BY GRACE ALONE (PART 8)
Man, by nature, seems to think that God is somehow obligated to show mercy to all. That simply because God is love, He is under some compulsion to save all. Sin has so distorted lost man’s thinking that he believes he is some poor innocent victim! That somehow sin has sinned against man! That sin is the guilty party and has taken man captive against his will. Lost man thinks that God is compelled by the very fact He is God to ‘undertake a legal, or moral, duty’ to save everyone. That though man is guilty, he is, nevertheless, in some, heretofore, undisclosed way, actually worthy of mercy. At his impudent best, sinful man has the utter gall to act as if all of mankind actually warrants salvation, that all are somehow deserving of God’s grace and mercy! As if God is responsible for man’s sinfulness and is morally obligated to save him. The lost have actually ‘reasoned’ within themselves and reached the utterly insane conclusion that if God shows mercy to some, then He should show mercy to all! Out of the madness of man comes the outrageous blasphemy that if God is a God of mercy then He is obliged to show mercy to all, and not merely some. That God could not be love if He did not love all. The lost are outraged at a God Who shows mercy and gives grace to whom He wants to show mercy and give grace to, Who loves only those He wants to love. Man sees picking and choosing whom he wants as friends a normal thing, but suddenly it becomes a sinful thing if God does it! The saved man rejoices in this God, for without Him NONE would ever have been saved at all. Only the guilty protest while the saved rejoice.
Notably, God is not a slave to His mercy, and He is not a servant of His love. God is not a slave to His mercy, He does not answer to His mercy, but His mercy is subservient to Him and is sent out to those whom He wills to be merciful to. God’s mercy is only restricted by His will, and God’s love is according to His will. God is the God of mercy Who wills to be merciful to some and not all. God is merciful to all His people. He saves His people by His grace. The fact that God is love, does not require Him to love all. If it did, He would indeed be an unrighteous God in entrusting only some to His Son and not all, and in turn His Son would be just as unjust in praying and dying for those people and not for the whole world (see Jn. 17:9). Lost man acts as though no man is deserving of any punishment, but only mercy, for his sin! Man acts as if he has built-in unassailable rights with God, that he is deserving, not of God’s Wrath, but only of His mercy and grace! Lost man’s actions and attitude resemble that of an infant. The infant thinks it is always right, that it is entitled to have whatever it wants, and that it should have what it wants to have right NOW. No amount of logical reasoning can change an infant’s mind. Unless God intervenes, reasoning with the lost is like reasoning with the dead. Only the unsaved, unregenerated mind of a lost man could possibly have reached such a preposterous conclusion that God is somehow unrighteous, the inaneness of which is exceeded only by his belief that this is a reasonable and justified rendering of God’s Holy Word. The reality that people need to adjust their thinking to, is “…The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty…” for “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ex. 34:6,7; Ezek. 18:4; cf. Num. 14:18; Nah. 1:3).
Contrary to the distorted thinking of lost men, it would be an injustice if God did not punish the guilty. There is absolutely nothing wrong with God not being merciful to any who deserve only His Wrath. Again, that God is merciful to any, is a manifestation of the goodness of God, the grace and mercy and compassion and love of God and not something to be seized upon as some gross miscarriage of justice. God’s saving some is a Righteously merciful act, while God punishing others is a Righteously Wrathful act. It is only a warped, carnal mind that can possibly be deluded enough to see any injustice done in God choosing to save those He has chosen to be merciful to. God has as much right to be merciful as He has to punish, and He has as much right to punish as He has to be merciful. To attempt to attach any unfairness, or unrighteousness, to either action is perhaps the greatest evidence of how the distorted mind of a lost man processes what the Word of God clearly states. God’s mercy in electing some is a display of His goodness, and can, in no way, be rightly deemed inequitable, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23 cf. Rom. 3:9,10). The Lord says: “…I will make all My GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be GRACIOUS to whom I will be gracious, and will shew MERCY on whom I will shew mercy” (Ex. 33:19 cf. Ezra 3:11; Eph. 1:4-6). THERE is the goodness of God! If you recognize this as being anything but the wonderful goodness of God, you are currently in a lost state. “To paraphrase, God is telling Moses, ‘This is the essence of Who I am (My name). My glory is displayed by My freedom to show mercy and compassion to whomever I will. I am not obligated to show mercy to any, because all have sinned and justly deserve My Judgment. But I am free to show My glory both by giving mercy to some and by withholding it from others. That is Who I Am’.”
