Speak of Election

 

Speak of Election, cover

SPEAK OF ELECTION

By WYLIE FULTON

 

FACE THESE THREE FACTS

  1. Man is naturally filled with enmity and hatred against God’s right to discriminate among the sons of men. Election says that God and not I will determine my destiny. That arouses much hatred in the heart of natural man!
  2. has a sovereign right in choosing among men, also in displaying His favors as it pleases Him, including a sovereign right to reveal or not reveal this truth to men. Truth is God’s property and He is very selective as to whom He gives it (John 3:27).
  1. And the third fact we must face at the outset is that we are warned in Scripture against undue emphasis on certain Bible truths to the exclusion of others. Man by nature hates God’s election; he is too proud in his religion to accept this truth. This doc­trine puts him in the dust! But if we would teach election, we must be willing to occupy our place in the dust at His feet. Then let us be careful not to offend one of the little lambs of our Lord’s flock. This doctrine must be expounded in love, and it will only be understood as the Holy Spirit opens your heart.

 

“Here we have more of this old election and pre-des­tination and sovereign grace, and God-doesn’t-love-everybody stuff! WHY?”My reader, I can only say that election is precious to my soul. And my love of this precious doctrine came about in my salvation in Christ Jesus. The day election came home to my heart in power was the day I first saw who I was and who the God of the Bible was. I don’t know about anyone else’s experience — but it was after I learned and loved the truth of election and predestination that I came to be broken as a lost sinner before the Lord. I saw that it was the prerogative of the Lord to save me or damn me — to give me faith and repentance or withhold it — to show mercy to my soul or deserved wrath as it pleased Him. Much did I read the 9th and 11th chapters of Romans, and was made to hope that He had begun a good work in me. If indeed laid hold of by God’s Spirit, I knew He would complete the work He had begun (Phil. 1:6). My salvation was alone in His hands. There it remains today.

 

The full article by Wylie Fulton follows

God’s Election

“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation” 2 Thessalonians 2:13. “But the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” Romans 11:7.

When we come to the truth of election in the Bible, many will oppose it. They seek to explain it away or avoid it, for man will not have that which is contrary to his natural reasoning. The enmity of man’s fallen nature rebels against divine truth — he has no spiritual reasoning ability since his fall in Adam — and he will not receive divine truth except by revelation. The man who fights against election has not seen himself undeserving of God’s mercies and unable to come to God.

In approaching the subject of God’s election, we have made the psalmist’s prayer ours:“Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy statutes . . . give me understanding according to Thy word” (Ps. 119:33, 169). Our appeal is not to human authorities, however we might reverence their counsel, but to Him who says, “ALL authority is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). This is Calvinism, but we exalt not Mr. Calvin or his system — but God’s great salvation is our theme, and it is only by and through ELECTION that any soul is ever saved. Yes, though you may hate the very mention of election and predestination, in these truths is your only hope to be saved — for God saves in time those only whom He selected before the foundation of the world. Are you one of these? If not, you are not saved and never will be![*See note on page 2.]

“O LORD, Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (Ps. 119:1ll). Election is indeed a GREAT “heritage” and may God grant us wisdom to contend for it. Baptists and most Christians have contended for election in other days, and it would hardly need debating that election is given a prominent place across the pages of Holy Writ. Election is in the Bible — sovereign, unchangeable, personal election is taught in God’s Word — so the the question you face, my friend, is whether you will accept God’s Word. “He that is of God heareth God’s words” (John 8:47). If you believe the Bible, you must believe in the doctrine of election, understand it or not.

FACE THESE THREE FACTS

  1. Man is naturally filled with enmity and hatred against God’s right to discriminate among the sons of men. Election says that God and not I will determine my destiny. That arouses much hatred in the heart of natural man!
  1. God has a sovereign right in choosing among men, also in displaying His favors as it pleases Him, including a sovereign right to reveal or not reveal this truth to men. Truth is God’s property and He is very selective as to whom He gives it (John 3:27).
  1. And the third fact we must face at the outset is that we are warned in Scripture against undue emphasis on certain Bible truths to the exclusion of others. Man by nature hates God’s election; he is too proud in his religion to accept this truth. This doctrine puts him in the dust! But if we would teach election, we must be willing to occupy our place in the dust at His feet. Then let us be careful not to offend one of the little lambs of our Lord’s flock. This doctrine must be expounded in love, and it will only be understood as the Holy Spirit opens your heart.

