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Free Ebook- John Spilsbury

February 26, 2016 Leave a comment

GOD’S ORDINANCE,

THE SAINT’S PRIVILEGE

Discovered and Proved in Two Treatises.

The First,

The Saint’s Interest by Christ in all the Privileges of Grace;

Wherein Their Right to the Use of Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper,
Even Now During the Reign of Antichrist, is Cleared;

and

the Objections of Those that Oppose the Same, Are Answered.

The Second,

The Peculiar Interest of the Elect in Christ, and His Saving Grace:
Wherein it is Proved That Christ Has Not Presented To His Father’s
Justice a Satisfaction for the Sins of all men; but only for the sins of
those that do, or shall believe in Him; Which are His Elect Only:

And

The Objections of Those That Maintain the Contrary, are also Answered.

Both Written by John Spilsbery

And the Last Transcribed, and Somewhat Enlarged, by Benjamin Cox.

 

 

Download the book here. (Pdf)

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The Wednesday Word: Glorious Gospel Grace!

Salvation is entirely by grace. It is both unearned and undeserved.

We are chosen by grace (Ephesians 1:4).

We are given to Christ by grace (John 6:37).

By grace, we are made alive together with Christ, (Ephesians 2:5).

He has glorified us by grace (Ephesians 2:6).

We are redeemed by grace (Ephesians 1:7).

We are justified by grace (Titus 3:7).

It’s Grace! Grace! Grace from beginning to end.

It is clear that in Scripture, God does not give one iota of credit to man regarding salvation. It is all of grace! Amazing Grace. Glorious Gospel Grace. The making alive, the undeserved favour, the adoption as children into God’s family is all by grace.

He made us accepted by grace (Ephesians 1:6).

We have forgiveness by grace (Ephesians 1:7).

Union with Christ and the good works that follow as God’s purpose, after salvation (Ephesians 2:10), are all the gift of God! It’s all of grace!

It’s no wonder then that Paul writes in Galatians 6:14; “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

To “glory” is “to boast.” Paul is reminding us that we cannot boast in anything except the cross of the Lord Jesus. That’s another way of saying that salvation has been accomplished by grace. All of our prosperity, all of our accomplishments, all of our doctrinal understanding, and even our accumulated insights are nothing to glory about. We can boast only in the grace of God as revealed in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ! In the Old Testament, Jesus is the coming Messiah. He is the promise of grace In the New Testament, He is the realized Messiah, the true Promise of Grace apprehended.

Grace always brings us to Christ Jesus. He procured salvation for us. He Himself is our salvation. He Himself is the grace of God. Grace is embedded in His very name, for the name of Jesus, means salvation. Remember: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Grace brings people to Christ, and to no one else. Grace enables us to look unto Him by faith to be saved.

But what about repentance brother? Yes, what about it? Is that not important? Yes, it is! But let me ask you…from where do we get repentance? The goodness of God, exhibited in His Grace, leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). There is no other way! Praise to His Name! It’s Grace, Grace, Grace, Glorious Gospel Grace!

So we can say grace is:

 

 
1) Free Grace—the gift of God (Ephesians 2: 8-9).
2) Saving Grace—it brings us to eternal salvation.
3) Sovereign Grace—not of ourselves, but by God’s sovereign will. Salvation is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy (Romans 9:16).
4) Sustaining Grace—We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:5).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: ‘Holding on to Spikes’

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.”

Hebrews 7:25

If we are saved by grace through faith, we are safe. Since Christ alone is our Saviour, we do not look to our good works or fine intentions to supplement what Jesus has done for us in his doing, dying and rising again. We are safe. He bought us with blood, His own precious blood and He doesn’t intend losing anyone whom He purchased. Not only so, but at this very moment He is making intercession for us. I have confidence in Christ and His prayers being heard. Don’t you? My question is, are you enjoying the saving power and ability of the Lord Jesus.