God is deserving of as much glory for not showing mercy to some, as He is by showing it to others. Man’s sin does not obligate God to be merciful. Man’s sin is not some automatic trigger that compels God to show mercy. Quite the opposite. God is obligated by His Holiness to act in judgement toward the guilty. Death is God’s judgement upon sin. “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). That is only natural and right. God has obligated Himself to save those whom He wills to be merciful to, just as the Son has obligated Himself to die for the sins of the chosen, and grant to them His Righteousness. That is SUPER-natural and Righteous. God is not compelled to save any. The wages of sin is death, not mercy. God is not subservient, or answerable to anyone’s will, but His own. Many say ‘God had no right to show favour to some, if He would not show favour to all’. They complain that God’s electing some and not all is unfair. By this they strongly imply that God is in some way obligated to save all, and, therefore, choose all. But upon what is this unfettered fantasy based? For what possible reason would God find Himself obligated to sinful man in any way other than to punish him? Does the following sound like God is somehow obligated to show mercy? “Behold, He putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:15,16). Man has sinned, rebelled, against God, hidden himself from Him and disobeyed Him utterly. As a consequence, man has justly incurred the Holy and eternal Wrath of God, has become a cursed race which despises God and worships only the gods of his imagination, and for all this God is somehow obligated to choose and save all!! Man has left God via sin, and suddenly God is obligated to save everyone? Does not even man’s law declare that the only ones under any obligation is the criminal for his crime, the jury to find him guilty and the judge to pass sentence. The guilty are under an obligation to pay for their crimes. The innocent are under no obligation. The judge is obligated to pass sentence. The criminal is obligated to serve his sentence. The ones who have been sinned against are under no obligation to acquit the guilty, but to see that justice is done.
God is the God of Love. God is Love, but He is also the God of vengeance and the God of Holiness and Justice Who cannot and does not clear the guilty for whom His Son did not die. “…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:7-9 cf. 2 Thess. 2:10,11). God renders vengeance to His adversaries, and mercy to His people (see Deut. 32:43). “…God is a consuming fire…” (Deut. 4:24). God shows His mercy to whomsoever He wills to show His mercy. God has chosen to save some for His glory, and others He has committed to eternal punishment for His glory. Grace can never be merited, and mercy is always undeserved. The wages of sin is death, not mercy. “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:13-16 cf. 2 Cor. 1:3). Trust sinful man to react with unfounded accusations of unrighteousness toward God Who had every right to punish all in Hell, but has rather chosen to save some by punishing their sins in His Son, no less. A man is chosen because of God’s mercy, not a man’s will. This passage from Romans 9 teaches that none can be saved without God showing mercy, and if it is by mercy that a man is saved, then it cannot be by any meritorious act. Man has no right to dictate whom God should save, or how many. The sins of mankind do not put God under any obligation to save, but to punish the sinner. No one was elected without God’s mercy, therefore, no one could possibly have elected themselves for God to save. None can be saved without God, and God is under no obligation to save any. Where is unrighteousness in any of this? Paul continues this line of reasoning several verses later by asking the rhetorical question: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and (to make) another unto dishonour?” (Rom. 9:21 cf. Isa. 29:16; 45:9; 64:8). God Himself asks: “…cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in Mine hand…” (Jer. 18:6). Who would be so foolish as to reply, ‘No, Lord, you cannot do with us as this potter’? “By the power the potter has over the clay, to shape it in what form he pleases, and out of it to make what vessels he pleases, and for what purposes he thinks fit, which will be most to his own advantage, the apostle expresses the Sovereign and unlimited power which God has over His creatures.” A Sovereign and unlimited power to save those whom God has chosen to love, and condemn those whom He has chosen to hate, and there is not even a thimble full of unrighteousness in any of it. To question God and the way He does things is to reveal oneself as nothing but an ignorant, stupid fool. “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” (Isa. 40:13,14 cf. 1 Cor. 1:25; 3:19).