“Here we have more of this old election and predestination and sovereign grace, and God-doesn’t-love­everybody stuff! WHY?” My reader, I can only say that election is precious to my soul. And my love of this precious doctrine came about in my salvation in Christ Jesus. The day election came home to my heart in power was the day I first saw who I was and who the God of the Bible was. I don’t know about anyone else’s experience — but it was after I learned and loved the truth of election and predestination that I came to be broken as a lost sinner before the Lord. I saw that it was the prerogative of the Lord to save me or damn me — to give me faith and repentance or withhold it — to show mercy to my soul or deserved wrath as it pleased Him. Much did I read the 9th and 11th chapters of Romans, and was made to hope that He had begun a good work in me. If indeed laid hold of by God’s Spirit, I knew He would complete the work He had begun (Phil. 1:6).  My salvation was alone in His hands.  There it remains today.

WHAT IS ELECTION?

Reading from chapter two of 2 Thessalonians, we find these words, “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: whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (verses 13-14). Here the apostle had warned the brethren of Thessalonica about the appearing of the Man of Sin, and he takes great comfort not in their ability to withstand that “mystery of iniquity” but in their election and effectual calling of God. The apostle gives thanks to God for he knows that not one of God’s elect will ever be lost!

What is election? “ELECTION is the unchangeable purpose of God whereby, before the foundation of the world, He hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His own will, chosen from the whole human race . . . a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom He from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect and the foundation of Salvation” (Canons of Dort, 1618-1619). means CHOICE. God chose SOME people in Christ before the foundation of the world — SOME and NOT ALL! To choose all, to manifest a universal love and benevolence, would not be an ELECTION — a so-called universal love of God whereby salvation is made available to all, but not definitely applied to any, is NOT ELECTION.

Deny that God chooses His own family and you rob Him of His absolute control over creation. ELECTION means that God is God in actuality. ELECTION means that nothing is left to the fickle will of the depraved creature. ELECTION means that if God be “for us,” He is for us eternally. ELECTION means that God’s special love has lighted upon particular persons, and that through no merit of their own. “The Lord  did  not  set  His  love  upon  you,  nor  choose  you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you” (Deut. 7:7-8). Then ELECTION means that nothing shall ever separate us from that eternal love. What a firm resting place for the soul of a little tried child of God.Praise God for this sure foundation. Read 2 Tim. 2:19.

What is election? ELECTION is God’s composing of the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. The names of every soul who would ever be saved by blood redemption were included in the BLOOD COVENANT and entered in the Book. This covenant and this Book of Life were complete from eternity, Revelation 13:8; 17:8. In election we see God’s predestination of all the saved, the ones who shall ultimately appear at His “right hand,” the place of special honor whereunto they were chosen. ELECTION and PREDESTINATION reveal God’s purpose to conform them to the image of His Son. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” Romans 8:29. In PREDESTINATION and ELECTION we see God benevolent and good. In PREDESTINATION and ELECTION, and only there, can we find God’s mercy for lost sinners (Luke 19: 10; Rom. 8:33; 1 Cor. 1:26-29).

What is election? This: God, in mercy, visiting fallen men to take out a people for His name.

ELECTION is the very fountain of God’s goodwill to undeserving sinners. Suppose God had left us alone! He might have, you know! Suppose God had allowed Adam and all his posterity to die lost and suffer the just consequences of their fall. Who is the authority that can bring God before his court and judge Him unfair? Then coming to the individual, suppose God had left you or me alone! He could. Do you realize that God gets glory out of man whether in choosing him to life or ordaining him, as an object of His wrath, to eternal destruction? This Bible teaches also God’s eternal reprobation of the wicked! Read Romans 9:20-23. God is glorified in every vessel of clay, in whatever image He forms that vessel. God is God! “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.”

