ELECTION IS JUST NOT FAIR!
For many people, the doctrine of election is one that just does not make sense, for it appears to contradict the teachings that God is Love and no respecter of persons. It is even seen as a doctrine which shuts many people out of heaven who desired entry. Thus, it is concluded that the doctrine of election is just not fair; that God would be unjust to select only some people to show His grace and mercy towards, in granting the gift of salvation, and simply leave the rest to themselves, or worse still, consign them to hell. The real reason behind such a conclusion is the flawed foundation upon which these notions are based—a foundation which says that man is not dead in sin as a result of the Fall but is merely a wounded soul, with the ability and desire to seek and choose God, intact. The concept of ‘free will’ stands in eternal opposition to the doctrine of free grace. The doctrine of free will is irrevocably linked with that of universal atonement. The result of such a devilish mix is the teaching that Christ has died for all, that salvation is an offer and not a promise, and everyone has a free will decision to make—to either choose Christ as their Savior or to ignore His ‘offer’ of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Naturally, such thinking produces an enmity against the doctrine of election and considers it as something wholly unjust and unfair, for man is seen as having no choice in the matter. It deems that a God of love would never override a man’s ‘free will’, He would never choose one man over another to show His grace and mercy to. Man in his natural lost state equipped with a carnal mind blinded by the subtleties of Satan can see only one thing and that is, that though man is lost, he can at any time turn from his carnal ways, choose God and take up His generous ‘offer’ of eternal life based on his own repentance. To understand the doctrine of election is to understand that salvation is reliant upon God’s Sovereign choice based on His free grace and not man’s choice or decision based on free will, that it is God’s love for man and not man’s ‘love’ for God which is the motivating factor behind anyone being saved. In order to properly comprehend election based purely on grace, we will not commence our study with an examination of this doctrine but with the doctrine that concerns man’s spiritual state after the Fall in the Garden of Eden. This will show whether or not man possesses some innate ability to call upon God from a supposed free will, or whether this is an utter impossibility based on man’s separation from God. Just what happened to man when he sinned for the first time against a Holy God and where did it leave him in terms of his standing before God? This booklet will proceed to bring the reader the Scriptural response to such questions, as well as a study of election itself, and show conclusively that not only is election by grace just and fair, it is the only way a man can be saved.
Adam and Eve lived a perfect, harmonious existence in the Garden of Eden. They communed with God and enjoyed all the pleasures He bestowed upon them. The animals God had created were their friends, food was abundant, water flowed freely, they basked in perfect weather, death was unknown and what’s more, God was their Benefactor, their Provider Who saw to it that they wanted for nothing. It is hard to imagine that this paradise would be the backdrop to the single most devastating and far reaching event that man has ever brought about: rebellion against, and disobedience to, God. In Genesis 2 "...the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the Garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16,17). Since God is the Source of both physical and spiritual life, disobedience to Him would mean instantaneous separation from Him and therefore from life itself, in both its physical and spiritual forms. God had expressed His will by making it clear to the man that he could eat of every tree he wanted in the Garden but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the laying down of this law God was not withholding anything from man that was necessary to his existence. On the contrary, God was promising and assuring him an immortal life upon his obedience. But this was also a trial of Adam’s obedience upon pain of eternal separation from God. One wonders what went through the mind of Adam after God’s command, and that of Eve after Adam had informed her of the Lord’s decree, but we have enough to deal with in their ensuing actions.
The key word in the above two verses is without doubt the word ‘die’. A proper biblical understanding of the meaning of this word will unlock any mystery this verse may hold for those who believe that die may not mean die at all but contain some esoteric connotation or component. To allay any such thought, our study of the word ‘die’ as used by God in His warning to Adam reveals it to mean just what it says: ‘dead’, ‘to lose one’s life,’ ‘worthy of death,’ ‘destroy,’ ‘die,’ ‘kill,’ ‘slay very suddenly’. How much clearer could the meaning of any word be? And to quell any thought, to immediately dispel any notion that the word die may mean something other than death in other parts of the Bible and thus be viewed by some as reason enough to cast doubt on the actual meaning of it in Genesis 2, we reveal that in EVERY instance where the word ‘die’ is used in both Old and New Testaments, ALL speak of death. NONE refer to merely a state of sickness or being unwell which would imply hope of recovery, which is the baseless, indefensible definition given by those who hold to the doctrine of free will and its sister teaching of universal atonement. Man has not been left in a self-help situation, but one of total spiritual helplessness. Just as no man can halt the process of decay in his body and avert the inevitability of physical death, so too, no man can reverse his state of spiritual death and separation from God, or revive his spiritual life. There is no Scripture which will support the notion that man is not dead in and because of sin, that he is not without God or utterly without hope of reaching out to God. No Scripture can be found that even remotely suggests there was the slightest remnant of spiritual life which remained in man after he sinned in the Garden. Why do you think the Lord used such an absolute ‘game over-end of argument’ word such as DIE? No better word could have been used than die to express what would happen to man if he ate of the forbidden fruit. Any word other than die would have left room for hope and reason to believe that man could raise himself up in some way. But the specific word die was used for a specific reason and that was to express precisely what condition man would be left in, physically and spiritually, if he disobeyed God. No word expresses finality and complete loss of all hope better than die. The word die does not mean a reduction in the standard of life, that man would in some way become retarded, but the total absence of life. Physical death does not retard or hinder, it is a cessation of all activity! So too, spiritual death has not placed man in a state of spiritual retardation but in one of lifeless inactivity, incapable of any action. Man is not in a state of spiritual deceleration, but has been completely halted and is utterly irreparable. Die is the sort of word no one needs any instruction in order to understand its meaning. It is a word which immediately brings to mind such phrases as no hope left, all is lost, you can stop praying now, etc. It is as simple as where there is death there is no life and where there is life there is no death. As the old saying goes, ‘Where there’s life there’s hope'. It is equally true to say, ‘Where there’s no life there’s no hope’. You cannot be said to be dead if there remains in you even a spark of life. Therefore, God had no right to say man would die if after the man sinned he would still possess some degree of spiritual life. Now, to deny all this because of one’s long history of believing the erroneous teaching that man is not dead in sin but merely sin sick, not drowned in sin but able to reach out for the life saver which has been thrown to him, is to deny the clear word of God on the matter and, as we shall see, is to give a nod of approval to Satan’s claim that man would not die. There is no basis my friend, no Scriptural reason, to believe that man is not dead in sin but merely sin sick and able to come to God of his own free will. Nothing in the whole of God’s Word will stand with you on that.