“‘But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we are all the work of Thy hand' (Isa. 64:8). Now, if the potter has such power over the clay which he did not make, only has made a purchase of, or has it in his possession, much more has God power over the clay Who has created the clay, to appoint out of it persons to different uses and purposes, for His own glory, as He sees fit; even '…of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour' (Rom. 9:21).” There is no injustice in God having predestined some to eternal fire, for they are fully deserving of it. This is done to the glory of God, for He rightly punishes the guilty. God is Righteous, therefore, He cannot sin or commit any injustice. This is the launching pad to understanding Who God is and what God is like. A man understands the Word of God either with a carnal mind, or with a renewed mind. God’s saving those whom He has chosen unto eternal salvation is also a Righteous act. As not all were given to the Lord Jesus to die for, so too, grace and mercy are not given to those who must be punished for their sin. Sin demands punishment for the one who commits it, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23). SIN DEMANDS DEATH! And for those whose sins the Lord Jesus Christ did not die for, there remains nothing but death and the eternal Wrath of God. Such people do not complain about this because they do not believe that this is the true God. No one believes they are going to Hell, apart from the curious few who actually want to go there, either because they count themselves to be Satanists who believe their serving Satan on this earth will see them ruling in Hell rather than suffering torment, or some religionists who believe the fires of Hell will purify them for Heaven. Religionists are happy with their false gods who love them only because they have loved first. The Lord Jesus Christ laid down His life for His sheep. Jesus said: “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (Jn. 10:11 cf. Jn. 10:15). And who are the sheep? Jesus calls those for whom He laid down His life: “…MY sheep…MY sheep… MY sheep…MY sheep… MY sheep…” (Jn. 10:14,26,27; 21:16,17). The payment for the sins of JESUS’ OWN sheep has been fully paid by their Redeemer. God’s saving some, far from warranting the false charge of injustice made by those who do not know God, is a display of God’s goodness (see Ex. 33:19). How great is the news that God has chosen to save some who deserved only Wrath! What mercy, what compassion, and what grace. In teaching that God’s election by grace is in no way an unrighteous, or unfair, act—as many today believe it is—Paul immediately counters their blasphemous accusation by showing that God will have mercy upon whom He will, and that it is right and fitting that God has mercy on those whom He chooses to have mercy upon. No one in the spiritually dead world could ever choose God, which is why mercy and grace are necessary and essential to salvation. God choosing to have mercy on those whom He has chosen, far from being an unrighteous act, is the summit of God’s goodness in the midst of the depth of man’s sinfulness, for the apostle confirms that election and salvation are wholly due to the mercy and goodness of God, and not anything to do with man.
The opposition to God’s Sovereignly electing some for Heaven is found in Romans 9:19: “…Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?” This opposition is nothing new, for as it came from the lost in Paul’s day, so too, is it spouted forth by the lost in our day. The answer to such a question will not be provided by the words of this author, but by the very Word of God. Listen to the Holy Spirit-inspired words of the apostle Paul as he makes his reply: "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?" (Rom. 9:20,21). Paul’s response is one which he must have often given to those who made such an ignorant complaint, and is a principle statement of grace. His statement is an eternal one. To think for one moment that God is in any way unrighteous, that He is in any way culpable for man’s sinning, is to immediately convey that one’s understanding of God and His Holy Word is completely erroneous. Let us now take a closer look at Paul’s response, and reflect on what God has said through him concerning His right to complete Sovereignty. The first thing we need to notice is that Paul does not correct his complainant. The apostle does not say to him, ‘Now wait just a minute friend, you have completely misunderstood what I am saying. I am not saying that election is all up to God, and that the man He does not choose to be merciful to goes to Hell without a hope of being saved. I am not saying that God chooses those He will love and those He will hate solely based on His will before the people have even been born. I am not saying that salvation is solely of God’s will and not man’s’. Note that Paul says nothing of the kind. His immediate answer shows that the one who is remonstrating with him is quite correct in his understanding that God chooses those who are to be saved based on His will and mercy and not their will or deeds, and that indeed none can resist God’s will. There is nothing wrong, strange or unfair about the Absolute Sovereignty of God in Paul’s eyes, nor in the eyes of anyone else God has saved! The very fact that God is a Holy, Just and Righteous God, that He can and does do whatsoever He wills with His creation brings to the fore the incontrovertible fact that God can never be unrighteous. Simply because a man does not understand certain things about God, does not mean he is right in making any accusation against Him. The unrighteousness does not lie with God, but in lost man and his inability to rightly discern the things of God. God’s basis for election, far from being something unfair, is proper and right and the only way any could be saved. None could ever have been elected based on their deeds, for all are sinners. It is proper and right for God to choose those He will have mercy toward and appoint others to His Wrath, for there is nothing a man can do to attract God’s mercy. There is no other way for a man to be saved than by the grace, mercy and will of Almighty God.