THE CHARACTER OF GOD’S ELECTION

God chose sinners to salvation, and He did it apart from any foresight of faith or obedience on the part of the sinner chosen. Note three essential characteristics of this election:

  1. God’s election is ETERNAL. “Chosen from the beginning to salvation.” “Written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.” When God made choice of Jacob and rejected Esau, it was when “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” (Rom. 9:11). Election was on the basis of God’s decree from all eternity, and what is from eternity will last to eternity. Election is eternal as God is eternal. We can rest assured that an all-wise God elected His people for an all-wise purpose, although it is not clearly revealed to me in God’s Word why He should choose any so vile as you or me! His choice being eternal, then we know it is IRREVERSIBLE. Having freely chosen His people, God will not cast them away. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me: and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). The Father preserves the elect; Christ prays for the elect; Christ holds them individually in His own hands as His dear possession and He will not let them go! Remember the lost sheep on the mountains: Good Shepherd would not stop until He found it and brought it on His shoulders rejoicing! That is election — that is God’s sovereign choice and almighty rescue of His own!
  1. Then God’s election is FREE. God’s choice of His own rested not in the works they might perform, nor any foreseen goodness or faith, but solely in His purpose. God took Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees without any prior conditions; God called Noah by His grace alone; God elected, regenerated and called Jeremiah to be a prophet; God ordained Saul of Tarsus to “suffer great things for the Name of Christ whom he hated and persecuted.” It was a free choice, —no prior conditions! “But because the Lord loved you” (Deut. 7:8)! “Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake” (Psalm 106:8). God’s original elective choice was a FREE choice.
  1. Then God’s election was IN CHRIST. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5). God’s will from the beginning was to have a family in Christ His eternal Son, and that is exactly what He is doing. He is gathering together now all things in Christ, making all things to redound to His honor and glory. God will have men to honor His well-beloved Son. “That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phil. 2:9-11). And those chosen of God are effectually brought to bow to Him in this life, graciously, willingly (Ps. 110:3) — but all of mankind will bow someday, even the reprobate will be FORCED to acknowledge Him as Lord of all in their damnation! How precious is the Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father, and how precious to every born again believer! “Unto you therefore which believe HE is precious” (I Pet. 2:7).

WHY PREACH ELECTION?

“If God has elected His family from eternity, and if the number of the elect is unchangeable. then why worry? Why preach the gospel at all?” This common objection needs but one answer: has commanded us to “Preach the Word” (II Tim. 4:2), and faithfulness to Him demands obedience, not questions and objections! God has ordained by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (I Cor. 1:21). God’s elected ones will be regenerated — He’ll see to that. They will be called in due time: “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called” (Rom. 8:30a) without the loss of one — He’ll see to that! We therefore, like Paul, must “endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). (Note the burden of Paul was for the elect; he did not attempt to convert reprobate goats into elect sheep! That is not our job, our burden. Our comfort is that God has some elect sheep out there and we will see them coming to the knowledge of the truth. Oh, that one of them might be awakened through the reading of this article!)

While it is clear enough that we are commanded to preach the gospel to both saint and sinner—the question comes, “Why preach such doctrines as election and predestination?  Why not dwell on the love of God or the duty of man?  We are under no obligation to explain to man why we do such things as we feel are the purpose of God for our lives, but let us highlight some of the good that comes out of the preaching of the doctrine of God’s election.

  1. ELECTION gives us the only proper view of God, for it puts Him where He truly belongs — on the throne. Fallen man will accept a God who is in accord with his finite rationality, but God on the throne is offensive to him. When we come to see this doctrine of election in its scriptural light, we get Isaiah’s view of God “high and lifted up” (Isa. 6:1). We see then a God who works in precision, not in a doubtful or haphazard way, but a God whose “works are done in truth’’ (Ps. 33:4), yea, whose covenant works are “great” (Ps. 111:2-5). Then we can rest in peace, “being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11).But the modern “god” of today is a God without election and a God without a throne. ELECTION is essential to the very BEING and GLORY of the Godhead.
  1. ELECTION also gives us the proper view of man. We have unfolded something of the doctrine of man’s depraved and lost condition; and as in the doctrine of God’s gracious election we see God in His place, man must occupy his own place, and that is as undeserving at God’s footstool. If God is on the throne in fact, then man is totally subservient and dependent upon God to make all the decisions. Then God is supreme in all things. Therefore man as the dependent one can only occupy the place of a servant to his exalted Sovereign. For, even as Isaiah, when we have once truly seen God, we too will cry, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isa. 6:5). A person who rejoices in the predestinating God will be content as a beggar in His courts. That’s all we are!
  1. And because ELECTION makes certain the salvation of a definite number, we have assurance that our efforts are not put forth in vain (Isa. 55: 11). Knowing that God has elected some; knowing that salvation is in His hands; knowing that Christ died for each of these elected ones; and knowing that God’s Holy Spirit is busy in the earth calling these ones to life in Christ — what an assurance that is of the triumph of our Lord in all things! We just cannot be defeated if we be in Him — He is never defeated, OH NO! Knowing the total depravity of the natural man, knowing his utter corruption of heart and adversity to all good, knowing his enmity against God by nature (Rom. 8:7), knowing his captivity to Satan (2 Tim. 2:26; Luke 11:21) — knowing, in a word, the HELPLESSNESS of the natural man, we therefore take all our encouragement in this great truth of God’s sovereign, irreversible, invincible election of grace!