Noah is a very striking example of someone who enjoyed the very thing we are talking about. By faith, he prepared an ark to preserve his family. He built and constructed his big boat even when there seemed to be no evidence of a coming flood. By faith, he obeyed God and entered the ark, with all his household, when commanded by God to do so. Now, get this, all inside the ark were secure until the deluge was over. They were kept by an omnipotent power. The ark bore all the brunt of the storm. This is a picture of how Christ bore the downpour of the wrath of God which should have come straight at us.

One preacher of a past generation said it like this, “The ark was a type of Christ. All who are in Christ are eternally secure. Suppose when the ark was completed God had said, ‘Now, Noah, go and get eight large, strong spikes and drive them into the side of the ark.’ Imagine Noah procuring these spikes and doing as commanded. Then when each spike was securely fastened, let us presume that God said, ‘Come thou and all thy house and take hold of these spikes, and all who hang on the end of the flood will be saved.’ How long do you think Noah and the rest would have been secure? I can imagine each one taking hold of a spike – then the waters rising as the rain poured down. In a few minutes, they would have been soaked to the skin. Then think of the terrific strain on joints and muscles as the ark was lifted from the earth and began its perilous voyage through the raging waters. I think I hear Noah calling to his wife, ‘How is it going; is all well?’ And she calls back, ‘I’m holding on. Do pray for me that I may be able to hold out to the end!’ Soon, poor Mrs Noah would cry out, ‘It’s no use, can’t hang on any longer.’ And she would let go and be swept away by the flood. How long do you suppose it would be before each one of them would be obliged to let go and so go down to death?”

Hallelujah, God be praised, that is not a true picture of His salvation. He is not calling us to hang on the best we can to Christ. No indeed, just as Noah entered into the Ark and found perfect security, so every believer is in Christ and thus saved for eternity. It is not a question of our ability to hang on, but of Christ’s ability to take us safely through to glory.

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

God gives sinners over to the lusts of their hearts

August 11, 2014 2 comments

rcsproul.jpgIn the first chapter of Romans, God “gives sinners over to the lusts of their hearts.” What does it mean for God to give someone over to sin? Is this giving over active or passive?

What does it mean that God gives someone over to his sin? We find this not only in the first chapter of Romans but also in the Old Testament. Jeremiah warned the people of Israel that this was exactly what their punishment would be, that God was not going to forbear with them forever but that there would come a time when he would give them up. There would be a point when he would give them over to their sin.

Early in Genesis, at the time of the Flood, we are warned that the Spirit of God does not strive endlessly with men. God is patient, but his long-suffering is designed to give us time to come to ourselves, to repent, to acknowledge him, and to be restored to fellowship with him. But at the same time, we are warned that that forbearance does not go on forever and that there can come a point in our obstinate refusal to repent and to respond to God when he will say it’s too late and will abandon us to our sin, withholding from us his saving grace. That’s a very terrifying thing to consider.

The idea of giving a person over to his sin is a significant part of the final chapters of the book of Revelation, in which we read of John’s vision of the inner sanctum of heaven and of the last judgment. We’re told that those who have responded to Christ receive marvelous benefits, but those who have obstinately endured in their refusal to repent receive judgment at the hands of God. God says, “Let him who is wicked be wicked still.” There’s kind of a poetic justice here. To the people who want to be wicked and refuse to restrain themselves in their sin, God says, “I’m not going to restrain you anymore. I’m going to take the restraints away. I’ll take the leash off, give you your freedom. I’ll let you do exactly what you want to do. It’ll be to your everlasting destruction; it’ll be to your dishonor and to your ultimate dismay, but if that’s what you want, I’ll give you over to it.”

Is this giving over active or passive? It’s active in the sense that God acts to do it. God actually does give a person over to that person’s own desires. It’s passive in that God remains passive toward that person’s self-destruction.