"The nature of the death threatened can be determined only from a consideration of all that was involved in the curse actually inflicted. This we know to have included the instant withdrawal of the Divine favor and spiritual intercommunion upon which man’s life depended (see Gen. 3:24). Hence the alienation and curse of God; the sense of guilt and corruption of nature; consequent actual transgressions, the miseries of life, the dissolution of the body, the pains of hell. The consequences of Adam’s sin are all comprehended under the term death, in its widest sense. Paul gives us the summary testament that "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). The full import of the death which was threatened to Adam can only be seen by considering all the evil consequences which have since befallen man. It was primarily spiritual death, or eternal separation from God, which was threatened; and physical death, or the death of the body, is but one of the first fruits and relatively unimportant consequences of that greater penalty. Adam did not die physically for 930 years after the Fall, but he did die spiritually the very moment he fell into sin. He died just as really as the fish dies when taken from the water, or as the plant dies when taken from the soil." Man died spiritually after he sinned against God and was consequently separated from God. No one denies that physical death is being dead to life, yet curiously many denounce the doctrine which teaches that spiritual death is just as literal as physical death and means being dead to God! "If a man were dead, in a natural and physical sense, it would at once be readily granted that there is no further possibility of that man being able to perform any physical actions. A corpse cannot act in any way whatsoever, and that man would be reckoned to have taken leave of his senses who asserted that it could. If a man is dead spiritually, therefore, it is surely equally as evident that he is unable to perform any spiritual actions..." It is as simple as this: a man that is dead CAN’T... You can tack on anything you like to the end of this sentence and it will make equal sense whether you are speaking of physical or spiritual death.
The source from which this whole denial of man’s spiritual death as a direct result of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil originates is Satan. "And the Serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). Incidentally, the word die here is the same word in the original Hebrew used by God in Genesis 2 and carries with it the same meaning. Satan’s statement was in direct contrast to what God had told Adam would occur if he ate of the tree. Doubt is the mother of denial and doubt is the seed which Satan sowed in Eve’s heart, beguiling her through his subtlety (see 2 Cor. 11:3) and causing her to be the first subscriber to the vacuous lie that there would be no such consequence as death—physical or spiritual—if she ate of the tree. Perhaps she was enticed into believing that Adam had in some way misinterpreted or misrepresented what God had told him. Or maybe she was manipulated into thinking that God had lied to Adam and was trying to keep something good from him for she saw "...that the Tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise..." (Gen. 3:6). The bottom line to all this is that all who believe man is merely sin-sick believe and promote Satan’s lie to Eve that she would not surely die, for they say ‘we are not surely dead’. Satan’s statement to Eve that she would not surely die was, of course, an out and out lie. Satan "...is a liar, and the father of it" (Jn. 8:44). God said man would die, meaning death, both physical and spiritual, would ingress the man’s life and he, left to himself, would never be the same again. His relationship with God would be eternally broken. Man would no longer seek God and call out to Him but he would seek to hide himself from Him. In life man sought God but in death man hid himself from God and sought no communication with Him. Satan had told Eve that she would not surely die, that on the contrary she would benefit from disobeying God and that her act of defiance would free her from God and make her and Adam as gods: "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5). Today, the lie that man would not die has spawned the popular notion that man is merely sin-sick, wounded by the fall but not fatally, and that he has an innate power that enables him to come and choose God at any time he so desires. James Arminius, the founder of Arminianism, taught "The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth". This flies directly in the face of the Scripture which says "...quicken us, and we will call upon Thy name" (Psa. 80:18). It is said that human nature was seriously affected by the Fall and that it damaged relations with God but not eternally; many of the cords which bound man to God have been broken but man has not been completely cut off. All are agreed that Satan’s attempt to assure man that he would not die if he disobeyed God was a lie. His denial, in part, was comprised of the lie that man would not die physically, so what makes anyone think that Satan’s lie did not also mean that he would not die spiritually? He totally lied about the one, so how can any argue that Satan’s lie about death did not also include in it the cessation of spiritual life? No one denies that he was lying about physical death, for all know that man does not live forever, that his mortal body eventually dies. So how can anyone argue that Satan’s lie about spiritual death meant that there would not be a cessation of life there also. Satan had nothing on which to base what he said to Eve, because it contravened and opposed what God said would occur. Likewise, the person who believes in man’s fictional state of spiritual sickness and not spiritual death, also has absolutely no ground upon which to build such an untruth. It would be like having a roof but no walls with which to hold it up. It would be as crazy to believe in the non-spiritual death of man as it would be to deny the reality of physical death! Physical death is being dead to physical life and spiritual death is being dead to spiritual life. To believe and try to defend Satan’s lie is to attempt to grasp the air or to catch the wind. It is an utterly fruitless and superfluous exercise which can only lead to a sinner’s Hell. Though there are many who believe in the doctrine of free will, the principle of safety in numbers just does not apply, for error can never be justified or become truth by sheer weight of numbers. Those who hold to it simply do not realise where the principle of this teaching comes from or where this lie is leading them. Hopefully, after reading this they will have a clear understanding of the big picture.
