ELECTION IS JUST NOT FAIR! (part 2)

 

 

Further to our study and in contrast to the words choose, chooseth, choosest, choosing and chose appearing only 7 times in the New Testament, it will no doubt be extremely disconcerting for the free willer to learn that the words elect, elect’s, elected and election appear 27 times in the New Testament. Significantly, all but one are in reference to those who are chosen or elected by God to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. No reason though for the free willer to hold out any hope that perhaps this one verse is in support of his doctrine—the odd one out is merely a reference made to the elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21). Yes, even the angels that are with God are there because God elected them.

 

The irresistible and undeniable conclusion to our study is that no such thing as a free will choice by man for God exists in the Scriptures, for NEVER ONCE do the Scriptures refer to the saved as those who elected God, or those who have chosen God! They are ALWAYS spoken of as recipients, as those who are the chosen ones elected by God not according to anything they have done or will do, not according to their choice of Him, not according to their having desired or loved Him first, but according to His will. What room would there be for grace in a world where man could, of his own free will, choose God? Where would mercy fit in if a man needed nothing but his own free will to simply come and choose God and accept what He has ‘on offer’? And let not the free willer even begin to think that he chooses God after God has visited him with grace, because if God has made the first move it is of a surety that move, and all that springs from it, has been motivated by His love: "We love Him because He FIRST loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19) and God’s love for His people was the motivating factor in His sending His Son "...to be the propitiation for our (those whom He loved—the beloved, see v.11) sins" (1 Jn. 4:10). Everything to do with a saved man’s affections for God, including his faith, has come because God loved the man FIRST. Seeing that it is without question that God has made the first move, it stands to biblical reason that salvation is solely by Him from the very beginning and that it is by His free will that one comes to God. The saved man is not saved because he believes, but believes because he is saved. No man can come to Me, Jesus said, except—making it explicitly clear that there is no other way—the Father draws him (see Jn. 6:44 cf. Psa. 65:4). This is an unreserved statement on the Lord’s part and is an out and out denial of the existence of any free will in man which can lead him to God. It is God Who comes to a man and if it is by the free will of God that a man is saved, it can be certain that man will be saved for who can resist His will? It is God Who has made the choice and not man. It cannot be argued, as many would have us believe, that we choose God because He chose us or that He chooses us because we chose Him. Many will recall their school days where one was to be chosen from among a group of children for a sporting event. Two children were captains and they made their choice of who they wanted on their team. The children who were to be chosen did not make the choice, only the captains did. How silly would it be to say, ‘The captain chose me and then I chose the captain’! Of great significance is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is called the "...Captain of their (believers) salvation" (Heb. 2:10). The word Captain here means ‘Originator, founder, leader, chief, first’. In Hebrews 12:2 it says, "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith..." Amazingly, the word for both captain and author in the original Greek is the very same word archegos! Jesus is the initiator, or the source of the faith with which a man believes the true God, and is the completer of salvation. There can only be one instance which can rightly and biblically be described by the word ‘choice’ in the matter of a man’s salvation and that is that the choice was made by God before the foundation of the world, before man was even created. One is either the chooser or the chosen. A man cannot be both. Just as a man cannot cause his physical conception or birth, so too, he cannot in any way be the author, the cause, the originator, the instigator or in any way the catalyst, of his spiritual conception and re-birth. Something which does not exist cannot will itself into existence. God gives spiritual life according to His grace and purpose, according to HIS Free Will, and not according to man’s, for he has none when it comes to the matter of spiritual regeneration. A man can have religious thoughts and desires etc., but he has nothing in him, of his own nature, which can lead him to the true God. Nothing which could be the impetus for any decision for God, no incentive or natural impulse emanating from his sinful nature that would drive him to God. As was discussed earlier, seeing that no man can recommend himself to God or be justified by God because of any work the man does, any ‘good deed’ he has performed (see Gal. 2:16), it is obvious that this rule precludes any idea that a man can choose God, thus drawing His affection and meriting His favor. One cannot overstate the fact that salvation comes when God gives, not after a man does.

 

It is said by many advocates of the ‘free will decision’ doctrine that those whom God has chosen are the ones He saw, as He gazed into the future, would one day choose Him. This would make salvation something which does not come solely by the grace of God, thus making Him not the only one responsible for salvation and with rightful claim to all the glory for salvation, but something which is offered by God and chosen by man, thus making the success of salvation conditioned or dependant on the act or work of man. According to this line of thought, salvation is not dependant on the will of God but ultimately on the will of man, free from any Godly influence. The saved are the ones "...who are called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow; He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son..." (Rom. 8:28,29 cf. 1 Cor. 8:3). "In the language of Scripture, something foreknown is not simply that which God was aware of prior to a certain point. Rather, it is presented as that which God gave prior consent to, that which received His favorable or special recognition. Hence, this term is reserved for those matters which God favorably, deliberately and freely chose and ordained....Used of persons, to foreknow with approbation, to foreapprove or make a previous choice of, as special people (Rom. 11:2 cf. 1 Pet. 1:19,20). Foreknowledge and foreordination are logically coordinate. The former emphasizes the exercize of God’s wisdom and intelligence in regard to His eternal purpose and the latter emphasizes the exercise of God’s will in regard to it. What He has decreed is what He has decided." God has predestinated those whom He fore-loved to salvation. God has entrusted a people, whom He chose before the foundation of the world, to His Son. He has done this that His Son should die for them and establish a perfect Righteousness for them. "Nothing outside of God Himself moved or influenced Him to save sinners. It was His love and purpose to glorify Himself that caused Him to save sinners." "There is no place in the Scriptures for an election which is carefully adjusted to the foreseen actions of the creature. The Divine will is never made dependant on the creaturely will for its determinations." Can you begin to see how the doctrine of man’s free will snatches the reins of Sovereignty from the Will of God. It is the Will of God that is the mover of men and no ‘free will’ of man’s. It is God Who changes the hearts of men toward Him and not man on his own (see Prov. 21:1). "...Salvation is of the Lord" (Jon. 2:9) and He does not require man’s help in the matter. As has been established, man is utterly helpless and hopeless in his natural fallen state, so how could man be the initiator or even a contributor in the slightest degree to his own salvation? Man is bound to a floating log, by his sins and sinful nature, that is careering down river towards the waterfall, with no way of releasing himself. This matter of ‘free will’ claims no small part in the ultimate salvation of a man but lays claim to that which instigates his regeneration. God’s hands are tied before and until man’s moment of free will comes and only then may God act, but only with man’s permission. Those who wrest the Scriptures say that "Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation." Man does not act because of the grace of God but, according to the free willer, it is man who makes the initial move, which God patiently awaits, to which God then responds! It is a case of "God can’t unless you will" or "God can’t if you won’t".