“No human being deserves God’s mercy. The choice of Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau must be construed as a merciful one. In other words, the stunning thing for Paul was not that God rejected Ishmael and Esau, but that He chose Isaac and Jacob, for they did not deserve to be included in His merciful and gracious purposes. Human beings are apt to criticize God for excluding anyone, but this betrays a theology that views salvation as something God ‘ought’ to bestow on all equally…What is fundamental for God is the revelation of His glory and the proclamation of His name, and He accomplishes this by showing mercy and by withholding it. ‘Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth’ (Rom. 9:18 cf. Ex. 33:19; Rom. 11:7).” God is right to show mercy to some, and to punish those He is not willing to be merciful to. God’s justice and God’s mercy are equally Righteous acts performed by a Righteous God. “God’s Righteousness is upheld because He manifests it by revealing His glory both in saving and in judging.” Importantly, there is nothing arbitrary in God’s hatred for some, for all are only deserving of God’s Wrath because of sin. They are enemies of God, hostile towards God and children of Wrath by nature. “There is no higher principle in the universe than God Himself. The Hebrew God of the Bible is nothing like the Greek gods which must yield to some greater truth. God is the ultimate Truth and therefore, if He determines something it is, by definition, not arbitrary. In other words, there is no better reason for anything than the fact that God determines it. We should draw no comfort from the theology that promotes a god who must yield to something greater than himself. Further, since we know the character of God we must not think that, on His side, God had no internal reasons or causes for saving some and not others — since the Divine purpose always conspires with His wisdom and does nothing without reason or rashly; although these reasons and causes have not been revealed to us. In His counsels and works no cause is apparent, it is yet hidden with Him, so that He has decreed nothing except justly and wisely according to His good pleasure founded on His gracious love towards us. Just because we don’t know His internal reason for choosing some to faith and not others is not reason enough to reject it. In the absence of relevant data, we, therefore, have no reason whatsoever to assume the worse, so there are no legitimate grounds for doubting the goodness of God here. Therefore, to doubt that God can choose us based solely on His good pleasure, is to doubt the goodness of God. In turning to the notion of ‘foreseen faith’ people are, in effect, saying that they cannot trust God in making this choice and prefer it to be left up to the fallen individual, as if he would make a better choice than God. This would also make God's love toward us conditional and based on some inherent talent, wisdom or strength found in the individual rather than in God Himself.”
Again, man is not some innocent victim of a megalomaniacal God Who randomly chooses to hate, or love, whomever and whenever He feels like loving, or hating, at the time. God’s Wrath is justifiably directed toward those who have sinned against Him. Man is guilty and has incurred God’s Wrath. The chosen of God have had the Wrath due them placed upon Christ Who was sent by the Father to save His chosen from their sins by His grace. “…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed…and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all…for the transgression of MY people was He stricken” (Isa. 53:5,6,8 cf. Isa. 53:11). Coupled with the fact that God is a Just God, man is in the dilemma he now faces because he is a sinner, “…in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die…For the wages of sin is death…” (Gen. 2:17 & Rom. 6:23). Those who are elected unto salvation, have been chosen by a Righteous and Benevolent God, Who, by His will, love and purpose has chosen to reveal His Goodness by having His grace and mercy upon them. Those whom God has not elected unto salvation have been duly appointed by God the Righteous Judge, according to His inflexible Justice, to His eternal Wrath. The chosen are appointed to life, those not chosen are appointed to Wrath. Writing to his brethren, the apostle Paul noted: “…God hath not appointed us to Wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us…” (1 Thess. 5:9,10). Anyone who still insists that election is unfair, that, somehow, God rightly punishing the guilty, and choosing by grace to show mercy to others is just not right, clearly evidences the fact that they remain in bondage to their carnal reasoning, and are the servants of sin. To be a servant of sin involves not only acting and speaking sinfully, but also thinking sinfully. It is to think, speak and act in total discord with the Word of God.
