ELECTION IS JUST NOT FAIR! (part 3)
Paul’s inspired answer shows that far from being unjust, wrong or unfair, the doctrine of election is "Explicitly taught in the Old Testament and is founded on the principles of equity, and on just views of the Sovereignty of God." "For He (God) saith to Moses, ‘I WILL have mercy on whom I WILL have mercy, and I WILL have compassion on whom I WILL have compassion’" (Rom. 9:15). These words of the Sovereign God were spoken originally to Moses in Exodus 33:19 where, in response to Moses’ desire to see God’s glory (v. 18), God said: "...I will make all MY GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; AND WILL BE GRACIOUS TO WHOM I WILL BE GRACIOUS, AND WILL SHOW MERCY ON WHOM I WILL SHOW MERCY" (Ex. 33:19 cf. Ezek. 18:4). Interesting to note how it is God’s Absolute Sovereign will that dictates to whom He will be gracious and whom He will not, which is seen as an evil concept by the free willer, but which the Scriptures reveal is directly related to His Goodness. "All God’s reasons of mercy are taken from within Himself...Therefore God’s mercy endures forever, because the reason of it is fetched from within Himself." God’s mercy and goodness are based on His will—that which comes from within Him—because these things could not be based on our will, for none of us seek God by nature, or our deeds, by which no man can be justified. God’s declaration in Exodus 33:19 that He will show mercy to whom He will show mercy is "...regarded not as proof of stern and inexorable justice, but as THE VERY PROOF OF HIS BENEVOLENCE, and the highest which He thought proper to exhibit. When men, therefore, under the influence of an unrenewed and hostile heart, charge this as an unjust and arbitrary proceeding they are resisting and perverting that which God regards as the very demonstration of His benevolence. The sense of the passage clearly is, that He would choose the objects of His favor, and bestow His mercies as He chose". There was no other basis upon which they could be distributed. "None of the human race deserved His favor; and He had a right to pardon whom He pleased, and to save men on His own terms, and according to His sovereign will and pleasure." So there is no mistaking the reason why Paul has included these verses in his answer to the allegation that God would be unrighteous in choosing those whom He loved before they were even born, and his conclusion to all this is seen in the very next verse: "So then, it (salvation) is NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD THAT SHEWETH MERCY" (Rom. 9:16). Salvation is of God Who shows mercy! In other words, salvation is of God and comes as a result of His mercy, not a man’s decision. "(Salvation) is not to be ascribed to the most generous desire, nor to the most industrious endeavor of man, but only and purely to the free grace and mercy of God." God says in His Word that salvation, in particular election unto salvation, is not according to a man’s ‘will to be saved’. Election is not based on, and salvation is not gained by, a man’s will to do anything. Neither man’s will nor his efforts can be said to in any way attract, induce, cause or bring about, his election. The sole catalyst for election, according to the Scriptures, is the mercy of God and the fact is that He shows that mercy on whomsoever HE WILLS. People say that sovereign election is not conducive to a level playing field for not all can come, but only those who have been chosen. My friend, THERE WOULD NOT EVEN BE A PLAYING FIELD WERE IT NOT FOR THE MERCY OF GOD in His electing some to salvation!! Central to the free willer’s argument is the popular phrase ‘whomsoever will may come’ (derived from Revelation 22:17), but who wills to come? There are none who seek God, so how can any by nature will to come to God? Let every free willer hear the following words of the Lord of Election: "All that the Father giveth Me SHALL COME TO ME; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (Jn. 6:37). All whom the Father has elected and given unto Jesus will come to Him believing His Gospel which reveals the only way to salvation. None can come to the true God by a counterfeit christ (see Jn. 14:6). The reader may be assured that all who do come are all those whom the Father has given to the Son and whom the Son, in turn, will not cast out. Jesus says, "NONE can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." (Jn. 6:44). In other words, no man can will to come before the Father causes the man to come. If God had not elected some to come no man would have ever come to Him. IT IS WHOMSOEVER GOD WILLS TO COME THAT WILL COME, FOR NO OTHER CAN COME. "(God) has regard to a definite number; and on that number He intends to bestow eternal life; and no one has a right to complain. It is proof of His benevolence that any are saved; and where none have a claim, where all are justly condemned, He has a right to pardon whom He wills." Salvation is not the result of a man’s will, nor is it the result of a man’s strenuous, intense efforts, his works and ‘good’ deeds. Election unto salvation is solely of God Who shows mercy, not to all, but exclusively to those HE CHOOSES and has willed to be merciful towards. Argue all you like free willer. Rant and rave all you care to, you can never change these Scriptures. You can never change Who God is and what God is like. "...before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Savior....That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things" (Isa. 45:6,7). "...There is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Savior; there is none beside Me....I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me...MY Counsel shall stand, and I WILL DO ALL MY PLEASURE" (Isa. 43:10,11; 45:21; 46:9,10).