There is a great outcry against the preaching and teaching of this important truth, even from preachers, calling it “dangerous” and “damnable.” Election takes away all that Adam’s flesh might glory in, and leaves him ONLY THE LORD. It makes men totally dependent on God for the salvation of their immortal souls. And that is the effect intended. “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33-36). “That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31).

When the doctrine of election as taught in God’s Word is preached, it leaves nothing to the finite will of the fallen race, but God’s eternal purpose secures His elect in Christ. ELECTION brings us helpless and hopeless before God, and that is a good place to be. It places all men on a common level, and makes those who are saved to be recipients of favor which is wholly unmerited! Yes, election strips fallen man. Are you, O reader, willing to be stripped? Are you willing, as Jonah, that salvation truly be “of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9)?

Election is no discouragement to seeking souls. ELECTION says not to any man, “You may not seek the Lord. I deny you permission to come to Christ and be saved.” That is already the man’s problem by nature — he will not seek the Lord, will not come to Christ (John 5:40) — and from this natural condition ELECTION is his only hope of deliverance. For ELECTION says, “Some WILL SEEK THE LORD; some WILL COME TO CHRIST, and He will not cast them out” (Check John 6:37).

No, sinner, there is no discouragement here. The gracious truth of God’s choice will MAKE ME HIS CHILD! Knowing the native inability and carnal desire in the heart of each sinner, we know a doctrine of “free-wi1l, do-it-yourse1f, come-and-get-it salvation” holds out no hope. But, praise God, ELECTION can say: “God is merciful. There is a Redeemer who redeems. God will overcome your inability, give you life from the dead, faith to receive the Saviour, and a heart of repentance for sin. ELECTION will bring you to the blood-bought mercy seat, lift your spirit into the presence and bountiful favors of God, and grant you to be clothed in the perfect righteousness of your Redeemer. Election is your only hope.” That is so.

Then election is far superior to all of man’s pride and reasoning ability. Someone has well said that if the Bible had been written by men it would never have contained such a truth as election. This is proof that our Bible is not a counterfeit, but is indeed the inspired Word of God. Man could never have imagined such a truth as ELECTION!

God did not choose the mighty, He chose the poor ones to make up His family. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence” (I Cor. 1:27-29). There you have God’s ways in election — entirely contrary to the ways and working of man — all according to His one eternal purpose:“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.”

THE POWER OF ELECTION

There is real power in the preaching of a God who elected and predestinated His family from the beginning. Now, why do we in the pages of this paper insist so much upon these things? I’ll tell you why! I must cling to the truth of ELECTION for it was God’s gracious ELECTION that from all eternity clung to me and would not let me go! ELECTION is personal, and it becomes personal in salvation! Are you saved? Do you have a “good hope” in Christ Jesus? Then how precious is the thought that God chose you to it! Berryman Hicks, preacher in the early Broad River Baptist churches in our area, was a strong Calvinist and a great lover of the truth of ELECTION. He sang:

“Come, brethren, let us join and sing

The praises of our Heavenly King,

Who found us lost and brought us home

Pardoned our sins and made us His own

By the glorious plan of Election.

is a glorious theme,

It pleases me to hear the name. . . .

I believe Election’s right—

And never intend to deny it

Because I find a golden chain

Throughout the Scripture of the same,

And every link’s Election!”