 

R. C. Sproul-Now That’s a Good Question Page 165

Chapter 29-Election

Election

THE words Elect, Election, Foreordination, Chosen, Foreknow, and Foreknowledge occur so frequently in Scripture, that it is allowed by all that the Scriptures teach a doctrine of Election of some kind. The chief controversy is as to what that doctrine is.

Several theories have been presented as descriptive of the instructions of the Scriptures.

I. First there is the theory set forth by the celebrated John Locke in his Commentary and Paraphrase of the Epistles of Paul. It has been called the theory of Nationalism. According to this, Election consists “in the choice of certain whole nations into the pale of the visible Church Catholic, which choice, however, relates purely to their privileged condition in this world extending not to their collective eternal state in another world.” The cause of this election is: “That same absolute good pleasure of God, which, through the exercise of his sovereign power, led him to choose the posterity of Jacob, rather than that of Esau, that, upon earth, they should become his peculiar people and be made the depositaries and preservers of the true religion.” [“Faber’s Primitive Election,” p. 22.]

The objections to this theory are evident, and may be briefly stated.

I. That the election spoken of in the New Testament is all election of persons within a nation, and not of the nation itself. A distinction is made between the Jewish nation, and the remnant of them according to the election of grace. Rom. 11:5. It is also said in verse 7: “That which Israel seeketh for that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened.”

Mr. Locke attempts to remove this difficulty by supposing that the Israel here spoken of is the whole nation before the loss of the ten tribes, and that the remnant is all of the rest that remained Jews at the time Paul wrote. But, that the present nation was the Israel referred to Paul himself shows by applying to it, in Romans 10:21, the title of Israel. “But as to Israel,” he saith, “All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gain-saying people.” The Israel to whom Isaiah, who is here referred to, went, was Judah; his prophecies were but seldom made to the Ten Tribes.

2. A distinction is also made between persons in the same nation; the elect being separated from others, as in Matt. 24:22-24, where fearful calamities are foretold, and it is said, that prophets shall arise, etc., and that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect.

The parallel passage is in Mark 13: 20-22.

3. Against this theory may also be quoted such passages as show that the called, and the elect are not identical, as:

Matt. 22:14. “Many are called, but few chosen.”

II. A modification of this theory has been made or rather another one has been suggested so similar that the idea has evidently been caught from that of Locke. It is given by George Stanley Faber in his work on “The Primitive Doctrine of Election.” It may be called the theory of Church Election, or of External Church privileges. Mr. Faber states it as follows: “The idea is that of an Election of individuals into the pale of the visible church, with God’s moral purpose that through faith and holiness they should attain everlasting life; but yet with a moral possibility of their abusing their privileges even to their own final destruction.”

1. It is argued in favor of this, that “we never find one particular set of Christians addressed as being especially elect to the exclusion of all other Christians, who, together with the unconverted world at large, are thence exhibited as reprobates. But we constantly find that all the members of the local church addressed are collectively saluted as being in God’s purpose and design elected through holiness to glory.”

In reply it may be remarked:

(1.) That this argument proceeds upon the erroneous supposition that there were persons called Christians in Apostolic times who did not actually profess to be converted persons, and therefore were not properly to be regarded as such.

Every argument in favor of a converted church membership is an argument against this supposition, and, therefore, against this theory.

(2.) Or it proceeds upon a second erroneous supposition, namely, that the Apostles undertook to pronounce infallibly upon the spiritual condition of those to whom they wrote. On the contrary, proceeding upon the rule, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” they, in the judgement of charity, spoke of those to whom they wrote as though they were actually Christians, because professedly such, and maintaining outwardly the life of such. Thus they are called “holy,” in like manner as they are called “elect,” and are said to be “holy and without blemish before him in love,” (Eph. 1:4;) and to have redemption, and the forgiveness of trespasses, v. 7; and to have obtained an inheritance, of which the sealing of the Spirit was an earnest.

2. In favor of this view, it is asserted that the Apostle teaches us in Rom. 9:6-26, that the terms election and elect are used in the same sense in which they are used in the Old Testament.

