“When the brethren got to arguing about Calvinism, Dr. [J. Frank] Norris recommended a book entitled Election Made Plain, by L.S. Ballard. In a fellowship meeting back in 1937 with Dr. Norris, Dr. Norris recommended that all the brethren purchase the book and learn the truth about Calvinism.”Dr. Claud J. Bonam in Blazing the Trail, p. 27
Based on that quote I recently purchased a copy of Ballard’s book. It happened to be a copy of the fourth edition with an added section by Ernest Rippetoe making for total of 64 pages. I have digitized the text using a scanning app on my iPhone, a test run for possibly doing so with some other works in the future. I am sure there are typographic or formatting errors still in it, and I will gratefully correct those if pointed out to me. Like I said, this is a test run for me. I am not sure of the original publication date and I am assuming enough time has passed that it is now public domain. – MBG
ELECTION MADE PLAIN
By L. S. BALLARD and ERNEST RIPPETOE
In the year of 1927 A.D., I published a booklet under the caption, Election Made Plain. It sold so rapidly that it was soon out of print. Owing to the many calls for the pamphlet the second edition was brought out, and now that the second edition has been exhausted, we are bringing out the third and much larger edition, with an addition from the sparkling pen of Ernest Rippetoe, which enlarges the book by one third.
The majority of books issued from the press today are especially prepared for scholars, and owing to the high sounding phraseology used to convey the thoughts of the writer, they fall far short of the mark of getting the attention of the great masses of honest readers. For instance, I have in my possession a pamphlet purporting to be a discussion of the Bible doctrine of election in which the writer makes use of such terms as “anthropomorphism”, etc. What does the average reader know or care about anthropomorphism? Why write at all if the reader has got to supply himself with all the latest encyclopedias, lexicons, and dictionaries in order to ascertain what the writer means? Our object in offering this study to the honest reader is to simplify rather than darken counsel by the usage of big words, or the application of high sounding phrases gleaned from systematic, or rather unsystematic theology.
By his application of anthropomorphism, the writer above mentioned makes the Bible lie in Joshua 10:13, where it positively says, “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.” I see no ground for the application of anthropomorphism in this passage. The language of Joshua is neither figurative nor allegorical but states a positive fact. Anthropomorphism employs the language of appearance rather than the language of fact. While it is true, the sun does not revolve around the earth, yet according to the greatest scientists the world has ever produced, the sun moves the same as the earth. This being true, when the sun stood still, as recorded in Joshua 10:13, the earth also stopped, or there would have been confusion in the solar system.
But hear this writer again as he attempts to set aside the fact that God could change His mind relative to His dealings with man, if He so desired, as is recorded in Gen. 6:6, 7; Ex. 32:14; I Sam. 15:11; Psa. 106:45; Amos 7:3; and Jonah 3:10. All these passages, according to our friend, seems to state facts but do not . This, in my judgment, is the rankest sort of modernism. But he continues:
“We have another anthropomorphism in Ex. 13:18, where we have the mention of the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. We know that this passage is figurative because ‘God is a Spirit’ (John 4:24), and ‘a Spirit hath not flesh and bone’ (Luke 24:39). Therefore, God has no finger as a part of His being.”
Notwithstanding God is a Spirit, He made the rocks and if He made them could He not write upon them? But says this writer, “God has no finger as a part of His being.” If God has no finger as a part of His being, then He has no hands, no feet, no arms, no legs, no mouth, no eyes, no ears, no head, no body. What is He then, a big bulk of nothing? The Bible says God has all of these members of His body, and that settles it as far as I am concerned. I have no patience with a man who claims to believe the Bible and yet denies it. If I had to distort the Word of God and change God’s facts into figures in order to make some pet theory appear reasonable to men, I would give up the theory. But that is what all modernists do.
Election is a glorious Bible doctrine and is in no sense complicated when viewed in the true light of Biblical interpretation. The doctrine is clear, but many books written on the subject are confusing, misleading and dangerous. The vast majority of them seek to convey the idea that the doctrine is too deep for the average mind therefore we must take what Augustine, Calvin, Strong, or other arbitrary electionists have said on the subject.
I have heard preachers say, election is such a mysterious doctrine that the finite mind cannot comprehend it, nor human tongue or pen unfold it. To this statement I most sincerely demur. Because election is a cardinal Bible doctrine and all such doctrines are made clear in the Word of God. To cap the climax, I heard one preacher say it was a winter time doctrine and should never be preached in revival meetings. The thought struck me, if there is any part of the Bible that is dangerous to be preached at any time or place, we had better throw the Bible away and get us another book.
With reference to the doctrine of election, there are two extreme views. The first is to the effect that the salvation of all who are saved in time is the result of arbitrary decrees fixed by the election, or choice of God before the foundation of the world. The second theory is that salvation is procured and maintained by good works coupled by faith in Jesus Christ. The first theory makes man a mere machine with no will or choice in the matter of his own personal salvation. He can neither accept Christ nor reject Him. The time, date and the means employed for his salvation were all fixed before the world began. The second theory makes man his own savior and he has no assurance of salvation until he has passed through the gates into heaven. Weighed by this theory, man’s salvation is determined by the amount of good he does in the world, and cannot be a settled fact until all of his works, both good and bad, are in at the judgment bar. Sincerely, both theories reflect discredit upon the real purpose of the atonement of Christ.
The Bible doctrine of election occupies a middle ground between those two extremes. The Bible clearly teaches that the alien sinner who hears the gospel, repents of his sins, and turns to Christ alone for salvation, and accepts without reservations the atonement made by Christ for him as the all sufficient means of his deliverance from sin, is saved by grace through faith, and that his salvation is made secure by his eternal election in Christ Jesus. These facts I shall endeavor to make clear in the articles that shall follow.
Hyper-Calvinism, no difference by whom it is taught, is a false doctrine and is dangerous almost beyond compare. It is admitted that some great Baptist scholars have followed John Calvin in the advocacy of his fatalistic teachings, but the great masses of Baptists have never believed it, and the world has never had their verdict nor reaction to this question. I have made it a point during my ministry to inquire into the faith of our Baptist constituency wherever I have gone as regards this matter and I find that fully ninety-five percent of the Baptists with whom I have associated through the years, and have met on various occasions disclaim the doctrine altogether, and believe in the universal atonement made by the blood of Jesus Christ for all mankind. This is the doctrine of the Bible as we shall endeavor to show. Not one passage that is relied upon by the unconditional electionists to establish their fatalistic position will be overlooked in the discussion of the subject. In our next article we will take up the sovereignty of God.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
Hyper-Calvinism is built upon the premise, that since God is an all-wise, all-powerful God, He has a perfect right to do as He wills with His creatures. That God is all-wise, all-powerful, sovereign and supreme we do not deny, but most heartily agree. And that He has a perfect right to deal with His creatures as His divine will may direct no one has a reason to doubt. But that His sovereignty is so limited that it destroys His freedom of divine will and circumscribes His acts and operations to such an extent that He is forced to elect arbitrarily and unconditionally a limited number of the human race to eternal life and reprobate the rest of mankind, I most positively deny.
Sovereignty means supreme power, authority and dominion. This we know the divine Trinity only can possess. As some one has said, “The highest form of sovereignty is pure absolutism, and the highest form of absolutism is found only in the eternal omnipotent God.” God, therefore does what He pleases to do and there is no other being in heaven, earth or hell with the authority to challenge His right to do it. The question is not whether God had the right to elect a certain definite number of human beings to eternal life and then arbitrarily decree to save them and them alone, but did He do it? This is the question we want the Bible to settle.
In our study of the sovereignty of God we must not overlook the fact that He is supreme in love, mercy, sensibility and justice. Therefore it takes the supreme knowledge, supreme power, supreme love, supreme mercy, supreme sensibility, and supreme justice to constitute the supreme sovereignty of God. If God works or creates it is an act of His sovereignty, but if He assumes an attitude of quietude and inaction it is because His power is restrained according to His own will and pleasure.
In view of the foregoing facts, if God should create an intelligent race and should foreordain, predestine, and elect a certain part of that race to eternal life unconditionally and invest the rest of the race with eternal death, but at the same time offer a pretense of freedom, and make this sham freedom the infallible means of accomplishing a predetermined destiny, in my judgment it could not be an act of divine sovereignty. Because, as I see it, such an act would, conflict with every attribute of our Triune God. In such a case what becomes of the attribute of love? Jno. 3:16. “For God so loved the world (not just a part of the world), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (not just the imaginary elect) believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Where is the attribute of mercy? Ezek. 33:11. “Say unto them, as I live saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, 0 house of Israel?” The reader will bear in mind that these words were addressed to Israel, God’s elect, or chosen people, many of whom went to hell because they would not accept God’s mercy. Where is the attribute of sensibility? Heb. 4:15. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Where is the attribute of justice? Matt. 12:20. “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory, and in His name shall the Gentiles trust.”
But despite these impregnable truths should it be contended that God could make such an unmerciful division of the human race and still be sovereign, we should not forget that there is as much absolute sovereignty in electing to create men free to act in accepting, or rejecting Jesus Christ as a personal Savior as there is in electing them to be mere machines without will power or choice; in electing to make His election of man to salvation conditional as in electing to make it unconditional. If God elects to give all men will power to accept or reject Christ as Savior and Lord would that in any sense destroy His sovereignty? The burden of proof to the contrary rests with my opponents. We contend that God elects to show mercy and extend the gift of salvation to all those who exercise the function of their God-given will power to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord, and that He elects to reprobate only those who exercise the function of their will power in refusing to accept Christ. These are the major premises on which we shall argue the question in the articles that are to follow.
If we are right relative to the sovereignty of God, and all reasonable students will admit that we are, then the settlement of the question must be determined by the teaching of the infallible Word of God. It is to this Book of all books that we appeal our case.
ETERNAL UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
The doctrine of unconditional. personal election was first advocated by Augustine who was born in Tagaste Numidia November 13th, 345 A. D. He was one of the four great fathers of the Latin church. and was no doubt the greatest of the four. He was a bitter enemy of the Donatists churches that held to the doctrines of the Novations, who constituted the pure stock of the church at Rome when the separation came there. The Novations held tenaciously to the doctrines set forth by the great apostle Paul in the church at Rome and the Donatists succeeded the Novations in the proclamation of those principles. Cornelius, a preacher in the church at Rome, was the leader of the other faction, who opposed Novation, and stood for worldliness in the church, Easter festivals and other things fully as bad, which were repulsive to the other faction which composed the pure Pauline element of the church. And as all students of history know the Cornelius movement which started at Rome aided in the establishment of the Roman Catholic church. I have given you these facts to show you the alignment of Augustine the originator of the doctrine of fatal election. He taught the Romish dogma of baptismal regeneration of infants.
It was about the close of the fourth century or the beginning of the fifth that his radical views on election took permanent shape. He taught that non-elect infants dying in infancy were lost. John Calvin who was born many centuries after Augustine, reset the doctrine, modifying it in some particulars. Calvin taught that none but elect infants die in infancy. The Dominicans teach that non-elect infants do sometimes die in infancy but are kept in Limbo, a way station on the road to Purgatory. It is well to say here that none of our unconditional election brethren will accept Calvinism, Dominicanism or Augustineism, yet they do not object to sailing under the flag of Calvinism. They say they are Calvinists. If they are they are followers of Calvin.
Of the three positions stated, Augustineism is the original and the most consistent. For if God did, before the foundation of the world, elect a definite number of human beings to eternal salvation and reprobate the rest of mankind, what difference does it make when the non-elect die? If they were to live to be as old as Methuselah they could not be saved. The contention that non-elect infants do not die is a fatal attempt to evade the doctrine of infant damnation and to cover up the weakness of the position. The conclusion is, God permits the non-elect to live to the age of maturity so as to send the gospel to them to mock them with the pretense of a sham freedom. My God does not deal in such deceptive antics. If there be such as elect and non-elect infants, why should not one die the same as the other? And since both the righteous and the unrighteous are to be rewarded according to their deeds, why should not God show at least enough mercy to take the non-elect away before he becomes contaminated with voluntary sins and adds so much more misery to his already predetermined destiny?
The late J. N. Hall, reasoning on the inconsistency of such nonsense, says, “And if that is true it is a calamity to the world to take away the elect infants in their infancy, when they might have grown up to be useful and good, and allow the non-elect to live and become wicked and do harm. That is equivalent to saying that God puts a premium on sin.”
The advocates of eternal unconditional, personal election prove it by perspiration instead of inspiration; by vilification of their opponents instead of fairness and scriptural arguments. They brand all comers and goers who do not agree with them as Arminians. There is not a shadow of an inference in the Bible, much less a gospel truth that those who die in infancy are of the elect.
The doctrine of fatalism has grown out of a mistaken idea of what the Bible doctrine of election really is and what it takes to constitute the sovereignty of God. No word more fully expresses the absolute sovereignty of God than the abstract noun election. The Greek word “ekloge” translated “chosen” occurs seven times in the New Testament. It is employed first in Luke’s account of Paul’s call to the gospel ministry.
Acts 9:15. “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and the kings, and the children of Israel.”
This passage literally means, “he is a vessel of election unto me.” No reference is made here to salvation but to Paul’s election to apostleship, and there is not even an inference that it was made in eternity. On the other hand the Bible shows clearly that Paul was chosen to be an apostle in time.
Acts 22:14, 15, reads, “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen (elected) thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”
1. Paul was elected that he might know the will of God. 2. That he should see, and hear the voice of the Son of God. 3. That he might be a witness of Christ unto all men. This choice, or election which was made for the three purposes stated in the preceding verse took place after Jesus had ascended to His Father.
Eph. 4:8, 11. “Wherefore he saith when he ascended upon high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. And he gave some apostles (of whom Paul was one); and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers.”
Paul was not one of the twelve apostles but according to the above verses he was chosen, or given to be an apostle after Jesus ascended upon high. The following Scriptures declare Paul to be an apostle: I Cor. 1:1; II Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Col. 1:1, and many other passages. Bear in mind that in Paul’s election to the gospel ministry not one thing is said about his election to salvation.
The Greek word “eklego” occurs twenty-one times in the New Testament and is always translated “to choose” or its equivalent. This word we shall trace through the New Testament showing its meaning in the passages where it is found.
The first reference is to Jno. 6:70. “Have not I chosen (elected) you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” This election was to apostleship and had no reference to salvation whatever. If it was an election to salvation Judas Iscariot was saved and went to heaven when he died, or apostasy is true. But Luke 6:13 forever settles the time, place and purpose of this election. “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose (elected) twelve, whom he named apostles.” We see clearly that the election of the twelve apostles took place on the mountain top in Palestine A. D. 31, not back in eternity.
Jno. 15:16. “Ye have not chosen (elected) me, but I have chosen (elected) you.” When did He elect them, in eternity? No, in time, A. D., 31.
The time, place and purpose of the election of the twelve apostles being settled, let us pass on to Mark 13:20.
“But for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.”
The people of whom this language is spoken are the children of Israel and the time refers to the great tribulation that is to be visited upon the world at the close of this dispensation. To understand the verse is to read it thus: “But for the sake of the chosen whom he hath elected, he hath shortened the days.” The Jews are the chosen people of God, but there is to be a remnant elected or saved from among the Jews during the great tribulation period, and it is for their sake that the hand of persecution is to be stayed in that day. This is an election within an election, a remnant saved from among the chosen people, the Jews. There is absolutely nothing to show that the elect here mentioned were elected, or chosen in eternity to salvation. In every instance where the Bible speaks of the elect, it refers either to Christ, the Jews, or the redeemed children of God. I have offered a reward for any verse in the Word of God that proves that God ever elected an unbeliever to eternal salvation.
