Jerome Zanchius on Absolute Predestination (Complete)

Chapter 4: The Will of God, Part 3

Position 8.—Since, as was lately observed, the determining will of God being omnipotent cannot be obstructed or made void, it follows that He never did, nor does He now, will that every individual of mankind should be saved. If this was His will, not one single soul could ever be lost (for who hath resisted His will?), and He would surely afford all men those effectual means of salvation, without which it cannot be had. Now, God could afford these means as easily to all mankind as to some only, but experience proves that He does not; and the reason is equally plain, namely, that He will not, for whatsoever the Lord pleaseth, that does He in heaven and on earth. It is said, indeed, by the apostle, that God “would have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth,” i.e., as Augustine,[1] consistently with other Scriptures, explains the passage, “God will save some out of the whole race of mankind,” that is, persons of all nations, kindreds and tongues. Nay, He will save all men, i.e., as the same father observes, “Every kind of men, or men of every kind,” namely, the whole election of grace, be they bond or free, noble or ignoble, rich or poor, male or female. Add to this that it evidently militates against the majesty, omnipotence and supremacy of God to suppose that He can either will anything in vain, or that anything can take effect against His will; therefore Bucer observes, very rightly (ad Rom. 9), “God doth not will the salvation of reprobates, seeing He hath not chosen them, neither created them to that end.” Consonant to which are those words of Luther,[2] “This mightily offends our rational nature, that God should, of His own mere unbiassed will, leave some men to themselves, harden them, and then condemn them; but He has given abundant demonstration, and does continually, that this is really the case, namely, that the sole cause why some are saved and others perish proceeds from His willing the salvation of the former and the perdition of the latter, according to that of Paul, ‘He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.'”

Position 9.—As God doth not will that each individual of mankind should be saved, so neither did He will that Christ should properly and immediately die for each individual of mankind, whence it follows that, though the blood of Christ, from its own intrinsic dignity, was sufficient for the redemption of all men, yet, in consequence of His Father’s appointment, He shed it intentionally, and therefore effectually and immediately, for the elect only.

This is self-evident. God, as we have before proved, wills not the salvation of every man, but He gave His Son to die for them whose salvation He willed; therefore His Son did not die for every man. All those for whom Christ died are saved, and the Divine justice indispensably requires that to them the benefits of His death should be imparted; but only the elect are saved, they only partake of those benefits, consequently for them only He died and intercedes. The apostle [Rom. 8] asks, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? it is God that justifies,” i.e., His elect, exclusively of others; “who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died” for them, exclusive of others. The plain meaning of the passage is that those whom God justifies, and for whom Christ died (justification and redemption being of exactly the same extent), cannot be condemned. These privileges are expressly restrained to the elect: therefore God justifies and Christ died for them alone.

In the same chapter Paul asks, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all [i.e., for all us elect persons], how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things?” i.e., salvation and all things necessary to it. Now, it is certain that these are not given to every individual, and yet, if Paul says true, they are given to all those for whom Christ was delivered to death; consequently He was not delivered to death for every individual. To the same purpose Augustine argues in Johan. tract. 45, col. 335. Hence that saying of Ambrose,[3] “si non credis non tibi passus est, i.e., if you are an unbeliever, Christ did not die for you.” Meaning that whoever is left under the power of final unbelief is thereby evidenced to be one of those for whom Christ did not die, but that all for whom He suffered shall be, in this life, sooner or later, indued with faith. The Church of Smyrna, in their letter to the dioceses of Pontus, insist everywhere on the doctrine of special redemption,[4] Bucer, in all parts of his works, observes that “Christ died restrictively for the elect only, but for them universally.”

[1] Enchir. c. 103 and De Cor. and Gr. c. 14.
[2] De Serv. Arb. c. 161.
[3] Ambroa. Tom. 2 de fid, ad Grat. I. 4, c. i.
[4] Vid. Euaeb. Hist. 1. 4, c. 10.

Jerome Zanchius (1516-1590) was an Italian pastor, theologian, writer and reformer during the Protestant Reformation. After the death of Calvin, Zanchius’ influence filled the void, which was copiously met by a large written ministry. Among his most popular works are, “Confession Of The Christian Religion”, “Observation On The Divine Attributes” and “The Doctrine Of Absolute Predestination”.

Jerome Zanchius on Absolute Predestination (Complete)