 

Why did God send a Savior if man had a free will strong enough to reach out and choose God? The reason Jesus was sent as Savior to the earth was to do what no man could do: establish a perfect righteousness before God—fully obey the law of God that had been so terribly abused and satisfy the demands of the justice of God by taking His people’s sins and nailing them to His cross. There is no condition for salvation that Christ did not meet. If man could save himself he would not need a Savior. Seeing that a Savior has been provided, it is clear that man does need a Savior so in order to find out if there is anything a man can do or must do to contribute to his own salvation, we need to examine just what the Savior has done. If what He has done to save a man leaves room for that man to contribute to his salvation, or in any way conditions that salvation on the man, then the free willer has a case. However, if what Christ has done to save the elect of God from their sins is complete—leaving nothing to chance by leaving the final decision to man or any part of salvation conditioned on man—and assuring, nay demanding, the salvation of those for whom He died, then the free willer does not have a leg to stand on. If all the glory for salvation belongs to God, then this is a resounding declaration that He has done all that was necessary for the salvation of a man, including the granting of the gift of repentance and the reception of Christ, leaving man as a mere recipient of God’s good grace and mercy. If all the glory for all of salvation belongs to God, then it stands to biblical reason that He is responsible for every part of salvation and that man has done nothing that warrants him a share in that glory. This is made perfectly clear in the following Scripture "In Whom (Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: THAT WE SHOULD BE TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY..." (Eph. 1:11,12). "The affirmation here is not merely that God accomplishes the designs of salvation according to the counsel of His own will, but that He does everything...He has an agency in causing the emotions of our hearts. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13 cf. 1 Cor 12:11)." Scripture declares that Christians are a chosen people that they should show forth the praises of Him Who has called them (see 1 Pet. 2:9) and not boast in anything which they have done: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Gal. 6:14).The Bible does not call a man’s positive response to the Gospel a ‘choice’, but a case of man being made willing to receive Christ by the will and power of God alone. Man’s receiving is not that which precedes, but is always something which follows God’s making the man willing to receive Him in the day of His power. This is why salvation comes, not by a free will choice of man, but a gift given by the free grace of God. No man can be inclined towards Christ unless God has blessed the man with that inclination, not merely making his receiving Christ a potential thing dependant on man’s free-will decision, but guaranteeing it because of GOD’S purpose and will. God makes the man willing to receive and He is the cause or reason a man can and does approach Him. Really, all this is summed up perfectly by the Lord Himself when He said "No man can come unto Me EXCEPT THE FATHER..." (Jn. 6:44). Christ did not say anything about man’s coming being conditioned on, or something achievable by, anything the man could do. Christ did not say, ‘Except the man does this or that’, or, ‘Except the man meet this condition or that condition’, but the sole condition was that except the Father does something no man can ever come to the Savior. This is not some issue of semantics, but of the clarification and proper meaning of terms. A bottle does not choose its contents. It plays no part in producing what is put into it. So too, man like the bottle is merely a recepticle. And just as with the bottle not being able to do a single solitary thing to remove its cork, man has no part in something as significant as ‘removing the cork’ so as to prepare himself, to make himself receptive and submitted to, that which is about to be given him. It is all done by God. It is not man who prepares himself before he ‘chooses’ God, but God Who prepares man and makes him receptive, willing to receive not able to choose the Savior. We have given much evidence to show that there is nothing inherent in man that can dispose him to choose, or even want to choose, the true God. This act of receiving Christ, of being willing to receive Him, is initiated, instigated, carried out by and is performed, because of God. The saved man is a beneficiary of God’s benefits, not a co-administrator of director of them. All the glory for salvation belongs to God and man has no claims to it. God is responsible for ALL of salvation from beginning to final glory and there is nothing man can say he has done to contribute to any part of salvation. There is no room for a man to boast, for all the glory belongs to God. God is just as much responsible for a man’s willingness to receive Him as he is for the man’s salvation unto glory. Salvation is not some reward granted by God based on a ‘free-will’ decision of man’s but is something that God gives as part of His blessed, benevolent and unmerited favor towards the man.