Addressing believers (see 1 Thess. 1:1), the apostle Paul wrote, “For God hath not appointed us to Wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us…” (1 Thess. 5:9,10 cf. Rev. 3:9,10). With doubtless assurance these Scriptures reveal that Christ died only for those appointed by God to obtain salvation, and not for those who have been appointed by God to the Wrath of God. Christ died for those God gave Him, those whom Christ prayed for, and now intercedes for, and not for those of the world for whom Christ did not even pray (see Jn. 17:2,9,20). This passage from 1 Thessalonians 5 grants us clear insight into just who it was that the Father gave to His Son, and for whom He was given, and the purpose of it. The apostle also stated the following to the disciples of Jesus: “…being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from Wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement” (Rom. 5:9-11 cf. Col. 1:21). We see from these Scriptures that it is not through what a man does in his life that he is saved, but only through the Person and Work, the life and death of Christ Jesus the Lord whereby any are saved. It is Christ’s particular death for His people, and no mere man’s ‘response’ to it, which eternally determines and distinguishes the saved from the lost. Two distinct peoples are spoken of in the above verses: those who will not have their trespasses imputed to them, and those who will; the Righteous, and the ungodly; those who have been appointed to Wrath, and those who have been appointed to obtain salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ Who died for them. The children of God, and the children of God’s Wrath. Clearly, the Lord Jesus did not die for those whom God has appointed to His Wrath, for Scripture declares He will take vengeance on them “…that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8 cf. 1 Pet. 4:17). How could Christ have, on the one hand, loved the people He died for, become a curse for them, and on the other hand take vengeance on any one of them in the day of His Wrath? Jesus did not die for every individual ever born, but only for those the Father has given Him. Jesus said: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6:37 cf. Jn. 17:2). Those for whom Christ died were all appointed to obtain salvation, so how could they ever be the recipients of His eternal Wrath. Likewise, how could those who have been appointed by God to His Wrath possibly be among those whom He gave to His Son Jesus to make sacrifice for? Yes, although the word ‘world’ is used in 2 Cor. 5:19, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”, a fact we do not shy away from, but rather embrace, it is with the utmost clarity not referring to all people without exception, for not all people shall have their account wiped clean of sin, and replaced with the Righteousness of Christ.
“…God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself…” (2 Cor. 5:19). “Better, perhaps, ‘How that it was God who was reconciling in Christ a world unto Himself’. Both ‘God’ and ‘world’ are, in the Greek, without the article. The English rendering is tenable grammatically, but the position of the words in the original suggests the construction given above. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself’; by world, here, some would understand all mankind, and by reconciling, no more than making God reconcilable; but this proceedeth from an over fondness of their principle of Christ’s dying for all, and every man. For as it is manifest from a multitude of Scriptures, that world is many times taken in a much more limited and restrained sense; so there is nothing here that guides us to interpret it in such a latitude; nay, that which followeth, doth manifestly so restrain it; for God was not in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, that is, every man and woman in the world, so as not to impute their sins to them. This the apostle here affirmeth; which makes it manifest, that by world here is meant many, some of all sorts, as well Gentiles as Jews; even so many as He pleaseth not to impute their sins unto.” “Moreover, this reconciliation must be considered, either as intentional, or actual, or as a publication of it in the ministry of the word; and taken either way it cannot be thought to extend to every individual person in the world: if it is to be understood intentionally, that God intended the reconciliation of the world to Himself by Christ, and drew the scheme of it in Him, His intentions cannot be frustrated; His counsel shall stand, and He will do all His pleasure; a scheme so wisely laid by Him in His Son, cannot come to nothing, or only in part be executed; and yet this must be the case, if it was His design to reconcile every individual of mankind to Himself, since a large number of them are not reconciled to Him: and if the words are to be understood of an actual reconciliation of the world unto God by Christ, which sense agrees with the preceding verse, then it is out of all question, that the word ‘world’ cannot be taken in so large a sense as to take in every man and woman in the world; since it is certain that there are many who are not reconciled to God, who die in their sins, whose peace is not made with Him, nor are they reconciled to the way of salvation by Christ: and should it be admitted that the ministry of reconciliation is here designed, which is not an offer of reconciliation to the world, but a proclamation or declaration of peace and reconciliation made by the death of Christ (for His people); this is not sent to all men; multitudes were dead before the word of reconciliation was committed to the apostles; and since, there have been great numbers who have never so much as heard of it; and even in the times of the apostles it did not reach to everyone then living: besides, the text does not speak of what God did by the ministry of His apostles, but of what He Himself had been doing in His Son, and which was antecedent, and gave rise unto and was the foundation of their ministry. There was a scheme of reconciliation drawn in the counsels of God before the world began, and an actual reconciliation by the death of Christ, which is published in the Gospel, which these words contain the sum and substance of: and this reconciliation, as before, is said to be ‘unto Himself’; to His offended justice, and for the glory of His perfections, and the reconciling of them together in the affair of salvation.”