To this it may be replied:

(1.) That if true it favors the theory of Nationalism rather than this.

(2.) That the Apostle himself distinguishes between the extent of the election, which had before existed, and that which was now manifested. “They are not all Israel who are of Israel.” “Neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children,” (Rom. 9:7); thus indicating that the limitation had been formerly made according to the national extent, but that now a segregation is made from this. The two elections, therefore, differ in extent.

(3.) But the difference is also in kind. This is what affects this theory most closely. Even under the old election, not all the children, but simply the one of the promise is the one in whom the election exists. Under the new, the same thing is true, the election is not of all to whom the external privileges connected with it belong, but of those only who are partakers of the promise. In this respect they are similar, and so Paul indicates: “The children of the promise are reckoned for a seed.” Rom. 9:8. But formerly the promise was of Isaac, wherefore it was said, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Rom. 9:7. And that promise was of the land of Canaan, which was granted actually to all of his descendants as a class. So also now, the children of the promise are the elect; but they are not all to whom the external privileges of hearing the gospel, or even of entering the church of Christ, are given, for unto these as a class this promise is not fulfilled; but, simply, to those who truly embrace the gospel, and by faith in Jesus are vitally united to him. It is to this class only that the election refers. There is, therefore, a difference in kind indicated by the Apostle.

3. It is said that the addresses to the churches contained in the letters of the Apostles, indicate the election of the whole churches, and that, consequently, election must be merely to external church privileges. Dr. Faber does not cite the passages at length, because he thinks that any attentive reader, by attending to them, will readily perceive their palpably universalizing tendency. But he adduces as proof the beginnings of Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians and 1 Peter.

(1.) Of these, singular to say, none speak of election in the addresses to the churches, except Ephesians, the two Thessalonians and 1 Peter. But the others all speak of the saints and of a calling to sanctification. The truth is, that, as they professed to be God’s children, the Apostle, in the judgement of charity, speaks of them as such, and this is shown by the language of all the salutations as well as of the epistles at large.

(2.) The language in Ephesians is used as inclusive, not only of those to whom he wrote, but of himself also. It evidently is intended to refer to him and them, as having like hopes, and being partakers of like promises. That, at least, it is not intended to refer to the mere privilege of church membership, is evident from the fact that the apostle speaks of these persons as “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” Ch. 1:13. They are spoken of as having been “quickened,” (Ch. 2:1), as having been “dead through your trespasses and sins,” (Ch. 2:1), and as having been the “children of wrath even as the rest,” Ch. 2:3. Such language scarcely comports with an address to those whom the Apostle had not reason to believe to be converted persons.

The epistles to the Thessalonians, to which Faber also refers, are even more distinctly against him. For, here, we have not simply to infer what were the feelings which led to the expressions used by the Apostle; but he himself tells us of the fact that he knew their election, and assigns the reasons of his belief. These are not because they enjoyed the outward privileges of the church; but because of their work of faith and labors of love, and patience of hope, and because the gospel came not to them in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.

As to the first Epistle of Peter it may be said.

(a) That the elect spoken of are “sojourners of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” This at least creates the presumption that they had no especial opportunities of church privileges. This, however, is doubtful.

(b) They are, however, spoken of in chapter 1, verses 3, 4 and 5, as begotten . . . “unto a living hope, . . . unto an inheritance . . . reserved in heaven for you, who, by the power of God, are guarded through faith unto a salvation.” Again, they are spoken of, verses 7 and 8, as loving Christ, as believing in him and rejoicing with joy unspeakable.

4. Yet, again, three passages are adduced in which a whole church as such is styled elect, and it is argued thence that this is the Scriptural meaning of election. These passages are, 1 Pet. 5:13, “She that is in Babylon elect together with you saluteth you.” 2 John, 1st verse, “The elder unto the elect lady and her children,” and verse 13, “The children of thine elect sister salute thee.”