 

The whole of christendom virtually chants, as if it were, some mystical mantra: ‘Salvation is by grace, salvation is by grace', and yet they do not understand what they are saying when they utter the word grace. Grace is something which cannot be merited and therefore to say that after a man chooses God, the Lord then responds by granting His grace, is ludicrous. Grace is not motivated by a deed of man but by the mercy of God. Grace and mercy, by definition, are things given in light of there being no redeeming feature of, or act by, man which could justify him. If salvation is given freely and solely by the unmerited grace of God—not according to ANYTHING man has done but according to God’s purpose and will—then what the free willer is believing in, whether he knows it or not, is a salvation not based on grace but on works, something given as a deserved wage which the man has earned the right to have and which demands that God supply. If you do something that makes another respond in a certain way, then you are the one who has prompted that person’s action. It has not come by an independent act of volition on their part but as a response to what you have done. Your act has brought on, or caused, an effect. If the free willer is right, it is no longer the Person and Work of Christ, the imputation of His Righteousness and the non-imputation of sin, that demands man’s salvation but something which man has done. Paul the apostle asks, "...who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (1 Cor. 4:7). "Had not God interfered and made a difference, all would have remained alike under sin. The race (of man) would have together rejected His mercy; and it is only by His distinguishing love that any are brought to believe and be saved." When a person says ‘I chose God’, they are glorying, boasting, in themselves. They are saying it is they themselves, by their choice of Him, that has made them to differ from the one who has not made such a decision. It is not free grace, but free will that is gloried in and seen as that which has made the difference. As we shall see later, NOT EVEN THE ATTRIBUTING OF THIS FREE-WILL DECISION TO GOD’S ENABLING GRACE CAN REDEEM THIS FALSE DOCTRINE. No, my friend, it is God Who makes the difference between saved and lost and not man. GRACE IS GOD, NOT YOU! All that a saved man has he readily, joyfully, admits he has received from God as a gift and not something he went out and chose or earned. The apostle John confirms this when He said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (Jn. 3:27). Speaking to believers James said, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights..." (Jas. 1:17). In the very next verse James declares: "OF HIS OWN WILL begat He us with the word of truth..." (Jas. 1:18 cf. 1 Pet. 1:23). James makes it very clear that salvation is a gift from above that God gives according to His own will, and not man’s ‘free will’. When we combine the words of Paul, "...it is not of him that willeth..." (Rom. 9:16) with those of James, "Of His own will begat He us..." (Jas. 1:18), it is made abundantly clear just whose will is responsible for a man’s salvation. And yet there is still more confirmation for those who remain unconvinced. John says that those who have received Him, who have been given the power, or privilege, to become the sons of God, who believe on His name "...were born, not of blood, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD" (Jn. 1:13 cf. 1 Pet. 1:23). Now if these things were reversed, if the Scripture had said ‘Man is not born again by the sovereign will of God but by the free will of man’, there would be no controversy. Such words would not be difficult to understand and comprehend would they? So why, it must be asked, cannot the free willer see that salvation is not of man, it is not of a man’s will, but of the WILL OF GOD, which is what this Scripture is plainly teaching! There is no confusion in the Scriptures of just whose will is responsible for a man’s being born again: NOT OF THE WILL OF MAN BUT OF THE WILL OF GOD! End of argument. There is no controversy in the Scriptures about whose will was involved in the salvation of a man. It is not the Scriptures which create confusion, but the blinded minds of men who can only perceive what their sinful natures allow them to see. The controversy and confusion exists only in the blinded minds of lost men.

 

Christ came to the earth to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).The sins of man demand man’s suffering in hell for all eternity. No man can come to God based on his own efforts at obeying God’s law for in all his efforts man shows that he is a sinner, for his ‘obedience’ is far from perfect. "...a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ...for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:16). Works are something which a man can do but which are unprofitable to him in the sight of God. Man is not saved by what he does or because of anything in him, but by that which is of Christ and freely given. So we see that salvation does not come by the works of man nor by a man’s will. In all man’s ‘obedience’ there is sin. All his attempts at obeying God’s law achieve nothing because the law reveals that none of his obedience is perfect, therefore no man can be said to have truly obeyed the law. The more a man seeks to obey, the more his efforts reveal just how much of a sinner he really is: "...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). And so man can never establish a perfect righteousness for himself, which is the only thing that can recommend him to God. The fact that man is an unrighteous creature is inextricably linked with the fact that there is no man that seeks, or desires, God. Man’s failure to seek God, coupled with his unrighteousness, reveals a heart that is so hardened against God that the last thing anyone in their right mind could ever conclude about man is that he could one day come of his own ‘free will’, of all things, and choose God. Even if there was such a condition of salvation, that a man must choose God, no one with any sense would predicate such a choice as coming from the ‘free will’ of man. Man has no free will other than to choose SIN, SIN, SIN over and over and over again!! It may not appear as sin in man’s eyes but it most definitely does in God’s eyes. No matter how zealous for good works a man may be, no matter how religious he is, none can be justified by what they do "...for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified" (Psa. 143:2). The Psalmist says, "If, Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand" (Psa. 130:3). "We cannot justify ourselves before God, or plead ‘not guilty’. If God deal with us in strict justice, we are undone." "It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed..." (Lam. 3:22). It is not man’s good deeds or ‘free will’ choice of God that preserves man and keeps him free of the wrath of God, but solely by God’s mercy is a man made acceptable: "And BY HIM all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39 cf. Isa. 53:11). "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Rom. 5:9). Now let not any accuse us of saying that man cannot choose to do good instead of evil; That he cannot choose to restrain his temper instead of letting someone feel the full brunt of it; that he cannot choose to help his fellow man rather than decide to ignore his cries for help; that he cannot choose to drink lemonade rather than get drunk on beer. Of course man has the ability to choose one thing over another but in his rotten sinful state he cannot in and of himself, according to the Bible, go against his sinful nature—his state of spiritual deadness—and choose God: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). Man does not seek God, because he is dead to God. He does not understand Him, he does not know Him and he does not want Him, so how could he ever choose Him? Man is spiritually dead to God and therefore has no ability, no capacity, no propensity, nothing in him which can generate a love for God or which can cause him to lean towards God and make a free-will decision for Him completely of his own power. The Scriptures verify this. In sharp contrast to the false doctrine which claims a man can choose God, man, in his natural fallen state, is said by the Scriptures to be one who constantly and continually ‘chooses’ NOT to seek God. This is obvious, for God says there are none who seek Him. This means that at any given moment, be it the past, present or future, NONE have, do, or will seek God! Man, in accordance with his sinful character, remains consistent in his failure to seek or desire the true God. No serious Bible student can deny this and so all that is left is the lonely little notion that man’s positive response to God is not the fruit of God’s grace towards the man but the outcome of man’s free-will decision to choose God. There is nothing in Scripture to base this on and thus no sanction for a single soul to believe it. It is all part of a false gospel which promotes a false god who cannot save. Truth is the first casualty of a false gospel and people’s souls being forever lost in the flames of hell is the end result.