Again, man did not immediately die physically after he sinned but the process of corruption, the dissolution and decay of his now mortal body, did begin. The use of the word ‘die’ as the consequence of man’s disobedience insists upon this. To die is to be separated. It is a separation from life. Death, be it physical or spiritual, denotes an irreconcilable and irreversible separation. Just as no man who dies physically can of his own ability return from the dead, so too, no man in his spiritually dead state can do anything to alter his condition nor can any other man restore him from his lost state. Such a reconstruction is beyond the realms of human ability. No one would dare dispute the fact that the word die in our passage means physical death. Even after the most extensive and exhaustive examination of the word, a man would be a fool to suggest that the word die in Genesis 2 does not mean physical death, so why and how could it mean anything other than death when it comes to man’s spiritual condition also? Surely if death, when pertaining to the spiritual, meant anything different to what it means in the context of the physical, a different word would have been used to describe spiritual death. If such were the case, then at the very least the word die would have been given a dual meaning. But we see in Genesis 2 that one word—die—was used to describe what man’s physical and spiritual condition would be should he disobey God. How can such a word as die have two different meanings when it is expressed in such a way as to convey one certain and indubitable outcome? How can the word die mean two separate things when it has only one meaning? How can it be said to mean death in the physical sense, and yet in the same sentence suddenly come to mean sickness in the spiritual sense? What kind of monstrous semantic surgery would have had to have been performed on the word die in order to rearrange its features so as to present two images and not one? All agree that the Fall affected man both physically and spiritually, so how can one word have a dual meaning when used in the same sentence in reference to two things? God specifically used the word die to tell what would happen to man physically and He specifically used the word die to describe what would happen to man spiritually. God used the same brush (the word ‘die’) to paint the same picture—DEATH! Granted, there are many words that have various shades of meaning and connotations which can be used in different ways but the word die, as used not only in Genesis 2 but throughout the whole Bible, has only one meaning: death! Only one thing can rightly and legitimately be inferred from a clear written statement, and that is the exact intention of the writer. Can the reader think of a way to use the word die to mean anything other than death in all its finality? Moreover, can the reader find any such example in the pages of Scripture? Even when it is used in a merely figurative way, the sense is always to express cessation, finality, loss of all hope, utter despair or end of life, die is never used to mean sickness or a feeling of being unwell. The words die, died, diest and dieth appear a total of 548 times in the Bible (462 in the Old Testament and 86 in the New). In every instance these words are used NOT ONCE do any of them carry the sense of being unwell or sick. The words carry the following meaning in the Old Testament: breathe out, i.e. expire, die, be dead, give up the ghost, perish; dead, to lose one’s life, worthy of death, destroy, die, kill, slay very suddenly; dead, the dead, their place or state, ruin; death, die, execution as a doom; cease, die, surely throw down, rot, smite out; a flabby thing i.e. a carcase, died of itself. And in the New Testament: to finish life, expire, demise, be dead, decease, die; to die off, be dead, die, be slain; to decease, be dead; ruin, damnable, destruction, die, perdition; to destroy fully, perish, destroy, die. Anyone yet to be convinced that die means death just does not want to believe it.
Of all the words God could have used to describe the consequence of man’s partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He chose one word and one word only and that word was ‘DIE’. If the word die did not mean death in the spiritual sense as well as the physical, God would have used the word die to describe what would happen to man physically and an entirely different word to describe what would happen to man spiritually, so that none could falsely accuse Him of being the author of confusion in the matter of man’s physical and spiritual state after the Fall. But there was obviously no need for Him to do this, for He placed what would happen to man both physically and spiritually under the one word, DIE! It was so important and significant a word that even Satan used it to deny what God had said would occur if He was disobeyed. Had Satan used any other word than die he would not have been opposing what God had said. God used die and so to deny what God had said Satan had to use the word die also. It is a word which cannot be mistaken in its meaning. It is a word which allows no room for life! It gives no cause to believe that there is hope. 'Die' means finality, culmination, the permanent ceasing of all activity. IT IS NOT A DESCRIPTION OF A DISEASED LIFE BUT A DECEASED LIFE! It does not suggest a present but unwell life but outright ABSENCE of life! The word ‘die’ does not imply a state of sickness, no mere deterioration, but indicates utter desolation! Who in their right mind would use the word die in reference to a sick relative or friend? No one! Then why is God accused of using the word die to refer to a state of sickness? Has anyone ever warned the reader of certain sickness if they eat too many sweets by saying they will die if they over indulge? If someone is critically ill or even in intensive care, the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘at least they’re not dead’. The term sick denotes that there is still the presence of life, albeit an unwell life. So no matter how sick a person may reportedly be, the presence of sickness, by definition, implies the presence of life. Has anyone ever described a sick person as being dead? A person in the last days of a terminal illness may be referred to as ‘as good as dead’ but they cannot be regarded as already dead. They cannot be pronounced dead until all life has expired. A person may be sick and dying but they cannot be sick AND dead! So why would anyone ever think that God would use the word die to mean sickness? The word die in Genesis 2 covers both physical existence and spiritual life like a shroud. How, in light of this, can anyone come up with the preposterous and nonsensical conclusion, especially after reading God’s statement that man would surely die if he ate of the tree, that die does not mean die but something other than death? Did it mean anything other than death in the physical sense? Of course not. Then what justification does anyone have to even suggest that it might mean anything other than death in the spiritual sense also! Can the reader find one instance in the Bible where the word life does not mean life? Surely if God did not mean to say that Adam would literally die both physically and spiritually, He would have not overlooked such an important detail, but would have chosen another word to specify that man would die physically, yet spiritually would only become unwell, corrupted yet not devastated, seriously affected in his affections for God yet not destitute of them, that man would be separated from the life of God but that his relationship with God would only be damaged yet not irreparably so. How foolish would a person be to even entertain such a thought in light of the overwhelming evidence of the biblical meaning of the word die. If die does not mean die in the Genesis passage despite all of the evidence to the contrary, then what does any word in the Bible mean? There would be no certainty to the meaning of any word and private interpretation would be the order of the day—a case of everyone attaching to a word whatever meaning they saw fit to suit their particular doctrinal bias or denominational allegiance. One could find some reason to cling to the belief that die does not mean die in Genesis 2 and 3 if there were other sections of Scripture where the word die did not mean die. But even this faint ‘hope’ is dashed because THERE IS NO SUCH INSTANCE, NO PRECEDENT, IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE WHERE THE WORD ‘DIE’ DOES NOT CLEARLY MEAN ‘DIE’! So we see that there is no biblical justification for the belief that man is not utterly dead spiritually and that he can of his own free will reach out and choose God.
Man immediately died spiritually after he sinned against God. This we know from God’s own words: "...in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). The word day does have several shades of meaning in the Old Testament and can refer to an age or an actual period of twenty-four hours, but it is used here to mean a point of time, or a moment. So the verse reads: ‘...in the moment, at that point of time, that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die'. "(Adam and Eve) experienced spiritual death immediately, resulting in their shame and their attempt to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:7). Sin and/or the presence of spiritual death required a covering, but man’s provision was inadequate; so God made a perfect covering in the form of a promised Redeemer (Gen. 3:15) and a typological covering of animal skins (Gen. 3:21)." Before man sinned he possessed a death-free spiritual and physical existence—benefits he received from a loving God. The penalty for sin was the withdrawal of such blessings, leaving man in a state of spiritual and physical death and of eternal separation from God. The opposite of obedience is disobedience, the opposite of life is death. Both physical and spiritual death has passed on to the whole race of man and did not merely cease with Adam and Eve or with their immediate offspring. The following verses provide a clear indication of this: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12); "...through the offence of one (the) many be dead..." (Rom. 5:15); "...by one man’s offence death reigned by one..." (Rom. 5:17); "...by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation..." (Rom. 5:18); "...by one man’s disobedience (the) many were made sinners..." (Rom. 5:19); "...by man came death....in Adam all die..." (1 Cor. 15:21,22).
