Spurgeon: the doctrine of election or predestination


“But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God from the beginning elected you to salvation through sanctification in the Spirit and faith in the truth. He has also called you to this through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Tessalonicesi 2:13-14).

angry-god[1]If there were no other text besides this in the sacred Word of God, I believe that all of us should receive and recognize the great and glorious truth that God chose his family from the earliest times. But there seems to be an inveterate prejudice in the human soul against this doctrine; and although most of the other doctrines are received by professed Christians, some with caution, others with joy, this seems to be the one that more than any other is neglected and set aside. In many pulpits it would be considered a grave sin and an offense to preach a sermon on ELECTION, since it is believed that it would not be a speech “practical”. I believe they have strayed from the truth on this point. All that God has revealed to us, has a purpose. There is nothing in Scripture that it cannot, under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, express themselves in a practical discourse: as “all Scripture is inspired of God and is useful” for the spiritual life. We know well that it cannot produce a discourse on free will, but he can produce it on the free grace of God; and free grace is the best practice, when the authentic doctrines of God's immutable love touch the hearts of saints and sinners.

Now, I believe some of you who have been shaken by the verse we have read, they will say: “I will listen sincerely; I will put aside my prejudices; I will listen to what this man has to say”. Don't shut your ears by saying: “It is too high a doctrine”. Who authorized you to call it high or low? Why you should oppose God's doctrine? Remember what happened to those young people who complained about a prophet of God, and they exclaimed: “Sali, calvo! Sali, calvo!”. Don't mock God's doctrine, so that it does not happen to you like those young people, when wild beasts came out of the forest and tore them to pieces in response to their mockery.

There are other misfortunes besides the immediate judgments from heaven – take care that these do not fall on you. Put aside your prejudices: listen calmly, with impartiality: listen to what the Scripture says; and when you will receive the truth, if God will be pleased to reveal it and manifest it to your souls, do not be ashamed to confess it. Confess you were wrong yesterday, it just means recognizing that you are a little bit’ wiser today, and it shows that you are advancing in the knowledge of the truth. Don't be ashamed to learn sound doctrine, and leave the old ideas and conceptions aside, rather, receiving the clear teachings of God's Word.

But if a doctrine is not in the Bible, then whatever I say, or whatever authority supports my ideas, I beg you, for the sake of your souls, reject it; and if from this pulpit you will ever hear any teachings contrary to this Holy Word, remember that the Bible must come first, and the minister of God must submit to it. We don't have to rise above the Bible to preach, but rather we must preach while remaining under it. After all that we have preached, we are well aware that the mountain of truth is higher than our eyes can perceive; clouds and darkness cover the top, and we cannot see the top; however we try to preach it as we can. But since we are mortal, e fallibili, exercise your judgment: “Try the spirits whether they are of God” (cf.. 1 Giovanni 4:1).

Now, first of all, I'll talk for a while’ of the TRUTH of this doctrine: “God from the beginning has chosen you for salvation”. Secondly, I will try to prove that this election is ABSOLUTE: “God from the beginning has chosen you for salvation” not THANKS to your sanctification, but “BY means of sanctification in the Spirit and faith in the truth”. Third thing, this election is ETERNAL, because the text says: “God FROM THE BEGINNING has elected you”. As a fourth thing, it is PERSONAL: “God has elected you”. Then we will see the EFFECTS of this doctrine; and finally, with God's help, we will try to talk about its TRENDS, and we shall see if it is indeed a terrible and licentious doctrine as some say.

1. First of all, I wish to prove to you that this doctrine is TRUE. And to start I will speak to you from different positions. Some of you, eg, they belong to the Church of England, and I'm happy to see so many of you here, for this Church has in it many devoted ministers and holy believers. I will read a portion of an article of faith from this Church, the 17th article concerning PREDESTINATION and ELECTION:

“Predestination to life is God's eternal purpose, for which, before the foundations of the world were laid, He has continually decreed through his counsel to free from curse and damnation those whom he has chosen in Christ from humanity, and bring them through Christ to eternal salvation, like vessels of mercy. Therefore those who receive this exalted privilege from God are called according to its purpose by his Spirit working at the appointed time.: these through grace obey the call; they are justified free of charge; they are made children of God through adoption; they are conformed to the image of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ; they conduct themselves conscientiously in good works, and finally, by the mercy of God, they achieve eternal happiness”.