 

Christ came and obeyed the law perfectly, having not been born of the seed of man but by the Holy Ghost. Christ was free of sin, perfect God in the form of a perfect Man and in His obedience there was no sin present, no imperfection. He wholly succeeded in what He set out to do. Incorporated into Christ’s obedience unto death to establish perfect righteousness, was His payment for every sin of every one He died for, so that God’s Justice is now satisfied and there is no need for any punishment to be inflicted on those people for whom Christ died and on whose behalf He endured God’s wrath towards their sin. Their sins have been charged to Christ and His Righteousness charged to their account (see 2 Cor. 5:21). Before God, all for whom Christ died stand perfect forever: "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth" (Rom. 8:33). Now please tell me where does man fit into all this? The square peg of man’s supposed free will simply will not fit the round hole of God’s method of salvation. In light of all the evidence to the contrary how, it may be asked, ‘can salvation be conditioned on man?’ What is it that man must do, and therefore can do, that Christ has not done or failed to do? God has elected to set His love upon certain individuals chosen before time began. They have all been predestinated to be called and justified by grace through Christ (Rom. 8:30), and upon nothing of their own doing; Righteousness has been established for them; Justice has been satisfied on their behalf; and because of what has been done for them, not to mention the fact that God has chosen them not to receive His wrath but for the purpose of being saved, they will all receive Christ the Savior. Not because of their choice but because they are His sheep; not from anything which originates within them but because of the grace of God, the mercy of God and the Spirit of God enlightening each and every one: "...of HIM are ye in Christ Jesus..." (1 Cor. 1:30). Each one is regenerated, not of anything inherent in them but by the Holy Spirit of God. All the glory for salvation belongs to God. The ‘motor’ of spiritual life is not kick-started by man, for by nature he has no idea where the Key is to engage the motor. As a matter of fact, man by nature thinks his spiritual motor is fine and running smoothly! The regeneration of man begins with, and is maintained solely by, the will of God. Notice that everything we are saying points to God and is giving Him all the glory for every bit of salvation, leaving absolutely no room for a man to lay claim and boast of his part in salvation. THE TRUE GOSPEL BELIEVER BELIEVES ALL OF SALVATION IS ALL BY GRACE—ALL BY GOD. There is no room in the Gospel which comes from God for a man to boast of any initiating act, contributing work or deed of cooperation upon which his salvation is dependant. However, as with all man-made gospels, including the one which teaches the free will of man, there is always room for a man to boast which is why they are so popular, for they all appeal to man’s fallen nature. Thus, they are concluded to be false gospels which cannot save. With all his religious zeal, a false gospel is the only gospel a man, by nature, can come up with or reach out for. The false gospel of man’s free will is just as much a figment of man’s imagination as any other false and deceptive gospel. These gospels are the only ones which make any sense to the natural mind of man, hence their popularity and allegiance to them. The word boast as used in Ephesians 2:9 means ‘glory’ ‘joy’ or ‘rejoice’. This verse informs us: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9). There is nothing for man to boast in, to rejoice in as having originated from him, when it comes to the matter of salvation. It is purely an act of grace which is received through a faith which does not even come from man but is a gift given by God, not as a reward, not as some wage, not in response to something which man has done, but as a free will gift of God. Man comes to God because of, and in the day of, God’s power and by reason of God’s will. There is nothing that man must do, believe, repent, etc., that is not given to him as a gift. A man must believe, a man must repent, but these are both gifts given from above and not things which a man can work himself up to and choose to do or pluck from the quiver of his own righteousness. Nothing can be, or needs to be, added to that which is already completed. God’s plan of salvation is a perfect plan. It is a plan which does not depend on man’s ‘free will decision’ to take part in it, for THIS PLAN WAS FORMED IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT NO MAN WOULD SEEK GOD OR COULD SEEK GOD!! The whole plan for a salvation by grace and mercy was necessitated and formed to give God all the glory and leave no room for man to boast in anything he has done or was enabled to do. The entire plan for salvation had to be by grace, for there was no other viable ‘option’. God had to receive all the glory and so salvation had to be all of God. If salvation was possible with man, then the glory for it would have been all man’s or shared between God and man. But as salvation is impossible with man via works, it can only be made possible by God through His grace, thereby God is the only one responsible for it and to whom ALL the glory rightly belongs (see Isa. 42:8). Those who promote free will do boast in what they have done. They are always saying ‘I have chosen Christ’, or ‘I have accepted Christ’, or ‘I have made Christ my Lord and Savior’. Now they may say that they praise God for their ‘choice’, comforting and assuring themselves that they are giving all the glory to God because they are praising Him for what they have done, but the reality of the situation is that such people glory in themselves, they exalt themselves and not God. Just as the bottle played no part in producing its contents, so too, the saved man has played no part in producing the saving faith that is now in him solely because of the grace of God. What’s more, the saved man does not wish to claim any work on his part that has contributed to his salvation. The truly saved man gives all the glory to God for having saved him, for he knows that he in no way played any part in attracting God’s grace or influencing His choice of him.