The effect of the influence of God’s Spirit on the heart is to make His people, those chosen before the foundation of the world before they had done any good or evil, willing in the day of His power: "Thy people SHALL be willing in the day of Thy power..." (Psa. 110:3). "Eternal life is not bestowed because man had any original willingness or disposition to be saved, it is not because he commences the work, and is himself disposed to it; but it is because God inclines him to it..." Man is not pardoned because of anything he has done but solely because of the will of God, because God chooses to pardon him based on His will. "The sinner, however anxious he may be, and however much or long he may strive, does not bring God under an obligation to pardon him, any more than the condemned criminal, trembling with the fear of execution, and the consciousness of crime, lays the judge or the jury under an obligation to acquit him. Weep and strive he may, but in this there is no ground of claim on God for pardon; and, after all, he is dependant on His mere sovereign mercy, as a lost ruined, and helpless sinner, to be saved or lost at His will. Salvation, in its beginning, its progress, and its close, is OF HIM. "...GOD HAS CHOSEN the foolish things of the world to confound the wise...THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE. But OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus..." (1 Cor. 1:27,29,30 cf. 2 Cor. 1:21,22). He has a right, therefore, to bestow it when and where He pleases. All our mercies flow from His mere love and compassion, and not from our deserts. The essential idea here is, that God is the original Fountain of ALL the blessings of salvation."
After reiterating that God will have "...mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth (Rom. 9:18), Paul again anticipates the response, which he no doubt often received from many of those who were in a lost state who protested after hearing his preaching on God’s sovereignty and election by grace: "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will? (Rom. 9:19). "Why does He blame men, since their conduct is in accordance with His purpose, and since He bestows mercy according to His Sovereign will?" On the surface this would seem to be a pretty fair comment on the doctrine that teaches that salvation is not based on what a person does but solely on God’s will. How can God still find fault with a man whom He has not chosen to be willing in the day of His power, for how can any man resist the will of God. ‘If God has not chosen a man to be saved, what fault then is it of the man who never calls on God and continues on in his sin? He never had a chance to repent because God chose not to have mercy on him.’ Is this not the crux of the free willer’s argument against sovereign election. Is this not the cornerstone to his statement that ‘Election is just not fair’. Of course it is. It is important to note that this is not an objection that has arisen in our day to some new doctrine which has come from the minds of hyper-calvinist extremists, but has existed in all ages and is not neglected in the Scriptures, but raised and dealt with under God’s direction because it is HIS doctrine against which people murmur. Those who believe that election shuts out many from heaven fail to realise, or have conveniently forgotten about, man’s sinful nature being that which shuts a man out of heaven. Election based on mercy and grace is the only thing that opens Heaven’s Gate to an undeserving sinner. Election is an act of mercy and can in no way be rightly judged as an unrighteous edict.
