The Bible is the Book of Election, not a book of Jewish fables, nor a collection of tribal myths, nor a collations of ancient moralisms. It is full of election from Genesis to Revelation. The Book of Beginnings is full of it. The Lord had respect to Abel, but not to Cain. The Lord was called upon among the Sethites, not among the Cainites. The seed of the woman continued in the sons of God, not in the daughters of men. God established His covenant, not with the wicked world before the flood, but with Noah and his family. The Lord blessed the sons of Noah, but cursed Canaan. The Lord distinguished between the King of Salem and the King of Sodom, between Lot and the men of Sodom, between Jacob and Esau, and between Joseph and Pharaoh. In Exodus, God distinguished between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. The Passover lamb was for Israel, not for Egypt. Israel, not Egypt, was baptized with the cloud and with the sea. The law of God was given to a redeemed people, not to the heathen nations. The altar was at the foot of Mt. Sinai, not at Mt. Seir. In Leviticus, the atoning sacrifice was for the people of God, and was not so much as offered to the neighboring heathen. The feasts of the Lord were those to which Israel was commanded, but to which the heathen were not called. In Numbers, the heathen were made to see Israel as “the people who shall dwell alone” and who were “not reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23:9). In Deuteronomy it is said that “the Lord’s portion is His people: Jacob is the lot of His inheritance,” and although He “will render vengeance to His adversaries,” nevertheless He “will be merciful to His land and to His people” (Deut. 32:9, 43). In Joshua, Israel enters the land while the Canaanites are expelled; the heathen Rahab is chosen and spared, while her whole city was ordained to destruction. In Judges, God chose weak and unlikely instruments to gain victory for His people. Seven in number and forever memorialized in His armory, they are, a left hand, an ox goad, a woman, a nail, a millstone, a pitcher and trumpet combination, and the jaw bone of an ass. In Ruth, God continued the covenant line in her, but not in Orpah. In First Samuel, David is chosen to be king, while Saul is rejected from being king. In Second Samuel, the covenant, house, throne and kingdom of David were established. In First Kings, Solomon began his undisputed reign, and Elijah was sent for the salvation of one widow out of many. In Second Kings, God blessed the Shunammite and cursed Jezebel; condemned all the kings of Israel, but saved some of the kings of Judah. First Chronicles depicts the victorious reign of David, with Israel viewed as God’s servant and Jacob’s children His chosen ones (I Chron. 16:13). Second Chronicles records the glorious reign of Solomon, various reforms, revivals and marvelous grace in the conversion of Manasseh. The remainder of the Old Testament is full of this truth. It is also detailed throughout the gospels. Especially do we find it in the preaching of the Evangelist Supreme. He was no more disappointed when men did not believe in Him than He was surprised when they did. He rather attributed either outcome to the sovereignty of God. “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” “For the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . Depart, ye cursed . . .” “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; but unto them that are without (the pale of election), it is not given.” “Ye believe not because ye are not of My sheep.” “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you.” “I know whom I have chosen.” The epistles are full of this truth, especially in those of the greatest of the apostles. He speaks of children of God as “the called according to His purpose.” They were foreknown and predestinated conformed to the image of His Son. Men like Jacob are vessels of mercy before prepared unto glory. Men like Esau are vessels of wrath prefitted to destruction. Peter says Christ verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last days for us. He says that we were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, that we are an elect race, and that our calling and election are evidenced by faith, virtue, godliness, love etc.