(1.) Of these passages it may be said that the application of any of them to a church is doubtful. This is evident from any English version of all but the first, and the literal rendering of that is, “The, from or in Babylon, that is elected with you, saluteth you.” It would be bad to form a theory upon such doubtful passages.

(2.) Admitting these, however, to have the meaning asserted, and that an elect church would be spoken of as such only with reference to the privileges thus conferred upon its members; it does not follow that this is the only sense which election can have. It must be shown not only that there is such an election, but that nothing else is spoken of under that name before this theory can be established as the only election taught. The truth is, that the general nature of the terms, elect, choose, etc., makes it practicable to have several kinds of election, and the nature of the election has to be decided by those declarations of its character and purpose which accompany it.

(3.) Under any view of Election, save that of Nationalism, it would be perfectly appropriate to apply the word elect to the body as such which is supposed to be composed only of elect members. Thus we often speak of Congress, or of a State Legislature as the assembled wisdom of the State or Country, because such is hypothetically its character; it being supposed to be composed of men who represent by their wisdom that of their constituents. So the church may be spoken of as elect, because composed of those supposed from the best sources of knowledge to be the elect of God.

5. The fifth argument is from the parables of the labourers in the vineyard, Matt. 20:1-16, and the marriage of the King’s son, Matt. 22:2-14.

“These,” says Faber, “contain the passages where the term Elect or Chosen first occurs and in these parables the Chosen or the Elect are all those who so far obey the call of the gospel as to enter the pale of the visible Christian Church.” And in order to show that they are not secure there from destruction, the case of the man without the wedding garment is mentioned.

It may be replied, as to the first of these parables, that Faber does not point out any indication of such loss of any persons in the churches, as is implied in this parable. The parable is merely instructive as to the fact of God’s sovereignty, and as to his bestowment of blessings on whom he will. The phrase is added, “many be called but few chosen,” which is the key to the parable, and yet in no wise bears upon the subject under discussion, save to show that there are two classes, the called and the elect, and that the first comprises many, the latter few; facts which oppose the theory of the author, who claims that the elect are not the few that are saved, but are the same as the many who are called to the external privileges of God’s truth.

The second parable is even more distinctly against him. In it there are three classes: the first, those who are called, and pay no attention to the invitation to the feast; the second, those who enter to partake of it, who may be regarded as the ones gathered here on earth into earthly churches; the third, the class marked by the separation from among them of the one who had not on a wedding garment, which represents the self-deceived in Christ’s earthly churches. Immediately after the order for his destruction is given by the king, it is added, “For many are called, but few chosen.” Does not the word chosen here evidently point out those who are the saved, as distinguished from those who are outwardly privileged, either as the outwardly called who refuse, or the called who enter the church and enjoy its privileges? If so, the author’s view of Election is false.

These are the only arguments, that can properly be so called that are advanced in favor of this theory, and the above statements fully show that the Scriptures nowhere teach the doctrine of Election as thus set forth. The theory has been examined more at length than its own merits deserve, partly, because it is not so generally known, but more especially, because it has the sanction of a man of known ability and scholarship though of admitted fanciful and unsound judgement.

III. Finding now that election is in no respect one to external privileges, we pass to the third theory which has been suggested; that of perseverance in foreseen faith, set forth by Arminians of all classes.

In connection with this idea of election is also taught a universal atonement, offered upon condition of faith to all persons, to each of whom is given sufficient grace to accept or reject it. Upon this acceptance or rejection, salvation depends.

This theory of election, therefore, asserts that:

(1.) The salvation of individuals is the result of their own choice and perseverance.

(2.) The election made by God is simply an election of a class.

(3.) So far as the election of individuals took place in eternity, it was only as God foresaw what would be the result of the election of a class.

(4.) That it is an election made upon condition that they would accept the offer of the gospel.

IV. As this theory is just the opposite in every respect of the Calvinistic theory of personal, unconditional, and eternal Election, it is better to put the two in direct contrast, and to proceed to the proof that the Scriptures teach the latter, and not the former.