This is now getting to the heart of the matter, the real nitty gritty of the issue of salvation and election. Again, the answer will not be provided by the words of this author but by the very Word of God. Listen to the Holy Spirit inspired words of the apostle Paul as he makes his reply: "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?" (Rom. 9:20,21). Let us pause here to look carefully at Paul’s reply, to reflect on what God has said through him. The first thing we need to notice is that Paul does not correct his complainant. He does not say to him, ‘Now wait just a minute friend, you have completely misunderstood what I am saying. I am not saying that election is all up to God and that the man He does not choose to be merciful to goes to hell without a hope of being saved. I am not saying that God chooses those He will love and those He will hate solely based on His will before the people have even been born. I am not saying that salvation is solely of God’s will and not man’s'. Notice that Paul says nothing of the kind. His immediate answer here shows that the one who is remonstrating with him is quite correct in his understanding that God chooses those who are to be saved based on His will and mercy and not their will or deeds, and that indeed none can resist God’s will. There is nothing wrong, strange or unfair about the Absolute Sovereignty of God in Paul’s eyes! As we shall see, God’s basis for election, far from being something unfair, is proper and right and the only way any could be saved. It is proper and right for God to choose those He will have mercy towards and appoint others to His wrath, for there is nothing a man can do to attract God’s mercy. No man by nature attracts anything from God other than His wrath. Speaking to believers Paul said, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us..." (1 Thess. 5:9,10). Clearly, and based on His will and mercy, God has appointed or predestinated some to obtain salvation and others to wrath. None can shake a fist at God and say, ‘I wanted you but you would not have me’. Have we not seen that the Scriptures state clearly that there is none righteous and that none seek after God and that those found by Him were not in the process of seeking Him? If the Lord could only choose those who chose Him, how could it be possible that any would come to Him? In the day of whose power then would a man be made willing to come to the true God? If man can choose God of his own free will, then it would be in the day of man’s own power, his own innate ability to will to come to God, that would save him. Since Scripture teaches clearly that none seek Him, none can come to Him unless they are made willing by Him in the day of His power. This punches a massive hole in the laughable ‘defenses’ of the free willer, who insists that God chooses those who first choose Him, that a man’s election is based not solely on God’s will but inspired by man’s free will decision for Him. Paul’s first words of reply are a direct assault on the one opposing his doctrine and all those who would dare come with the same mind-set. They are the very words God inspired Paul to write and what God would say to any man who approached Him with such an attitude today: "O man, Who art thou?" In other words, who are you, mere sinful wretch, to complain against God, to dare dispute with the Sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords? Away with such a mind-set borne by the insolence and horror of man’s original sin against God! Paul shows here that man in his natural state is unqualified to understand the matter of election and so he castigates the man for such an attitude against God and His doings. "Who gave man the authority, or invested him with the prerogatives of judge over his Maker’s doings? Nowhere is there to be found a more cutting or humbling reply to the pride of man than this." This is precisely why the doctrine of sovereign election is so hated by the natural mind of fallen man: it cuts right through man’s pride and leaves no room for him to boast. Remember, it is not the doctrine of election by grace that is in question here—there is nothing strange, wrong or unfair about it. The only thing which is odd, strange, wrong, unfair and out of place in this passage from Romans IS THE ATTITUDE OF THE MAN WHO IS OBJECTING TO IT! What right has any man to dispute with God over what God has done and the way He has chosen to do it? "...Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25); "...wilt thou condemn Him that is most Just? Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? And to princes, ye are ungodly? How much less to HIM that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? For they are all the work of His hands" (Job. 34:17-19). Even a lost man like king Nebuchadnezzar knew that God is Sovereign and does whatsoever He wills and that no man has any right to judge what He does and dispute His Will or object in any way: "...all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and HE DOETH ACCORDING TO HIS WILL in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto him, ‘What doest Thou?’" (Dan. 4:35). Has God ever done anything wrong or unjust or unfair? Of course not. Shall not God do right! saith the Scriptures.
Paul goes on in his discourse to show that man is merely a creature, a creation given birth to by the will of God with no influence over its Maker. Man has as much right to dispute with God over His election based on grace as a lump of clay has to dispute with the potter for having made part of it into an ash tray and the other into an ornamental object to be admired. This sentiment is found in Isaiah 29:16 which says in part: "...shall the thing framed (formed) say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?" In other words, "Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay?" "WOE UNTO HIM THAT STRIVETH WITH HIS MAKER! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it, What makest Thou?..." (Isa. 45:9). This whole discourse about the clay and the potter is designed to teach God’s sovereignty and election based on His will. Make no mistake about it, the hater of sovereign election is one who strives with his Maker, and "woe unto him" saith the Scriptures. "...God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against Him? For He giveth not account of any of His matters....Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him?..." (Job 33:12,13; 40:2). "(God) is not only more wise and powerful than we are, but more holy, just and good, for these are the transcendent glories and excellencies of the Divine nature; in these God is greater than man, and therefore it is absurd and unreasonable to find fault with Him. God is not accountable to us. It is an unreasonable thing for us, weak, foolish, sinful, creatures, to strive with a God of infinite wisdom, power and goodness. He reveals as much as it is fit for us to know: "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God..." (Deut. 29:29)....Those who quarrel with God do, in effect, go about to teach Him how to mend His work." "Shall the clay say to him that forms it, ‘What makest thou? Why dost thou make me of this shape and not that?’ Shall we impeach God’s wisdom, or question His power, who are ourselves so wonderfully made? Shall we say, He has no hands, Whose hands made us and in Whose hands we are? It is as unnatural as for the child to find fault with the parents, to say to the father, What begetest thou? Or to the mother, What hast thou brought forth; Why was I not begotten and born an angel, exempt from the infirmities of human nature and the calamities of human life?" "Any being has a right to fashion his work according to his own views of what is best; and as this right is not denied to men, we ought not to blame the infinitely wise God for acting in a similar way."