Now if for whatever reason a person, even in light of such convincing biblical evidence, remains unmoved from his position that man is only sin-sick and able of his own free will to reach out to, and call upon, the true God, surely it would be right to expect that discernible evidence for such a belief would be found in passages throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. One of the surest ways to learn if something is actually Scriptural—according to what God says—is to search the Scriptures with diligence, not in order to find only a verse or two or a collection of verses which are saying the same thing and then close the Bible satisfied that one’s doctrine has been verified and one’s beliefs confirmed, for such is the domain of the cultist, but to see a constant and consistent theme present throughout the pages of not only the New Testament but also the Old Testament and which are supported by other doctrines taught in the Scriptures. There is no contradiction in truth.
We shall now enter the second phase of our study of the spiritual state of man and see what the Scriptures have to say. For any who are yet to be convinced in their minds and who want more proof of man’s post-Fall spiritual condition, we trust the following will be of assistance in your examination of whether man has a free will to choose God or whether being separated from God means that man in his current lost condition is utterly without hope, not able to come to God because he has no will—no natural propensity—to come to God and is thus dependant solely upon the mercy of God. This study will show beyond a shadow of a doubt that man is completely and utterly dead in sin, dead to God, and therefore without will and without hope in this world.
Firstly, it is right to assume that the intention of the majority who read this book is to believe only in that which God says and to reject any and every thought and idea of man’s that would establish a prejudice against, and seek to lead us astray from, the Word of God on the matter at hand. This is why we are about to delve into the Scriptures themselves, for they are the very Words of God. If you could go to God and ask Him specific questions concerning man’s spiritual state etc., He would say nothing different to you than what He has already stated in His Holy Word. In fact He would simply point you to His written Word, for this is the means He has chosen to communicate His Truth in these last days. Let us then begin our study with the Letter to the Romans: "...there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one....there is no fear of God before their eyes" (Rom. 3:10-12,18). From this passage we see that no man is righteous in the sight of God, that is, no man is in right standing with God by nature. Man without God is simply unacceptable to Him and an abhorrent sight. And no man can become righteous by his own attempts at obedience in the sight of God because "...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight..." (Rom. 3:20). We have just seen the Scriptures say that man is a totally unprofitable creature. Nothing he does or can do is of any profit to him in terms of reinstating himself back into God’s ‘good books’, gaining His favor etc. Man has been rendered useless (which is what the word unprofitable means as used in Romans 3) by the penalty his disobedience to God has drawn. No amount or degree of subsequent obedience will profit man one iota. Nothing he can do can in any way be beneficial to him or bear fruit in the sight of God for "A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit" (Matt. 7:17 ff. cf. Lk. 6:43). Paul the apostle in commenting on his unrenewed nature prior to conversion said, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing..." (Rom. 7:18 cf. Gen. 6:5). "There could not be possibly a stronger expression of belief of the doctrine of total depravity. It is Paul’s own representation of himself. It proves that his heart was wholly evil. And if this was true of him, it is true of all others." Nothing man can do can attract the favor of God. In fact, all that man does is done, as it were, with his back toward God for he does not know God. This is due to man’s sinful nature and spiritual deadness, his separation from God, and therefore his estrangement from spiritual life itself. No less important is the fact that no man by nature is a seeker of God. This is quite a statement, for on the surface it would appear that many millions of people are currently seeking after God. They are genuine and serious in their search for God and salvation but these things do not, in and of themselves, ensure that any of them are seeking after the true God. Religions abound with sincere and dedicated followers who believe they are on a spiritual pilgrimage in search of God. But God is not playing games here. He is extremely serious and quite adamant when He declares that there are NONE who seek after Him. And who is there to deny this when it is God Himself Who has said it? God means what He says and He says what He means. So whatever it is that man is doing in all his religious enterprises, there is one thing we can be sure he is not doing and that is seeking after God. The reason that there is no man who seeks after God is that man is spiritually dead to the true God. These two teachings complement each other perfectly and form a mutually supportive alliance. Man, by nature, does not know God. He does not understand God nor the way to God hence the myriad of religions with their seemingly endless number of failed methods and plans of seeking and reaching God. Because man is said to be no seeker of God, it stands to biblical reason that he does not desire the true God, but only those gods of his own imagination. The fact that God states there are none who seek after Him is enough to send shock waves throughout the religious world, and accentuates the fact that man in his natural state is alienated from God, a hater and despiser of God, for there are none who seek or desire Him. Every image of God which man has is patently not the true God, for God says there are none who seek after Him. The word seeketh as used in Romans 3 means ‘to search out’, ‘investigate’, ‘crave’, ‘require’, ‘demand’, ‘worship’. No man, by nature, does any of these things when it comes to the true God. No man by nature requires, demands, or worships God, therefore no man by nature seeks God. All that man can do, in fact the best a man can do, is seek after false gods requiring their favor, craving their attention, whilst under the illusion that they are seeking the true God. Such is the state of the damned! Always busy, always active, always "...learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7), and therefore the God of truth. No man by nature is in search of God. No man by nature craves the God of election, but despises Him. No man by nature demands to have the true God, or worships Him. How else would, or could, one describe man’s unprofitable, spiritual condition other than by a state of being completely dead to God! Just as man is utterly dead spiritually, so too, the sum total of his religious pursuits is utterly unprofitable to him. It would be laughable if it were not so serious, that in all of man’s ‘free will’ endeavors to reach God and please God and attempts to recommend himself to God, man has gained nothing for there is no fear of the true God in any man in his natural, fallen and sinful state. How ironic that with all of man’s supposed ‘free will’ there is not one who has freely chosen, in and of himself, to go after the true God, to seek Him and to worship Him! Now how, in light of this irrefutable evidence, can the notion be seriously considered, let alone honestly believed, that man by his own free will can come to God? The fact that no man seeks God is confirmed in Jesus’ own words found in John 5:40: "And ye will not come to Me, that that ye might have life" (cf. Jn. 6:44). No man by nature can will to come to God because no man can come to God. No man by nature has the ability or capability to come to God, Jesus says. No man by nature has ever sought, or can ever seek, God because in his spiritual state he is dead to God. He is lifeless. Man, as a creature spiritually alive to God by nature, is extinct. Man cannot seek that which he is ignorant of. Man in his blindness, lostness and eternal state of separation from God, cannot seek after the true God nor will any come to the true Jesus. Man will not come to God, he will not seek God, because he CANNOT. This is something of his own doing and he has no one to blame but himself. His miserable spiritual state prevents him from ever desiring the true God in and of himself. All man can do in his imperfect and utterly devastated lifeless spiritual state is seek after imperfect and lifeless gods, in whom there is no salvation.