The latter theory is that God (who and not man is the one who chooses or elects), of his own purpose (in accordance with his will, and not from any obligation to man, nor because of any will of man), has from Eternity (the period of God’s action, not in time in which man acts), determined to save (not has actually saved, but simply determined so to do), [and to save (not to confer gospel or church privileges upon),] a definite number of mankind (not the whole race, nor indefinitely merely some of them, nor indefinitely a certain proportionate part; but a definite number), as individuals (not the whole or a part of the race, nor of a nation, nor of a church, nor of a class, as of believers or the pious; but individuals), not for or because of any merit or work of theirs, nor of any value to him of them (not for their good works, nor their holiness, nor excellence, nor their faith, nor their spiritual sanctification, although the choice is to a salvation attained through faith and sanctification; nor their value to him, though their salvation tends greatly to the manifested glory of his grace); but of his own good pleasure (simply because he was pleased so to choose).

This theory, therefore, teaches that election is:

(1.) An act of God, and not the result of the choice of the elect.

(2.) That this choice is one of individuals, and not of classes.

(3.) That it was made without respect to the action of the persons elected.

(4.) By the good pleasure of God.

(5.) According to an eternal purpose.

(6.) That it is an election to salvation and not to outward privileges.

To the Scriptures alone must we look for the truth upon this subject.

Upon opening them we find that the words Election and Elect are used in various senses.

1. They signify a choice to office whether by man or God.

Luke 6:13. Christ’s choice of the twelve Apostles.

Acts 1:21-26. The selection of an Apostle in the place of Judas.

Acts 9:15. Saul is called a chosen vessel.

1 Pet. 2:6-8. Christ is spoken of as the corner-stone, elect, precious that is laid in Zion.

2. The choice of Israel to their peculiar national privilege of being the chosen or separated people of God; as in Acts 13:17. “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers.”

3. It is once used for a choice made of’ salvation by an individual.

Luke 10:42. “Mary hath chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her.”

4. In a large majority of cases it has reference to the choice to salvation, either in the purpose or act of choice by God.

It is to the doctrine taught in this last class of passages that our inquiries are to be turned.

(1.) Election is an act of God, and not the result of the choice of the Elect.

This is not now an inquiry into the reason of Election; but simply into the agent. Does God choose the elect, whether by his own purpose, or because he foresees that they will believe, or for any other reason? Is election an act of God?

The fact on this point would appear more clearly if we were to exchange the common word choice or chosen with the equivalent word elect.

The following passages are sufficient, though the examples are far more numerous.

John 13:18. “I know whom I have chosen.”

John 15:16. “Ye did not choose me, but I chose you” (not to their offices as apostle, but), “that ye should go and hear fruit.”

Rom. 8:33. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s chosen ones?”

Rom. 9:15. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy.”

Eph. 1:4. “Even as he chose us in him.”

Eph. 1:11. “Having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will.”

2 Thess. 2:13. “God chose you from the beginning unto salvation.”

2. This choice is one of individuals and not of classes.

This position needs to be explained. It is not denied that the Elect are to be true believers, and that true believers are the Elect. The character of the Elect does not, therefore, enter into this question. The issue is simply, does God choose all who shall believe, and are they, as such, his elect? or, does he choose his elect, and will they, as such, believe? Is belief the result of God’s election, or is God’s election the result of man’s faith?

Acts 13:48. “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” This is a historical statement made subsequent to the event, not by man’s knowledge but by inspiration.

Eph. 1:4, 5. “Even as he chose us in him, . . . having foreordained us unto adoption as sons.”

2 Thess. 2:13. “But we are bound to give thanks to God alway for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Here the choice is made to salvation, and the means to salvation, sanctification and faith, are indicated; no prerequisite or means being stated as to Election. It is not as believers that they are elected; but as elected, that they are saved.