 

The following illustration shows just how subtle this shifting of the glory for salvation is. However fine the line between saved and lost may be, it is clear, distinct and well defined by Scriptures such as these: "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I THANK THEE, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I FAST twice in the week, I GIVE tithes of all that I possess.’ And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful unto me a sinner’. I tell you THIS man went down to His house justifed rather than the other: for everyone that EXALTETH HIMSELF shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Lk. 18:11-13). Notice here that the Pharisee thanked God that he was not like other men. He then proceeded to boast, just as the free willer boasts in his ‘decision for Christ’, of what he did, obviously believing, in light of his attitude towards the publican, that his acts of obedience in some way contributed to his gaining God’s favor, even though he believed he was attributing all the good he did, not to himself, but to God. The publican, however, did not mention even one ‘good’ deed that he had done. He brought none of his righteousnesses with him, which is the case with every truly saved person (see Phil. 3:9), but humbly asked for God’s mercy, providing evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work upon him. He was not seeking or expecting to be justified by any of his own works, whether he attributed them to God or not. The publican, along with every truly saved man, shares the same mindset as the apostle Paul: "...God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Gal. 6:14). The publican did not expect his works to make the difference between Heaven and Hell, nor did he look to anything he did, but only to God and His Mercy. To humble oneself is not a condition a man must meet in order to come to God, but is an evidence of God coming to the man. It is not man’s free choice for God that makes the difference between heaven and hell but God’s free will choice of man. Christ said this man, the Publican, rather than the Pharisee, was justifed. The word justified in this passage means ‘to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent, free, be righteous’. Notice also that Christ referred to the Pharisee, who attributed his good deeds to God, as one who did not merely have things wrong and just needed a little correcting, but as one who exalted himself. If a man does not believe the Gospel wherein is revealed the righteousness of Christ, he shows by his ignorance that he seeks to establish a righteousness of his own (see Rom. 10). So too, the man who believes that anything he has done is that which makes the difference between saved and lost, even though he praises God for it, exalts himself and not God, and remains in an unjustified state. God never overlooks the error that leavens the whole lump (see Gal 5:9). The truly saved man does not say ‘Come and see what God has enabled me to do for my soul’ but "...I will declare what HE HAS DONE for my soul" (Psa. 66:16). Be not deceived. Those who adhere to the doctrine of free will, that a man must make a free-will decision for Christ before he can be saved, conditions salvation not on God’s election of grace and Christ’s atonement for sin, but on a work or act of man. Man must make his decision for Christ before salvation can be given to him rather than man’s receiving Christ being something which is the result or fruit of salvation by grace being granted a man by God’s love-motivated election of him. The free willer who insists he does not take any of the glory for salvation away from Christ because he attributes his positive decision for Christ to God’s enabling power, has been taught a lie. He is exalting himself, and not God, according to the Scriptures. Notice also in our passage just how many times the Pharisee used the word ‘I’. He said it 5 times whereas the publican made no mention of himself other than for God to be merciful to him. Notice how there is no cause to believe the publican was in any way boasting by his request, but plenty of reason to believe that the Pharisee was boasting. The free willer is in the same boat as the Pharisee. He exalts not God but himself, for he is constantly drawing attention to what he has done rather than only seeking to draw the listener’s attention to God and what He does. ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’, is all they say: ‘I chose Him, I love Him, I accepted Him, I sought Him, I found Him, I came to Him, I, I, I...’ The true believer says ‘God has elected me, He chose me, He has visited me with His glorious grace, His Son died for me, His Righteousness was imputed to me, He took away my sins, He was merciful to me, He gave me the gift of faith, He caused me to repent and approach Him, He, He, He...’ I am sure the reader can see the difference between the two. One exalts himself while the other humbles himself and is justified. The free willer’s gospel teaches a salvation by works, for it allows room for a man to boast in his salvation even though, to his mind, he denies this by attributing his obedience, in the form of his free will decision for Christ, to God. Such people are LOST. In this we see that boasting is not excluded by a gospel which teaches that salvation is conditioned on a man’s works, or hinges on a man’s free will decision, but it is only ever excluded by THE Gospel Message which teaches that salvation is by grace through faith in the Person and Works of Christ Jesus the Lord, attributing all of salvation to Him and conditioning no part of it on man. Grace does not enable a man to believe, but provides, as a gift, the only faith which can and does believe the Gospel. Only THIS Gospel leaves no room for a man to boast; only THIS Gospel saves. Faith in this Gospel alone humbles the believer, excluding all boasting, for it conditions all of salvation on Christ. (see Rom. 3:24-28).