Another human authority that recognizes the doctrine of election is the ancient Waldensian creed. If you read that creed, born in the blazing fire of persecution, you will see that even those faithful servants and believers firmly embraced this doctrine, as part of God's truth. I transcribed one of their articles of faith on ELECTION from an old book:

“God saves from corruption and damnation those whom He has chosen since the foundation of the world, not for some arrangement, wedding ring, or holiness that He had foreseen in them, but only by his grace in Christ Jesus his Son, leaving all the others according to the irreproachable reasons of his will and his justice”.

This is not new, therefore, the one I'm preaching; it is not a new doctrine. By this truth I have made it as a pilgrimage to the past, and I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, believe in these same doctrines. If I were a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free will, I would have had to walk alone for centuries; here and there some heretic of a not very honorable character would turn to me and call me brother. But recognizing that the truths of election and predestination are the basis of my faith, I see multitudes of believers confessing those same truths, and I recognize that this is the religion of the Church of God.

I also want to read you a portion of the old Baptist confession. About two hundred years ago the Baptists got together and published their articles of faith, to put an end to certain rumors about their orthodoxy. Let's read the third article:

“By the will of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined, o preordinati, to eternal life through Jesus Christ in honor of his glorious grace; others are left to their sins for their just condemnation, in honor of his glorious justice. These angels and men so predestined and foreordained, they are particularly and immutably pre-established, and their number is so certain [for God] it is defined, which can neither be increased nor reduced.

Those in humanity who are predestined for life, It gave, before the foundation of the world, according to its eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret advice of his will, he chose them in Christ for eternal glory, purely for his gratuitous grace and love, without any other thing present in the creature as a condition or cause of this act of his”.

As for these human authorities, I don't care what they say, PRO or AGAINST, about this doctrine. I mentioned them only as a confirmation of your faith, to show you that it is a doctrine followed by believers since ancient times. I don't care about the present. Even when an army of London churches had abandoned the great fundamental doctrines of God, it does not matter. If a handful of believers remain standing to steadfastly support the sovereignty of our God, even if we are besieged by enemies, or from our own brothers, who should have been our friends and helpers, it does not matter, if we look to the past; the noble army of martyrs, the glorious armies of believers, I'm on our side; the testimonies of the truth support us. With them, we can say that we are not alone, and we too can exclaim: “here, God has reserved for himself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee before Baal”. But what matters most, is that GOD AND’ WITH US.

The great truth is always the Bible, and only the Bible. You who listen to me, perhaps you believe in some other book besides the Bible? If I could prove this doctrine with all Christian books; if I could recover all the knowledge of the Alexandria library, and try it with that, you would not believe in it; but you will certainly believe what is written in the Word of God.

I would like to read you some biblical verses. Let us look at those passages in which those belonging to the people of God are called elect. Obviously if we are talking about ELECT people, there must be ELECTION. If Jesus Christ and his apostles called believers by the title of elect, we must certainly believe that they are, otherwise that term has no meaning.
Jesus Christ says: “If the Lord hadn't shortened those days, no one would escape; but because of the ELECT, that He has chosen, the Lord shortened those days”. “False Christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the ELECT”. “And He will then send the angels to gather His CHOSEN from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky” (Marco 13:20,22,27). “God will not avenge his CHOSEN who cry out to him day and night? Perhaps He will be slow to intervene on their behalf?” (Luca 18:7).

In these as in many other passages of the Bible (and gives. Ephesians 1:4, 2 Tess. 2:13, etc.), the word is mentioned “elected”, “chosen”, “preordinati”, “designated”; or the phrase “my sheep” or some similar indication, which shows that the people of Christ are distinct from the rest of humanity.

But you can check yourself with the concordances, and therefore I will not list all the verses. Through the epistles, the holy believers are continually called “the elected”. In Colossians we see what Paul says: “Get dressed, therefore, as CHOSEN of God, saints and loved ones, of feelings of mercy…” (Col. 3:12). He then writes to Titus, and calls himself: “Paolo, servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ to promote the faith of God's CHOSEN” (Tito 1:1). Peter writes: “ELECTED according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Pietro 1:2). Then, we note that John particularly loved this word. He writes: “The elder to Mrs. ELETTA…” (2 Thurs.. 1); and talk about the “sister ELECT” (to 13). And we know it's written: “The church that's in Babylon, ELECT like you, he greets you” (1 Pietro 5:13).