The apostle Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, tells how God has made alive those who were once dead in their sins: "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1 cf. Psa. 80:18). "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Col. 2:13). Notice that these scriptures are not saying, ‘And you hath He made well, who were sick in trespasses and sins’, nor are they saying, ‘And you being sick in your sins hath He made well’. The word used in both the above verses to describe man’s spiritual condition in sin is DEAD and the Lord is said to have quickened and not merely made well, the formerly dead sinner. Here we see clearly the two conditions that man can be in before God: either dead in sins or made alive unto, and by, God. The word quickened in these verses means ‘to make alive’, ‘give life’, ‘vitalize’. The word vitalize means ‘to make living’, or ‘alive’, or ‘to endow with life’. It comes from the Latin word vita meaning life and can only be used when referring to someone or something that had previously been without life, lifeless. The word quickened is primarily used in the New Testament of raising the dead to life (Jn. 5:21; Rom. 4:17, 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:22,36), but is generally used in reference to salvation, the "Impartation of spiritual life and the communication of spiritual sustenance" (see Jn. 6:63; 1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:6; Gal 3:21). God is as much the sustainer as He is the cause of spiritual life. The antithesis of the word quickened is ‘to put to death’, ‘to kill’. The language here is not that of the sick being made well, not that of the wounded being recovered, but that which was once DEAD being now made ALIVE by God Himself. Paul also refers to the now saved Ephesians as once being "...by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Eph. 2:3). Before their salvation, whilst children of wrath, the Ephesians were said by Paul to have been "...at that time...without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having NO HOPE, and WITHOUT GOD in the world" (Eph. 2:12). To be without God is to be without hope. The word without in this context is as strong and clear as the word die. To be ‘without’ something means to not have it. It means the complete absence of whatever is being spoken about. To be without Christ is to be separate or apart from Him. To be without God is to be ‘Godless’. It is to be "Destitute of God and therefore devoid of reason. To be without Divine help, forsaken by God and excluded from communion (or communication) with God". To be a child of wrath is to be without hope, which is to say, without God. To not have God is to live a hopeless existence. Man by nature is in a helpless and hopeless state. Carefully considered, such a scenario paints the most daunting of pictures. In fact, just as the Word of God shatters the rock like a hammer (see Jer. 23:29), these verses demolish any notion of free will, any basis any man has ever dared to have upon which has been pinned the slightest confidence in ever thinking that he can and does by his own power and will, choose to come to God. To be without God is to truly be without spiritual life. God is the Source and the Sustainer of all life, be it physical or spiritual, and without Him there is no physical life that has not within it the seed of death and that will not die, and no spiritual life at all: "...all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:16,17). There is no hope of salvation for man without God. Nothing man can do which can recommend him to God, nothing which can attract His attention or gain His favor. When the apostles asked the Lord Jesus who it is that can be saved, Jesus answered with the following, sobering words: "With men this is IMPOSSIBLE; but with God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). Salvation is creation, it is resurrection (see 2 Cor. 5:17). It is not something which can be initiated by any creature but only by the Creator. Yes, with man salvation is impossible. Not even his fabled free will, according to the Lord Jesus, can help him out of such a dilemma! Clearly, Scripture says that if left to himself man has nothing in him that wants God or seeks God. Every fibre of his being is constantly pulling him away from God. Nothing he can do which will profit him in any way, no deed which can justify him before God. In fact all man’s personal efforts at recommending himself to God exacerbates his situation and further condemns him, for all his efforts are tainted indelibly with the stain of sin and are a reminder of his fallen, hopeless and cursed state. Man’s righteousnesses are all imperfect, and are seen as filthy rags by a Holy God. Only the Righteousness of Christ can recommend a man to God. Everything man does and seeks to offer as some sort of recommendation that he is worthy of salvation, has within it that which condemns him—the awful mark of sin! Just when man thinks he has done something or reached a level which he thinks will impress God and that none, including God, could deny him a place in heaven because of his efforts, the Scriptures, like a bucket of ice-cold water, bring sobriety to the man’s thinking by revealing the reality of his evil and insipid nature, thus the putridity of his efforts and his being wholly unacceptable in the sight of God. If ever there was a word to describe man’s sinful and fallen state, no other word could more fittingly be used than ‘dead’! What other word could better describe man’s spiritual state before God than ‘dead’? Man is not in right standing with God, he does not seek God, therefore does not desire God and consequently could never choose God. The Fall has plunged man into a vicious cycle where he will not come to God because he cannot, and he cannot come to God because he wills not. The Scriptures have made it perfectly clear that man has no intrinsic will that desires God, let alone the capacity to choose God. Man, in his natural state, does not want God and therefore if left to himself will remain without God for the duration of his life and into all eternity. There are none righteous, the Bible says, and so there would never be any man able to stand before God acceptable and in right standing, for there are none who seek Him. This evidence presents a case that is altogether incontrovertible and shows man to be a most miserable creature who was once the apple of God’s eye, but now in his natural state is infested with sin and a living abomination who, rather than seeking and crying out to God for help, is, by his own doing, hopelessly trapped in a maze of his own construction which has no exits, no passages of escape. "The descendants of Adam have sought out an immense number of inventions, in order to find happiness in the world, without God, which have only proved so many variations of impiety and iniquity." "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccl. 7:29).