 

What can man boast of? Most free willer’s say that God visits people with His grace, presents the Gospel to them and they then make their choice whether to accept God or not. Some free willer’s say that man’s choice is made even before God’s grace appears on the scene. All free willer’s say that God has sent Christ His Son to die for everyone and now, having done all they can, the Father and His Son Jesus sit and wait in hope that someone will choose to accept them and what they have done! God is awaiting man’s decision about His ‘offer’, according to the free willer. The choice, it is said, is completely up to man. He is free to choose for God or against God. Some go so far as to say that God has cast his vote for man, Satan has cast his vote against man and now man has the deciding vote as to where he will spend eternity. What kind of a God is this whose vote carries with it no more weight, or influence, than that of Satan or even man’s! This is the Sovereign King of the universe? God will not influence man either way but just makes His ‘offer’ and hopes for the best. God cannot influence man. In fact, they say God is a gentleman and would never go against the will of man, He would never try and influence a man’s will one way or the other. My friend, YOU HAD BETTER HOPE THAT GOD INTERFERES IN YOUR LIFE AND SAVES YOU FOR IT IS ONLY BY GOD’S WILL THAT A MAN IS BEGOTTEN OF GOD!! "Of HIS OWN WILL begat He us..." (Jas. 1:18). The doctrine of free willism makes man the sovereign over his own destiny and turns God into a helpless onlooker. Man being left with the ultimate decision that will determine his fate is something which is akin to Satan’s lie to Eve rather than to anything God has taught. If you believe in the free will of man then you cannot believe in the Sovereignty of God. If you believe in the free will of man then you cannot believe in the free grace of God. You cannot believe that it is God’s grace alone that makes the difference between saved and lost. You cannot believe that God has the free will to choose those He wants saved, when you believe that every individual man has the exclusive right and ability to make this choice by his free will either for God or against God. Just as salvation is either by God’s grace or your works (see Rom. 11:6), so too, it is either by God’s will or your will. God’s grace is not subordinate to man’s will and God’s will is not subservient to a man’s works. Salvation is not conditioned on a man’s works but on God’s will. The Sovereign God has rule over everyone and everything and His will is not subject to anyone else’s will, but only to His own purpose and glory. He has mercy on those He has chosen to be merciful to and has no mercy for those whom He has not chosen. The doctrine of free willism changes man from being a creature without hope into one with such power and authority that it can determine its own fate, whilst turning the Almighty God into the one who has no hope of saving anyone by His will.

 

A serious ramification of the false doctrine of man’s free will and its sister teaching, universal atonement, is the corruption of the saving work of Christ on the cross, emptying it of its true worth and supplanting it with a lie. The whole essence of atonement is ripped apart and replaced by a corrupt version. This counterfeit atonement, along with all others, makes Christ’s death no longer about His dying for the sins of His elect—all whom God had given Him—His shed blood no longer that which ensures that the penalty for sin is paid and that no one for whom that precious blood was shed will spend a single moment in hell, but rather His death is turned into something which was done on behalf of all men, every individual ever born! The success of this atoning death rests, not on the blood of Christ which was shed for sin, but on man’s decision to accept or reject what Christ has done, Who, like the Father, can only sit and hope that people will not reject what He has done for them. The Scriptures know absolutely nothing of such a system of ‘salvation’. From the sacrificial types of the Old Testament to the teachings of the New Testament on the eternal redemption accomplished by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:12), nothing of this type can be seen. This author has written several books which go deep into detail concerning the death of Christ and whom that death was for and are readily available upon request, so we shall not go into this in any great detail here. Suffice it to say, the Old Testament sacrificial system was ordered by the Lord (see Lev. 16). The annual sacrifices of the high priest were ordered by God to be performed, not for every individual in the world, the success of which being determined by their individual choice to accept what was done on their behalf, but they were ordered to be done only on the behalf of God’s temporal people, Israel. The success of the high priest’s annual sacrifice was dependant on its being performed to the specifications and directions given by God and upon HIS acceptance of them. These Old Testament sacrifices were merely a type of what the Messiah would do for His people. "By the typical system, God was not only educating His people for the ‘good things to come’, but was also preparing human language to be a fit medium for the revelation of His grace in Christ. It is to the types we must turn if we would define aright the sacrificial terms of the New Testament....the doctrinal statements of the Epistles are frequently couched in the language of the types, and can only be rightly interpreted in the light which they furnish." Christ was to sacrifice His very life on the behalf of all those whom God chose to give unto Him and not for every individual or even those who ‘would’ choose 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. Matt. 11:27). Again, the success of this sacrifice, just like that of the Old Testament high priest, depended on God’s acceptance of it. After all, it was God to Whom the sacrifice was being made. It was to God that Jesus Christ offered Himself, God accepting what Christ had done solely on the basis that His effort was in direct accord with God’s will, and that Christ’s sacrifice was perfect, meeting every demand that God’s justice and law decreed needed to be met in order for a man to be saved. Also, when turning to the Old Testament to learn about Christ’s sacrificial death, we see that the sacrifice which God directed the high priest to make, which was a type of what Christ would do, was a substitutionary sacrifice. The success of this sacrifice did not depend on its acceptance by those for whom it was made, but was wholly dependant on God’s accepting it. CHRIST’S SACRIFICE WAS OFFERED TO GOD, NOT MAN (Heb. 9:14). It was offered to God on the behalf of those whom God had ALREADY chosen, therefore its effectiveness was not dependant on a man’s free-will decision to accept it but on Christ and His sacrifice and the One to Whom it was made. Writing to believers, Paul said "...Christ...hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice TO GOD for a sweet smelling savour" (Eph. 5:2 cf. Gen. 8:20,21). Again, like the Old Testament sacrifices, Christ’s sacrifice was not for every individual in the world but solely for those whom God had elected and in turn had given to Christ to perform sacrifice for. Christ so loved the Church that He gave Himself exclusively for it: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it" (Eph. 5:25; see also Acts 20:28) The Church, of course, is Christ’s Bride made up of all God’s elect, or called out ones. Jesus states: "I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep....I lay down My life for the sheep" (Jn. 10:11,15). In writing to a fellow believer, Paul the apostle spoke of the Savior "Who gave Himself for US, that He might redeem US from ALL iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar (special, one’s own) people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). In illustrating the love of God for His people, the apostle John, writing to Christians, said: "...He laid down His life for US..." (1 Jn. 3:16). And Paul the apostle, speaking to Christians, said: "Christ hath redeemed US from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us..." (Gal. 3:13), thus eternally linking Christ’s death with guaranteed redemption for all those for whom He died. The effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice depends, not on a man’s choice to receive it, but on the sacrifice itself being performed to exact specifications. As Christ’s sacrifice was a substitutionary sacrifice, this meant that "...by means of (Christ’s) death...they which are called (those for whom He died) (will) receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:15). Christ, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God, ensuring the Father’s acceptance of what the Son had offered and purging from dead works the consciences of all those for whom He died (see Heb. 9:14). Christ did what He did on the behalf of all those whom God had predestined to receive His grace and He accomplished all that He set out to do for them, thus making certain their reception of His work for them—not by their free will choice but by the grace of God, by His free will, that they, in time, be saved.