The apostles were not ashamed to use these words, and they weren't afraid to talk about the election. Today, this word has been clothed with many other meanings, and I recognize that people have mutilated and spoiled sound doctrine so that it looks like a doctrine of demons; and many who call themselves believers, they turned to Antinomianism (false doctrine which affirms that one can continue to sin as much as one wants because by now Christ has expiated our sins, N.d.T.). But despite this, why should I be ashamed of God's truth, just because men twist it? We love God's truth when it is attacked as well as when it is preached freely. If a martyr we loved were tortured, we wouldn't love it yet, and more, despite the violence inflicted on him? When God's truth is attacked, we don't call it untruth. We don't like to see it twist, but we can love it even more when it is attached, because we can discern what its real proportions would be had it not been attacked and twisted by the cruelty and inventions of men. Even in the ancient writings of the fathers of the Church the people of God are always referred to as the “elected”. The early Christians often called each other by this title, proving that they believed that God's people are clearly “elected”.

But now let's look at the verses that prove this doctrine unequivocally. Open your Bibles and look inside Giovanni 15:16, and you will see that Jesus Christ has chosen his people, since He says: “It is not you who have chosen me, but it is I who chose you, and I have appointed you to go and bear fruit and your fruit to remain; so that everything you ask the Father, in my name, He gives it to you”. So on the verse 19 dice: “If you were of the world, the world would love what is his; for you are not of the world, but I have chosen you in the midst of the world, therefore the world hates you”. Then to the chapter 17, version 8 e 9, Jesus prays: “Because the words You have given me I have given them; and they have received them and have truly known that I proceeded from You, and they believed that You sent me. I pray for them; I don't pray for the world, but for those you have given me, because they are yours”.

Let's look now proceedings 13:48: “Foreigners, hearing these things, they rejoiced and glorified the Word of God; and all who were ordained to eternal life, they believed”. Some may try to break up this passage if they want; but it says: “ordered to eternal life”, in the clearest and most incontrovertible way; and therefore we do not care what the many commentaries say about it.

I don't think I need to remind you of the teaching of Romans 8, because I trust that you all know that chapter well and that you understand it by now. Verse 29 and the following, is written: “Because those he foreknew, he also predestined them to conform to the image of his Son, so that He is the firstborn among many brothers; and those whom he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

So what shall we say about these things? If God is for us who will be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but he gave it to us all, perhaps he will not also give us all things with him? Who will accuse God's elect?” (Romans 8:29-33).

I also believe that it is not necessary to repeat the entire chapter 9 of the epistle to the Romans. As long as it remains in the Bible, no man can ever try Arminianism (doctrine which states that it is not God who chooses people by grace to be saved, but it is sinners who decide on their own initiative whether to be saved or not, N.d.T.); as long as that chapter exists, not even the most violent twists of biblical passages will ever eliminate the doctrine of election from the Scriptures. We read you verses like: “When the children had not yet been born and they had done no good or bad – so that God's purpose according to election and not because of works would remain firm, but for the One who calls – she was told: 'The major will serve the minor'” (to 12). Then we read the verse 22: “What is there to dispute if God, wanting to show his anger and make his power known, he endured with great patience the vessels of wrath prepared for perdition, and this to make known the richness of his glory towards the vessels of mercy which he had already prepared for glory…”. So let's read Romans 11:7: “What then? Israel did not get what it was looking for, but the elect got it, and the others have been hardened”. Verse 5 of the same chapter, we read: “So also in the present, there is a remnant elected by grace”.

No doubt, you will remember the passage in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29: “Indeed, brothers, look at your vocation; there are not many wise men among you according to the flesh, nor many powerful, nor many nobles; but God chose the crazy things of the world to put the wise to shame; God chose the weak things in the world to shame the strong ones; God chose the vile things of the world and the things despised, indeed the things that are not, to reduce to nothing the things that are, so that no one may boast before God”.

And also remember the step in 1 Tessalonicesi 5:9: “In fact, God did not do us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”. And finally you have the verse we read at the beginning, which I think is more than enough. But, if you want to read more, you can easily find them in the Bible, if you are not yet fully convinced of the truth of this doctrine.