The preaching of election is most effective to the hearts of listeners. The truth of election carries with it a MIGHTY POWER to make the Word cut deep into hearts. This is MORE TRUE OF ELECTION, I believe, than of any other Bible doctrine. As the Word of God makes clear the election of some of the fallen lump of Adam’s sons to life in Christ, so the method of that salvation is clearly set forth to be the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit conviction accompanies the preaching of election as no other doctrine. If preachers wish to see a stirring among their hearers, let them begin to preach election and predestination — and preach it straight, not watered down!

Spurgeon once said that the preaching of election and the effectual call would startle and alarm souls more than any other doctrine. The poor soul in his blindness will seek to reason it out, and he can’t, hence he turns it over and over in his heart and mind, and very often it forces its way into the soul. It then brings forth much fruit. God designed it thus!

There is a mighty power and liberty to the ELECT minister in preaching on God’s ELECTION. Knowing that salvation is founded upon God’s sovereign will instead of the depraved will of a fallen sinner, he can proclaim this truth with great liberty — knowing that our God will accomplish His purpose in every message given and in every word put out on the printed page. No greater consolation in all the world can be found for the sincere minister of the gospel! The measure of success we shall enjoy rests in one thing only — God’s will. For our God has made all things for Himself, yea, even the wicked (Prov. 16:4). The God who selects to salvation also hardens the non­elect (as Pharaoh) to damnation. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” (Rom. 9:21). “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth” (Rom. 9: 18). And why shouldn’t He? God is God! Oh, brethren, believe it! Dare to say it! If you are convinced from the scriptures of the truth of God’s absolute predestination and election, say so! Don’t sidestep these things in order to maintain your popularity. May God give us the courage of our convictions — wisdom to know the truth and power to preach it.

The sweetest news to a sin-weary convicted sinner is surely the GOOD NEWS that there IS an “ELECTION” on the part of his God.“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” And remember this: As we follow in the old paths, we shall find peace and joy in our labors (Jer. 6:16). Certainly election is one of those “old paths” which is much neglected in our day. By God’s grace, may both writer and reader determine now to follow His truth ALL THE WAY!

—Wylie W. Fulton,published inTruth For Today, 1990, the bulk of this article having been written when I was in my 20’s.

Footnote:  PREACH ELECTION, preach it as if we really WERE at God’s disposal to save us or damn us. We ARE, you know! Preach it with such burning fervor and passion as to make your audience SEE that they were left entirely in the Lord’s purpose before the foundation of the world, to CHOOSE them or to REJECT them. Show that it is the pure mercy and grace of God alone that could reach out to the most undeserving and most obstinate of Adam’s fallen sons, and bring him down before God as a little child crying, “Lord, what will you have me do?”

Brother, election is a POWERFUL, an EXPERIENTIAL, an AWAKENING, and a most GOD-HONORING truth. Preach God’s election and see the Lord alone exalted, see Him honored, though Satan and unsaved religious persons fight ever so furiously.

*But no one on earth knows who will or will NOT prove to be one of the elect. Those NOT elected do not even WANT to love the true God of the Bible. And even the elect generally at first do not have love for God either. Also consider that if a soul lives and dies hating election and  the  sovereign  God  described  in  God’s  Word  the Bible, it is strong evidence that soul was not one of the elect. He has denied belief in the true REVEALED God, with no revelation to his heart.—Glen Berry

There are many other characteristics of God’s election whereby we can see the nature of this blessed choice to salvation and glory, but the above will suffice as groundwork on which to base your study. (Please obtain a copy of Mr. Pink’s booklet on The Doctrine of Election or Spurgeon’s sermon on Election. Reading these, your soul will be fed if you have a spiritual appetite.) Notice the text:“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.” Having seen that election is scriptural, let us consider briefly the question, THEY who believe there is any power in man by nature whereby he can turn to God, may contend for a conditional election upon the foresight of faith and obedience: but while others dispute, let you and me admire, for we know that the Lord foresaw us (as we were) in a state UTTERLY INCAPABLE EITHER OF BELIEVING OR OBEYING unless He was pleased to work in us to will and to do according to His own good pleasure. -–John Newton,of “Amazing Grace”

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