Rom. 8:29. “Whom he foreknew he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son.” The foreknowledge here is of persons, not of personal acts, not of those whose faith he foreknew, nor, as would be essential to their theory, is it of the class of believers as such. The Arminian theory would require the substitution of the words “as believers” or “you as believers” instead of those which are used.

It is not, therefore, to the class of believers, but to individuals that election refers. But, it may be asked, does it not refer to them in that character? Did not God choose those whose faith he for-saw?

(3.) The third point then to be proved is, that it was not because of any act or merit of theirs, but irrespective of anything but his own good pleasure, that this Election was made.

This is merely a negative form of the same fact stated by the next point affirmatively. It is better, therefore, to unite this with the succeeding one, which is,

(4.) That the election is made through the mere good pleasure of God.

Some of the passages simply affirm a choice by God’s Sovereign will; others, while asserting this, also deny merit in those elected; and still others represent the fact of sovereignty by asserting a choice of such persons as would not ordinarily be chosen. The following are some of the passages which prove these points.

(a.) Such as simply assert sovereign will. Such are Matt. 24:40-41 and Luke 17:33-36. These declare the sovereign choice of God by showing such choice exercised as to persons in the same situation, so that the one shall be taken and the other left; “two men on one bed;” “two women grinding at the mill;” “two men shall be in the field;” one of each shall be taken and the other left.

John 3:3-8. Regeneration is here spoken of as essential to entrance into the kingdom of God. This precedes any act on which election is said by any to depend. Yet the sovereignty of God in this is declared in verse 8. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knoweth not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

John 6:37, 39, 44, 64, 65. “All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me. . . . This is the will of him that sent me, that of all that which be hath given me I should lose nothing. . . . No man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him. . . . Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that should betray him. And he said, for this cause have I said unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father.”

John 15:16. “Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit.” The object to be attained cannot be the cause.

John 17:2. “As thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that whatsoever thou hast given him to them he should give eternal life.” See also verses 6-12.

Acts 22:14. Ananias says to Paul, “The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will.”

Eph. 1:5. In the fourth verse having referred to God’s choice of us before the foundation of the world, he says in this fifth, “Having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” In verse 11 we are said to be predestinated to our inheritance “according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will.”

James 1:18. “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.”

(b.) Such as deny merit in the persons elected as well as assert the sovereign choice of God.

Ezek. 36:32. In this passage, after describing the blessings connected with the new dispensation, and the gift of the Spirit and the new heart which he would give them–gifts which the Calvinistic theory regards as the result of election; but which the Arminian maintains to be its cause, God adds, “Not for your sakes do I this, saith the LORD GOD, be it known unto you; be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.”

John 1:11-18. “He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But, as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

In Rom. 9:11-16. Election is illustrated by the case of the twins; “the children being not yet born, neither having done anything, good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. . . . So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”

Rom. 11:5-6. “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. But if it is by grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace.”

(c.) Such as so describe the persons chosen as to imply this.

Matt. 11:25, 26. “At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding and didst reveal them unto babes; yea Father, for so it was well pleasing in thy sight.”

Luke 4:25-27. Christ illustrates this sovereignty of God by mentioning that many widows had been in Israel, yet had only a heathen widow been blessed; and again many lepers, and yet only a heathen leper cured. “Of a truth I say unto you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah . . . and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Sarephath in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

Acts 26:12-23. Paul’s description of his personal condition at his conversion shows that God chose him not for his merits but from his own good pleasure.

1 Cor. 1:26-30. “For behold your calling, brethren, how that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are, that no flesh should glory before God. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, etc.”

Gal. 1:15, 16. Paul says, “When it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me even from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach, etc.”

Ephesians 2:1-13. The description of the condition of those who were dead in trespasses and sins, and in that state were quickened, proves that the quickening and salvation was due to no merit of their own.