In the next place we shall notice various ways in which the word choose, or chosen is used. Luke 10:42. “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Here Mary, a human being, is the subject and eternal life beyond a doubt is the object of the election and don’t forget that this verse, if it were the only one of its kind in the Bible, proves that human beings have the right of choice in the matter of their own salvation.
Acts 1:24. “Shew whether of these two thou has chosen.” This was an election of a man to take the place of Judas after he had fallen from the apostleship. The church wanted to know God’s choice in the matter, and so they prayed and then gave forth their lots which was the choice of the church. Matthias was a saved man before he was chosen to fill the place lost by Judas Iscariot. So salvation does not enter into this election.
Jno. 15:19. “But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” This passage literally means that Christ had chosen His twelve from among the world. But just remember that there is not even an intimation that this election was made in eternity. It took place in time just as we have shown by kindred passages.
Acts 6:5. “They chose Stephens, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte of Antioch.” This was an election by the church to the deaconship and took place shortly after Christ’s ascension to the Father. No reference is made to salvation here but the time element enters into the election.
Acts 18:17. “The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.”
This election or choice was made when the children of Israel were in Egyptian bondage. It carries with it an election to national salvation and religious freedom, but has no reference to the salvation of the soul. All were elected but many were never saved. Therefore this election saved none; excluded none.
Under this head we shall discuss the doctrine of eternal election as it relates to the salvation of the soul. No sound Baptist as far as my information goes has ever denied that there was an eternal election, or choice of God made before the world began. The first reference in proof of this doctrine we shall cite is found in Eph. 1:4-6.
“According as he hath chosen (elected) us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestined 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.”
The unconditional electionists think they find in this passage the proof that establishes their claims beyond peradventure. They lay great stress on the words “before the foundation of the world.” It is obvious that we have in these verses a clear statement of an election that was made according to the will and purpose of God before the Adamic race was created. God knew that He was going to make man upright, and that man would fall from his holy estate by his own voluntary transgression. Therefore the fall of man and the plan of redemption were fully known unto God. He foreordained, predestinated, and elected to save every soul believing (eis) into Christ, before the foundation of the world. But there was no such a thing as the personal election of unbelievers involved in this plan. Paul plainly says, “he hath chosen us in him.” If we are to take this at what it says then none were chosen out of Christ. And since believers only are in Christ it logically follows that none but believers were chosen before the foundation of the world. But our opponents say, “In the purpose and covenant of grace they were in Christ.” Certainly if one has the right to change the Word of God or put words into the mouth of the writer that he did not use, he may be able to prove in this way that God elected personally a certain percent of the human race to eternal salvation before the foundation of the world. But you would have to change this passage to prove that. In Paul’s description of the lost estate of the Ephesian brethren before they were saved, he declared that they were not included in any of the covenants of promise and that they were without hope and without God in the world. See Eph. 2:12-13.
“That at that time ye were without Christ (not in Him in any sense), being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants (plural) of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”
What then does Eph. 1:4-6 mean? It simply means that before the foundation of the world God fixed the plan of human redemption and made choice of all believers in Christ as His children, and then and there predestinated them unto the adoption of children, to the praise of the glory of His grace, and hath made every one of them accepted in the beloved. There is no acceptance of any one outside of Christ. Who is the “beloved?” Now since no one is accepted out of the “beloved,” then eternal election could not have included unbelievers.
Again, we should not forget that personal election like justification, redemption, and all other divine acts performed in time is eternal as to purpose and plan. In eternity God devised a plan of human redemption and in that plan He placed the death of His only begotten Son as the only means of salvation for a lost world. He also stipulated repentance and faith in that plan as conditions of reaching the benefits of Christ’s death.
We now take you to II Thes. 2:12, 13. “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through« sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.”
Note how these verses sound when placed over against Eph. 1:4-6, the passage already delineated upon. Bear in mind that Paul is the author of both. The doctrine of the unconditional electionist would make Paul contradict himself, or else God made more than one choice in electing those for whom Christ should die. Eph. 1:4, says, “According as he hath chosen (elected) us in him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD,” and II Thes. 2:13, says, “because God hath from the BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Now since Hyper-Calvinists lay so much stress on the words, “before the foundation of the world” and the words, “from the beginning,” let us view these two statements in the light of truth and common sense. The word “beginning” in II Thes. 2:13, cannot mean the beginning of eternity because eternity had no beginning. If it means the beginning of time then
it is out of harmony with Eph. 1:4, which reads, “before the foundation of the world.” Time began with the creation of the world and did not start until the world was created. If the two passages teach the same sort of election, then we have the Ephesians elected before the foundation of the world and the Thessalonians elected after the world began, or the Ephesians elected in eternity and the Thessalonians elected in time. How then are we to harmonize the two statements? Eph. 1:4, as we have already seen, refers to the universal choice of God of all believers in Christ, which choice was made in eternity, while II Thes. 2:13, has reference to the personal election of the Thessalonians, which took place in time, and the time of their personal election is plainly stated. The expression “from the beginning” when found in the New Testament always refers to the proclamation of the gospel in certain localities, unless limited or followed by a qualifying noun or phrase. The proof of the pudding is the pudding itself, and here it is.
Luke 1:2, “Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the ‘beginning’ were eye witnesses and ministers of the word.”
Jno. 6:64, “Jesus knew from the “beginning’ who they were that believed not and who should betray him.”
Jno. 8:25, “And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.”
Jno. 15:27, “Ye have been with me from the beginning'”
Jno. 15:4, “And these things I said not unto you ‘at the beginning'”
Acts 11:15, “And as I began to speak the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us ‘at the beginning’.”
II Jno. 1:5, “Now I beseech thee lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning'”
So we see that the election of the Thessalonians was personal and to eternal salvation which took place when the gospel was preached to them. and when they were sanctified, or set apart by the Holy Spirit to hear the gospel and believe the truth. Now since this election was brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit and the belief of the truth, it was of necessity subsequent to the convincing power of the Holy Spirit and receiving the truth which implies acceptance of Christ as Savior. If this election was in eternity, sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth were also in eternity. Then it follows that the elect were convinced of their sins by the Holy Spirit and believed the truth long before they existed. The conclusions to which our unconditional friends are forced here are absurd and preposterous.
Our next reference is I Peter 1:2. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God-the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; grace unto you and peace be multiplied.”
Those strangers to whom Peter wrote this epistle were scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia. They were all saved children of God and were elected according to His foreknowledge. In fact the whole plan of human redemption was laid out according to God’s foreknowledge. But the question is, how were those people elected? The answer is very explicit. Peter, who is evidently good authority, says, it was through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and the sprinkling of he blood of Jesus Christ. It cannot be successfully denied that if they were elected thus, those agencies had to exist before they were elected. So if they were elected in eternity they were also sanctified, or set apart by the Spirit and cleansed by the blood of Christ in eternity. And what is more they obeyed the gospel in eternity. If you will tell me how one can obey the gospel before he exists will accept Hyper-Calvinism without reservations. There can be no doubt but that those people to whom Peter wrote were some of God’s elect. But what made them the elect of God?
- They had been begotten to a lively hope, verse 3.
- They had an inheritance in heaven, verse 4.
- They were kept by the power of God through faith, verse 5.
- They were in a state of rejoicing, verse 6.
- Their faith had been tried, verse 7.
- They loved God, verse 8.
- They had salvation, verse 9.
- They had already heard the gospel, verse 12.
- They were obedient children, verse 14.
- They had been redeemed by the blood of Christ and knew it, verses 18 and 19.
- They had been born from above, verse 23.
- They had purified their souls by obeying the truth, verse 22.
Therefore we repeat, that the Bible doctrine of election is a glorious, consoling doctrine when correctly understood and is in no sense ambiguous or incomprehensible when rightly interpreted. There is not a case on record anywhere within the lids of the Bible where an unbeliever was ever elected to eternal salvation. If some of our preachers could learn this it would save them from an abundant supply of inconsistency. I have heard them talk loud and long about soul-winning and urge the Christian people to lead the lost to Christ before it was too late, and their souls should sink into hell, and then go to Fifth Sunday meetings and associations and preach for two hours that God in eternity elected a definite number of human beings to salvation and that that number could neither be diminished nor increased. I have even heard them pray, “O God remember the dying groans of thy Son Who died to save these poor sinners and extend mercy to them just now,” and then turn right around and say that God would finally bring in all for whom Christ died. I have also heard them warn the sinner against the dangers of hell right in the face of the fact that they contend that the elect cannot go to hell, and that the non-elect cannot escape it. Why then preach on hell if it is the certain doom of the non-elect and there is not even a possibility of the elect going there? What benefit could either group derive from a sermon on the subject?
THE CALL TO SALVATION
In the arrangement of God’s plan according to gospel order election follows the call to salvation. But the unconditional electionists reverse the order and place election before the call. Therefore they are guilty of contradicting the universal order of God’s Holy Word. Any doctrine that under takes to rearrange divine order is wrong, no difference by whom it is held. Our appeal here as in the preceding articles is to the Word of God. And the first reference is Matt. 20:16.
“So the last shall be first and the first last: for many be called but few chosen.”
In the verse the householder went out at six o’clock in the morning and called for laborers to enter the vineyard. Again he went at nine, at twelve, and at five o’clock and still there were many who would not heed the call, but all those who did were accepted. Those who entered according to the divine plan were put to work with the promise of a reward for service. The reward for service followed the actual entering the vineyard. So the penitent believer enters the vineyard through faith in the Son of God and thereafter receives pay for all that he does.
Matt. 22:14. “Many are called but few are chosen.” In this verse we have almost the same expression as in Matt. 20:16, but it is a different case altogether. In my judgment this verse makes clear the doctrine of election as it relates to the gospel call.
1. The man had been called, or invited to the marriage supper, verse 9. “Go ye therefore into the highways and as many as ye find bid to the marriage.” He would not have been there, though unprepared if he had not been invited. No one can successfully deny that this parable was spoken relative to the gospel call.
2. The man could have had a wedding garment the same as the other guests if he had complied with the conditions of the occasion.
3. He was not rejected upon subjective but objective grounds; not because of any peculiarity or caprice of the king who was giving the marriage supper, but because he had not complied with the conditions, and secured a wedding garment.
4. It is plain to be seen from both narratives that the call to salvation preceded the election, and the reprobation. None were elected till they were first called and had complied with the conditions, and none were reprobated till they were first called and had refused to comply with the conditions. The word “election” in these cases is not to be taken in the sense of the selection of one to the exclusion or rejection of another, but in the sense of acceptance or approval, the sense in which it is always used when reference is made to salvation.
Our next reference is II Peter 1:10. “Wherefore the rather brethren give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do those things ye shall never fall.”
Here as in the other verses cited the call precedes the election, and I repeat for emphasis that this is the universal order of divine truth. Since all must acknowledge that the call to salvation is made in time and since the election follows the call, it is therefore an unrefutable fact that personal election takes place in time.
The sense of the above verse is simply this, make sure brethren that your calling and election has already taken place, this being true you shall never fall.
Rev. 17:14. “And they that are with him are called and chosen, and faithful” Note:
The above verse describes the spiritual condition of all the blood-washed multitudes who are to be with Jesus in the last great day, in His victorious triumph over all opposing kingdoms and powers and governments. They were all first called and then elected or else the Bible is a bunglesome Book and cannot be taken at face value for what it says. How are men going to feel when they stand face to face with Jehovah God who have reversed the divine order of His Word in order to maintain. a theory that is not called after God, but a man, to-wit, John Calvin.
The blood-washed who are to be with Christ in His glorious triumph were:
1. Called by the gospel. 2. They were elected by sovereign grace. They were faithful to their call and election, and were rewarded in glory for the faithful service rendered.
Personal election as we have already shown always takes place in
Christ, but to make it doubly strong, we refer the reader to Rom. 16:18.
“Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord.”
1. Paul declares that Rufus was elected in the Lord. All who are in the Lord are saved. Therefore Rufus was saved when elected to eternal salvation.
2. Rufus was not in the Lord until he believed (eis) Him, Jno. 3:16-18; Acts 16:30, 31. But he was elected in the Lord. Therefore he was not elected until he believed.
3. Rufus believed in the Lord in time. He was not elected until he believed. Therefore he was elected in time.
4. All who are elected to eternal salvation are elected as was Rufus. Rufus was elected in the Lord in time. Therefore all who are elected to salvation are elected in the Lord and in time.
JACOB AND ESAU
It is claimed by the unconditionalists that the case of Jacob and Esau proves the doctrine of unconditional election to salvation.
Rom. 9:11: “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.”
That there was an election or choice made in this case before Jacob and Esau were born cannot be successfully denied, and that the election was wholly unconditional. This election was neither based upon faith, nor the choice of either or both of the children, but was a decree of the divine will. But to contend that this election was to salvation is preposterous, false and as far from the truth as heaven is from hell, or as the east is from the west. It was an election to national preference or theocratic privileges and there is nothing akin to salvation in it. Esau was as truly the offspring of Isaac as was Jacob, yet he was not a member of the theocratic family, nor could his posterity ever become so, “that the purpose of God according to election might stand.” Jacob and his posterity were elected to become members of the theocratic family before Jacob was born, and were to be the recipients of its blessings and privileges. Yet many of his posterity died in their sins and were lost.
Jno. 8:21-24: “Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go ye cannot come.”
Thousands of Jews included in this election were lost and will never meet Jesus in peace. The above verse speaks of two great nations the heads of which were Jacob and Esau and not concerning Jacob and Esau as individuals.
Gen. 25:23: “The Lord said unto her (Rebekah) two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels, and one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall serve the younger.”
There can be no doubt that God was speaking of nations and using Jacob and Esau as representatives, because Esau never did personally serve Jacob, but his posterity did serve Jacob’s posterity, thus “the purpose of God according to election” was fulfilled.
But since it is said that God loved Jacob and hated Esau did He not elect Jacob and reprobate Esau in eternity, and did not Esau have to pursue the course that he followed? Let’s see.
Rom. 9:13: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
This verse is taken by the fatalists to mean that God hated Esau before he was born. But to what previous utterance does Paul refer?
Mal. 1:2, 3: “I have loved you saith the Lord, Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob and hated Esau, and laid his mountains and heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” So it was one thousand two hundred and ninety- two years after the death of Jacob and Esau that God through the mouth of His prophet said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
The reason it is said, God “hated Esau” was because he despised his birthright (Gen. 25:32-34). We are not to understand by the expression, “Esau have I hated” that he was reprobated or rejected as to salvation, but from being head over Israel. Salvation does not enter into this case at all, and those who so use it do the Bible a great injustice and thereby commit an offense against God and humanity.
Rom. 11:5-7 is another passage that the unconditionalist uses in favor of his contention.