I think, my friends, that this massive amount of evidence from Scripture should bewilder those who dare to laugh at this doctrine. What shall we say about those who so often have despised it, and they denied its divine origin, who have railed against his righteousness, and they dared to challenge God and call him an almighty tyrant, when they heard that He has elected so many to eternal life? can, you who reject it, remove it from the Bible? You can take Jeudi's penknife and cut her life from God's Word? You would like to be like the woman at Solomon's feet, and have the baby cut in two, to get your share? It's not here in Scripture? And it is not your duty to bow to it, and humbly acknowledge what you don't understand – receive it as the truth even if you don't understand its meaning? I will not try to prove God's justice in having thus elected some and left others. It is not for me to avenge my Master. He will speak for himself, as it already does: “Rather, or man, who are you who replies to God? The thing shaped will perhaps tell him who shaped it: 'Why did you make me like this?’ Perhaps the potter is not the master of the clay to make a vase for noble use and another for ignoble use from the same dough?” (Romans 9:20-21).

“Woe to him who says to his father: 'Why do you generate?’ and his mother: 'Why are you giving birth?'” (Isaiah 45:10).

“I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light, I create darkness… I, the Sir, I am the one who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:6-7).

Who are you who replies against God? Tremble and humble yourself before Him; bow and submit to his scepter; do not challenge his justice, and do not criticize his acts before your court, or man!

But there are some who say: “It is hard behavior for God to choose some and leave others”. Now, I want to ask you a question. There is someone here this morning who wishes to be a saint, that wishes to be regenerated, abandon sin and walk in holiness? “And, there is”, someone says, “I want it”. Then God elected you. But another says: “No; I don't want to be holy; I don't want to abandon my lusts and my slavery”. Because, then, you complain that God did not elect you? If you were elected you would not answer according to this confession. If God chose you for sanctification this morning, you say you don't care. You don't recognize that you prefer drunkenness to sobriety, honesty to dishonesty? You love the pleasures of this world more than faith; why then should you complain that God did not choose you to be a devoted believer? If you love faith, it is He who wanted it to be like this. If you don't want it, what right do you have to say that God should have given you what you don't want? Assuming I have something in my hand that you think is worthless, and that I say I want to give it to a certain person, what right do you have to complain that I did not give it to you? You can't be foolish enough to complain that another has had what you don't want. According to your confessions, many of you don't want faith, they do not want a new heart and an upright spirit, they do not want the forgiveness of sins, they do not want sanctification; you don't want to be elected for these things: so why are you complaining? You consider them worthless things; then why do you criticize God for giving them to those He has chosen? If you think they are good and you want them, they are there for you. God freely gives to anyone who asks; and first of all, He makes people want them, otherwise they would never want them. If you love these things, He elected you to this; but if you don't love them, who are you to find fault with God, when it is your desperate will that keeps you from loving these things – your self that makes you hate them?

Suppose a man on the street says: “What a pity that I can't have a place in the chapel to hear what that man is preaching”. And suppose he says: “I hate that preacher; I can't stand his doctrine; but still it's a shame that I can't get a seat there”. You would expect a man to say such a thing? No; you would say right away: “That man doesn't care. Because he regrets that other people have what they love and what he despises?” Don't love holiness, do not love justice; if God elected me to these things, has wronged you? “Ah! But”, some say, “I thought this meant that God elects some to salvation and others to perdition”. This is a very different matter from the doctrine of the gospel. He elected men to sanctification and justice e, through those things, to heaven. You don't have to say that He has elected people simply to go to heaven or just to hell. He has elected you to sanctification, if you love sanctification. If any of you want to be saved by Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ elected you to be saved. If any of you wish to have salvation, you are elected to have it, if you sincerely and earnestly desire it.

But, if you don't want it, why on earth should you be so unreasonably foolish as to complain that God gives what you do not love to other people?