From this brief survey it may be seen that the truth of election is the heart of the gospel. It simply is not possible to scripturally proclaim the gospel without it. The richness of the gospel is lost when it is not presented in the light of this golden sunbeam which shines all throughout the length and breadth of the Word of God. The reason this is not widely understood is because not only the relation of the part to the whole is not understood, but the relation of the heart to the whole is not understood. Few see that there is any relation of predestination to the gospel. They do not understand the meaning of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The majority think that the heart of the gospel is found in John’s Gospel, chapter three, whereas, it is found in chapter seventeen. More particularly, the heart of the matter is not found in John 3:16, but in John 17:2, “Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.” In the light of this, it is plain that in attempt to preach the gospel apart from election, there is no penetration to the heart of it. The best that is so often done is to present a very thin, man-centered version of the gospel, which amounts to little more than a re-stating of certain pet texts of Scripture. The main stream of Scripture is not followed. The effect of the death of the Son of God is so conceived as to leave undetermined the person and uncertain the number of the saved. Not understood is the meaning of, “for the transgression of My people was He stricken.”
The gospel is usually presented today as confined to the divine work in connection with the sacrifice of Christ. Little or no attention is ever given to why the “gospel of Christ” is also called “the gospel of God.” The river of grace is rarely traced to its source in the heart of God, or followed on down to its end in the tabernacle of God. The beginning is often taken to be at Calvary, or at Bethlehem, rather than in the eternal counsel of God. The blessings of salvation are not seen as flowing out of and communicated from God’s covenant. They are not seen as “the redemption of the purchased possession” reserved for “a peculiar people,” or a people for His own possession. The preaching of the age is hardly in harmony with the first chapter of the New Testament, where it is explicitly stated that (1) Jesus “shall save, (2) namely, “His people from their sins,” and not (3) that He hopes, aims, wishes, attempts or proposes to do this, but actually shall save them. It is not in the interest of asimple gospel to omit the essential truth of election. Such a serious omission will leave one with prattling language which even those who utter it do not understand.
Study the doctrine of grace in Scripture and it shall become apparent that the grace of God cannot be, apart from election. The chosen remnant is saved “according to the election of grace.” Never can the grace of God be exalted while sovereign predestination and unconditional election are denied, nor, either, while salvation is conceived of as provided for all, but not actually purchased for any. We hear continually that God wants all men to be partakers of salvation, and so, to that end, by the preaching of the gospel He makes an offer of salvation to the free will of all who hear it. An offer is understood to mean the privilege of accepting or rejecting Christ. This is palmed off on men as pure gospel. But it is neither gospel, grace nor privilege.
Between grace and merit there is a whole sky of difference. But this is not so with the “grace” of the Arminian and the free will of man. If grace can be offered, and must be accepted before it will do the sinner any good, then the acceptance of it is a commendable act, calling for praise and reward. For if some refuse the offer, while I accept it, then I either have better sense than the others, or am more tenderhearted than others, or less obstinate, or am a better sport to a pleading Savior: Then the question, “Who maketh thee to differ?” must be answered according to the Arminian boot-strap philosophy, I made myself to differ! At that, I would split the crown on my Savior’s head to wear half.
So it is plain that the Bible is the Book of Election, from cover to cover. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of this truth; in fact, it is the very heart of the gospel. Many who would preach the gospel, never get at the heart of the matter, since they do not see the relation of the truth of election to the truth of the gospel. This is evident in the beginning they make in their thinking. They begin with the crucifixion or the incarnation, rather than with God’s eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is never to the praise of the glory of God’s grace when that laudation is made apart from election. For grace and every aspect of it flow from the fountain of election (Ephesians 1). As soon as grace is separated from election we have divine favor conditioned by the activities and contingencies of men. With election eliminated from the picture, grace is no more grace. For what, then, is taken to be grace is not grace. Some imagine that because they reject the idea that salvation is entirely dependent upon the will of man, that they exalt grace when they advance the following. (1) The natural man is depraved, spiritually sick, half dead and almost incorrigibly stubborn. (2) But God by His Spirit convicts men of sin, or righteousness and judgment, and enlightens them with the Light of Christ, so that they need not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. (3) Yet they must respond to these influences of the Spirit, and co-operate with His operations. For the reason men are lost is that they refuse such working of the Spirit. Saving grace is experienced as the result of acquiescence to the purpose of God. At bottom, this brings us down to human effort, not grace at all.