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace then it is no more of works; other wise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”
Paul is writing specifically of the Jews who in the days of Elijah rejected the true God for the worship of Baal. But there was a remnant then as in the days of Paul who remained true to God. The Jews were the elect people of God nationally, yet only a remnant had been elected or saved by grace at the time Paul wrote the Roman letter. The reason was because they rejected the Son of God (Jno. 1:11, 12). Here again we have an election within an election. Only a remnant of the Jews, the elect people of God, were at this time elected to salvation, and they only because they believed in Christ as their personal Savior (Jno. 1:12). The first election applies to the Jews as a whole, the second to those among the Jews who were elected to salvation through grace. The 7th verse makes the thought clear. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Why did not all of Israel as a whole obtain election, or salvation through grace? “Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works of the law. For they stumbled at the stumbling stone.” Rom. 9:32.
Paul still treating on the relative position of the Jews according to election, says in Rom. 11:28: “As concerning the gospel they (the masses of the Jews) are enemies for your (the Gentile’s) sake: but as touching the election they are beloved for the father’s sake.”
The gospel rejecting Jews although the chosen people of God, were enemies of Jesus Christ and His message, but because of the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they were beloved to the extent that they were permitted to enjoy national preference and theocratic privileges and blessings. They were in no sense elected to spiritual salvation but were the chosen people of God nationally, yet many of them are today on the road to hell, and perhaps will never accept Christ as their Savior.
Election by grace and salvation by grace is one and the same thing. This is clearly established by comparing Rom. 115, 6 with Eph. 2:8, 9. We see from both passages that it is through faith in the Son of God that one reaches God’s electing, saving grace, and not through works, or overt acts on his part. Neither is it by the choice of unbelievers, through arbitrary decrees set up in eternity. Those who claim that God elected His own from unbelievers back in eternity not only rob man of his freedom of will, but deny the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. If you believe the one you cannot believe the other.
FOREKNOWLEDGE AND ELECTION
Having noticed all the passages in which the word “elect” or “election” occurs which bear upon the subject under consideration, we now turn for a brief discussion of the foreknowledge of God.
It is claimed by the unconditional electionists that election to eternal salvation is based upon the foreknowledge of God. There are two positions. The first is to the effect that God from the depths of eternity foreseeing the repentance and faith of those who would accept His Son as their Savior then and there elected them and them only to eternal salvation. But this position is fatal to the theory. Because it would make both election and salvation conditional, the conditions being foreseen repentance and. faith. Hyper-Calvinism which is the most consistent position of the two, teaches that God foreseeing the run of Adam’s race, did without respect to color, nationality, character or kin, elect a certain definite number of said race to eternal life and then and there arbitrarily decreed to save them in spite of Satanic opposition or the aid of human instrumentality, and that the election of said number meant the rejection and reprobation of the rest of the race. Now this position is entirely out of harmony and incompatible with the Word of God, yet it is the most consistent theory of unconditional election and salvation held in this present day. The one passage relied upon most of all to prove this position is Rom. 8:29, 30.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate them he also called; and whom he called them he also justified; and whom he justified them he also glorified.”
Positively there is not an unconditionalist on earth who will take this passage just as it stands either in the King James version or in the original Greek text. Let us analyze it and see if they will. The first statement, “For whom he did foreknow,” is equivalent to saying, all those whom he did foreknow as His own children. This indeed specifies a certain number and a certain people does not take in all the scope of God’s foreknowledge with reference to everything in general. Because He foreknew everybody and everything if indeed He made it His divine will to know. All we know about ‘His foreknowledge is what He tells us in His Word and that is as far as we are allowed to go. To go beyond that is to get into the field of supposition and leave the Word of God. We know that all of His works were known unto Him, for in Acts 15:18 it is said, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” The unconditional electionist says, Very well, this means those whom He foreknew as His children. But if they were His when He foreknew them, then they were made such by some previous act. By what process or previous act were they made the children of God that He might know them as such? Was it His choice or election of them? If so, then election preceded His foreknowledge. Therefore it would logically follow that election is not based on foreknowledge, but on the other hand foreknowledge is based upon election.
Again, the unconditional electionist will not take the passage as it stands because its every word is in the aroist tense in the Greek which is past tense in English. So then according to the tense of this divine declaration, If God knew all those who were to become His children and wrote them down as such in eternity, and predestined them in eternity, He also called them and justified them and glorified them in eternity. But says one, “He did call, justify and glorify His children in eternity prospectively and spoke of those acts as if they had already been accomplished.” But if He only called, justified and glorified them in eternity prospectively and spoke of the whole transaction which was yet future as though it had already taken place, there is no escape from the conclusion that He only knew them and predestinated them as His prospectively in eternity. For you cannot scripturally interpret a part of this passage to mean future and the other part to mean past. The whole transaction was either in the future or in the past and we contend that it all took place in the past just as Paul so declares. The people of whom he wrote these things were known to God as His children, predestined, called, justified and glorified before Paul’s day. Rotherham’s translation of the original Greek into the English adheres strictly to the grammar of the Greek text and allows the Bible to say in English exactly what it says in the Greek. So according to Rotherham we would read Rom. 8:29, 30, thus:
“Because whom he before approved (saved) he also before marked out conformable to the image of his Son to the end he (Christ) might be the first born among many brethren. But whom he before marked out, the same he also called, and whom he called the same he also declared righteous, and whom he declared righteous, the same he also made glorious.”
The company referred to here were “many brethren'”-not all the saved from first to last. Among these “many brethren” Christ was to be “the first born.” What does this expression mean? It cannot mean that He was to be the first person born into the world because there were millions born before His fleshly birth. It means that he was the first born from the dead after the general order of the resurrection. Proof:
Col. 1:18: “And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
I Cor. 15:20: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
Acts 26:23: “That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people and unto the Gentiles.”
Rev. 1:5: “And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth, unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
Now, we see clearly that Christ was the first to be raised from the dead after the general order of the resurrection and was therefore the first fruits of the resurrection, and with Him says Paul, “many brethren” were to come forth from their graves. If we can find when all this took place the meaning of Rom. 8:29, 30 is made clear. Dear reader, it took place when Christ came out of the tomb in Jerusalem. God speaking through the mouth of Isaiah the prophet concerning the resurrection of His Son several hundred years before it took place, says, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.” Isa. 26:19. This prophecy was literally fulfilled, Matt. 27:52, 53. “And the graves were opened; and “many” (the same many” of Rom. 8:29) bodies of the saints arose. And came out of their graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared unto many.” So those “many brethren” were not only “before approved” or saved, but were also called, justified, and glorified.
The word “called” in the passage does not mean the call to salvation, because many were called to salvation who refused the call and were never saved. See Isa. 45:22; Matt. 22:14; 20:16. But every one included in this call was declared righteous, which shows that it was the high and holy calling that is extended to every child of God, and which always follows salvation. II Tim. 1:9.
“Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his purpose and grace which was given us in Christ before the world began. So this call is not according to works nor yet according to foreordination, or election but according to the grace that was given to us in the covenant of redemption in Christ before the world began.
Jude 1: “To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ and called.”
So it is clear that those patriarchs and prophets whom God had before approved (saved), declared righteous and called, were made glorious in their resurrection when they came forth from their graves with the Son of God on the morning of His resurrection.
DID GOD DECREE THE DESTINY OF ALL MANKIND IN ETERNITY?
The Hyper-Calvinist both tries to deny and prove the position. He denies that God made the non-elect for destruction, and yet he cites the following passages to prove that He did. Indeed the legs of the lame are unequal. First he argues the question on the basis that God ordained a certain definite number to eternal life and second that the rest of mankind were reprobated to the extent that not one of them can be saved any way it can be fixed. In proof of the first proposition, that God will bring in all of the elect, they cite Acts 13:48:
“And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
The word “ordained” in this verse is from “tasso” and is translated thus by Rotherham, “And they believed as many as had become disposed to age abiding life.” This implies that all those who were inclined to give the gospel an honest hearing and the matter of their soul salvation serious thought, turned to Christ by faith for life everlasting. So this makes the verse clear and shows that it is not out of harmony with the general teaching of the Word of God.
The later part of the 9th chapter of Romans is also relied upon to prove the doctrine of eternal unconditional election. But since we have already noticed the case of Jacob and Esau we shall begin with the 15th verse.
“For he saith unto Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion. on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”
The reader will have no trouble in understanding the 9th chapter of Romans if first of all he will take under consideration that Paul is discussing the Jew and Gentile, the system of law and the system of grace and the attitude of these two peoples toward Christ and the covenant of redemption. So Paul is showing in the above verses that God is no respecter of persons, that he will have mercy on a Gentile the same as a Jew. Certainly no one would undertake to deny God the right to show mercy unto whom He will,except the prejudiced, narrow contracted Jew, who at that time looked upon the Gentiles as being as low down and as worthless as dogs. So indeed salvation was not of the Jew that “willeth” or of the Jew that “runneth,” or doeth the works of the law, but of God that showeth mercy even to a penitent believing Gentile. In fact salvation has never been by the law, but according to the mercy of God based upon faith in Jesus Christ to both Jew and Gentile.
The Hyper-Calvinist uses the case of Pharaoh to prove that God fixed the destiny of all men in eternity. Rom. 9:17, 18.
“For the secriptures saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”
These verses are always interpreted by our opponents to mean that God caused Pharaoh to be born into the world to be cursed and reprobated, but where they get the thought is more than we can see, for no such idea is conveyed in the text. The expression, “I have raised thee up that I might show my power in thee,” evidently means Pharaoh’s exaltation to kingly authority and power. He was made king over the greatest kingdom that had ever existed prior to his day. God “raised him up” or permitted him to ascend the throne of Egypt and God threw him down that He might show His power over earthly kings and governments. But no such thought is contained in the Scriptures, that God permitted Pharaoh to be born into the world and rule Egypt in order that He might reprobate him to eternal death and make an example of him to all the non-elect. If this passage teaches that God created Pharaoh in order to damn him, it logically follows that every soul that will be cast into the lake of fire was created for that self-same purpose. The God that we worship is a God that is represented to us in the Holy Scriptures as a God of justice, love, mercy and sensibility, taking no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Rom. 3:26; Jno. 3:16; Ezek. 33:11; Heb. 4:15. God does not raise men up for the slaughter pen like men raise cattle and sheep and hogs. He is not engaged in the slaughter business.
Again it is claimed by the Hyper-Calvinist that Rom. 9:21-24 teaches that God fixed the destiny of every individual before he was created; that since it is said that God the potter hath power over man the clay to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor of the same lump, He fixed the destiny of every man before He made him. But any one who has eyes to see, ears to hear and a mind susceptible of intelligent comprehension can see at a glance if he is unbiased that it is the Jew and the Gentile under consideration in these verses. The thought is, that God the potter can make of the worthless, downtrodden Gentile who believes in His Son a vessel of honor and mercy, and that he has the power and right on the bases of His justice to reprobate the obstinate, unbelieving Jew, although he is a member of His theocratic family.
Yes, the potter has power over the clay to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor, but who ever heard of a potter wasting good clay just to show his power. It devolves upon the unconditional electionist to prove that God is engaged in such a wasteful, unmerciful business. If, as he claims, this Scripture teaches that God made the non-elect to dishonor, then He made him for hell. And so it turns out that the poor fellow is not responsible for his hi-jacking, devastation and murder, because God made him for that purpose.
But what about those “vessels of wrath fitted for destruction?” The reader should keep in mind that the Bible does not say that God fitted them for destruction. It would be charging God with a crime worse than murder to accuse Him of fitting them for destruction. Therefore we defy the opposition and unhesitatingly affirm that they fitted themselves for destruction. They are the people under consideration in Rom. 1:21-32, and if you will take the time to turn and read those verses you will clearly see who did the fitting act. There is not a scintilla of proof. in all the Word of God that He ever fitted a soul for destruction in eternity by any sort of a decree of the divine will. But on the other hand the Scriptures show that His divine will never did run in that channel. II Pet. 3:9 should forever settle this question with all honest students of the Bible for God says: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
But who were the vessels of mercy “which he had afore prepared unto glory?” Verse 24 explains it. “Even us whom he hath called (not whom he elected in eternity), not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.” This preparation was not unto salvation, but unto glory. The salvation itself was the preparation. We shall save the 25th and 26th verses of this chapter for our next study.
From the 30th verse to the close of the chapter Paul reaches his climax and sums up in few. words the meaning of the whole ninth chapter of Romans, drawing the contrast between the vessels of honor and the vessels of dishonor, the vessels of mercy and the vessels fitted to destruction.
“What shall we say then? (to all those things we have said in the preceding verses). That the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith (not election in eternity). But Israel which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling-stone; as it is written, Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone and rock of offense; and whosoever believeth in him (not whosoever was elected in eternity) shall not be ashamed.
So we see in the closing verses of this chapter that Paul shows clearly that the salvation of the soul was not based upon election or choice, nor yet upon strength of character, nor works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Whether you accept it or not this is the doctrine of the Bible, that will stand when this old world is on fire.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE OF GOD?
In this study we shall notice the passages relied upon to prove that God has had a people from the depths of eternity designated as His children, the sheep of His pasture.
Mr. Crawford, a champion of this theory in his book, Christian Paradoxes, page 193, contends that Christ was made a curse for those only who were sons of God, that they might receive the adoption of sons, and then concludes by asking the question, “Was Christ made a curse for those who are not sons?” The proof cited Gal. 3:13; 4:6. Mr. Crawford finds in Gal. 3:13 that Christ died to redeem us from the curse of the law and then goes over to Gal. 4:6, where it is said, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father,” and thus, by perverting and disjoining the Holy Scriptures, reasons that Christ died for only the elect sons of God. The Bible teaches no such thing. Christ died for all that were under the law and all mankind were under the law, Gal. 4:4. So Jesus was made a curse for all who were under the law, that all those who would accept Him might receive the adoption of sons, and because they were made sons of God through the birth of the Spirit, He sent His Spirit into their hearts to abide with them. There is not even the shadow of an inference in Gal. 3:13, and 4:6 that Jesus was made a curse for those who were the elect sons of God. If Mr. Crawford had only read through the 14th verse of the third chapter of Galatians he doubtless would have discovered that Christ died to redeem us from the curse of the law, not because we were elected, or made sons of God in eternity, but that we “might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” And if he had read Gal. 4:7, 8, he certainly would have found that the Galatians were made sons by an act of God that was performed in time, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did serve unto them which by nature are no gods. But now after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” So we see, if the Galatians were sons of God in eternity God did not know them. For they were not known by Him as his children until they had become heirs of God through Jesus Christ, Gal. 4:7. And this was after they had served the gods of this world.
Again Mr. Crawford contends that God was under no obligation to provide for any one an opportunity of salvation, because, as he reasons, none were worthy; all alike had fallen in Adam and all were condemned. But he should remember according to his theory, that election, foreordination and predestination preceded the fall of man and the provision of salvation. If as he says, God had elected a certain part of the human family foreordained, and predestined them to eternal life, He was under no obligation to provide salvation for them, then election, foreordination and predestination amount to less than nothing, Mr. Crawford himself being the witness.
Hear him again, he quotes Jno. 10:11 and then remarks, “Who are those sheep for whom the Saviour gives his life?” He himself tells us. “Before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.” “Are any of the sheep for whom the Saviour died absent or on the left hand?”
Mr. Crawford does not seem to know that Christ is speaking of sheep and goat nations here. But if he wants to confine the term sheep to the children of God, I would answer that all such sheep for whom Christ gave His life, were redeemed by His blood and born of the Spirit of God, and that none of them will be absent when Jesus comes. But all from righteous Abel down to the last man saved will be there to testify of Christ’s saving grace. Mr. Crawford should remember that God had many sheep, saved children, when Christ laid down His life, and that His death was for them the same as for those who should believe on Him in the future. Christ gave himself for the church, Eph. 5:25. So then according to Mr. Crawford, since He gave Himself for the church, He did not give himself for any others. Then it follows according to his method of reasoning that all the elect were in the church when Jesus died on the cross. Hence the great universal church composed of all the elect, past, present and future, or else all the elect had been gathered in when Christ died. Such reasoning is wholly absurd.
By what process is one made a sheep? Is it by an election or choice which took place before the foundation of the world? If so, who, or what were those sheep before the choice was made? Evidently they must have been goats. If they were made sheep by the choice of God in eternity, what effect did the fall of man have upon them? They must have had the same totally depraved nature that the goats had. If they did then they, too, became goats in the fall. Hence the doctrine of apostasy is true, or else a sheep is a goat. So much for Mr. Crawford’s position.
We now turn to the proof texts used in support of the position that God has always had an elect people, from the depths of eternity for whom Christ died. The first reference is Jno. 6:37.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
Here it is contended that God gave to His Son in eternity a definite number of the human race and in the fullness of time Jesus came and died for that number, no more and no less, and that they all will ultimately come to Christ and be saved. But the position cannot be maintained by Scriptures, for the reason the giving as well as the coming is in time. The verb “didos” translated “giveth” is present tense, which proves conclusively that the giving was not done in eternity, but is an act of the Father that continues throughout time. The verb “haxa” is future perfecet tense, and correctly read is, “will have come,” instead of “shall come.” Rotherham’s translation reads thus, “All which the Father gives me, unto me will have come.” This makes the verse clear, and shows that all whom the Father gives to His Son will already have come to Him when the giving takes place. They come by repentance and faith and are given in regeneration.
Acts 18:10 is another passage that is relied upon to prove that God has an elect people who are yet to be brought in.
“For I am with thee and no man shall set on thee, to hurt thee, for I have much people in this city.”
This verse is interpreted to mean that God had many people in Corinth among the elect who were unsaved and in unbelief and therefore Paul was urged to remain in the city and preach the Word to them that they might be saved. But there is nothing in the passage to support such an idea. There are but two classes of people in the world subject to gospel address and they are the children of God and the children of the devil (Jno. 8:39-47). All of God’s children are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and have been born from above, while the children of the devil are unbelievers. living in open rebellion against God. But who were the “much people” in the city of Corinth? Verse two of this same chapter names Acquila and Prsicilla and verse seven names Justus who also “worshipped God.” Verse eight names “Crispus the ehief ruler of the synagogue who believed on the Lord with all of his house, and many of the Corinthians having believed were baptized.” all of which took place before the Lord said unto Paul. *for I have much people in this city” Notice in verse eight, that a multitude of people too numerous to mention by name had believed on Christ and had even followed him in baptism. So the “many Corinthians” of verse eight were the much people of verse ten. There is no such creature as an unbelieving elect child of God. If we are to take the Word of God as our authority. then none but believers were ever elected to eternal salvation.
The unconditional electionist contends that God has a book called the book of life in which He recorded the names of His elect before the world began and that every one written therein is an elect child of God, the only ones for whom Christ died, and the only ones who will ultimately be saved. Their proof text is Rev. 17:8.
“And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.”
That God has a book called the book of life in which the names of His children are recorded I do not deny, but that He recorded the names of sinners dead in trespasses and in sins in this book I do most emphatically deny. If the above verse teaches what is claimed by the unconditional electionist it is out of harmony with the general teaching of the Word of God. To translate the verse correctly according to the original Greek. is to read it thus, “And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder whose names have not been written in the book of life (apo katobolas kosmou) since the founding of the world.” Westcott and Hort translates “apo” from, out of, since, henceforth, and cites II Cor. 8:10; 9:4, and other passages where it should be translated since. Thayer translates “katabolas kosmou” throwing down, lay ing down, founding the world. “Were not written” in the passage is past perfect tense in the Greek, and should be read as in Rotherham and in all other correct translations, “have not been written.” This makes the verse clear, which states in unmistakable terms that all of those of all generations since the founding of the world wonder whose names have not been written in the book of life when they see the Christ whom they have rejected overcoming the beast whom they had worshipped and putting an end to all autocratic governments.
Those only who have accepted Christ and have been born from above, and have life eternal are written in the book of life. I can show you in the Scriptures where many of the names of God’s children were written in the book of life, but you cannot show a single, instance where an unbeliever’s name was ever written there. The names of the disciples were written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Paul refers to a large number of yoke-fellows and servants of the most High God whose names were written in the book of life, Phil. 4:3.
The writing in the Lamb’s book of life is not done with the pen of arbitrary decrees and the ink of unconditional election, but with the blood of Christ as of a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
In conclusion, we cite you to Rom. 9:25, 26, which reads as follows: “As he saith in Osee I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in that place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”
Away then with the boasted claim that God has a people by name whom He elected in eternity and whose names are written in the book of life and for whom alone Christ died, and that none others can be saved. Here God in
rebuttal to this unscriptural claim declares, “I will call them my people which WERE NOT MY PEOPLE.” If God calls them His people it is an evident fact that they are His, for the reason God cannot lie. At one time they were not the people of God in any sense, but now through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ they have become heirs of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ.
SALVATION IS CONDITIONAL
Salvation is offered to the alien sinner on certain prescribed conditions. The Bible teaches that there are specific terms or stipulations in the plan of salvation with which the sinner must comply in order to be saved; that those terms or stipulations were written into said plan by the hand of inspiration without consulting man as to his likes or dislikes.
Since it was by man’s own voluntary transgression of divine law that he was separated from God, it must also be by man’s compliance with divine terms or stipulations that he is reinstated, or brought back into union and fellowship with God. God did not force or compel man to disobey His law, but on the other hand urged him to keep it and warned him as to the fearfulness of the penalty should he disobey it. Neither does God force or compel man to comply with the terms or stipulations of the plan of redemption. Although God knew that man would violate His law and fall into sin, He did not arbitrarily decree that he should, nor does He arbitrarily decree that any one shall comply with the terms of salvation and be saved. Spiritual death was not forced upon man, neither is eternal life forced upon him.
There never has been but two classes of people in the world since the fall of man, and they are the children of God and the children of the devil. God’s children partake of His nature and the devil’s children partake of the devil’s nature. The human race is divided into two great families, the family of God and the family of the devil. Therefore one cannot be in the family of God as long as he is in the family of the devil. Those in the family of God are under the government, rules and laws of God, and those in the family of the devil are under his government and live according to his biddings. Before a child of the devil can become a member of God’s family and be an heir of the heavenly possession he must comply with God’s terms and conditions at which time God changes him from an alien to a citizen of the heavenly possession. All men are first children of the devil, “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise.”
Eph. 2:12, 13, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
How were the Ephesians made citizens of the government of God? Paul answers in verses 16-18. “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were afar off (Gentiles), and to them that were nigh (Jews).” Thus foreigners were made citizens by the blood of Christ through the gospel. That is the only way lost souls can become children of God, and heirs of the promise. Paul says in Eph. 3:6, “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”
If salvation to the alien sinner is unconditional, then the alien sinner is as helpless, deaf, blind, and dead as a stone. He can neither hear, see, feel, nor be appealed to. He can neither partition nor make application to the government of God for citizenship. What government goes out and lays hands on the people of other governments and by force compels them to become citizens of its own? God is not engaged in the arbitrary business. One can become a citizen of the government of God if he so desires and will comply with the conditions as set forth in the Word of God.
If, as the unconditional electionist says, the alien sinner is so dead that he can neither think, see, hear nor feel, then he must be born, begotten, or made alive before he can repent, believe or even desire to be saved. And of course when one is begotten, or born again and has spiritual life, he is as much a child of God then as he will ever be. So it follows as an undisputable fact, if the position be true that only children of God can hear the gospel, repent and believe. Then why preach to unborn aliens? But if salvation to the alien sinner is conditional then he by the help of God can repent and the penitent sinner can trust in Christ for life and salvation. God offers to help the sinner and not to force him to become a child of God as we shall prove by the Holy Scriptures before we shall have finished this study. We shall prove beyond a reasonable doubt by the Word of God that by the help of the Lord the blind sinner can see, perceive; the deaf sinner can hear, understand; the dead sinner can feel, act. If we can’t prove this then our position falls to the ground and the fatalists are right. Follow the study and be convinced.
My first argument is based upon the fact that God commands alien sinners to hear the gospel.
Isa. 1:10, “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.”
Isa. 1:18, “Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
In the above verses the dead, blind, deaf rulers of Sodom were commanded to hear the word of the Lord, and come to Him for the cleansing of their sins. The Lord made it possible for them not only to hear the words of truth, but also to come to Him for life and salvation.
Isa. 55:3-7, “Incline your ear and come unto me, hear and your soul shall live and l will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David . . . Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God for he will abundantly pardon.”
Three things are here commanded of sinners:
1. “Incline” his ear, hear and come to God, with the promise that his dead soul shall live.
2. To seek the Lord, while He may be found, and to call upon Him while He is near.
3. To forsake his wicked way and his unrighteous thoughts.
Now if the above passage has any meaning at all, it teaches that the dead sinner can hear, seek the Lord, call upon Him, forsake his evil ways, and even his unrighteous thoughts. There are seven verbs in the passage which denote soul-action on the part of the dead sinner in reaching life and salvation. They are, “Incline,” “hear,” “come,” “seek,” “call,” “forsake,” “return.” All of these verbs are second person, present tense, active voice, imperative mode, which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the dead sinner can, and must act in compliance with the conditions of salvation.
Again, there can be no salvation without faith in Christ, and there can be no faith without hearing. Rom. 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing. and hearing by the word of God.” Therefore lost sinners must hear and give heed to the gospel in order to be saved. How is that done? The following verses show how it is done.
Rom. 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed, and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Rom. 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”
I Cor. 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
Acts 4:4, “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed, and the number of men were about five thousand.”
What does preaching the gospel in all these passages cited imply? It implies the preaching of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 20:20, 21, based upon the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
Not all who hear the gospel will be saved. Some hear it, turn away from it and are eternally lost. This also proves that dead sinners can hear and understand the gospel.
Matt. 7:26, 27, “And every one that heareth these sayings and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand, and the rain descended, and the floods came and the wind blew and beat upon that house and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
This passage teaches that some hear the gospel but do not comply with its demands and are therefore lost. This together with many other passages explodes the theory of pre-regeneration, which teaches that one must be regenerated, or born of the Spirit, before he can even hear the gospel.
Let us take another verse treating on the same thought. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandments delivered unto them.” II Pet. 2:21.
It is plainly stated that those people knew the. way of righteousness, verse 21. Yet they were cursed children, verse 14. They were not children of. God because they loved the wages of unrighteousness, verse 15. They had a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, verse 20. But to them was reserved the mist of darkness forever, verse 17. Even those lost people who actually knew the way of righteousness through hearing the gospel were not so deaf but what they could hear. They were not so dead but what they could resist salvation, for they “turned from the “holy commandments delivered unto them.” They were not so blind but what they could distinguish between the way of righteousness and the way of error, but they chose the latter to their own condemnation. They were not forced by any law, decree, or act of the Divine Will, to reject the way of righteousness after they had known it, nor the way of error, they did it voluntarily.
That God uses human instrumentality in winning the lost to Christ, cannot be successfully denied. Acts 15:7.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto them, Men and brethren ye know, how a good while ago, God made choice among us that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe.”
Who then will deny that the Gentiles were dead sinners, and that through the instrumentality of the gospel were won to Christ? Paul declares in Acts 26:18, that his commission from God was to open the eyes of the Gentiles and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them who are sanctified in Christ Jesus. The gospel accompanied by the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the blind, unstops the ears of the deaf, and arouses the dead soul to a sense of his lost condition, thus placing him where he must either accept or reject offered salvation.
It is the Word of Truth that causes sinners to trust in Christ for salvation, and not regeneration. Eph. 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: In whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” So after one hears the Word of truth and believes in the Son of God he is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, and is therefore elected unto eternal salvation.
God makes it the duty of His redeemed children to win the lost to Christ, James 5:20.
“Let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
How can mortal man convert the sinner from the error of his way and save his soul from death? Matt. 28:19, 20, tells us how this is done. Also Jno. 5:24. The preaching of the gospel accompanied by the Holy Spirit turns the sinner from Satan unto God and thereby saves his soul from death.
In the next place God helps the sinner to hear, repent and believe by sending the Holy Spirit along with the Word, I Thes. 1:5, “For our gospel came not to you in word only, but in power and in the Holy Ghost.” Jno. 16:8, “And when he (the Spirit) is come he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment.” The word “reprove” means to convict and is so translated by Rotherham and others. But the word convict does not mean to give life, but to convince the lost sinner that he is lost, and the dead sinner that he is dead. The sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, but the word dead as used with reference to the sinner in the Bible does not mean an absence of sensibility as some have erroneously contended, it means totally corrupt, separated from God.
The Holy Spirit convinces all mankind of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come, but all who are convicted or convinced of the Holy Spirit do not receive the gospel and accept Christ as their Savior. It. is said of Ephraim Hosea 4:17, he “is joined to his idols, let him alone.” In Rom. 1:26, Paul says, “For this cause God gave them up to vile affections.” The 24th verse says, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanliness through the lusts of their own hearts.” Now, for what cause did God give those people up? Because they changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped the creature more than the Creator, and not because they were reprobated in eternity and were so dead they could neither hear, see nor feel.
(1) Those people had the truth revealed to them, verse 19. (2) They had a knowledge of the true God as is revealed through the gospel, verse 21. (3) They knew the judgments of God against sin, verse 32. (4) But because they would not retain God in their knowledge He gave them over to a reprobate mind to work all uncleanliness with greediness, verse 28. So all with whom the Spirit strives, convicts and draws, do not accept Jesus as Savior. Many of them’ resist the Spirit who convicts them of sin and make their beds in hell. Acts 5:51; Gen. 3:6. It is declared in Acts 5:51, that the Holy Spirit did strive with those stiff-necked Pharisees, or else how could they have resisted Him, if He had not first striven with them. As did the Pharisees so did their fathers before them, Isa. 63:10, “But they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy and fought against them.” Sad indeed is the day when God gives one up and turns as an enemy upon him. This is what He does when men have resisted His Spirit long enough.
Felix and Agrippa were both convicted of their sins, but as far as the records go, they both went the way of death. Acts 24:25, Felix said unto Paul, “Go thy way, when I have a convenient season I will call for thee.” Felix was trembling under the mighty power of God when he said it. The same things were true of Agrippa in Acts 26:28. Why did Paul persuade him to be a Christian? Because he could have been one if he would.
GOD’S APPEAL TO MAN
God’s appeal to man and His entreaty to the alien sinner to hear the gospel, repent of his sins and to accept Christ as his personal Savior proves that salvation is offered to the sinner on certain conditions and that man’s will is consulted. Proof Isa. 65:2, 3:
“I have spread out my hands all day to a rebellious people, which walked in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts. A people that provoked me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificed in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick.”
If the people to whom Isaiah spread out his hands and with whom he pleaded were reprobated in eternity where was the wisdom in wasting time to preach to them? They were numbered to the sword because they rejected God’s call to salvation and not because they were reprobated in eternity. The only reason men go to hell is because they reject offered mercy. Hear what God says concerning those people in verse 12.
“Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called ye did not answer; when I speak ye did not hear, but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose wherein I delighted not.”
The reader will note here, that those folk chose their own way against the will of God. For it is said that they “did choose wherein I delighted not.” So then man beyond a doubt according to the Scriptures has the right of choice in the matter of his own salvation.
What is the final outcome of those who continue to reject God’s call to salvation? Isa. 6:9, 10, tells the whole story:
“And he said, Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert and be healed.”
The unconditional electionist makes the wrong application of this passage. He contends that the reason those people could not hear, see and understand was because they were left out of the covenant of grace. But to the contrary, the Bible declares that at one time they had the ability to hear, see and perceive, but because they would not harken to the call of salvation that ability was taken away from them. You cannot take away that which one does not possess. You could not shut the eyes of, a people whose eyes were already closed, neither could you make their ears heavy if they were already deaf. Just how far one may go in sin before the ability to hear, see and perceive is taken away from him I do not know, but according to the Scriptures it has been taken away from some because they would not answer the call to salvation. Gen. 6:3; II Pet. 2:21; Hosea 4:17; Rom. 1:24-28.
Paul referring to Isaiah’s prophecy, says, Rom. 10:21, “But to Israel he saith, All day long have I stretched forth my hand unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
The people to whom Isaiah spoke were the elect people of God, Israel, yet many of them refused the gospel invitation, died in their sins and were lost. Jno. 1:11-13; 8:21. Then if those among Israel who refused to hear the gospel were reprobated in eternity, and could neither hear, see nor perceive, why did God send a messenger to thus entreat them? Was it just to mock them with the offer of a sham freedom, a freedom that they could in no sense accept or enjoy? No, God is too holy to deceive His creatures. It was the opportunity of those people to accept the Christ and be saved, but many of them refused it and made their bed in hell.
The language of Christ in Matt. 23:37, ought to settle the question in the minds of all honest truth seekers as to man’s freedom of choice in the matter of his own salvation. As Christ wept over the sins of the people of Jerusalem, He said:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.”
The people of Jerusalem did not kill the prophets and stone the servants of God and reject the Son of God as Savior because they were reprobated in eternity and could not accept Christ, but because they “would not.” There is a great deal of difference in “would not” and “could not.” The unconditional electionist says, they could not accept Christ because they were of the non-elect and had no will power of their own. But the Bible which is our all sufficient authority says, they “would not” which proves- conclusively that they did have the will power to either accept or reject, and their condemnation was based upon their rejection and not upon their non-election, or reprobation in eternity. II Pet. 2:10 tells us that they were “presumptuous,” “self-willed” and “not afraid to speak evil of dignities.”
But since those people resisted the Holy Spirit, and rejected the gospel, did Christ die for them? Yes, II Pet. 2:1, say He did.
“But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
Nothing can be plainer than that Christ died for those folk. The expression, “the Lord that bought them'” settles it. Yet they were lost because they brought “upon themselves swift destruction.” Note, they were not destroyed because they were reprobated in eternity, but they brought destruction upon themselves. That settles the question in this case that the sinner is given the ability to either accept Christ or reject Him, and if it settles it in this case it settles it in all other cases, because God is no respecter of persons.
Again, the gospel is preached to the dead as a condition of life, to the blind as a condition of sight and to the deaf as a condition of hearing. Therefore the dead are commanded to live, the deaf are commanded to hear and blind are commanded to see.
Isa. 42:18. “Hear ye deaf, and look ye blind that ye may see.”
Isa. 29:18. “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.” But the same crowd of dead, blind deaf sinners can refuse to hear the gospel and make their bed in hell.
Acts 3:22, 23, “The Lord your God shall raise up unto you a prophet like unto me, him shall ye hear in all things. And it shall come to pass that every soul that will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.”
Notice in all of the above passages man’s will is consulted, and his right of choice recognized. If people who go to hell cannot hear the gospel then the above passage should, and would have read, “And it shall come to pass that every soul that cannot hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.”
Although man is dead in trespasses and in sin, separated from God in his natural state, yet. he is an intelligent- being, having a mind susceptible of being taught, ranking next to God in wisdom, possessing that faculty of soul which enables him to reason, understand and comprehend the eternal principles of truth set forth in the Word of God. But if as some claim, the sinner is so dead, blind and deaf that he can neither feel, see nor hear, then you had as well run a saloon as a church in so far as reaching the sinner is concerned. The conclusion is that he can neither be appealed to for good or bad. But the sole purpose of the gospel is to open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, and call the dead in sin to repentance with the assurance that Christ will be with us in the person of the Holy Spirit and will give power to His Word. Acts. 26:16-18; Matt. 28:19, 20.
The Bible doctrine of repentance proves that salvation to the alien sinner is conditional. One cannot be saved without repentance, therefore repentance is indispensably necessary to salvation and must precede it.
Since one cannot be saved without repentance, and repentance is an obligation required of the alien sinner then it follows that repentance is a necessary condition of salvation. Again, if repentance is an obligation required of the alien sinner that must be met and complied with before the sinner can be saved, salvation is conditional in spite of all opposition and criticism to the contrary. But if one can be saved without repentance then repentance is not a necessary condition of salvation, hence unconditional salvation. If according to the contention of the unconditional electionist one must be regenerated or born again, which of course means one and the same thing in Bible phraseology, before he can repent, then it follows that only children of God can repent, hence unconditional salvation. If by regeneration you mean begotten, and by begotten you mean a. child only in the embryo state, then it follows that the child in the embryo state must repent in order to be born of the Spirit, hence conditional salvation. If by regeneration you mean to quicken and by quicken you mean just enough spiritual life to place the sinner in a position to act, and repentance stands between the quickened sinner and salvation, then the quickened sinner must repent in order to be saved, hence conditional salvation. Any way, or any how you place repentance between the unborn sinner and salvation you place it there as an indispensable condition of salvation.
There are but two consistent positions to be taken. The one is the Hard shell position, which is salvation by arbitrary decrees, the other is the Pauline position, which is salvation by grace through faith. The latter position I believe with all of my heart, and shall undertake to prove it by the immutable Word of God.
I. Sinners are commanded to repent.
Acts 17:30, “In the time of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”
Matt. 3:3, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Note in the first quotation the writer says, “all men everywhere” are commanded to repent. So if according to any sort of decree of the divine will all men everywhere, cannot repent and repent now, then God has commanded an impossibility.
In the second quotation John the Baptist in his first sermon in the wilderness said, “Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” “Ye” is the subject in the verse and refers to the multitude to whom John preached, while “repent” is the verb, or predicate. Repent is second person, plural number, present tense, active voice, and imperative mode. Repent being second person shows that somebody was addressed; plural number reveals the fact that all to whom John preached were addressed. Imperative mode shows that the multitude addressed were commanded to act then and there; active voice proves that they could act and that the act demanded was repentance.
If Jesus is authority on the subject of repentance, then repentance is an act or duty required of men. Mark 1:14, 15, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
II. Repentance is a Necessary Condition of Keeping the Soul out of Hell.
Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Then again in verse five you have the same expression, “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.”
If the Son of God was here addressing unsaved people, then unsaved people can repent; but if He were addressing children of God then it follows that children of God must repent or perish. Hence the doctrine of apostasy is true.
Repentance is in order to the blotting out of sins and the blotting out of sins is in order to salvation. Therefore one cannot enjoy the blessings of salvation without repentance. Acts 13:19.
“Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” God’s proposition to Nineveh was to repent or perish. When they repented their sins were forgiven, and God repented of the evil that He had pronounced against them and saved the city. Matt. 12:41.
“The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with his generation and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonah and behold a greater than Jonah is here.”
But it is claimed by the unconditional electionist that since the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Rom. 11:29) God works repentance into the hearts of those whom He saves without respect to their right of choice, and that man has absolutely nothing to do with his repentance, that repentance like salvation is a gift of God. To prove this they cite Acts 11:18, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” We readily admit that God has offered repentance to mankind as an opportunity to escape hell, but that man has nothing to do with it is foreign from the teachings of the Bible. Repentance is a gift of God like faith is a gift of God in that they both come through hearing the gospel. The gospel reveals to man that he is a sinner and that salvation is given to those only who repent of their sins, thus shifting the weight of responsibility upon man and leaving it up to him as to whether or not he shall repent or perish. In Acts 26:20, Paul gives a clear cut statement as to how repentance is brought about:
“I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but showed first unto them of Damascus and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea and then to the Gentiles that they should repent and turn to God and do works meet for repentance.”
So we see from the above passage that the Gospel of Jesus Christ urges lost men to repent of their sins. So we contend that enlightened sinners can repent if they will, but that God does not force them to repent.
The unconditional electionist gives the wrong interpretation of Rom. 11:29. The original Greek says in plain words, “For not to be regretted are the gifts and callings of God. In other words, one should not regret the gift of God that is bestowed upon him, nor the call that comes from God to enter into His service, but should rejoice that God has counted him worthy of such honor. Just think how a wrong interpretation of a quotation, though it may be slight, can destroy the meaning of the whole passage. May God help us to be careful as to how we handle His precious Word.
III. Paul was arrested, imprisoned, stoned, beaten and finally killed because he preached that men should repent.
Acts 20:20-21, “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now behold I go bound in Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
IV. Sinful men can repent or else Jesus took delight in mocking their reprobation and pre-determined damnation.
Matt. 11:20, 21, “Then began he to upbraid (reprove) the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin. woe unto thee, Bethsadia! for if the mighty works, which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
The cities Chorazin and Bethsaida could have repented, because Jesus does not upbraid or reprove people for failing to do the impossible. But they were upbraided and woe was pronounced against them, not because they were left out of the covenant of grace, or reprobated in eternity, but because they refused to repent and accept Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Now if only the regenerated can repent then the doctrine of apostasy is true, because all the facts in this case go to show that those people could have repented but did not and will come up in the final judgment condemned and will be consigned to an eternal hell (Matt. 11:23).
1. Jesus upbraided the cities of Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida because they repented not.
But they could have repented else Jesus would not have upbraided them for refusing.
Therefore those who could repent, repented not and were thrust into hell (Matt. 11:23).
2. The people of those cities could have repented: But only the re generated can repent. Therefore the people of those cities were regenerated people.
3. The people of those cities went to hell because they repented not (Matt. 11:23). But only the regenerated can repent. Therefore the regenerated went to hell.
4. None can repent but the elect.
But the people of Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida could have repented.
Therefore the people of those cities were of the elect.
5. Those people could have repented, but because they refused were cast into hell.
But the elect only can repent.
Therefore the elect in this case were cast into hell. Absurd and preposterous.
So it turns out that even in election there is no assurance of eternal salvation if we accept the logical conclusions of the doctrine itself. But we prefer the Bible to any man’s theory.
The Bible teaches old time gospel conviction which precedes repentance but nowhere does it teach that one must be regenerated before he can repent. Conviction means to convince . The Holy Spirit is said to reprove, or convict men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (Jno. 16:8-11). The dead sinner is convinced that he is dead in trespasses and in sin, separated from God, and destitute of divine holiness. The lost sinner is convinced that he is lost, without God and without hope in the world. Such a condition produces Godly sorrow for sin which if not restrained will lead to repentance. But as has already been proven in another chapter, the convicted sinner can turn away from it all and be lost. Thousands have resisted the Holy Spirit after He has convicted them of sin, and like the cities of Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida have utterly refused to repent and have made their beds in hell.
The reader will understand that it is not our purpose to define repentance, but only to show that it is an obligation required of sinful men. Whatever it is sinners are required to repent or perish. The obligation and the consequence rests upon the individual.
PERSONAL FAITH IN CHRIST
The Bible most assuredly teaches that personal faith in Christ is essential to salvation and was written into the plan of human redemption by the finger of God as a necessary condition.
Faith is made up of three distinct elements, namely, knowledge, belief, and trust. So then before the sinner can be saved he must hear the story of the cross and must believe it, and then in addition to hearing the story and believing it, he must trust Christ who executed the plan for personal salvation. One can have the first two elements of faith, knowledge and belief, and still be destitute of faith in Christ. How then does the sinner come in possession of faith? God gives him the first two elements through the preaching of the gospel, but the sinner must exercise the third, which is personal trust in a personal Christ for personal salvation. The sinner may be in possession of the knowledge of Christ’s death and the purpose of it, and he may believe it with all of his heart but if he does not trust in Christ personally for salvation he will go to hell when he dies.
Paul says in Romans 10:17, “So faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” In this way only is faith the gift of God. The gospel accompanied by the Holy Spirit furnishes the evidence to convince the sinner of his lost estate and the provision made for him in the covenant of redemption, yet it is put up to him to trust in Christ or perish.
I. Personal Faith in Christ Is Essential to Salvation.
All who are destitute of personal faith in Christ are lost, and all lost sinners are children of the devil. We offer two verses in proof of the assertion, John 3:18; 8:44. The first reads as follows
“He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only Begotten Son of God.”
The second verse: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it,”
The fact stands out prominently in these verses that all believers in Christ are saved and are children of God, while all matured unbelievers are lost and are children of the devil. The grace of God is the saving element, while personal faith in Christ is the channel through which the soul reaches he saving grace of God. So says Paul in Eph. 2:8.
“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.”
II. Personal Faith in Christ Is Essential to the Remission of Sins.
Luke 7:48-50, “And he saith unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he saith unto the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.”
Note it was not the woman’s tears, nor her humble posture, nor yet the wiping of the Master’s feet with the hairs of her head that saved her and brought to her the blessing of the remission of her sins, but it was her personal faith in Christ. “Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.” This woman was saved the moment she believed in Christ as her personal Savior. What does “saved” mean? It means to make safe. So if this woman was made safe when she believed in Christ as her personal Savior, then she was not made safe in eternity by election. How could she be made safe by personal faith in the Son of God if the doctrine of unconditional election is true? The one elected in eternity would be just as safe as if he were already on the inside of heaven’s gate. So if that doctrine is true all this talk in the Bible about personal faith in Christ saving the soul is the worst sort of buncombe.
Acts 10:43, “To him gave all the prophets witness that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
The term, “whosoever believeth” in the above verse carries the thought of voluntary, personal action, and in no sense does it imply compulsion.
III. Personal Faith in Christ is Essential to Justification.
Acts 13:38, 39, “Be it known unto you therefore men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
Notice, will you, that this passage does not say, by him all that were elected in eternity are justified from all things, but “by him all that believe are justified from all things.” Therefore we are assured by the Holy Scriptures that one is justified the moment he believes in the Son of God, and is elected because he does believe and is justified.
IV. Personal Faith in Christ is Essential to Sonship.
Gal. 3:26, 27, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Here we are told that we are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and not by election in eternity. Away with the doctrine that God has had an elect people in the world that consists both of believers and unbelievers. No such a thought is contained in the Scriptures.
Again in John 1:12, 13, we are told, “But as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, Which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Now if there were such a thing as personal election in eternity, it did not give the one elected power to be, or to become a son of God, for this power is given only to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. So then becoming a son of God depends upon one’s personal faith in Christ.
V. Personal Faith in Christ is Essential to Having Everlasting Life.
John 3:14-16, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The above passage refers to Moses, the bitten Israelites and the serpent of brass, all of which was a type of the plan of human redemption. There was no remedy for the bite of the fiery serpent that was sent among the children of Israel because of their unbelief and disobedience. So Moses, the servant of God, went before the throne of grace in prayer and God told him to make a serpent of brass like unto the fiery serpent and set it upon a pole, “and it shall come to pass that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it shall live.”
Was there a condition in that? There certainly was. If the bitten Israelite looked he lived, but if he refused to look he died. Who was to do the looking, Moses, the mediator? No, Moses might have stared at the serpent of brass till his eyeballs bursted out and not one would have been healed. It was Moses’ business to prepare the remedy and with that his duty ceased. The bitten Israelite must look to the remedy for himself. So Christ prepared the remedy for sin, and all who are saved must look to him with a personal faith. Were any of the Israelites who were bitten by the fiery serpent prohibited from looking? No, not a single one of them. Why did Christ refer to this incident? To show that salvation is offered to every one of Adam’s posterity who has been bitten by sin, upon personal faith in Christ. Both the type and the anti-type teach conditional salvation. The offer of salvation was made to all. None were reprobated, and yet none were compelled or forced to look at the fiery serpent, neither was any of Adam’s race reprobated from the covenant of grace, nor forced by arbitrary decrees to believe in Jesus Christ. The gospel terms are, accept Christ and live, or reject Him and die.
Take another verse, John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my words, and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is past from death unto life.”
So we see that everlasting life is conditioned upon hearing the Words of Christ, and believing in Him as a personal Savior, and does not depend upon arbitrary decrees that are purported to have been made in eternity. Conclusion:
Christ tells us that He came to seek and save that which was lost. Therefore if he came to seek and save the elect only as some erroneously teach, then the elect only were lost. Again, if He came to seek and save the lost, and the non-elect were lost, then He came to seek and save the non-elect. If election insures the salvation of the soul, then the elect were never in reality lost after the choice was made. To be lost is to be in danger of hell. So if the elect were never in danger of hell, Jesus came to seek and save only the non-elect. If election, as we believe, makes one safe for heaven, then the elect were never in danger of hell, hence never lost. But let it be remembered that no unbeliever was ever elected to eternal life. He must be a believer in Christ before his personal election can take place.
FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?
The unconditional electionist is forced to the position that Christ died only for a definite number of the human race, no more and no less, who were elected to salvation back beyond the sleeping ages of time in the confines of eternity before man lived to breathe the breath of God. We shall first of all let Dr. J. M. Pendleton, a great outstanding preacher, teacher and leader among Baptists in his day, answer the question at the head of this chapter. In Sermon Notes, pages 15, 16, he says:
“1. In providing salvation for all men. The Scriptures teach that the provision made for the salvation of sinners is universal. The mission of Christ into the world had a gracious reference to the human race. John 3:16; 1 John 2:1, 2. In the latter passage, John includes himself among the Jews, but also said ‘the whole world,’ meaning Gentile nations. I know not how language could more strongly convey the idea of universality. God in the gift of His Son provides salvation for all men. The atonement of Christ has reference to all men. It has a reference to those who are finally lost, which it has not to fallen angels. This fact is the only thing which justifies the universal proclamation of the gospel. This leads me to say that God is a general Saviour.
“2. In offering salvation to all men. The offer follows the provision. The provision would be of no use without the offer, and the offer would be mockery without the provision. The following passages teach the offer of salvation to all men. Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46, 47; I Tim. 2:1-4. Take these passages in their inverse order: The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Repentance and remission of sins are to be preached among all nations. The gospel is to be preached in all the world, to every creature. Can language make it plainer that the offer of salvation is made to all men? In this sense God is the Saviour of all men. Even those who are finally lost are lost because of their rejection of salvation – a fact which of course proves that it was offered to them. You see in what respect God is the general Saviour, the Saviour of all men.”
Some of my brethren among the unconditional electionists have said that the writer was out of harmony with such outstanding Baptists as Pendleton and Graves in teaching the universal atonement of Christ. But the writer claims to stand exactly with those men on this question. You have read what Dr. Pendleton has had to say, now let us see what Dr. Graves says. Referring to the articles of faith of the first Baptist church established in America by Dr. John Clark, Dr. Graves says:
“These will be interesting to all Baptists, and perhaps many of our churches and brethren about to organize would like to adopt them, and so hold the faith of the first Baptist church organized on this continent. All can see there is not a scintilla of Calvinism in them. Baptists were sound, and held and taught in all the faith once delivered to the saints, fifteen hundred years before Calvin was born. What he added to it is Calvinism, and that we most heartily repudiate”
Now in order to show the reader what Dr. Graves meant, and how the first Baptist church organized in America stood on the question of universal atonement, we give here article IV of the faith of that church.
“Article IV. The only way of deliverance from this state of sin and condemnation is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Who is the eternal Word in personal union with human nature. He freely offered himself as a substitute to suffer and die in behalf of all men. Thus He became a perfect Saviour by whom all who will may be saved. All are invited to accept Him as the Saviour of their souls, and to all who do accept Him He is the actual ground of justification and eternal life.”
J. M. Pendleton and J. R. Graves were two of the greatest Baptist preachers who have lived since the days of Paul, and neither of them accepted the doctrine of Calvinism, or the limited atonement. In fact, Dr. Graves says that Baptists “repudiate it.” We quote those two outstanding preachers because they were looked upon by Baptists everywhere as being sound in the faith, and their writings are accepted by all true Baptists of today as being the very best.
Let us now turn to the Word of God, since it is the accepted rule by which all theological questions should and must finally be settled. What does the Word of God teach on the subject?
Heb. 2:9. “But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He by the grace of God should taste death, FOR EVERY MAN.”
The expression “every man” means Adam’s entire race. So in Christ’s death on the cross He tasted death for every man from Adam down to the last one that will be born into the world. Let us be sensible, if Christ died for the elect only, then all of Adam’s race were elected to salvation, for Christ tasted death for all. Hence universal salvation.
Gal. 4:4. “But when the fullness of time was come. God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that they might receive the adoption of sons.”
All of Adam’s race were under the law, and therefore all condemned. Christ came to die for them who were under the law, therefore He died for all of Adam’s race. But if Christ died for the elect only, then the elect only were under the law, and since none were condemned except those under the law, then it follows as a logical conclusion that none were condemned but the elect. Therefore the non-elect will be saved in heaven because they were not under the law, hence never condemned.
2 Cor. 5:14, 15. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”
Here Paul declares that Christ died for all who were dead in trespasses and in sin and that all without a single exception were dead. The idea of a limited atonement would set aside this truth and make Paul out a liar. I believe in the limited application of the atonement but not of the atonement itself. We see also from this passage that all the dead for whom Christ died will not live, but they who do live by accepting the atonement as the all sufficient provision for their salvation should not live unto themselves but unto Him that died and rose again. But Christ died for all who were dead in sin. If He died for the elect only, then the elect only were dead. And since only a part of those for whom Christ died will live, then it follows that only a part of the elect will live, and the rest will be lost. Again, if Christ died for the elect only, then the elect only were dead. So if the non-elect were not included in the death of Christ, they were not dead and therefore needed no Saviour, because they already had life, hence will all be saved in heaven. In that case the non-elect has nothing to fear, the odds are all against the elect.
I Tim. 2:1-6. “I exhort therefore that first of all, supplication, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men; For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due season.”
From these verses we see that God would have prayer made for ALL men; that He would have ALL men be saved; that Christ is the one Mediator between God and man, and as the one and only Mediator, He gave Himself a ransom for ALL, this fact to be testified in due time. Plainer words than these are not to be found in the English vocabulary and if they do not speak the truth pray tell me where is truth to be found. If they are true they strike a death blow to Calvinism, limited atonement and unconditional election. The Bible would be a peculiar Book if every man were allowed to change it to suit his particular theory. “Don’t change it. Just leave it alone.”
I Jno. 2:1, 2. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; And He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The word “propitiation” in this passage means satisfaction. God was satisfied with the death of Christ as an all sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world and received His blood as a complete ransom for all. Hence universal atonement. But notwithstanding the fact that God was satisfied with the price paid by His only begotten Son, man must also be satisfied with it and accept it, or suffer the consequence of a broken law. No one will ever be lost in hell because he was left out of the covenant of blood redemption, but simply because he rejects the price paid, for Christ made satisfaction with God for the sins of the whole world, and therefore God withdraws all claims against the sinner and leaves him in the hands of Christ. And for this reason the ‘sinner must believe in Jesus in order to be saved. But if he rejects Christ and His atonement he will be finally rejected from the presence of God.
Jno. 6:51. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.”
Jesus uses the analogy of the natural and living bread to show us the great plan of human redemption. Just as the natural bread is given to all of Adam’s race who comply with the conditions, so the spiritual bread, or bread of life, is given to all who will comply with the conditions upon which the promise of life is made. As the supply of natural bread is sufficient for all of Adam’s race, so is the atonement of Christ sufficient for the sins of the whole world.
Jno. 3:17. “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”
The death of Christ was co-extensive with His mission in the world, His mission was to save the world. The “world” in this passage means mankind in general. Hence the expression, “that all the world through Him might be saved”-not shall be. “Might be saved” indicates a possibility, but not a certainty.
Jno. 12:47, 48. “If any man hear My words and believe not, I judge Him not; for I came not to judge the world but to save the world. He that rejecteth Me and receiveth not My words hath one that judgeth him; the words that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
The world that Jesus came to save was not the elect world, because some of those whom He came to save will reject Him. So those who will finally be rejected will be lost not because they were left out of the covenant of grace but because they remain in unbelief.
Jno. 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Here we see that Christ was given that He might die for all whom God loved. Every soul was included in the scope of God’s love. But all thus included and for whom Christ died will not be saved because many will not believe in Him. Salvation is offered to all for whom Christ died, but only those who believe in Him as their personal Saviour will reap the benefits of His death.
Isa. 55:6, 7. “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Call ye upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.”
Here all the wicked are entreated to seek the Lord. But seeking the Lord would be folly without the death of Christ. So Christ must have died for all.
This passage cannot refer to the wicked elect for the reason it implies that some may seek Him too late. The Lord is to be sought “while He may be found,” and this indicates that there will come a day in the life of some although they seek Him He will not be found of them. So the passage could not be limited to the elect because it is never too late for the elect to find Him. Again, it cannot refer to the elect, because the elect cannot seek the Lord, he must wait for the Lord to seek him. He cannot “return” to the Lord, the Lord must return unto him and regenerate him before he can repent, according to the theory. Now since this is an appeal to all the wicked without respect to any certain group, then Jesus must have died for all.
Isa. 45:22. “Look unto Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else.”
In this verse we see the invitation of God to all the ends of the earth, which means all of Adam’s race. But the invitation to all the race to look unto God and be saved would be useless if provisions were not made for all. Now since the invitation of salvation is made to all men, then there must have been provisions made for all in the redemptive work of Christ. But if the provision made by the Son of God is co-extensive with the invitation, then all were provided for on the cross, and if all for whom provisions were made come to Christ, then all will be saved; hence universal salvation.
Rev. 22:17. “And the Spirit and the bride say Come, and let him that heareth say Come, And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.”
Here the invitation is first to the thirsty soul, and second to the whosoever will. But they say God gives the will to the elect only. But where is the proof? To the contrary, II Peter 3:9 says that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” So then God leaves it up to the will of the individual as to whether or not he takes the water of life.
Jno. 16:8-11. “And when He is come He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,” etc.
These verses plainly teach that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. This means all men everywhere. Not one soul is overlooked by the Spirit. But to reprove, or convict a sinner when there is no hope for his salvation would be to mock his helplessness. Honestly, do you think that the Holy Spirit is engaged in such mockery? God does reprove, yet He does not mock. Therefore there is a provision made for every unsaved person.
Mark 3:28: “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemes wherewith soever they shall blaspheme; but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”
No sin will be forgiven one for whom Christ did not die. He did not die for the non-elect according to the unconditionalist, therefore all the sins of the non-elect are unpardonable. So we will have to rule this verse out as having any reference whatever to the non-elect. The elect cannot commit the unpardonable sin since all of his sins will and must be forgiven. Now since neither the elect nor the non-elect can commit the unpardonable sin, to whom did Mark refer? Is it a fact that there are certain ones among the sons of men who are neither elected nor reprobated? Or was Mark just talking at random?
Luke 9:22. “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the chief priests, and elders and scribes, and be slain and be raised again on the third day.”
No one can reject Christ to whom He is not offered, and to offer Him to a man for whom He did not die would be mockery. And since the Holy Spirit does not mock man’s helplessness, Jesus must have died for the chief priests, elders and scribes who rejected Him and went to hell.
II Pet. 3:9. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promises as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward. Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
If this passage has reference to all mankind, then all can be saved. But if it refers to the elect only then the elect can reject the Lord and perish. So in that case election falls short of its purpose.
Now in conclusion, the unconditional electionist undertakes to rule out of court all the array of testimony that we have offered in defense of the universal atonement by a misinterpretation of one passage, namely Luke 2:1-3.
“And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”
Now they say, that “ALL” does not mean “ALL” and that the “world” does not mean the whole world, for they say and contend, that Caesar only controlled a part of the world, and that his decree “that all the world should be taxed” did not mean all the peoples of the inhabited earth, but only the people of the Roman Empire. So when the Bible speaks of Christ “tasting death for every man,” giving Himself “a ransom for all,” and that He died for “all” and is the propitiation “for the sins of the whole word,” etc., it does not mean mankind in general, but only the elect world. But such illogical reasoning would destroy the meaning of the words and do away with the law of Bible interpretation, and reduce the positive statements of Christ and His apostles to the silliest sort of nonsense. The facts in the case are just as Luke states them. Caesar Augustus controlled the world at that time. The Roman empire covered almost the entire world, and even the few little countries that were not embraced in it were under its control. Just point out the country then known to civilized man that did not come under the control of the Roman Empire.
We believe that if any subject can be proven by the Bible, we have established the universal atonement beyond a peradventure. The word atonement is employed by the writer because of its usage in literature. The proper word is “reconciliation.” But since we have written this booklet for the general good of the masses, we have tried to refrain from hair-splitting terms and technicalities and just use such words as are common among Bible readers.
[Note: here begins the addition by Ernest Rippetoe]
WHAT IS TO BE WILL BE
The absolute predestination of all things, according to history, was first taught by a man by the name of Zeno. Myer’s outline of ancient history, page 338, says, “Zeno, founder of the celebrated school of the Stoics, lived in the third century before our era (362-264) B.C. He taught at Athens in a public porch. Zeno taught the predestination of all things, or fatality, in this school at Athens. This was several centuries before the advent of Christ into the world.
In this school at Athens where Zeno taught, the Stoics were philosophers and embraced the doctrine of “the predestination of all things.” When the apostle Paul was teaching at Athens, the Stoics and the Epicureans encountered Paul and disputed with him, and said that he had set forth strange gods and a new doctrine (Acts 17:17-18). Thus we see that Paul and those people who believed in the predestination of all things did not agree.
According to the Stoics, every event is determined by fate, the sentence already fixed, predestinated by God.
The Jewish Pharisees also believed in the absolute predestination of all things – Josephus history book two, chapter 8, section 14.