The Lord Jesus gives eternal life to, ergo He died exclusively for, the people God has given to Him: “As thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him” (Jn. 17:2 cf. Jn. 6:37; 10:11). The world in 2 Corinthians 5:19 is referring to God’s children, Jew and Gentile (see Jn. 11:51,52; Rev. 5:9). The only people Jesus died for are those whom the Father gave to Him. The only people who are going to be given eternal life by Jesus are those whom the Father gave to the Son. The only people whose sins are not imputed to them are those whom God chose before the foundation of the world, those for whom Christ died, those for whom He became a curse, those whom He has charged with, or has reckoned His Righteousness to, those for whom He rose again. God reconciles His chosen—made up of both Jew and Gentile—and none else. Writing to the saints in Achaia, Paul stated: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21cf. Job 25:4; Isa. 61:10; Zech. 3:4; 2 Cor. 4:11,22-24; 5:13; Jas. 2:23; 1 Pet. 3:18). “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His Righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Rom. 3:25-27). If boasting is excluded THERE ARE NO WORKS THAT CAN JUSTIFY A MAN! Salvation, therefore, must be all of grace for the chosen ones of God. The sins of those for whom Christ died will not be imputed to them, they will not be charged with their sins, for their sins have all been charged to Christ’s account—and paid for IN FULL—and exchanged for His Righteousness. Clearly, those who are charged with their sin, and not Christ’s Righteousness, are those for whom the Lord did not die.
How can the doctrine of election based on the free will, grace and mercy of God be unfair when we have seen the Scriptures state clearly that, if left to himself, NO man would, or could, EVER choose God!! “…there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11); “No man can come to Me…” (Jn. 6:44); “…Who then can be saved?...with men this is impossible…” (Matt. 19:25,26 cf. Lk. 18:27). If no man can, it means that no man can EVER come to the Lord Jesus. If it is impossible it means it will ALWAYS be impossible for a man to do anything to gain salvation. Salvation cannot be deserved, it cannot be earned by any man, for it can only come as a gift from God given to His chosen people. Not being able to deserve, not being able to earn salvation shows THERE IS NOTHING MAN CAN DO, which is why he is without hope in the world. “No man can”, means no man ever has. “No man can” means no man ever will. No saved person ever chose God. Grace is God choosing. Salvation is by no other means than grace, therefore, no part of it is conditioned on man. It has been clearly and Scripturally established that no man seeks God, therefore, how can any man want, much less choose, that which he does not seek or desire, indeed, which he cannot seek or desire! SALVATION IS NOT ABOUT FAIRNESS, OR UNFAIRNESS, IT IS ABOUT THE MERCY AND GRACE OF GOD SAVING SUCH AN UNDESERVING, SINFUL WRETCH AS MAN. Salvation is about what is right. Salvation is about the will and purpose of God, therefore, there can be nothing unfair about it. God is a Just God, and all He does—WHETHER WE BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WHETHER ANY MAN AGREES WITH IT OR NOT—IS JUST AND RIGHT AND FAIR according to His grace, mercy, purpose, love and will. If it is fair for a man to be punished for his sins in eternal fire, it is fair for a man whom God has chosen to have his sins punished in Christ, and be given eternal life.