Now I ask the reader where, praytell, does free will fit into God’s plan of salvation? I dare say that if man is without hope, this would include any fictional free will to want God, seek God or choose God. How absurd would it be to say that though man is without God and without hope he can still choose God of his own free will!! If man is without God he is without hope. But without hope of what? Without hope of salvation! However, if man has a free will to choose God, then he is not without hope of salvation. In fact, the doctrine of free will teaches that without man God is the one without hope. Without a man’s free will decision for God, the Lord has no hope of saving anyone! If a man were placed in the middle of the Sahara desert with no water, no shade and no clothing, what hope would he have of surviving? NONE whatsoever! How much less hope does fallen man have who is surrounded, both within and without, by a desert of sin with no saving God in sight? Far worse than the poor soul depicted in the movies who is buried in the desert sand up to his neck with a bowl of water in sight but no way to reach it, man by nature is completely buried in the sand and cannot even see the water, let alone have a chance of reaching out for it, for he is suffocated in sin!! How can any man choose God whilst in such a condition? How can a man choose God if there is no man who seeks God? How can one seek that which one cannot see? If a man could, of his own free will, choose God, would this not mean that he would first have to seek God, desire God and want God? It stands to biblical reason that if there is no man that seeks God, then there is NO man that can choose God, in and of himself, and therefore no such thing as ‘free will’. In any event, what good would free will be to a man in light of the Scriptures which tell us that there are none who even seek God? This would be like having a car with a working motor but no wheels with which to transport it! Man can ‘rev his engine’ all he likes but without wheels he’s going no place. For those who are saved, the above are purely rhetorical questions. But for those who currently believe in the free will of man to choose or reject God, they are questions which require examination in the cold light of day and demand answers. The fact that there are none who seek God is something which God has ‘concluded’ after witnessing for Himself the state of all mankind: "God looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. EVERY ONE OF THEM is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Psa. 53:2,3 cf. Psa. 14:2,3). Man by nature does not understand God nor does he understand the way to God. Therefore how can it be said that any man seeks God when it is clear that he has no inherent desire for the true God? The whole basis, or motivation, for choice is desire and a man will not choose what he does not desire; a man does not choose what he cannot want.
There are many, millions in fact, who do seek after idols and false gods believing them to be the true God but there are NONE by nature who seek after the true God. This is further evidence of man’s spiritual deadness, his separation and alienation from the true and only God. Man by nature is bereft of God. Man by nature is an enemy to God and under God’s wrath (see Jas. 4:4). The spiritual state of man has never been made clearer than in the following Scripture: "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the LIFE of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18 cf. Psa. 58:3). To be spiritually dead is to be spiritually blind to the true God, hence man’s continuous, and quite mad, scramble for false gods. Man is alienated from the life of God, the Life that is God. To be alienated means to be estranged, to be a non-participant. Man by nature is a non-participant in the life of God. He is dead, without God, and unless God comes to the man by grace and mercy and makes the man alive again unto Him he will forever remain in such a state. There is no spark of light left in man that desires God, for man is said to be in darkness. In fact, the Word of God says that man loves the darkness: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (Jn. 3:19 cf. Eph. 5:8). "The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..." (see Jer. 17:9) for in all his ways man never seeks the true God, never God’s glory, but always his own glory. Man is alienated from the true God, he is ignorant of the true God and he is blind to the true God. Left to himself, man’s life is described perfectly in the following verse: "...the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead" (Eccl. 9:3 cf. Psa. 49:20). God even says that "...every man at his best state is altogether vanity" (Psa. 39:5) and that all of mankind is as "...an unclean thing, and all (his) righteousnesses are as filthy rags..." (Isa. 64:6). "Behold, He (God) 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 cf. Job 4:18). "How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in His sight. How much less man, that is a worm? And the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:4-6). Left to himself, man’s life is nothing but a vain mess, a mish mash of wicked deeds and vain religious pursuits that, far from pleasing God, conspire to increase His wrath upon him. Now I ask you, in light of such overwhelming evidence, how can a man drag himself out of this quagmire, this sinful bog, and stretch out his hand towards God and say, ‘I choose you’? Be not deceived. The best a man can achieve in his mortal life on earth is nothing but utter vanity. He reaches no higher than the ground, though in his mind he is convinced his efforts have reached heaven and are there presenting a case for his admittance. There is nothing man can do which is of any profit to him in the sight of God for there is no good thing that indwells man by nature. Even man’s best deeds are all seen as nothing but filthy rags, fit only to be thrown on the dung heap without further thought. The saved man has no problem in believing this. In fact, just like the apostle Paul, he confesses it and turns from all his former deeds, his dead works, which he thought recommended him to God, and now desires only the Righteousness of Christ (see Phil. 3:4-10).
If the reader will be honest with himself and lay aside all prejudices, he will admit that there is no room for the doctrine of ‘free will’ among Bible truths such as these. Even the atheist would say, though he believes not in the existence of God, that the Bible definitely says there is nothing in man that would or could lead him to God, nothing in him that has any tendency towards the true God. It does not take a genius to see that the idea of free will is diametrically opposed to everything the Scriptures say about man’s state before God. If such a thing as free will did exist, then the Scriptures themselves would have no right in saying that man is without hope in this world. Of course man would have hope in this world if he has a free will to choose God! And if man has a hope then the fact that he has not God is of no real significance, for despite his being God-less, this is in no way a hindrance to him in choosing God at any time. There is no need for a man to be made alive again by the power of God for he is alive enough to choose God of his own power, if the doctrine of free will is true. This line of reasoning has given birth to the idea that God without man is without hope. If a man has a free will to choose God then he has a built-in hope, which survived the Fall, of one day being saved. If man by nature has a free will to choose God, then it stands to reason that some at least will choose Him, that one day some will seek God and so the Scripture that declares that there is no man that seeks God must be changed to ‘some men seek God’. No longer will that Scripture be absolute for all men by nature for all time, but would need to be changed or modified, in fact it should never have been written because, according to those who believe in free will, all those who have thus far been saved have chosen God, and therefore sought God, of their own free will. So when a man quotes Romans 3:11, he is actually guilty of a serious mistake if he does not point out that God has made an error here and changes the verse to read ‘some men seek after God’. Clearly this is all so absolutely ridiculous as to beggar belief that any could possibly fall for the lie that man is not spiritually dead but has a free will to choose God at any time he so desires. It is only the man who remains in a dead-in-sin and dead-to-God state, that believes in the existence of and need for free will, for none who savingly believe in the Gospel of God believe in the free will of man. The doctrine of free willism is inextricably linked with the satanic lie that Adam and Eve would not die after disobeying God as God had promised. If they did not die, then all their faculties to some degree would remain intact, or at least enough of them that would be needed to choose God in and of themselves. However, you will notice in examining Adam and Eve’s immediate actions after they had sinned that neither Adam or Eve went out seeking God. Neither of them went searching for God, crying out to him to forgive them and save them. No indeed, but rather their now sinful state dictated that the natural and instinctive thing to do was to flee from God. And this is the seed which is now in every man! Man is not a neutral creature. No man can be indifferent to God. Either a man is saved by God or dead to God. Either he believes and has the true God or he does not believe and stands alone or with his imaginary false gods. Despite Adam and Eve’s alleged ‘free will’, "...they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden and the Lord called unto Adam..." (Gen. 3:8,9). They attempted to hide their shame so "...they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen. 3:7) rather than call on God. Who was it that did the calling? Who was it that was doing the seeking? It was not Adam and his wife who sought God, but God Who came searching for them: "And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Gen. 3:9). God called out to them and not the other way round. And for those who say ‘This was only one instance where man chose not for God but there are many where men have chosen God’, try and find one Scripture that will support such a claim. Adam and Eve’s actions are indicative of every man’s attitude towards the true God by nature. It is not man who comes to God, but God Who comes to man.