2. So I tried to say something about the truth of the doctrine of election. And now, briefly, I wish to say that the election is ABSOLUTE: that is, it does not depend on who we are. The text says: “God from the beginning has chosen you for salvation”; but our opponents say that God chooses people because they are good, or for the many works they have done. Then we ask, in response to these claims, what are the works that must be done to be elected by God? They are perhaps what Scripture calls “the works of the law” – that is, the works of obedience that the creature can perform? If it is so, we tell you that if men cannot be justified by their works of the law (Galati 2:16, 3:10; Romans 3:20,28), then it is quite evident that they cannot even be elected by the works of the law; and if they cannot be justified by their good works, they cannot even be saved by them. Therefore the election cannot be founded on good works.

“But”, others say, “God elected them in anticipation of their faith”. Now, since God gives faith, he cannot have elected them in anticipation of the see he would have foreseen in them. There are twenty beggars on one street, and I decide to give a coin to one of them; could anyone ever say that I have decided to give that coin, I have “elected” that person to have that coin, because I predicted he would have it? It would be nonsense. Likewise, to say that God elected men by foreseeing that they would have faith – which is that the seed of salvation – it would be too absurd to be believed even for a moment. Faith is God's gift (cf.. Ephesians 2:8). Every virtue comes from Him. So he can't have made Him elect men, because it is his gift.

The lesson, we are sure, it is absolute, and completely distinct from the virtues that the holy believers subsequently receive. What would we think of a holy and devoted believer like Paul, courageous like Peter, or loving like John, but he does not recognize that such qualities come from his Creator? I have never known any saint of any denomination, that he believed that God had saved him because he foresaw that he would have virtue and merit.

Now, my brothers, the best jewelry a saint can ever wear, they are not those qualities that he himself produces. There is something carnal mixed in them. The highest degree of grace we possess in ourselves has something earthly about it. We realize this when we are most purified, and more sanctified, and our language must always be:

“I am the first of the sinners,
Jesus died for me.”

Our only hope, our only chance, it is still found in the grace that was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. And I am sure that we must completely reject and neglect any conviction that our graces, which are gifts from our Lord, planted in us by his right hand, may ever have been the reason for his love for us. And we must always sing:

“What was there in us that could deserve esteem
Or give pleasure to the Creator?
Yet so it was Father and we will always sing
Because it looked good in your eyes”.

He will give grace to those who want to give grace, and will have mercy on those who want to have mercy (Exodus 33:19). And if you ask me why it saves me, I can only say: because so he wanted. There was perhaps something in me that could please God? No, there is nothing; nothing could make me be accepted in his presence. When God saved me I was the most abject, lost, and ruined of the human race. I lay before him like a baby in blood. In truth, it was not in my power to help myself. Oh how miserable I was and I know I am! If you have something that can recommend you before God, I've never had it. I am happy to be saved for his GRACE, not adulterated, pure grace. I cannot claim any merit. If you believe you can do it, I can not. I have to sing:

“Only free grace from beginning to end,
He won my affection and held my soul steady”.

3. The election is ETERNAL. “God from the beginning has chosen you for salvation”. Can some man point me to the time that Scripture calls the beginning? Years ago it was thought to be when Adam was created on earth; but that was not the principle, since the revelation points us to a period that precedes that of the creation of the world, to the days when the morning stars were born; When, like dewdrops, from the fingers of the morning, stars and constellations fell dripping from God's hand; When, from his lips, He threw weighty globes; when with his hand he sent comets, like lightning, to wander the sky, to find their destination someday. Let's go back to the past years, where worlds were created and systems modeled, but we have not yet reached the beginning. Until we think of the time when the whole universe slept in the mind of God as not yet born, until we enter eternity where God the Creator lived alone, and everything slept in Him, and all creation rested in his omnipotent thought, we will not have approached the beginning yet. We can go back, back, back, age after age. We can go back, if we can say so, for whole eternity, yet never get to the beginning. Our wings can get tired, our imaginations may fade and vanish long before we get there. But God from the beginning chose his people; when the ether had not yet been moved by the wings of a single angel, when universal silence reigned, and not a single voice or whisper interrupted the solemnity of that silence; when there were no beings and movement, time and more besides God himself, in eternity; long before living creatures were born, or that the wheels of Yahweh's chariot were built, then, “In the beginning was the Word”, and in the beginning He “he elected us for salvation”. Our election therefore is eternal. I will not dwell on trying it, I am only expounding these thoughts for the benefit of young believers so that they know what is meant by eternal election, absolute.