EVERYONE RECEIVES JUSTICE: the guilty are punished because of their sinfulness, and the elect receive justice based on the Righteousness of Christ imputed to them. Scripture speaks of election in terms of the love, mercy, grace, will and purpose of God and is, therefore, just and proper. Election does not go against the grain of God’s Holiness or Righteousness, but is a product of it. So we see that the accusation of unfairness concerning election, is really a smokescreen set up by lost men in collaboration with Satan, which attempts to hide the glory of God’s mercy and grace, His goodness, in electing some to salvation based on His will, rather than allowing them to meet their just deserts. Again, the only thing unfair is that man has sinned against the God Who so lovingly created him. The only thing which is improper is that sinful man would even dare to falsely accuse God of any injustice in His loving some, and not all, in His choosing to save a portion of the human race, and not all. There is nothing wrong with God choosing to save some, especially when there would have been no injustice done had He simply abandoned all to Hell. “…the children of Thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal” (Ezek. 33:17). All deserve nothing but Hell, nothing but the eternal Wrath of the God Who has been so violently, unwaveringly, persistently and consistently sinned against. God is under no obligation to save any. There is nothing outside of God that can compel Him to save any. Had God chosen only one person to save there would have been nothing unfair about it, for all are fully deserving of nothing but an eternal existence of suffering and torment in Hell. Has not God the right to do as He wills, particularly in light of the indisputable fact He is Just, Holy and enduringly Righteous. The guilty man cannot rightly appeal against his guiltiness or his sentence. It is nothing less than a testament to man’s natural and complete commitment to sin when any man accuses God of unfairness in His display of goodness in saving some according to His grace and mercy, and justly condemning others to His eternal Wrath.
A blind man dead in sins cannot see the utter evil of his unwarranted and unjustified claims of unfairness on God’s part in electing some to salvation, and not all. Even those who comment on random mass shootings do not accuse the shooter of unfairness in killing some and not all! So, where does man get the temerity of accusing God of any unfairness in graciously choosing to save some, and not all!! To accuse God, in the midst of His benevolency, no less—showing the glory of His goodness by choosing to be gracious and merciful to some, rather than condemning all—and not see that one’s claim that this is the act of an unrighteous, evil God, shows just how evil the heart of man is. Paul, in His Letter to his fellow Christians at Ephesus, wrote the following of the majesty and glory of God: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:3-7). What a passage of Scripture this is! What a celebration of God and His abundant grace toward those whom He has mercifully chosen to be His eternally beloved children. There is not a trace of unrighteousness here. Nothing unfair about any of this. On the contrary, what grace is here shown toward some of the most miserable creatures on earth. What great goodness and kindness is evidenced by God toward His chosen people who were formerly among the children of His Wrath (see Eph. 2:3-5). These whom God has chosen have been totally and mercifully removed from under God’s Wrath, and been blessed with ALL, not some or most, but ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ the Lord and Saviour. These people whom God has elected and appointed unto salvation have been chosen not according to anything about them—who they are or what they have done, or would do, for God has no respect of persons. “It will not come into consideration, at the day of judgment, of what nation men are; or from what parents they are descended; nor of what age and sex persons be; nor in what state and condition they have lived in this world; nor will it be asked to what sect they have belonged, and by what denomination they have been called; or whether they have conformed to such and such externals and rituals in religion; but only whether they are righteous men or sinners; and accordingly as they appear under these characters, judgment will proceed.” A Righteous man is one who has had grace and mercy directed toward them by God Who has imputed His Righteousness to them. Lost sinners are those men who have been appointed to God’s eternal Wrath.
A man does not make himself acceptable by his works, for it is only God Who makes a man acceptable by His grace alone. Christians are not accepted because they have made themselves acceptable, not because they were holy and without blame, but totally and comprehensively according to the fact God has chosen them before the foundation of the world, according to His purpose, to be holy and without blame, and it is grace that gives that holiness, it does not come by works. “…He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4). God makes them accepted, so that they would become Holy and be without blame. Election is about God showing mercy to some who would have gone on to Hell without Him. God’s choosing to save some is the greatest act of benevolence, or sheer goodness, beauty, grace and mercy ever done. Even Christ’s death on the cross for His people, could not have occurred were it not for the awesome grace of God. Everything is because of grace, everyone saved is because of grace alone. Instead of allowing all to enter Hell, God has chosen some to be merciful and gracious towards, and to make them His children. Jesus Christ has laid down His life for these chosen ones the Father gave to Him. How can this be referred to as some kind of evil act? The Sovereign God has predestinated these elected ones according to the good pleasure of His will to the praise of, not what they have done, not according to what He would foresee they would do, but entirely based on what God has done, “to the praise of the glory of HIS GRACE”!!!!! What a God!!!! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:3-7). There was nothing else that God could have chosen any man by, but His glorious grace and mercy in accord with His will. There was nothing in men that could have encouraged God to choose any. Nothing they did and nothing they were. Nothing they said or thought or any amount of sorrow for their sin could have achieved what grace and mercy have done. The only chance any man could ever have had after he had sinned against God and become dead in sins, having had all communication with Him completely cut off, is if God in some way desired, willed to save some, a remnant of this broken race. If God was going to save any it would have to be in a way that would bring glory only to Him. Grace and mercy are the only way.
