND FAITH IN GOD.

6. Election stands or falls with the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and man’s depravity. If God is sovereign and man is depraved, then it follows as a natural consequence that some will be saved, none will be saved or, all will be saved. The practical results of election are that some, yea many, will be saved. Election is not a plan to save a mere handful of folk. Christ gave Himself a ransom for many. #Mt 20:28 Re 5:9 God’s sovereignty involves His pleasure #Joh 5:21 Mt 11:25-27 His power #Job 23:13 Jer 32:17 Mt 19:26 and His mercy. #Ro 9:18

7. The elect are manifested in repentance and faith and good works. These graces, being God-wrought in man, are not the cause but the evidences of election. #1Th 1:3-10 2Pe 1:5-10 Php 2:12,13 Lu 18:7 The man who doesn’t pray, who has not repented of his sins and trusted Christ, and who does not engage in good works has no right to claim that he is one of God’s elect.

 

Dr. C. D. Cole-The Bible Doctrine of Election-Part I-Bible Doctrine of Election