4. E, Furthermore, the election is PERSONAL. Here again, our opponents have tried to overthrow the election by telling us that it is an election of nations, and not of people. But here the Apostle declares: “God from the beginning has elected you to salvation”. It is the most miserable substitution that can be made, to declare that God did not choose people but nations, because that same objection that is directed against people's choice, it also holds true against the choice of nations. If it were unfair to choose one person over another, it would be far more unfair to choose a nation, since it is none other than the set of multitudes of people; if the election is considered a crime, choosing a nation rather than a person should be an even more serious crime. Certainly choosing ten thousand people will be recognized worse than choosing one; so then it would be to distinguish an entire nation from the rest of humanity. They are not nations made up of men? A nation is made up of that individual, and the other, and the other one. What if you tell me that God chose the Jews, then I tell you that He chose that Jew, and that other Jew, and the other one. And so it is with the British or any other people.

The election is therefore personal: and so it must be. Everyone who reads the verse we have examined, and other similar verses, they will recognize that Scripture continually speaks of the people of God addressing individuals one by one, and speaks of them as special objects of election.

“We are children thanks to the election of God,
We believe in Jesus Christ;
By eternal decision
Sovereign grace we receive here”.

5. The other thought is – as time passes too quickly for me to dwell at length on these points – that the election produces GOOD RESULTS. “God from the beginning elected you to salvation through sanctification in the Spirit and faith in the truth”. How many men misinterpret the doctrine of election! And how my soul burns at the memory of the terrible evils that resulted from having ruined and twisted that glorious portion of God's glorious truth! How many men have said to themselves: “I am elected”, and they reveled in laziness, and even worse! They said: “I am God's chosen one”, and with their hands they set out to do evil. They ran quickly towards everything unclean, because they said: “I am a chosen child of God, regardless of my works, therefore I can live as I say, and do what I like”. Oh, loved ones! Let me solemnly warn each of you not to push your reasoning about the truth so far; O, Rather, not to turn the truth into error, since we cannot take it too far. We can get past the truth; we can do what has been done for our good and our consolation, a terrible mixture that will destroy us. I tell you that thousands of men have been ruined for misinterpreting the election; for saying: “God elected me to go to heaven, and to eternal life”; but they have forgotten that it is written that God has them “chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth”. This is God's election – election to sanctification and faith. God chooses his people to be holy, and so that they believe. How many of you here are believers? How many in my congregation can put their hand on their heart and say: “i have faith in god to be sanctified”? There are some of you who say: “I am elected”? I remind you that you cursed last week. One of you says: “I believe I am elected” – but I push your memory to remember the immoral acts you committed during the last week. Another of you says: “I am elected” – but I look into his eyes and tell him: “Elected! You are a miserable hypocrite!” Others say: “I am elected” – but I remind you that you neglect to go to the throne of grace and that you do not pray. Oh, loved ones! Never think that you are elected if you are not holy. You can come to Christ as sinners, but you cannot come to Christ as chosen persons until you see holiness produced in you. Do not misunderstand what I am saying – do not say “I am elected”, and then you think you can live in sin. This is impossible. God's elect are saints. They are not pure, they are not perfect, they are not infallible; but, looking at their life, they are holy people. They are very different, distinct from others; and no man has the right to conclude that he is elected outside of that holiness. It can be a chosen one, yet being living in darkness, but he has no right to believe it; no one can see that it is, nothing proves it. Man will live one day, but he died in the present. If you are walking in the fear of God, trying to please him and obey his commandments, do not doubt that your name was written in the Lamb's book of life before the foundation of the world.