Nothing in any man could have prompted God to choose him. This is not merely good news, but it is SENSATIONAL NEWS! The God Who had every right to condemn all of mankind to His eternal Wrath is the one Who has chosen to be gracious and merciful to some! Everyone destined to Hell, and then the breaking news comes through that God is going to save some! WOW!! Imagine reading that banner headline in the ‘Daily Death’ newspaper! To rescue some, to save some, to make some alive again unto Him. What an act! What grace! What mercy! What goodness! What benevolence! What a God!!! The Fall in the Garden signalled game over for everyone! Man had sinned and died spiritually. All was lost, all hope was done away with by what man had done. He no longer had God. Man had forever disqualified himself from any chance of Heaven. Nothing he could do, nothing he could stop doing would make any difference to his eternal future. Nothing man would do could ever alter the fact he was a sinner. Sin and death had already done their work. The horse had bolted. What was done in the garden of Eden could never be undone by man. You cannot un-ring the bell that has been rung. Sin and its consequence of death are irreversible. Sin bought death—God brought LIFE! “…the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Man can, and has, only earned death, he cannot earn life, for he is dead. Life can only come from God as a gift, therefore, it can never be earned. God had chosen a remnant for Himself before He even laid the foundation of the world, and He would save them based on His grace and mercy. To focus on the fact that God has not chosen all is to fail to understand the enormity of God’s having chosen any. To focus on the fact that God has not chosen to save all is to fail to understand the gravity of what man has done by his sin. To sin against God is unthinkable! It is unspeakable! Why would anyone ever want to sin against God Who had never done one thing against man? To focus on the fact that God has not chosen all, reveals exactly what sin has done to man and how hostile man naturally is toward the true God. It is man putting himself before God, and thinking that God could be capable of ever performing an unrighteous act. This alone shows how devilish mankind is in his attitude toward the true God. I cannot express in human terms how abhorrent, how utterly evil mankind is to think that God’s most wonderful act—revealing His glorious goodness, grace and mercy—could ever be viewed as something evil and repulsive.
How can there possibly be anything unfair or unjust in making alive again that which was dead! How can there be anything unjust in doing something for those who could do nothing for themselves? The only alternative to God choosing would have been man choosing God. But how could it have been a fair thing had God left the choosing up to man, when all mankind is dead in sins! The ones God has saved know, by grace, that they could have done nothing to save themselves. That is why they appreciate God and His grace so much. The saved know they were dead, the dead believe they can be, or are, righteous depending on whom you talk to. How can there possibly be something evil in my giving $10 to one person and nothing to another? Neither was deserving of the money, for both had sinned badly against me, so how can I be so falsely accused of evil, when what I have done is good. The fact that I did not give $10 to one man does not even enter into the equation, for neither man was deserving of it! I was not obligated to give either man $10. The only thing that stands out in this whole situation is the extraordinary fact that I have actually given $10 to a man who was deserving of absolutely nothing. The extraordinary fact that God has chosen to be merciful to some is what the apostle Paul found so amazing, and not that those who deserved nothing but punishment get exactly what they rightly deserve. Why must a benevolent act toward one man suddenly obligate me to perform the same act toward the other? WHY MUST I SUDDENLY GIVE $10 TO BOTH PERSONS BASED ON MY WILLINGNESS TO GIVE $10 TO ONE! WHY MUST GOD SUDDENLY GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL BASED ON HIS WILLINGNESS TO PROVIDE ETERNAL SALVATION TO HIS CHOSEN! How can a benevolent act of God toward some, suddenly obligate God to perform the same benevolent act upon every individual ever born? Who is man—spiritually dead man no less—to judge what benevolence is anyway! Man’s whole argument against election is: ‘If God has chosen to save some, He should have chosen to save all’. It is based on nothing, and comes from a heart that is so corrupted with sin that its evil is beyond compare, and from a mind that is wholly at enmity against God. If God had chosen to save all, this same line of thinking, spawned by man’s sinful nature, would no doubt have risen up in virulent protest that God has not allowed those who may not have wished to be saved, the freedom to go to Hell if they wanted to!