This brings us to what will prove to be a most interesting study of such words as choose and chosen. Let us now examine the Scriptures in order to see exactly who does the choosing, man or God. Firstly, we go straight to Peter’s first Letter to view perhaps the clearest statement which properly demonstrates who the chooser is in the matter of salvation. Speaking to saved people Peter says, "...ye are a CHOSEN generation...that ye should shew forth the praises of HIM WHO HATH CALLED YOU out of darkness into His marvellous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). In one fell swoop, this verse shows conclusively that which is undebatable and non-negotiable: MAN IS NOT THE CHOOSER, he is not the one who chooses God, he is not the one who makes the first move, but GOD is the Chooser. Clearly, this verse informs us that it is God Who calls His people out and not they who call Him in. Notice also that these chosen ones are not merely called out of darkness, but into His marvellous light. "Thus the choosing is included in the calling". The word chosen in this verse is eklektos in the original and means ‘chosen out, select, favorite, elect’. It is not man that has called out to God by some mythical free will, but God Who has chosen to call certain ones out of darkness into His light. God is at the controls, not man. The saved man has come out of darkness, not because of any free will response, but by the very power of God! This is due to the fact that he has been chosen and is not a chooser. Like Lazarus, the elect are called forth by God to come out of the grave and into the light of day and just as Lazarus could do nothing to make himself alive in the tomb, let alone get up and walk out of it under his own power, so too man in his natural state can do nothing to get himself out of his sinful state and calmly walk out of the darkness of his spiritual grave into God’s marvellous light. It is God’s Power and not man’s free will by which a man is made willing to come to God: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of THY power..." (Psa. 110:3). One of the most forceful Scriptures that clearly demonstrates how a man comes to God says: "Blessed is the man whom THOU CHOOSEST, and CAUSEST to approach unto Thee..." (Psa. 65:4 cf. Psa. 33:12). Not only is God the chooser but He is also the cause behind a man’s approaching Him. It is not a case of God choosing and then the man responding with a decision to approach God, but it is ALL of God, it is God Who chooses and it is GOD WHO IS THE CAUSE BEHIND A MAN APPROACHING HIM! Such is the inability of man—such is the Sovereign grace of God. If man could come to God by his own ‘free will’ then should not Psalm 110 be saying, ‘Thy people shall be willing in the day of their own power’. These verses from the Psalms are clearly teaching that it is not by any power of man’s that he should come to God but strictly, wholly and solely by the power of God. Man is made willing by the power of God, which is the cause behind a man approaching God and not by a choice, made possible by his own power, which he makes at his own discretion and which is seen by God as a green light or command for Him to act and choose them for salvation. God’s Sovereign will is not subject to any man’s ‘will’. God does not appoint eternal life to those who first choose him but the Scriptures say, "...as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48); "...And THE LORD added to the Church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). "It was the Lord Who did this. There was no power in man to do it; and the Christian loves to trace all increase of the Church to the grace of God. (God) caused, or inclined them to be joined to the Church....The word ‘church’ properly means those who are called out, and is applied to Christians as being called out, or separated from the world." God’s people are identified by the Scriptures as the ones who have been called out by God, not the ones who have called out to God. Many "Believe in a ‘conditional election’, based, as they suppose, upon foreseen faith and evangelical obedience to its objects. This, of course, destroys election in any intelligible sense of the term, and reduces it to a mere recognition or prophecy that at some future time certain persons will be possessed of these qualities....God is careful to elect only those whom He foresees will elect themselves". If you believe the true God, you have been ordained to believe so by God. It is God’s doing, not yours. Man does not choose nor does he will to choose, but has to be MADE willing by the power of God. The Scripture does not say ‘As many as believed were then ordained to eternal life’ but "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed".
The words choose, choosest, chooseth, choosing and chose appear only a total of 7 times in the whole of the New Testament and in no instance are any of these words used in reference to a man choosing God. This is a highly significant and quite astonishing fact, which doubtless will come as no small surprise to those who believe in man’s free-will decision for Christ. If the doctrine of free will were true, it would be reasonable to suppose that at least one of these words in at least one verse would be speaking about a man choosing God. But there are none! The Lord Jesus Christ never once told anyone to choose Him. He did the choosing and then said, "Follow Me". Now it must be pointed out that these 5 words do appear a total of 87 times in the Old Testament however, as in the New Testament, there is no instance of any of them which speaks of a man choosing God. The only passage from the Old Testament to which a free willer can possibly turn as ‘proof’ to support his belief is the old favorite found in Joshua 24:14-22. In this passage we see Joshua speaking to the chosen people of God, Israel, saying, "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the Flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the Flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:14,15). Joshua is commanding all the tribes of Israel (see v. 1) to fear the Lord and serve Him and to put away false gods. But if they thought it was evil to serve the Lord, Joshua told them to make choice among the false gods, (either those of their fathers or of the Amorites), as to which they would serve. The people answered, "...God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods....we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:16, 21), to which Joshua replied, "...Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve Him..." (Josh. 24:22). It is vital that we not lose sight of the fact that these people were ALREADY the people of God. They were not choosing to become the children of God, for God had already chosen them and brought them out of Egypt. They had said "God forbid that we should forsake the Lord", the word forsake in this verse meaning to relinquish or leave. These were the children of Jacob who are referred to in Scripture, not as those who have chosen God, but as those who have been chosen of God: "...ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones" (1 Chron. 16:13 cf. Psa. 105:6). God’s people, both in the Old and New Testaments, are always referred to as His chosen, My chosen or the ones whom He has chosen, etc. (Deut. 14:2; Isa. 43:20, 44:1; Mk. 13:20; Jn. 15:19; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9). The tribes of Israel had sinned and strayed and been disobedient to God, and all Joshua was saying to them was either serve the false gods or the true God. All these people had done, and all these verses are showing, is that they repented before their God. This whole passage is about repentance by a people who were already God’s people and not about them choosing to become God’s people. All God’s people stray and disobey at times but all repent and return to the Lord, not based on their free will choice of Him, but on their being HIS CHOSEN ONES (see Psa. 80:3,7,19). God will never leave or forsake His people, therefore they will always remain with Him: "For the Lord will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you His people" (1 Sam. 12:22). "...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee....I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me" (Heb. 13:5 & Jer. 32:40). The Scriptures say that God makes covenant with His chosen, not with those who ‘choose’ Him (see Psa. 89:3).