And now we notice the other hallmark of the election, which is the “faith in the truth”. Anyone who believes in God's truth, and believes in Jesus Christ, he is elected. I frequently encounter believers who are afflicted and worried by this thought – “What if I'm not elected?”. “Oh,” they say, “I know I have placed my faith in Jesus; I know that I believe in his name and I have faith in the blood that he shed on the cross; but what will become of me if I am not elected?” Poor creature, you don't know much about the gospel, or you'd never talk like that, since WHO BELIEVES AND’ ELECTED. Who is elected, he is elected to sanctification and faith; and if you have faith you are one of God's elect; you can know and you must know, since it is an absolute certainty. Be yourself, as a sinner, look to Jesus Christ this morning and, without bringing any meritorious work, you entrust yourself to him by trusting in the sacrifice he made on the cross, you are elected. I am not afraid that the election frightens believers or sinners. There are many clergymen who respond to believers: “the election has nothing to do with you”. This is wrong, because the soul will continue to ask itself the same question. So tell them: if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ you are elected. If you trust in Jesus, you are elected. I tell you that you, even if I were the first of sinners, this morning, I tell you in his name that if you go to God without bringing your meritorious works, but you rely on the sacrifice and righteousness of Jesus Christ; if you go to him now and have faith in him, you are elected – you were loved by God from before the foundation of the world, for you could not have done this if God had not given you the strength and the will to do so. Now you are safe if you just come and entrust all of yourself to Jesus Christ, and you wish to be saved and loved by Him. But don't think that some man can be saved without faith and without sanctification. You are deceived only by a decision taken in ancient times, back in eternity, may save your souls, if you don't believe in Christ. Don't sit back and bask in the thought of being saved without faith and holiness. This is an abominable and cursed heresy, and it has ruined thousands of people. Do not make election a pillow to sleep on, or you could be ruined by it. God forbid I provide you with pillows that you can laze on in your sins. Sinner! There is nothing in the Bible that mitigates your sins. But if you are doomed, or man! if you are lost, o donna! you will not find a single drop in the Bible to quench your thirst, or a doctrine to mitigate your guilt; your damnation will be entirely your fault, and your sin will fully deserve it; because you do not believe you are condemned. Jesus said,: “You do not believe because you are not of my sheep”. “You don't want to come to me for life!”. (Giovanni 10:26, 5:40). Do not be under the illusion that election justifies sin – do not dream of it – do not rely in sweet complacency on the thought of your irresponsibility. You are responsible. We have to give you both. There must be divine sovereignty, and the responsibility of man. There must be an election, but we must offer God's truth to your hearts; we have to talk to you, and remind you of this: which is written “Your help is in Me”, but it is also written: “Oh Israel, you have destroyed yourself”.

6. E, finally, let's see what are the true and legitimate tendencies of the correct understanding of the doctrine of election. First thing, we will see how the doctrine of election works for holy believers under God's blessing; e, second thing, as it works towards sinners if God is pleased to bless them with it.

I believe the election, for a saint, both the doctrine and more than any other the REMOVAL of all confidence in one's own flesh and in everything other than Jesus Christ. How often do we cover ourselves with our justice, and we adorn ourselves with the fake pearls and gems of our meritorious works and good deeds. So let's start saying: “Now I will be saved, because I have this and this other proof”. But it is bare faith that saves; that faith and only that unites us to the Lamb of God, regardless of the works, although faith produces good works. How often do we rely on some of our own works, rather than on our beloved Lord, and we rely on some power that is not the one that comes from above. Now if we want to get rid of this carnal force, we must consider the election. Stop my soul, and consider this. God loved you before you had a body. He loved you when you died in transgressions and sins, and sent his Son to die for you. He bought you with his precious blood even before you could say his name. Can you still be proud of yourself?

I don't know anything, nothing that is more Humbling for us than this doctrine of election. Sometimes I fell prostrate under it, in trying to understand it. I spread my wings like eagles, and I flew up to that sun. My eye was still, and strong my wings, for a while; but, when I got close to it, a thought struck me: “God from the beginning has chosen you for salvation”. I was lost in its luster, shocked by that grand thought; and from that elevated position my soul descended, was thrown out of the breach,, saying: “lord, I am nothing, I am less than nothing. Why me? Why me?”.

Friends, if you want to be humble, listen to the election, because he will humble you under the influence of the Spirit of God. Those who are proud of their election are not elected; and whoever humbles himself at his thought may well believe he is; he has every reason to believe he is elected, since one of the most blessed effects of election is the willingness to humble ourselves before God.

But the election in the Christian should also make him fearless and courageous. No man will have as much audacity as the one who knows he is God's elect. What does he care about what the world can offer him if he has been chosen by his Creator? He will care about the faint chirping of the little sparrows if he is a golden eagle? He will fear if the whole world is against him? Even when there were wars everywhere in the world, he rests in perfect peace, since it is in the secret place of the tabernacle of the Most High, in the great pavilion of the Almighty. “I belong to God”, he says, “I am not the king's son? It is not my name written in the book of God?” He will care about the world? No: as the lion does not care about the dog's bark, so he smiles at his enemies; and when they get too close, rises and annihilates them. He walks among them like a colossus; his forehead is made of copper, his heart is like a flint – of whom it will fear?