The following passages of Scripture show well just Who the Lord is and how His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways not our ways (see Isa. 55:8-11): "Shall any teach God knowledge....Behold, God exalteth by His power: who teacheth like Him? Who hath enjoined Him His way? Or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?....There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord....Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgement, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing....All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?....For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor?....For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him?..." (Job 21:22; 36:22,23;Prov. 21:30; Isa. 40:13-15,17,18; Rom. 11:34; 1 Cor. 2:16). Who more than God has the right to do what He wills? This in essence is what these Scriptures are all saying, ‘Cannot God do what He wills? Is He not God? Can He not do whatsoever He wills and it always be right and good?’ Do you doubt God? Do you doubt that He is Just and Right in all that He does? Is it not proper to trust that the Holy and Just God will do right? Do you presume to instruct God in what He should do and how He should do it? If man is said to have a free will, what makes him think that God has not a free will and that He can and does do what He wills with His creation? As we’ve already seen, the Bible says that God does whatsoever He wills in heaven and on earth, and there are many other Scriptures which corroborate this, such as: "...our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased" (Psa. 115:3); "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, THAT did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places" (Psa. 135:6); God Himself says "...My counsel shall stand, and I WILL DO ALL MY PLEASURE...I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isa. 46:10,11); "...I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it" (Ezek. 22:14). It is also clear from the writings of Paul in speaking to, and of, believers that they are "...predestinated according to the PURPOSE OF HIM (not according to anything foreseen that they would do) 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 incontestable Sovereign right of God to do as He sees fit is also seen in the words of Paul in Romans 9:21: "Hath not the potter power over the clay..." In other words, "Does not God have the right to do with man as HE pleases? Moreover, is not and will not what God does be just and right?" Not incidentally, the word power here does not merely denote physical power or ability, but authority. In other words, has not God the absolute and legal right—the authority—to do as He wills. We are given clear insight into the authority God has to grant salvation to whomsoever He wills in John 17:2, where we find that the Father has given POWER (authority) to the Lord Jesus Christ over ALL mankind to give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him, not to as many as have chosen Him: "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him." Paul’s statement, ‘Hath not the potter power over the clay?’, is a highly significant one, for in it Paul alludes to Isaiah 64:8 which says: "But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand". Notably, the verse mentioned earlier which spoke about man’s righteousnesses being equivalent to filthy rags in the sight of God, appears just two verses prior to this one.
Has it not struck the mind of the free willer that those who believe in sovereign election according to free grace are aware of the arguments that are raised against it, and yet there is no complaint about the sovereignty of God and His right to choose whomsoever He wills to be saved issuing forth from their lips? Surely the free willer is not ignorant of the fact that truly saved (Gospel believing) people have dealt with this issue from the Scriptures and are perfectly comfortable with such a God and a God-honoring doctrine as election? Has the free willer not considered that the issues and questions that arise in his mind did also arise in the mind of those who are now born again and see clearly that salvation is impossible with man and only possible by the mercy of God? That none can pull themselves out from under the wrath of God, for all are under eternal condemnation requiring an act of mercy by God Himself to rescue them. Of course the true believer has thought of these things, but however many questions he might have had, however limited his understanding may still be about the workings and Will of God, He does not dare dispute with God, he does not dare go against what the Scriptures are plainly teaching, but calmly and humbly accepts Who God is and what God is like, for the Spirit of the Scriptures has made this abundantly clear to him. Man has no right to come to God in and of himself even if he could, for God accepts only that which is of Him. No man has the right to claim or expect the mercy of God and seek favor from Him based on his ‘free will’, for the mercy of God is inspired by the will of God and not by any man’s spontaneous decision to accept Him. God is right to bestow His grace and mercy upon those He has chosen and mould them as the potter does the clay, and no one has the moral right to complain. The truly saved man accepts this. The lost man is at enmity with it, he fights against it and struggles with it. One of the princes of Arminianism, John Wesley, so hated the doctrine of election by God’s Sovereign Will that he went far beyond complaining against it and actually called the True God ‘My Devil’! The saved man believes in the Absolute Sovereignty of God and His right to elect those whom He wills. The lost man scoffs at this and dubs it foolishness at best and satanic at worst. "God would do no injury to those who were left, and who had no claim to His mercy, if he bestowed favors on others, any more than the potter would do injustice to one part of the mass, if he put it to an ignoble use, and moulded another part into a vessel of honor. God does no injustice to a man if he leaves him to take his own course to ruin, and makes another, equally undeserving, the recipient of His mercy. He violated none of my rights by not conferring on me the talents of Newton or of Bacon; or by not placing me in circumstances like those of Peter and Paul. Where all are undeserving, the utmost that can be demanded is, that He should not treat them with injustice." And we have seen, in the very words of the Scriptures themselves, that there is nothing unjust in the doctrine of God’s sovereign will nor any unrighteousness with the God of election. No man who is not saved, be he religious or not, has ever complained that he has not the true God. Every man believes he has the true God. Man just continues on in his sin with a ‘don’t stop me’ attitude oblivious to the fact that he has chosen the wrong god, evidenced by his believing in a false gospel. If a man insists that he has chosen God, it is the wrong god he has chosen. If the god you have embraced has taught you that your salvation is conditioned on your free will choice of him, you have a counterfeit god who cannot save. Listen to how the Lord speaks: "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in My hand..." (Jer. 18:6). The fact that natural man cannot see the fairness in God sovereignly electing those whom He wills to be saved and not electing others, does not give any man the right to complain against God or think that He has done wrong in His plan of election. The saved sinner knows full well that before he was saved he had no desire for the true God, and that only because of God is he now a saved person, his salvation coming about, not because of anything he has done, or could do, but solely according to the will and purpose of God based on His grace and love, never more highly demonstrated than in the death of Christ for those whom the Father had given Him. We don’t know why God has chosen one man and not another apart from what His Word clearly states, and that is that He has done it according to His will and purpose, the design of which is to glorify Him: "...He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be (not because we were, or foreseen we would be) holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Eph. 1:4-6). God has chosen His people before the foundation of the world. Notice the link between God’s predestination and His will and grace. This predestination is according to His good pleasure and because it is based on His will and not on a man’s free-will decision for Him or any other work of man’s, it is to the praise of the glory of His grace which has made us accepted, and not to the praise of any ‘magnanimous act’ of man’s. God is Sovereign and Omniscient. He knows all things and so it is clear that He is infinitely more wise than a man, or even all men put together, so who are we to judge anything God does or has done as being unfair and unjust?