 

One of the questions the person who believes in free will often asks in light of his claim that election is unfair is: ‘If God does the choosing then why didn’t He choose everyone?’ Such a question is rather foolish and comes from a less than astute mind, for in asking it one shows that one has missed the point entirely: if God has done something, is it not right that He has done it and has He not the right to have done it? If we play the Devil’s advocate for a moment we may well ask, ‘What right has God to choose any man for the purposes of salvation for they are all sinners, none are righteous and there are none who seek or desire God?’ Who is man anyway that he should turn and shake a fist at God and complain that He has not done what the mind of natural fallen man is convinced would have been the fair thing for Him to have done. ‘Why hasn’t God chosen everyone, or at least more than would be lost?’ is another favorite ‘argument’ put forth by the free willer. Does not God, as Absolute Sovereign, have the right to do as He wills? And who amongst us would dare accuse God of doing anything which is unfair or unjust? If the reader supposes that I am arguing incorrectly here, that I am simply making a presumption based on a false interpretation of the Scriptures, and thereby justifying my belief that God has sovereignly elected some to salvation, and trying to prove this by assuming that God has done it, placing it under the banner that anything God does is just and right, therefore concluding that election must be right, will no doubt be surprised that my argument, far from being incorrect, is sourced from the Scriptures themselves.

 

Romans 9 is a chapter in the Bible which has been known to be completely ignored by some Arminian (free will) ministers as they ‘work their way through’ the Letter to the Romans each Sunday morning. And after reading its contents, there is little wonder. The doctrine of sovereign election is so foreign to the mind of man and he is so at enmity with it, he even resists it when it is seen clearly in the Scriptures themselves. He ignores it and acts in denial of it. As is so often the case, when man has no answer for that which he does not want to see and believe, he simply either ignores or fashions it so as to make it fit with his own pre-conceived ideas. They come up with a theory that they are happy to believe and blend their interpretations with truths they are willing to accept, thereby producing a hybrid truth acceptable to their oh so delicate spiritual palates. An interesting aside to this is the fact that no one, apart from three ancient and heretical sects—the Ebionites, the Encratites and Cerinthians, believed that the Letter to the Romans was uninspired. Whilst not denying it was written by the apostle Paul, these three groups "...rejected it because they could not make its doctrines harmonize with their views of other parts of the Scriptures". Let those of us who wish not to emulate such an appalling God-dishonoring mind-set, turn now to Romans 9 and see for ourselves exactly what it tells us. Speaking of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac and Rebecca, Paul the apostle states: "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION MIGHT STAND, not of works but of Him that calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Rom. 9:11-13). What a passage to confound the free willer! No wonder the Arminian minister prefers to conveniently shy away from this chapter in Romans and hide these things from his listeners. These verses show clearly that God made choice between Jacob and Esau before they were even born! God made choice between them as to which He would love and which He would hate. This was done, the Scriptures say, so that the purpose of God according to election might stand, an election which obviously could not have been based on any deeds, actual or foreseen, good or bad, that man had done or would do. The saved are those who are elected by grace through faith, not by anything they have done, that none should boast. The good works they do were appointed, or prepared, for them to do and they were not elected because of any good works they were foreseen would do: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). Notice the saved are created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works not because of good works. GRACE, BY DEFINITION, RULES OUT ANY WORKS, FORESEEN OR ACTUAL!! The need for a salvation by grace cancels out a salvation made possible by, or conditioned on, anything a man can do. This choice, between Jacob and Esau, was not made because of their foreseen works, either good or bad, but of God that calleth according to His grace and the purpose of His will. This passage demonstrates that God’s election is not based on anything a man does, including a man’s choosing God, because it is made clear that God has chosen to love those He will love and hate those He will hate before their birth and solely according to His mercy—solely of Him, not of works. God’s election of a man is not based on anything a man has done but on mercy and grace, which are evidently given to show that there is nothing in a man or anything he can do which can recommend him to God. Salvation is based on all that God has done and upon nothing man has done. Salvation is not according to the deeds of man, but the will of God to be gracious and merciful. How much clearer could God have demonstrated what His election of grace is based on? Significantly, grace is always contrasted with works in the Bible, in other words, what God has done and what man has done. Salvation is either by the grace of God—something He does—or it comes by the decision of man—something he does. Scripture says that "...election (is) of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace..." (Rom. 11:5,6). A perfect example of those who strive for salvation by their works, or who think they can gain it by some free will effort on their part, is shown in Romans 11 particularly verse 7: "...Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded". Paul bore witness that Israel had a zeal for God but not according to knowledge which is why, in this ignorant state, the Jews sought, and believed there was a need, for them to establish a righteousness of their own instead of submitting themselves to Christ’s righteousness which alone saves (see Rom. 10:1-4). The fact that salvation is purely by grace and not obtainable by any strivings on man’s part is plainly shown in the following verse: "...I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me" (Rom. 10:20 cf. Isa. 65:1). If salvation is by something God has done it cannot in any way, shape or form be something which comes by, after or as a result of (which would make it dependant upon) something man must do or has done. Again, if salvation is based on good works foreseen, then it is a salvation conditioned on man. Such a lie is only taught in a gospel based on works and not grace. IF IT IS NOT ALL GRACE, ITS NOT ALL GOD, and, IF IT IS NOT ALL GOD, THEN SALVATION CANNOT BE ALL BY GRACE. Either way you look at it, if any part of salvation is conditioned on man it becomes something which is by works and not grace, even if the work is attributed to the grace of God.