In contrast to the limited use of the words choose, choosest, etc in the New Testament, the single word chosen is used a total of 29 times in the New Testament. Again, not once is it used in reference to man having chosen God. In the Gospel of Matthew it is used 3 times. Once of God choosing Jesus His servant (12:18), and in two passages referring to the many that are called but few actually chosen (20:16; 22;14). The word chosen appears once in the Gospel of Mark. Verse 20 of chapter 13 reads in part "...for the elect’s sake, whom He hath chosen..." Notice here that the Scripture does not say that the elect have chosen God, for how then could they rightly be referred to as the elected ones, but very distinctly it is said that the elect are all the chosen of God. Again, God is the Chooser, for He alone is the One with Free Will, and His people are said to be the chosen or the elect of God. The word chosen appears twice in the Gospel of Luke. Firstly in 10:42 referring to Mary having chosen that good part (listening to Jesus’ words), and in 23:35 where we see the religious rulers deriding Christ, saying that He should save Himself from the cross if He be the Christ, the chosen of God. The word chosen is used four times in the Gospel of John. All are in reference to Jesus having chosen His apostles (6:70; 13:18; 15:16; 15:19. John 15:16 is where Christ specifically points out to His apostles "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you..." "The word here translated ‘chosen’ is that from which is derived the word ‘elect’, and means the same thing." The Book of Acts contains the word chosen a total of seven times. Acts 1:2 refers to the apostles whom Jesus had chosen. In 1:24 it is used of the choice God would make as to who would replace Judas. God speaks to Ananias in 9:15 of Paul being a chosen vessel unto Him. Acts 10:41 tells us that God raised Jesus and showed Him openly, not to all but to those witnesses God had before chosen. Acts 15:22 and 25 speak of men chosen by the apostles to go to Antioch. And Acts 22:14 is where the word chosen is used in reference to Paul being chosen by God to know His will etc. Notice that there is complete and unfathomable silence concerning any man ‘choosing’ God, a silence which cannot and must not be ignored. Further on in the New Testament we see that the word chosen appears once in the Letter to the Romans and is in reference to Rufus being one "...chosen in the Lord..." (Rom. 16:13). The word chosen appears three times in Paul’s first Letter to the Corinthians. Twice appearing in 1:27 in reference to God having chosen the foolish and weak things of the world. It also appears in 1:28 regarding God having chosen things which are despised by the world. Chosen appears once in the second Letter to the Corinthians regarding one chosen by the churches to travel with Paul and others (8:19). In Ephesians it also appears only once. Ephesians 1:4 says, "According as HE HATH CHOSEN US in Him before the foundation of the world..." Paul is here speaking of himself and other believers as ones chosen by God in Christ Jesus before the world began. In light of this single Scripture alone, one would find it impossible to remain in the corner of free willism, for how can anyone be said to have chosen God when it is God Himself Who bears testimony that HE is the One Who has done the choosing, and that BEFORE the very foundation of the world! This is said so as to make clear that election is not based on what a man has done or on what he was foreseen would do, but solely on the grace of God and not on any work of man’s (see Rom. 9:11). Even if man could do the choosing, God has beaten him to it, as it were, and chosen men before any were even created, before the very foundation of the world. Whatever man believes about conversion, it cannot be referred to as his choosing God, for this would imply an ability to do so which contradicts what we have seen the Scriptures say about man’s spiritual state. Choosing, deciding, who will be among the elect of God, the saved who will enjoy an eternity of bliss with the Lord, is purely the domain of God Almighty!! Not only has God made it abundantly clear that HE is the one who does the choosing He has added, so that no one can rightly claim that they have made choice of Him, that His choosing was done BEFORE the very foundation of the world!! This in itself rules out any idea of free will being the determining or deciding factor in a man’s salvation. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 shows that "...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation..." Again we see God as the one Who does the choosing, from the beginning, and not man. This is to show that man plays no active part in election, in his being elected—that election is in no way based on what man has done, should do, could do or was foreseen would do, but only upon the purpose and will of God: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done (foreseen or otherwise), but according to His mercy He saved us..." (Titus 3:5). Mercy and grace do not come in response to a good and deserving work, because of any redeeming feature, but IN SPITE OF the complete absence of any meritorious act or desire. 2 Timothy 2:4 is where we see the word chosen used in reference to a soldier endeavoring to please the one who has chosen him to be a soldier. James 2:5 talks of God having chosen the poor of this world. Peter in his first Letter speaks of those saved ones as being chosen of God and precious (2:4). And as we have already seen, 1 Peter 2:9 says that the saved are a chosen generation, and not a generation of choosers. Finally, Revelation 17:14 speaks of those who are with the Lamb as "...called, and chosen, and faithful". And so we see that in all of the New Testament not a single Scripture is to be found which describes man as choosing God or that any man chose God, chooses God, chooseth or choosest God or any instance where a man has chosen God! In contrast to this, and that which stands as an eternal reminder of just WHO CHOOSES WHOM, is the multiple number of times the Scriptures proclaim the realm of choice as being solely that of God.