The one thing those who have been taught free willism have missed in all their ‘reasonings’ is the fact that man is not a neutral creature. Man is not innocent—he is not even born innocent but is guilty from the womb (see Psa. 51:5; 58:3). Man is a lost creature. We have shown in this book just how lost man is. He is not afflicted with some cureable ailment, but has been cut down by death. He has sinned against God and stands justly and eternally condemned for his sin and is rightly and deservedly under the wrath of God. He has forfeited any ‘right’ he may have ever had to an audience with God (see Prov. 15:29; Jn. 9:31), to His benevolence by having sinned against Him. Now all that man is deserving of is wrath and punishment and it would have been right, just and fair if God had not chosen before the foundation of the world to provide a Savior; not to elect any to salvation, but to leave all of us to an eternal existence without Him and an eternity without hope. Who could have complained if that had been the case? If God had merely left us all in our sin? I guarantee you that if God had left all of us in our lost and sinful state and made every man aware of his condition, we all would have been clamouring for His grace and mercy, knowing full well there was nothing in us that could in any way recommend us to God or meet any condition for salvation. Was God under an obligation to save even one man? Would there have been any injustice had God left us all in our sin and under His wrath? These are the types of questions every free willer needs to ask himself and answer honestly. Would God have been unjust if He had left all mankind in their sin, ultimately to end up in the fires of Hell, there to suffer eternal punishment for their sin? No man in his right mind could or would say that God would have been wrong in doing this! Therefore, does God’s having chosen to elect some unto salvation purely according to the good pleasure of His will fuelled by His grace and mercy, SUDDENLY make Him unjust and this act of mercy unfair, simply because He has not chosen all, or at least left the matter of salvation to the decision making power of the ‘free will’ of those whom HE knew would never, and could never, of their own accord seek Him? On the contrary, how UNFAIR would God have been had He left the determining factor of man’s salvation upon the shoulders of those He knew did not have the ability or capacity to ever choose Him!! "The executive of a country may select any number of criminals whom he may see fit to pardon, or who may be forgiven in consistency with the supremacy of the laws and the welfare of the community, and none has a right to murmur; but every good citizen should rejoice that any may be pardoned with safety. So in the moral world, and under the administration of its Holy Sovereign, it should be a matter of joy that any can be pardoned and saved; and not a subject of murmuring and complaint that those who shall finally deserve to die shall be consigned to woe." The question ‘Why was He not merciful to all’, can be answered succinctly: God did not need to be merciful to any; He was under no obligation or constraint to be merciful to one single soul. The guilty have not a leg to stand on. NONE have a right to expect mercy simply based on the fact that God has chosen to be merciful at all. There is nothing man can plead, nothing he can do, that will attract the mercy and grace of God. He has become an unclean thing, an abomination to God, not fit to be even looked upon let alone with grace: "...yea, the stars are not pure in His sight. How much less man, that is a worm?..." (Job 25:5,6). Please, free willer, do not pursue the vain argument of what is fair and unfair when it comes to God’s dealings with man, for you will not like what you find. What would have been fair is if man was left in his hopeless state. But thankfully salvation is not based on man’s idea of ‘fairness’, it is not based on what a man deserves, or what he tries to do to redeem himself, for if it were none would have ever been saved. Salvation is solely and justly founded on the will, grace and mercy of an Almighty Sovereign God Who does whatsoever He wills. It is one of the greatest truths in existence that God is Sovereign, that He does do all that He pleases, that only God could ever justify a man and rescue him from his certain doom. Imagine if God could not do whatsoever He pleased and that all were left to fend for themselves in some superfluous struggle for salvation. Man cannot will himself saved—therefore only by God’s will is a man saved. God is the only one who is right in this entire universe and God is the only Hope for salvation any man can have. God is the only one who is perfectly free to do what He wills without anyone having any legal right to register a complaint or seek to give advice or counsel as to the fairness of what He has decreed. God is Just! Hence, Paul’s first response to those who would argue against God’s Will to do what He desires is, ‘Who are you O man to dispute with God?’ Who gave man any right to argue against God? God certainly didn’t! How dare any man seek to enter into dispute with God about what He has done and how He has done it! Paul’s argument is as follows: "Man is in ruins; he is fallen; he has no claim on God; all deserve to die. On this mass, where none have any claim, He may bestow life on whom He pleases, without injury to others; He may exercise the right of a sovereign to pardon whom He pleases; or of a potter to mould any part of the useless mass to purposes of utility and beauty". Salvation is an act of grace and THERE CAN BE NO UNFAIRNESS IN AN ACT OF GRACE OR AN ACT OF MERCY. God has chosen, from a miserable pile of unworthy sinners, those He will be merciful to. There is no unfairness in such an act, nor is there any unfairness in not choosing the others but allowing them to receive their just deserts, for this is what they are appointed to and deserving of. Will the Lord Jesus become unrighteous when He comes "...taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord..." (2 Thess. 1:8,9 cf. Rom. 3:5)? Has not God the right to do with His mercy as He sees fit and to exercise His wrath upon the guilty? Just like a man has the right to purchase whatever he wants from the market place, so too, God has the right to choose those whom He wants saved. The decision is made by the one who has the power to purchase. The Church of God has been "...purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). How silly would it be for one to rush over to a person who has purchased something, complaining that they did not purchase more of the same or something other than what was purchased! It is the prerogative of the purchaser to purchase what he wills, just as it is God’s prerogative to purchase whom He wills by the blood of His Son.