 

Notice in this next verse from Romans 9 that the apostle anticipates the response which immediately besets the mind of natural man upon hearing that election is based on the Sovereign will and grace of God: "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid" (Rom. 9:14). Is this not precisely the same response to the biblical doctrine of election that we hear from every adherent to the false doctrine of free will? ‘Its just not fair! God would be unjust to choose some and not allow everyone to have a free choice in the matter of accepting Him or not. The doctrine of election is evil because it sends to hell many who wanted to go to heaven but had no choice in the matter because they were not chosen of God’How can the doctrine of election based on the free will of God be unfair when we have seen that the Scriptures state clearly that, if left to himself, NO man would, or could, EVER choose God!! It has been clearly and Scripturally established that no man seeks God, therefore how can any man choose that which he does not seek! Salvation is not about fairness or unfairness, its about the mercy and grace of God saving such a sinful wretch as man. Its about what is right. There is nothing unfair about it, for God is a Just God and all He does—WHETHER WE BELIEVE IT OR NOT—IS JUST AND RIGHT AND FAIR according to His grace, mercy, purpose and will. Scripture speaks of election in terms of mercy, grace and the will and purpose of God and is therefore just and proper. It does not go against the grain of God’s Holiness, but is a product of it. So we see that the accusation of unfairness is really a smokescreen, which atempts to hide the glory of God’s mercy and grace in electing some to salvation based on His will. But if the reader insists on hanging his hat on the word unfair, this author is glad to talk about what is unfair. What is unfair is that man has disobeyed the Holy God. Sin is such a horrific thing that there are barely the words to describe the evil which man has perpetrated upon God. What is unfair is that man has sinned horribly against a Holy God Who had done nothing but love man. Man has sinned appallingly against God, having counted His love as a deception which restricted man rather than being his sole source of blessing and protection. Man’s decision to disobey God is what has brought him physical death and of even greater significance, spiritual death, separating him eternally from God. HOW MAN HAS TREATED GOD IS WHAT IS UNFAIR! It is utterly abhorrent, a disgrace. God ‘responds’, not by allowing every man to go on his way to hell—which He would have been perfectly justified in doing—not by abandoning His creation as they rightly deserved, but by electing some of these dead, ungodly and undeserving sinners to salvation despite their anti-God natures and based on nothing whatsoever of their own doing, no redeeming feature of theirs, but based on His love shown in the glorious Person and redeeming Work of His dear Son Jesus. This is real love and there is nothing unfair about it! It is not love which is based on the proviso: ‘you do this and then I will love you’It is based on commitment and devotion, come what may! Salvation is conditioned on God’s love-motivated choice, not man’s free-will decision. In writing to the believers at Rome, Paul showed the wondrousness of God’s love: "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). The Sovereignty of His choice is made clear by this Scripture. "Here we see that His love was not extended towards His elect because they were good, but in spite of the fact that they were bad." Free will is founded on the arrogant assumption on the part of unregenerate man that he can actually do something which can recommend himself to God, or is necessary in assisting God in completing His salvation plan. Far from being a virtue, it is the height of human arrogance and presumption to think that man can do anything to get saved, to find favor in the eyes of God. Equally arrogant is the thought that man, once ‘saved’, can do anything to keep himself saved or get himself unsaved. There is no room for the True Christ of the Gospel in such thoughts and beliefs, for they do away with the sufficiency, finality and eternality of what Christ has done. "Is there unrighteousness with God?" Paul asks. Is it an act of unrighteousness for God to choose one man over another even before either man is born and has done any good or evil? Now let not the free willer be mistaken here about exactly what is being asked. Paul is asking, in direct relation to the very doctrine of election which is based on the Sovereign will of God (which the free willer is vehemently opposed to), ‘Is God unfair, even worse, is He unrighteous in choosing some based on grace and mercy alone before any good or evil works have been done?’ This question is one which is aimed directly at the very heart of election based purely on grace, so it is vital that we continue on in this chapter of Romans to see what God says on the matter. The claim that election ‘Is just not fair’, is directly answered by the Word of God. There is no need for this matter to be argued by men with their opinions, for we can simply go to the Bible itself, not for man’s answer, but GOD’S ANSWER!

 

 

 

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