When Jesus talked to them, John 8:39-41, they evidently thought that on account of the covenants and promises that God had made to Abraham, that they were children of God. They first said, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If Abraham were your father, you would not seek to kill me, a man that told you the truth. Ye do the deeds of your father, then they said to him, “WE HAVE ONE FATHER EVEN GOD.” Jesus said, “Ye are of your father, the devil. Jesus said to them, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (Mark 8:24).
Mosheim, in speaking of the Pharisees says, that they held to the doctrine of “the absolute predestination of all things.” And at the same time the Sadducees believed in a Free-will – Eccl. Mosheim’s History, page 164.
According to this, the people who first preached the two-seed doctrine and absolute predestination of all things both good and evil, had no connection with the true church of God.
If God predestinated the wicked acts of men, according to his purpose what God purposed He purposed according to His good pleasure. Then in a measure at least those acts must be according to His good pleasure. Is it possible for one to commit one sin less than was allotted him? If yes, why whip your child for doing wrong? Why get mad at some one who would attack your daughter, or ravish your wife or mother, if that sin was fixed before he was born in the world? If a certain amount of sins are fixed, could he help doing such dastardly acts? Be careful your actions will not correspond with your theory.
How could God be a just God, and predestinate one man to be a murderer-another to be a martyr? One man to be a robber, thief, dishonest, another to be honest and upright? One man to spend eternity in hell, and another in Heaven, this fixing was done before they were born in the world, and without a condition on their part, but according to the purpose of God?
Why the judgment, if everything was predestinated before the world began?
The doctrine of predestination of all things, fore-ordination and the election of them began in the churches by Augustine, because the doctrine of infant baptism was going at high-tide then, the doctrine of predestination of all things did not gain grounds then, but was revived by John Calvin about 1500 A. D.
If it was fixed by the Lord for Cain to murder Abel, could God have kept Cain from murdering Able without interfering with and keeping his decree from being fulfilled?
If God purposed sin, men had to sin, and that would make sin a necessity. Thus no man is really blamed for sinning, or anything he does, because he cannot help it.
God hates, despises, abhors sin, and will punish those who sin.
If some of your people were to be murdered, or your daughter seduced and humbled, would you like for some one to preach to them, this had to be done, the one who did it could not help it? What is to be will be, would not be appreciated in this case.
According to history, this doctrine for eight or ten centuries we find among the haters and despisers of the people who believed different, from the church of the living God. Certainly not among Baptists.
History also shows, that Calvinism or predestination and personal, eternal, unconditional election, originated among the churches first, by Augustine, a bishop of the Hippo church on the coast of Africa. He was a Catholic, and was first to force infant baptism. Mosheim’s history, page two, chapter 4, section 5 and 6.
Mosheim further says that all the fathers before Augustine, taught a conditional election and that Augustine himself in his early ministry, taught a conditional election. But in the year 397, he discovered (note discovered) the doctrine of absolute predestination.
Buck states, that Calvin held the same principles that Augustine did. Buck’s Bible Dictionary, page 55-56.
Orchard in his history of the Baptist Church refers to Augustine as the discoverer of absolute predestination and quotes Mosheim.
Nearly every writer on this doctrine, every history and encyclopedia refer to this doctrine as Calvinism, and to those who hold this doctrine as Calvinists.
In Geneva in the year 1553, Mical Servetus was burned at the stake, which was procured by John Calvin, because Mical Servetus taught and wrote against John Calvin’s creed. Could a man who consented to the death of a good man, simply for opposing his creed, make a sound, religious creed?
Yes, if it were fixed for us to disobey, men cannot obey; and on the other hand if it were fixed’ for us to obey, we cannot disobey. If the acts of men, both good and evil, were determined and fixed by the Lord before he made man, then man cannot be governed or controlled by law. Seeing that his acts and every movement are purposed and fixed, and therefore controlled by the purpose of God. If the preaching of the gospel was purposed of God just as the salvation of a sinner was purposed, then no preacher ever disobeyed God.
So according to this theory the preacher had just so much preaching to do, and he would have to preach on certain lines or just as the purpose of God had prescribed, and he would have to go just where and when and preached on a certain line as was eternally fixed, for him to preach on. If the preacher stayed at home for any reason, the theory is, he had to stay at home. He did not have the ability to go to church that day. Do you think a man can do what God has purposed for him not to do? If so, what becomes of the Eternal purpose and design of God? Therefore if a man obeys, that is the way it was fixed, if he disobeys that is the way it was fixed.
THREE VIEWS HOLD
Among the many so called churches and religious sects, there are only three views taught in regard to the time one is saved. Namely-
1. Saved in eternity to come-in Heaven.
2. Saved at the point of faith in this life.
3. Saved in the eternity past before the world began.
There are many who hold the first view, teaching that if one will believe, obey, keep the commandments (some require more commands kept than others), hold out faithful until death, and if found faithful they will be saved after death in the eternity to come. There is a future salvation for all believers, but it is the salvation of the body, as “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11). Another text that is used to teach this is Phil. 2:12, “. . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” We know that this does not teach salvation of the soul, for it is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Tit. 3:5). “For by grace are ye saved through faith, . . . Not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). This means salvation. of a life, stewardship.
The second view is the one we subscribe to, that when one hears the gospel of salvation, and repents and believes in Jesus Christ as a personal Savior, then and there the soul of that one is saved, born again, gets everlasting life, the body to be saved when Jesus comes.
Those who hold to the third view, teach that in eternity before the world was made, that God in his foreknowledge, elected personally certain ones, predestinated them to be saved, and wrote their names down in a book. If that teaching be true, then the ones that God elected to salvation, and predestinated that they and they only could be saved, then you have salvation in eternity, as some say, “Talk about security, they were made secure in eternity.” To be saved is to be made safe, and there would be nothing that one who was personally elected, could do to cause him to be in danger of damnation and hell fire. God’s election and predestination would make the elect secure from the time he did this. This is the doctrine that was first taught among the churches by Augustine, and later revised by John Calvin. About the only difference between the two is, that Augustine taught that non-elect infants who died in infancy would go to hell, and John Calvin taught, that a non-elect infant could not die. If you have been guilty of believing and teaching a doctrine like this, check up and see how you like the origin of this doctrine. There are still some Augustine-ites, and that is the most consistent view if this doctrine be true, but most of the contenders of this view are Calvinites. This is just like all other heresies, it had its beginning with some man, who went to seed on some great truth. There is no such doctrine taught, in the Bible, that any one was saved or made safe in eternity. Some who teach this doctrine, do not want to take the consequences of this teaching. They run up a blind alley, and say, “The Bible says it, don’t ask me to explain it.” If this. is the apple you select, you just as well take the worm that is in the apple. The Lord commands that we rightly divide the word of truth, and no text is safe that has to be isolated, to teach a certain view, and will not harmonize with other texts in the Bible. This book is to help those who do not understand, and cannot rightly divide the teaching on this beautiful doctrine.
Some of the consequences of this doctrine makes one who believes it, take the stand with Augustine or Calvin on the death of infants, and deny any truth that teaches that Christ died for all the world, and made any provision for the salvation of those who were not in on the deal, when God was making his choice in eternity, as they say.
THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN A PERSONAL ETERNAL UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION DENY –
- That God so loved the world- John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life”
- That Christ died for all- 2 Cor. 5:14-15
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all were dead: And that he died for ALL”
- That the gospel is for every creature-Mark 16:15
“..And he said unto them, go ye into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”
- That the invitation is for ALL- Isa. 45:22; Rev. 22:17
“Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.. .”
“And the Spirit and bride say come, and let him that heareth say come, and let him that is athirst come, and WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take of the water of life freely.”
- That God would have all men to be saved- 1 Tim. 2:4
“Who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
- That Christ gave himself a ransom for all- 1 Tim. 2:5-6
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Who gave himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time.”
- That Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world- 1 Jno. 2:2
“And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
- That Jesus was sent to be the Savior of the world- 1 Jno. 4:14
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”
- That God sent his Son, that the world MIGHT be saved- Jno. 3:17
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world though him might be saved.”
- That God provided that all men might believe- Jno. 1:7
“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, THAT ALL MEN THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED,”
- That the free gift came upon all men to justification of life-Rom. 5:18
“..Even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
- That all men are commanded to repent- Acts 17:30
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”
- That salvation is of faith that it might be by grace-Rom. 4:16
“Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace . . .”
- That salvation is by grace through faith- Eph. 2:8
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Salvation is the gift, Rom. 6:23. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and is not a gift of God as some would have us believe (Rom. 10:17).
- That Christ is a propitiation through faith in his blood- Rom. 3:25
“Whom God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past. . .”
- That one can believe to eternal life- 1 Tim. 1:16; Heb. 10:39
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to everlasting life.”
“We are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
- That believing one might have life- Jno. 20:31
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book: But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
- That the glad tidings is to all people- Luke 2:8-10
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
- That one is condemned already because he has not believed- John 3:18
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: He that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the only begotten Son of God.”
- That it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe- 1 Cor. 1:21
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
- That God uses means in the salvation of sinners- 1 Cor. 9:22
“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
- That one is justified by faith- Rom. 3:1
“Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God.”
- That righteousness is imputed to sinners when they believe- Rom. 4:23-24
“Now this was not written for his sake alone (Abraham’s) that it was imputed to him: But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
- That we have access by faith into grace- Rom. 5:1-2
- That God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself-(2 Cor. 5:19). He was reconciling the ELECT is wrong, as some say.
- Did you ever commit sin?
- Is God’s elect of the devil?
- Do God’s elect commit sin? 1 Jno. 3:8
- Do all of God’s elect do righteousness? 1 Jno. 3:10
- Was there ever a time that you did not do righteousness?
- Are any of God’s elect children of the devil? 1 Jno. 3:8
- Has God any sheep-elect-who do not believe him? Jno. 17:8
- Do all God’s sheep-elect-follow Christ? Jno. 10:27
- Do Christ sheep-elect-know him? Jno. 10:14
- Did the atonement of Christ make it possible that all men might be saved upon the stipulations of repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
- Is the sacrifice which saves one sinner, sufficient to save all sinners upon the same terms?
- Why will any sinner be condemned or damned? Jno. 3:18; Jno. 3:36; Jno. 8:24; Mark 16:16
I make two mud men-I say to one, if you do not step over this line, I will knock you to smitherines – but you can’t step over, so I will set you over. He says to the other, if you do mot step over this line, I will knock you into eternity-then he hauls off and knocks him to pieces – because he commanded him to do something that he could not and the maker would not.
If Christ did not die for all Adam’s posterity, then the entire scheme of redemption is a solemn mockery of man’s helplessness and hopeless fate.
Such doctrine makes the plan of salvation a bungling attempt to save all, when provision was made only for a few. If Christ did not make provision for all in his. death, such doctrine would tantalize the helpless reprobates with an insincere offer of pardon that was never possible with them. Such doctrine pretends to preach a gospel of peace to the sinner, and promises him salvation if he believes it, and threatens him with damnation if he doesn’t, when there is not a word of truth in the pretense. His doom was unconditionally sealed before hand. This is a reflection on the sincerity and goodness of God, and a FLAT CONTRADICTION OF THE BIBLE.
No man can reject Christ to whom he is not offered; He is offered to no man except as a Savior; If Christ is not offered SINCERELY to ALL MEN as a Savior, then there is no sin in rejecting him; To preach the gospel is either to offer salvation to the sinner in sincerity or to mock him. The Lord does not mock the sinner, but salvation is offered to all, for Christ died for all, therefore he sincerely offers him salvation in fact.
If some were elected personally by name in eternity, their names written in a book, then God predestinated that thy and they only could be saved, placing them in a covenant, etc., then pray tell me why the angels rejoice when a sinner repents? (Luke 15:7). If he was elected and predestinated to be saved by name in eternity, his repentance would have nothing to do with it. Why did the angels not rejoice when he was unconditionally elected, as that is what secures salvation as some teach? Or why did they not rejoice when they first saw their names on the books of heaven? or they could have rejoiced at his birth, as that was when he entered upon his eternal salvation? I can tell the reason why, and you may not believe it here in this life, but you won’t be dead very long and in eternity somewhere, before you will know the reason why. The angels KNOW that the time of a man’s salvation is when he repents towards God and believes in Jesus Christ, and that is the reason our Savior said, there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents.
Some who do not believe this, cry loud and long, ARMINIAN-ISM – ARMINIANS – but it is not Arminian to believe that-
A Sinner must repent and believe in order to be saved. If so, Jesus was unArminian for he commanded it. He said through the prophet Isaiah, “Incline your ear, and COME UNTO ME, HEAR AND YOUR SOUL SHALL LIVE” Note the order, and call it what you may but you had better believe as the Lord had it written-
- Incline ear
- Soul shall live-better leave this just like ‘the Lord said, and not be found perverting it in order to avoid Arminianism and to support a pet theory on the doctrine of election that was “First started among the churches by a man by the name of Augustine.”
SOME REASONS WHY NO ONE WAS PERSONALLY ELECTED IN ETERNITY TO SALVATION BEFORE HE BELIEVED IN CHRIST
- WRONG ORDER – “For many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). (Matt. 20:16, 22:14; Rev. 17:14).
- MAKES GOD A RESPECTOR OF PERSONS – “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons” (Acts 10:34). (Deut. 10:17; 2 Chron. 19:7).
- IT IS NOT OP FAITH – “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:1; Rom. 5:1).
- ELECT CANNOT BE DECEIVED – “For we ourselves were sometimes deceived” (Tit. 3:5). (Matt. 24:24).
- CHRIST DIED FOR ALL MEN – “. . . but we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death – that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). (2 Cor. 5:14-15; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:2).
- SALVATION OFFERED TO ALL MEN – “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Tit. 2:11). (Isa. 45:22; Matt. 11:28; John 1:7).
- GOD NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH – “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2.Peter 3:9). (1 Tim. 2:4; Ezk. 33:11; Matt. 25:41).
- THOSE WHO ARE DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SIN, CAN INCLINE THEIR EAR, CAN HEAR, AND LIVE – “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live” (Isa. 55:3). (Isa. 42:18; Isa. 29:18; 1 Peter 4:6; Isa. 1:10; Isa. 1:18).
- JESUS SAID, MARVEL NOT AT THIS (THAT THE DEAD CAN HEAR) FOR THE HOUR IS COMING WHEN THE DEAD IN THE GRAVE SHALL HEAR AND LIVE (John 5:24).
- MAN CAN ACCEPT CHRIST – “But as many as received him, to the gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). (Acts 2:41; Acts 17:11; Luke 8:40; Matt. 10:40).
- MAN CAN AND DOES REJECT CHRIST – “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). (John 1:11; Matt. 22:2-3; 2 Peter 2:21; Rom. 1:24-28).
- GOD GIVES MAN A CHOICE IN HIS SALVATION – “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (2 Peter. 2:21). (Deut. 30:19; Isa. 65:12; Jer. 8:3; Jer. 21:8; Ezk. 18:32; Rom. 1:21-23-25).
- MAN CAN RESIST THE HOLY SPIRIT – “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51).
- IF ONLY CERTAIN ONES CAN HEAR AND BE SAVED, THEN IT WOULD BE FOOLISHNESS TO SAY THAT SOME OPPOSE THE GOSPEL. (Acts 18:6; Luke 11:52; Matt. 23:13; Acts 7:51).