It is appropriate at this point in our study to look more closely at the word fair to see exactly what God is being accused of by those who oppose the doctrine of Sovereign election based solely upon the free will of God, and judge it to be unfair. To be fair means to be free from discrimination or dishonesty. To be fair also means to be in conformity with rules or standards. So when the adherent to the doctrine of free will makes his claim that election according to the sovereign will of God, and not the free will of man, is ‘just not fair’, he is saying that God would be dishonest if election were according to His Sovereign will, and that He would not be in conformity to the rules or standards of fair play. Let me ask the free willer, ‘Whose rules or standards are you judging the God of the universe by? By whose rule do you judge the God of sovereign election to be unfair?’ By His Rule, or your own corrupt notions of what the rules and standards of fairness are that God should be abiding by? The accusation that God is guilty of unfairly discriminating against those whom He has not chosen—discrimination being a no-no word in western society, principally because it has lost all of its true meaning and been kidnapped by those obsessed with political correctness—is one which the free willer often gives voice to in presenting his case against the God of Sovereign election. How can God be guilty of discriminating unfairly against those whom He has not chosen, when we have just seen that those who are left in their sin are DESERVING of nothing but His wrath. GOD HAS NOT DISCRIMINATED UNFAIRLY AGAINST ANYONE, BUT HAS ACTED MERCIFULLY TOWARDS SOME, GIVING OTHERS ONLY WHAT THEY DESERVE. The Scripture most often cited in support of the lie that sovereign election means that God unfairly discriminates against those whom He has not chosen, is that which says God is no respecter of persons. The free willer’s understanding of the discriminatory aspect of God’s Character is completely warped. God not being a respecter of persons does not exclude Him from choosing one man instead of another, for see how He treated a whole nation of people, Israel, unlike any other nation: "...the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you....For Thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be Thine inheritance....Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance" (Deut. 7:6-8 cf. Psa. 147:19,20 cf. Lev. 20:26; Deut. 14:2; 1 Kings 8:53; Psa. 33:12). God not being a respecter of persons means that He will not be influenced in His choice based on a person’s rank in life, family name, nationality, or how respected one may be in society, or by any number of charitable deeds or the lack thereof. "God will not save a man because he is a Jew, nor because he is rich or learned, or of elevated rank nor by any external privileges. Nor will He exclude any man because he is destitute of these privileges." The Scripture which speaks of God being no respecter of persons is Acts 10:34: "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons" (cf. Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25). The context of this Scripture involves the conviction that many in Peter’s day had about the Jews being the nation that God peculiarly favored above all others and that no person of any other nation was to be granted salvation. "Peter here says that he has learned the error of this doctrine. That a man is not to be accepted because he is a Jew, nor is he to be excluded because he is a Gentile." The very next verse bears this out: "But in EVERY nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him" (Acts 10:35). Of course, there are none who fear God by nature (Rom. 3:18) or who can work righteousness before Him (see Isa. 64:6) unless they have been elected by God to serve Him and to do those works which have been prepared for them to do (see Eph. 2:10). God could never discriminate between men based on their deeds, on anything they have done, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and every man at his best state stands equally rated before God as being altogether vanity. Man at his best and doing his best to recommend himself to God, stands before Him as if he had never done a thing! Man’s efforts at recommending himself to God are negligible at best and are an insult to the saving righteousness of Christ. All men are equal before God in the sense that they are all sinners, therefore it cannot be said that God is a discriminator or respecter or persons based on anything they do or don’t do, for all stand equally condemned. But God IS a discriminator of persons according to His will—which is His prerogative—according to His electing love by which He has predestinated all those whom He foreknew, or foreloved, to be conformed to the image of His Son (see Rom. 8:29,30). God is a Covenant God and therefore a discriminating God, but not according to any laudable characteristic in man or commendable deed done by man. God discriminated between Israel in the Old Testament and every other nation, but not according to any special status it had among men: "But because the Lord loved (them)..." (Deut. 7:8). So too, in the New Testament He discriminates between His people chosen by grace and those whom He has not chosen but appointed to wrath. He loves one and hates the other. God has singled out, or chosen and predetermined, those He will show mercy to and those whom He has appointed, ordained or purposed, to receive His wrath (see Rom. 9:11,15,22 & 1 Thess. 5:9 & 1 Pet. 2:7-9).