Wherein The Doctrine of Predestination Is Explained As It Relates In General To All Men.

Thus much being premised with relation to the Scripture terms commonly made use of in this controversy, we shall now proceed to take a nearer view of this high and mysterious article, and—

I.—We, with the Scriptures, assert that there is a predestination of some particular persons to life for the praise of the glory of Divine grace, and a predestination of other particular persons to death, which death of punishment they shall inevitably undergo, and that justly, on account of their sins.

(1) There is a predestination of some particular persons to life, so “Many are called, but few chosen” (Matt. 20:15), i.e., the Gospel revelation comes, indiscriminately, to great multitudes, but few, comparatively speaking, are spiritually and eternally the better for it, and these few, to whom it is the savour of life unto life, are therefore savingly benefited by it, because they are the chosen or elect of God. To the same effect are the following passages, among many others: “For the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22). “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:48). “Whom He did predestinate, them He also called” (Rom. 8:30), and ver. 33, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” “According as He hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy…Having predestinated us to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4,5). “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us, in Christ, before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9).

(2) This election of certain individuals unto eternal life was for the praise of the glory of Divine grace. This is expressly asserted, in so many words, by the apostle (Eph. 1:5,6). Grace, or mere favour, was the impulsive cause of all: it was the main spring, which set all the inferior wheels in motion. It was an act of grace in God to choose any, when He might have passed by all. it was an act of sovereign grace to choose this man rather than that, when both were equally undone in themselves, and alike obnoxious to His displeasure. In a word, since election is not of works, and does not proceed on the least regard had to any worthiness in its objects, it must be of free, unbiassed grace, but election is not of works (Rom. 11:5,6), therefore it is solely of grace.

(3) There is, on the other hand, a predestination of some particular persons to death. “If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). ”Who stumble at the word being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Pet. 2:8). “These are natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed” (2 Pet. 2:12). “There are certain men, crept in unawares, who were before, of old, ordained to this condemnation” (Jude 4). “Whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 17:8). But of this we shall treat professedly, and more at large, in the fifth chapter.

(4) This future death they shall inevitably undergo, for, as God will certainly save all whom He wills should be saved, so He will as surely condemn all whom He wills shall be condemned; for He is the Judge of the whole earth, whose decree shall stand, and from whose sentence there is no appeal. “Hath He said, and shall He not make it good? hath He spoken, and shall it not come to pass?” And His decree is this: that these (i.e., the non-elect, who are left under the guilt of final impenitence, unbelief and sin) “shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous (i.e., those who, in consequence of their election in Christ and union to Him, are justly reputed and really constituted such) shall enter into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46).

(5) The reprobate shall undergo this punishment justly and on account of their sins. Sin is the meritorious and immediate cause of any man’s damnation. God condemns and punishes the non-elect, not merely as men, but as sinners, and had it pleased the great Governor of the universe to have entirely prevented sin from having any entrance into the world, it would seem as if He could not, consistently with His known attributes, have condemned any man at all. But, as all sin is properly meritorious of eternal death, and all men are sinners, they who are condemned are condemned most justly, and those who are saved are saved in a way of sovereign mercy through the vicarious obedience and death of Christ for them.

Now this twofold predestination, of some to life and of others to death (if it may be called twofold, both being constituent parts of the same decree), cannot be denied without likewise denying (1) most express and frequent declarations of Scripture, and (2) the very existence of God, for, since God is a Being perfectly simple, free from all accident and composition, and yet a will to save some and punish others is very often predicated of Him in Scripture, and an immovable decree to do this, in consequence of His will, is likewise ascribed to Him, and a perfect foreknowledge of the sure and certain accomplishment of what He has thus willed and decreed is also attributed to Him, it follows that whoever denies this will, decree and foreknowledge of God, does implicitly and virtually deny God Himself, since His will, decree and foreknowledge are no other than God Himself willing and decreeing and foreknowing.



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