“He who makes God his refuge,
It will find in him the surest abode”.

“I am one of his chosen ones. I am chosen by God and precious; and even if the world rejects me, I'm not afraid”. Ah! but most of you bend like willows. There are few Christians as solid as oaks today, that can withstand the storm, and I'll tell you why. It is because you don't believe you are elected. The man who knows he is elected will be too proud to sin; he will not humble himself to commit the vile acts of sinful men. The believer will say: “I compromise my principles? I change my doctrine? I put aside what I believe in? I hide what I know to be the truth? No! Since I know I am one of God's elect, I will proclaim the truth of God to men, whatever they tell me”. Nothing makes a man so courageous as acknowledging his election from God. He won't tremble, it will not falter, because he knows that God has chosen him.

Furthermore, election makes us SAINTS. Under the benevolent influence of the Holy Spirit, nothing can make a Christian holier than the thought that he has been chosen by God. “I will sin, after God chose me? I will transgress after being the object of such love? I will go astray after so much affection and tender mercy? No, my God; because you have chosen me, I will love you; I will live for you –

“Since you, the eternal God,
You have become my Father”;

I will give myself to You to be Yours forever, through election and redemption, entrusting myself to You, and solemnly consecrating myself to Your service”.

And now, finally, to sinners. What the election says to you? First of all, oh irreligious, I will excuse you for a moment. There are many of you who do not like election, and I can't blame you for that, for I have heard many of those who preached it say: “I have no word to say to sinners”. Now, I believe you MUST not love such preaching, and I don't blame you for that.

But I tell you, be encouraged, sinner, in the hope that there is an election. Instead of being a cause of depression and discouragement for you, it is a reason for hope and joy; instead of shaking and shaking your hands in despair, saying: “So how can I be saved, if no one is elected?”, I tell you that there is a very vast chosen multitude, that no mortal can count. So take courage, sinner! Throw your killing away – you cannot possibly have been elected like the others? There is joy and comfort for you! Then, don't just take courage, but go and try the Lord. Remember if you weren't a chosen one, you would not lose anything. What the four Siri said? “Let's go and introduce ourselves to the Siri camp; since if we say: 'Let's enter the city', there is hunger in the city and we will die there; if we stay here, we will die anyway”. O sinner! come to the throne of grace, or you could die where you are. Go to God; e, even if He refuses you, assuming He raises His hand to walk you away – impossible thing – even then you wouldn't have lost anything; your situation wouldn't be worse than before. But, even when you were damned, you would at least have the satisfaction of being able to raise your eyes and say: “Hate, I asked you for mercy and you did not grant it to me; I looked for it, but you refused it”. This you will never say, o sinner! If you go to Him, and ask Him, you will receive; for He has never refused anyone who has gone to Him! There is therefore no hope for you? Even if there is a predetermined number, it is true that all those who seek Him belong to that number. Go therefore and call on Him; and even if you were the first to go to hell you would tell the demons that you went as a miserable sinner to Jesus but you were rejected. I tell you that this would be a shame and a dishonor to the Eternal – with respect to his name – and that He will never allow such a thing to happen. He is jealous of his honor, and no sinner will ever be in a position to say this.

But you, poor soul, don't just think you can't lose anything to go; there is another thing you need to think about – you don't like the thought of the election this morning? You are willing to admit its justice? You say: “I feel I am lost; I deserve it; and if my brother is saved, I can't complain. If God destroys me, I deserve it, but if He saves the person next to me, He has the right to do what he wants, and I have lost nothing compared to before”. You can honestly say it from your heart? If it is so, then the doctrine of election had its effect on your spirit, and you are not far from the kingdom of heaven. You are led where you should be, where the Spirit wants you to be; and being so this morning, and in pace; God has forgiven your sins. You would not feel that you have been forgiven, if the Spirit of God wasn't working in you.
Rejoice, therefore, in this. May your hope rest on the cross of Christ. Don't think about the election, but to Christ Jesus. Rest on Him – Jesus first, today, and forever.

Based on the book “The comfort of predestination” edited by Renato Giliberti

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