- ALL MEN COMMANDED TO REPENT – “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). (Matt. 3:3; Matt. 11:20; Matt. 21:32; Acts 26:20).
GIVE BOOK, CHAPTER AND VERSE THAT TEACHES THE FOLLOWING – SEARCH AND SEE IF YOU CAN FIND IT
- Where there is a general call and a particular call.
- Who commits the sin against the Holy Ghost, the elect or the non-elect? If the non-elect, how could it make them any worse? If the elect, then we would have apostasy.
- Where any of God’s elect are of the Devil.
- Where any of God’s sheep (elect) who are not believers in him.
- Where any of God’s sheep do not know Jesus.
- Why all people are condemned.
- Where any of the elect are begotten before they believe in Jesus.
- Where anyone was elected to salvation out of Christ.
- Where any unbeliever is in Christ.
- Where anyone was ever elected to salvation before and without faith.
- Where the name of anyone was ever written in th book of life before the foundation of the world.
- Where God has in this world any elect who are not saved.
IF GOD DID ELECT SOME PERSONALLY IN ETERNITY WHAT WOULD BECOME OF
- An elect infant that died?
- Do you believe that an elect infant can die in that state?
- Do you believe as Jesus said, that man does have power to kill the body? Matt. 10:28.
- Does he have power to kill the body of a non-elect infant?
- Are all the babies that die, elect babies? Give book, chapter and verse.
- After an elect has grown from infancy to responsibility (young manhood or womanhood) would it be possible for them to die before they heard the gospel and believed in Jesus as a personal Savior?
- If so, what would become of them? If not, give book, chapter and verse.
SOME THINGS A DEAD MAN CAN DO
Text: Matt. 8:22 – Lesson 19-22
“… let the dead bury their dead.”
- Many teach that the word “DEAD” has but one invariable meaning. Using Ephesians 2:1-“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Some say that the word dead in this text has the 8ame meaning as when used about a dead body, dead horse, cow, etc.
- The first dead in this text must have life in order to perform the act of the undertaker. The Lord commanded this dead man to do something.
- The last dead in this text cannot obey nor disobey. They are inactive and not accountable.
- The meaning of the word DEAD in the first part of this text is to be separated from God; to be lost in sin; dead as the prodigal son (Luke 15:24), “For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Although this boy was lost and was dead, he was still very active and could obey or disobey.
- The last word, “DEAD”, in the text, means to be without life; inactive; cannot obey or disobey commands.
- To use the word “DEAD” in Eph. 2:1, as having the same meaning as the last word DEAD in the text, is to contradict the words of our Lord. There are some things that a dead, lost sinner is commanded to do. As in Acts 17:30-“but now commandeth ALL MEN EVERY WHERE TO REPENT.” The Lord did not command anyone to do something that he could not do; in the 31st verse, the Lord tells why they are commanded to repent. “Because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness.”
- If the meaning of the word dead when used about a lost sinner has the same as a dead body, cow or horse, it would be unreasonable then to suppose that they would be held accountable for anything. They could not be justly condemned for not believing in Jesus. But Jesus said in John 3:18 that one is condemned if he does not believe.
- The scriptures teach that faith comes by hearing and the hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17. If one is so dead that he cannot hear, how can he ever have faith. If God grants, forces or gives repentance and faith to one so dead that he cannot repent and believe and refuses to do that for another, then God would surely be to blame for that one going to Hell; since he could not repent, and believe, and God would not make him.
- Naturally under this meaning, life would be first and action second. This is something the Lord never taught in regard to a lost sinner, but he said, “You will not come to me that ye might have life” (Jno. 5:40).
SOME WHO WERE DEAD BUT VERY ACTIVE
- Adam died the day he ate of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17). After he died, he knew he was naked; Adam talked with God; he heard the voice of God; they hid themselves from the presence of God. Adam told him how it all happened and yet he was dead. (Gen. 3:7-10.) Notice this was done by a dead man, before God provided a way for him to stand again in his presence.
- They were driven from the Garden of Eden and cheribims and flaming swords were placed that turned every way, to keep these dead people from entering again.
- The Apostle Paul under inspiration in 1 Tim. 5:6 said, “But she that liveth in pleasure is DEAD WHILE SHE LIVES.” The word DEAD here does not have the same meaning as a dead body, mentioned in the last part of the text, but as the meaning in the first part of the text.
- Jesus uses the word DEAD in Luke 16:23-24 when he said, “the rich man also died and was buried and in Hell lifted up his eyes.” The body that was buried was dead as in the last part of the text, but the soul that was dead and in Hell, in torment, was dead as in the first part of the text – very active.
- Unto the church at Sardis, John wrote, “. . . Thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead” (Rev. 3:1). A church may be dead and still very active. They could obey or disobey. Jesus uses the word DEAD again in Luke 15:23-24, when the father said, “This my son was dead and is alive, he was lost and is found.” This boy was not dead as some teach the word DEAD to mean in Eph. 2:1.
- Paul taught in 1 Cor. 15:22 that all died in Adam and all that died in Adam are commanded to repent and believe while they are dead. (Acts 17:30.)
- Those who are saved in Christ are also “DEAD TO SIN.” (Rom. 6:11.) Here the word DEAD is used again but it must have more than one invariable meaning. Since in the 12th verse the same writer commanded that those who are dead to sin, not to let sin reign in their mortal bodies.
- Those who are dead in Adam are commanded to do something, as the first man in the text, and those who are dead unto sin are also commanded to do something.
- If the dead in Eph. 2:1 means to be lifeless, inactive as a dead body, having only one meaning, then by the same reasoning the word DEAD in Rom. 6:11 and 1 Peter 2:24 would mean after one is saved it would be impossible for him to commit another sin since he is dead to sin, then the command in the next verse not to sin would be useless and meaningless.
- When sinners are cast into Hell, this is also called a death, the second death. If the word DEAD has only one invariable meaning then those who died the second death would be lifeless, inactive, could not hear, could not remember, could not think and feel. Therefore it would be impossible to punish those who have died a second death and in hell, as the Lord tells us in Rev. 20:14, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the SECOND DEATH.”
- Upon the same reasoning that the word DEAD has only one invariable meaning, one could prove that Jesus Christ could not hear, think, act, move, see or talk. Jesus is called “A ROCK.” He is also called “A smitten stone,” “A chief corner stone,” “A crushing stone,” “A stumbling stone.”
- Since a rock or stone cannot see, hear, act, think or talk, then by using the one and only invariable meaning of the word “Rock” as some use the word “Dead” in Eph. 2:1, then it would prove that Jesus was as a rock, and couldn’t hear, see, talk, think, act, walk or what have you. Therefore he would be lifeless, and inactive
- Let us check ourselves about this kind of teaching. How does your preacher use the word “Dead” in Eph. 2:1? If you are a teacher or preacher, how do you teach the word “Dead” in this text? Better first study the sequences of this teaching. If one is so dead that he cannot repent and believe when he hears one of God’s preachers preach the gospel, and admonishes him to repent and believe, then if he is ever saved, some other power must make him. If that power makes one and does not make another then who would be to blame for one to be lost?
- The truth is that when the gospel is preached, sinners who hear the sound of it, make their own decision; sure the Spirit operates, but men can resist the Spirit.
- After some have preached a sermon and telling his hearers that lost sinners are dead, very dead, cannot act, so dead that they cannot hear, but at the close of the service will give an invitation and beg them to “Come to Jesus,” “Repent and believe in Him” even after he has preached to them they couldn’t. Better study the consequences of this teaching, and try your hand at “Rightly dividing the word” with other texts in the Bible that do command a sinner to “Repent and believe.”
SOME THINGS THAT A DEAD SINNER CAN DO
- He can resist the Spirit of God – Acts 7:51, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, YE D0 ALWAYS RESIST THE HOLY GHOST: as your fathers did.”
- They are commanded to hear – Isa. 55:3, “Incline your ear and come unto me: HEAR, and your soul shall live.” (Also, Isa. 1:10, 28:14-15; John 5:25; Rom. 10:17.
- They can believe or disbelieve – John 3:18, “He that believeth on him, is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, BECAUSE HE HATH NOT BELIEVED IN THE NAME OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD.”
- They can HATE God’s preachers – Acts 7:52, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? . . . Of whom (Jesus) ye have now been the betrayers and murderers.”
- They can incline THEIR EAR – Isa. 55:3, “Incline your ear and come unto me. . . .”
- They can COME TO JESUS – Matt. 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
- They can REPENT – Acts 17:30, “And at the times of this ignorance
God winked at; BUT NOW COMMANDETH ALL MEN EVERY WHERE TO REPENT.”
- They can STOP THEIR EARS – Acts 7:57, “Then they cried out with a loud voice, AND STOPPED THEIR EARS, and ran upon him with one accord.” (Also Zech 7:11.)
- They can turn their ears away from the truth – 2 Tim. 4:4, “And they shall turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned unto fables.”
- They are held accountable while they are dead – Rom. 2:5; 6:11, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God: who will render to every man according to his deeds-for there is no respect of persons with God.”
- He can look to Jesus Christ as the remedy for sin – John 3:14, ” As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life,” again Isa. 45:22, “. . . Look unto me all ye ends of the earth and be ye saved.”
- Paul was sent to both Jew and Gentile, to open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among them which are sanctified, by faith that is in me (Acts 26:18).
- Paul taught the people where he went that they should repent and turn to God. He wrote Eph. 2:1, but he did not seem to have any trouble with the word dead, but knowing he had written this, he still believed they could repent and believe.
- There are some mentioned in the Bible that cannot repent and believe, but they are those who have CLOSED THEIR EYES AND STOPPED THEIR EARS, and HARDENED THEIR HEARTS until they have been given over to a reprobasy of mind. John 12:39, “Therefore they could not believe, because Esaias said again, He , (God) hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart: that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, and be converted and I should heal them.” (See also Matt. 13:13-15.)
- Jesus tells us in John 6:44-45, “. .. And they shall all be taught of God, every man that hath heard, and HATH LEARNED OF THE FATHER, cometh unto me.” Many, many that have heard are never saved, but note, he that hears, and learns, is the one who comes. Paul said again, Rom. 10:1-5, that his brethren in the flesh had a zeal, knowledge of God, but they were ignorant because they would not submit to the righteousness of God which is Jesus Christ. They had heard, but had not learned, hence they had not come.
- The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to ALL WHO0 WILL BELIEVE (Rom. 1:16).
- We have access by faith into saving grace, and without faith we will never enjoy this (Rom 5:2). “It is by faith that it might be by grace” (Eph. 2:8).
- Some say that the Holy Spirit must quicken or give some life before one can believe. Truth is the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Godhead, never gives life; the Holy Spirit is never mentioned as a Savior; Jesus Christ is that QUICKENING SPIRIT that gives life (1 Cor. 15:45-50). “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
- We must have divine order in the scriptures; it will be a lot better to change your notions and opinions about some pet theory, than to try to change the order of the scriptures. Try this test as to their order of salvation-
- Incline ear
- Come unto me.
- Live – better not change this order.
Try also John 5:24; Acts 16:30-31; John 3:14-18.
DOES EVERY BODY HAVE A CERTAIN TIME TO DIE?
It is claimed by some that every one has a certain day, hour and minute to die. Those who hold to the “Can’t help it,” or “What is to be will be” theory believe this.
We have already learned that this theory had its beginning with Augustine, and not with the writers of the Bible nor the churches during their day.
If Augustine had not been so rank and abrupt with his non-elect theory, that non-elect infants that die went to hell, perhaps more would have fallen in with his doctrine. Several hundred years after him, John Calvin modified and polished up this theory, and taught that the non-elect infants could not die. All that did die, were of un-elect, so with this dodge, that would keep infants out of hell. Then many indorsed this modified view.
But Augustine was the originator of this doctrine among the churches, “That every one had a certain day, hour and minute to die.” This doctrine is based largely upon the foreknowledge of God using Rom. 8:29-30, “Whom he did foreknow he did predestinate” – if he foreknew when we would die, then it was fixed that we would die at that hour, so they teach.
Paul wrote the Roman letter and no doubt he understood what he wrote, and according to his writings he did not understand that it was predestinated for one to die at a certain time. He said in Eph. 6:1-2, “Honor thy father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise, that it may be well with thee and that thou mayest live long on the earth.” This simply means that an obedient child would live longer than a disobedient child. Therefore one can lengthen or shorten his days.
The Lord told Isaiah to go and tell Hezekiah to set his house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live. (Isa. 38:1). When Hezekiah turned to the wall and prayed unto the Lord, “Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah, saying, Go and say to Hezekiah, thus saith the Lord-I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears; Behold, I will ADD TO THE DAYS FIFTEEN YEARS.” Here is a man who had shortened his days on account of disobedience, and then when he got himself right with the Lord, his days were lengthened. He did not have a certain day and hour fixed for him, so that it could not be otherwise.
Paul wrote the church at Corinth that some had shortened their days, because they ate and drink unworthily at the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
David wrote, Psa. 55:23, “That bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” If it was fixed for the day of his death, he could not have lengthened them, so David did not believe in this doctrine of “What is to be will be.”
The average years of a man are three score and ten, but by reason of strength he may go on four score or even better. No fixed hour in this kind of teaching. (Psa. 90:10).
Jesus said, “Fear not him who can kill the body” – that would be impossible if he tried to kill him before the set day and hour. Jesus did not believe in the set day and hour of a man’s death as some teach.
There is a prescribed course for man to go. Any time we violate one of these natural laws, we suffer; like exposure of the body; going in a house for shelter from rain, hail, etc. If we violate this law and stay out in it we will suffer the consequences. If we touch a high voltage electric wire, it means death, regardless of who does it. Any one may drink deadly poison and it will have the same effect on all. Therefore they simply shorten their days.
IS THE NUMBER TO BE SAVED SO DEFINITE THAT IT CANNOT BE CHANGED?
Many teach that it is. If this were true of the saved, then it would be equally true with the lost.
In Judges 7:1-6, the Lord said to Gideon, “. . . Go and say to the people, whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead.” The Lord knew how many would stay and how many would go, but it was not fixed definite. It was left to the people to make their choice. It was not definite by name, until the decision was made by the individual.
Yonder before the foundation of the world, in the council halls of eternity, God made choice as to who should be saved, and how they should be saved. Paul said that “. . . God hath from the beginning (beginning of the world and not before) chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13). Just as men were to make their own choosing about fighting with Gideon, men make their own choosing about salvation; the number is not definite until decisions are all made.
The Lord told Gideon to make another test, that all that would lap water like a dog would be the soldiers to fight with him. The purpose and plans and selections were made before hand, but the individual choice and definite number came when they qualified by doing what was required of them. No one was selected personally or by name when the plan to make choice was selected. Every one had an equal chance, but those that met the requirements were selected. The plan or how to elect was before they got to the water, but a definite and personal choice was when they lapped water like a dog
Yonder in eternity God made choice or purposed who should be saved. No one was elected personally or by name then. The offer was made to all just as it was to Gideon’s men, but all do not accept it. All who do accept God’s offer become children of God as in 2 Thess. 2:13. It does not become personal or by name until they qualify with the Lord’s requirements. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.” He died that they all might be saved, not that they all will. John 3:17, “For he sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him MIGHT BE SAVED.” “He that believeth on the Son is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (verse 18).