The texts thus exhibited under these three classes prove conclusively that not on account of their own merits, but because of the good pleasure of God, does he choose men. They have been presented at some length, because this is after all the point upon which all that is important in this controversy turns. For, although other matters are equally essential to the doctrine, the whole opposition arises from an unwillingness on the part of man to recognize the sovereignty of God, and to ascribe salvation entirely to grace. This proof, however, has been by no means exhausted, the attempt having been to select some only of the numerous passages, and mainly such as from their conciseness allow of presentation in full. Let the Scriptures be read with reference to this doctrine and every passage marked which indicates God’s dealing with men as an absolute sovereign, and also every declaration which ascribes Election or the fruits of it to his choice and not to the will or acts of men, and every illustration afforded that this is God’s usual method, and it will appear that scarcely any book of Scripture will fail to furnish testimony to the fact that in the acts of grace, no less than those of providence, God “doeth according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.” Dan. 4:3-5.

(5.) Another important fact to be shown is the eternity of Election in opposition to the idea that it was in time. The proof on this point is two-fold. There are (a) those passages which show that the Election took place before existence in this world or before the world began, and (b) those which actually declare that it was eternal. Between the two classes of passages there is really, however, very little difference, as, from the nature of the case, what took place before time must have been in Eternity, and besides, the object of proof of an eternal Election is simply to show that it was not dependent on human action, but simply on the will of God.

(a) Those which show that the election took place before man’s existence, or before the world began.

Jer. 1:5. “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee.”

Matt. 25:34. “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Eph. 1:4. “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.

2 Thess. 2:13. “But we are bound to give thanks to God alway for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”

2 Tim. 1:9. “Who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.”

Compare also the language used as to the names written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Rev. 13:8. “And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him (that is the beast), every one whose name hath not been written in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world.”

Rev. 17:8. “And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, they whose name hath not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast how that he was, and is not, and shall come.”

Referring to the adherents of the Lamb as persons “with him,” it is said in verse 14, “They . . . that are with him called and chosen and faithful.”

Rev. 21:27. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie: but only they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

(b) The passages which distinctly declare that this, which may be thus inferred to have been an eternal Election, is really such.

1 Cor. 2:7. “Even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory.”

Eph. 3:11. “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

6. It remains to be proved that this Election is one to salvation, and not to mere external privileges.

Jeremiah 31:31-34:

Verse 31. Tells of a day when a new covenant shall be made.

Verse 32. Says that this shall not be like that made with their fathers (not one of external privileges).

Verse 33. But of this sort, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Verse 34. “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”

Speaking again of the restoration of Israel, the same prophet adds a like passage in Chap. 32:37-40. A similar passage is to be found in Ezekiel 36:24-27.

John 10:16. “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall become one flock, one shepherd.”

John 10:26. “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.”

Verse 27. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Rom. 8:28-30. “We know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.” Paul now proceeds to tell who these are. “For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” This passage shows that foreknowledge, foreordination to holiness, calling, justification, and a state of glory are inseparably connected, and hence that the election, from which they proceed, is to salvation.

Eph. 1:4-9. This passage speaks of our being chosen before the foundation of the world, “that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved: in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him.”

2 Thess. 2:13. After referring to others who were to have the same outward privileges, but upon whom God would send strong delusion, the Apostle says in this verse, “For we are bound to give thanks to God alway for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation,” &c.

1 Peter 6:10. “The God of all grace who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ,” &c. Here the Apostle is speaking of that effectual calling, which is the result of Election, and tells us that it is a call unto eternal glory.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Question 70-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon 1Q. What is repentance to life?

A. Repentance to life is a saving grace, (Acts 11:18) whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sins, (Acts 2:37) and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, (Joel 2:13) does with grief and hatred of his sin turn from it to God, (Jeremiah 31:18,19) with full purpose to strive after new obedience. (Psalm 119:59)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Question 69-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon 3Q. What is faith in Jesus Christ?

A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, (Hebrews 10:39) whereby we receive, (John 1:12) and rest upon him alone for salvation, (Philippians 3:9) as he is set forth in the gospel. (Isaiah 33:22)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism