Election: Its Defenses and Evidences
Delivered in the year 1862
C. H. SPURGEON
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“We know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” [1 Thessalonians 1:4-6]
“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.”- 1 Thessalonians 1: 4- 6.
At the very announcement of the text some will be ready to say, “Why preach upon so profound a doctrine as election?” I answer, because it is in God’s word, and whatever is in the Word of God is to be preached. But you will say, “But some truths ought to be kept back from the people, lest they would make improper use of it.” That is Roman Catholic doctrine, it was on that very theory that the priests kept the Bible from the people, they did not give it to them lest they should misuse it. “But aren’t some doctrines dangerous?” Not if they are true and correctly handled. Truth is never dangerous, it is error and silence that are filled with peril. “But don’t men abuse the doctrine of grace?” I grant you that they do; but if we destroyed everything that men misuse, we would have nothing left. Are there to be no ropes because some fools will hang themselves? Likewise, must all knives be discarded and denounced, because there are some who will use dangerous weapons for the destruction of their adversaries? Certainly not. Besides all this, remember that men do read the Scriptures and think about these doctrines, and therefore often make mistakes about them; who then will set them right if we, who preach the Word, hold our tongues about the matter?
I know that some men who have embraced the doctrine of election have become Antinomians [those who deny any responsibility to moral law]; such men would probably have found other excuses for their bad behavior if they had not sheltered themselves under the shadow of this doctrine. The sun will ripen the poisonous weed as well as the fruitful plant, but that is not the fault of the sun, but of the nature of the weed itself. We believe, however, that more persons are made Antinomians through those who deny the doctrine than through those who preach it. One evidence of this is that in Scotland you will scarcely find a congregation of Hyper-Calvinists [those who over emphasize the omnipotence of God and the salvation of the elect by God's grace], and the reason for their scarcity is because the Church in Scotland completely embraces the doctrine of election, and her ministers, as a rule, are not ashamed to preach it fearlessly and boldly, and in connection with the rest of the faith.
Take any doctrine, and preach on it exclusively, and you distort it. The most beautiful face in the world, with the most lovely features, would soon become grotesque if one feature were permitted to expand while the rest were kept in their usual form. Proportion, I take it, is beauty, and to preach every truth in its right proportion, neither keeping back any nor giving undue prominence to any, is to preach the whole truth as Christ would have it preached. A Gospel that has the proper proportions is thus complete and harmonious and therefore we may expect it to have the blessing of the Most High.
That, my friends, was my preface, and not in any way an apology. I have no need to offer any apology for speaking the truth.
I. WHAT IS THIS DOCTRINE OF ELECTION? Let us try to understand it as it is spoken of in the text: “We know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.”
There is such a thing as election.
Any person who would deny that man is a free agent might well be thought of as being unreasonable, but freewill is a different thing from free-agency. Luther denounced freewill when he said that “freewill is the name for nothing”; and Jonathan Edwards demolished the idea in his masterful dissertation. God is the universal agent and does as he wills, and his will is supremely good. He is the supreme agent, and man acting according to the plans of his own heart, is nevertheless overruled by the sovereign and wise Creator which causes even the sin and the fury of man to praise him; and he also restrains the rest of man’s actions. I can’t explain how these two things are true. It is not necessary for our good, either in this life or the next, that we would have the skill to solve such problems. I am not sure that in heaven, we will be able to know where the free agency of man and the sovereignty of God meet, but both are great truths.
God has predestined everything, yet man is responsible, for he acts freely, and no constraint is put on him even when he willfully and wickedly disobeys the will of God. But all those who are saved, you will say, are saved because they believe. Certainly it is true; it is absolutely true - God forbid that I should ever deny it - but wherefore do they believe? They believe as a direct result of the working of the grace of God in their hearts. Since every person who is saved confesses this, since every true believer in the world acknowledges that something special has been done for him more than for the unrepentant, the fact is established that God does make a difference. No one has ever accused the Lord that he has made such a difference, so I cannot see why he should be accused for intending to make that difference, which is just the doctrine of election. I am saved, but I know it is not because of any goodness in me, and if you are saved you will freely confess that it is the distinguishing love of God that has made you to be different. The doctrine of election is simply God’s intention to make the difference between people, and you know that this difference exists. While he gives mercy to everyone, he gives more mercy to some so that the mercy already received will be made effective for their eternal salvation.
This election of God is sovereign.
He chooses as he will. Who will call him to account? “Can I not do as I want with my own creatures?” is his answer to every critic. “Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?” is the solemn utterance that silences every one who would point the finger at the justice of the Most High. He has a right, seeing we are all criminals, to punish whom he wants. Without question, as king of the universe he acts with discretion, but still according to his sovereignty. He rules wisely and not recklessly, but always in accordance to his own perfect will. Election, then, is sovereign.
Again, election is free.
Whatever may be God’s reason for choosing a person, certainly it is not because of any good thing in that person. They are chosen because it pleases God to do so. We can go no further. We go as far as those words of Christ, “Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure,” and there we stop for no philosophy and no Scripture can take us beyond that.
Just as election is sovereign and free, it is also irreversible.
Having chosen his people, he does not cast them away nor go back on the words that it gone out of his lips, for it is written, “He hates divorce.” He has determined in his mind to save some, and no one can change his mind!
Once more, election is effective.
For “those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
And this election is personal.
For he calls out his children, by name, one by one. He calls them just like “he determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name,” and so he brings them every one of his “called children” to the Father’s house above.
We have thus given a statement as to what this doctrine is. There we will leave it. Our present object is not so much to expound the doctrine, as to strike a blow or two at certain errors which are very common and which spring out of it. I know, dear friends, there are some who are so afraid of this doctrine that the mention of it produces alarm. If they were to meet a lion face-to-face, they would not be more terrified than they are when they see this doctrine in Scripture or hear it from the pulpit.
II. Therefore, secondly, we will NOTICE WHAT THE DEFENSES OF THIS DOCTRINE ARE, and try, if we can, should you be struggling under any distress of mind about it, to remove your difficulties.
Will you please remember then that this is not a point which you can understand at the beginning of your spiritual and religious life?
You would not teach your children, I suppose, to say their prayers backwards, that is to say “Amen” first; likewise you are beginning at the wrong end when you want first of all to know all about your election instead of beginning with repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Election is a lesson for the more advanced students. Faith and hope must be learned, first of all, in the infant class, to which we all must attend if we would be wise unto salvation; Now, if a child should have a book of algebra put into his hand, and should puzzle himself and say, “I will never get an education, for I cannot understand this;” and then take down some ancient classic, and say, “I cannot comprehend this;” you would say, “Dear child, have nothing to do with these yet. Here is a book for you - an elementary textbook. Here you have the A, B, C’s; learn this first, and then, step by step, you will attain to the rest.” This is the same way it is with us. Simple trust in Christ is the first thing you have to understand, after that you will know the lofty, the sublime, and the glorious doctrine of God’s decrees; but do not begin with these. You will mystify and ruin yourself; you will lose your way in a fog and not get any good out of it.
Again, it is very certain, that whatever this doctrine is-and we will have no dispute about it just now - this doctrine cannot possibly be inconsistent with certain clear promises in God’s Word.
Such promises are these, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” “Whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him.” Why, I might quote by the hour together some of these promises which are as wide as the distance between the North and South poles; invitations that must not be narrowed, exhortations which are addressed to every man and woman under heaven, in which every one of them is commanded to listen and live. “"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters.” You know the class of promises to which I allude. Now, these are the words of God which are for you; grab hold of them; come to Jesus Christ with them in your hand; and rest assured the doctrine of election, instead of pushing you back, will stand like the servants around your father’s table to make music, while your whole being will dance to the glorious tune; it will be like a dish on the table at the feast of the returning prodigal, of which you will eat till you are very full; it will by no means repulse you or show anything to you which may keep you from hoping in Christ.
Once more, it is quite certain that, whatever it may be, this doctrine of
election does not release you from your duty.
Now what is your duty? “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” This is so much your absolute duty that, “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed.” This more than anything else is the reason for men’s condemnation. The Scripture says this is the one great sin. We read, concerning the Spirit of truth that “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin - in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” Very well, then; in as much as God has so put it, that he commands you this day to trust Christ and to believe on him, that is what you have to do, and you may rest perfectly sure that falling back on the doctrine of election in order to exonerate you from what God commands you to perform is but a pitiful pretense. You are commanded to believe, and what God commands no doctrine may teach otherwise. May God help you to believe, for the doctrine of election does not excuse you. The gospel commands you, and election through the Holy Spirit enables you. It is your duty to believe, but no man ever was saved as a matter of duty, for that which saves is the gift of God. But your business now is with Christ only, and not with the decrees of the Father, which are all in the keeping of Christ, and will presently be revealed to you. You have to go to Christ first, and to his Father afterwards, for he said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” You must go the cross to get to the decree; you must go by way of redemption to get to election; there is no other way.
III. In the third place let us see WHAT THE EVIDENCES OF ELECTION ARE.
Our text says, very clearly, that the apostle knew that the Thessalonians were elect. How did he know it? The way by which the apostle knew it must be the method by which you and I know that we too are the elect of God.
We have seen more than once in our day, some men who pretended to be certain of their election by their offensively bold behavior. They had in their minds the presumption that they were elected, and though they lived on in sin, and still did as they liked, they imagined they were God’s chosen ones. This is what I call presuming upon election by sheer impudence.
Sadly, we know of others, who have imagined themselves to be elect, because of the visions that they have seen when they have been asleep or when they have been awake - and they have presented these as evidences of their election. These evidences are of no more value than cobwebs would be for a garment, they will be as much service to you in the day of judgment as a thief’s long list of crimes would be to him if he were to use them to show that he deserved mercy. You may dream for a long time before you can ever dream yourself into heaven, and you may have as many stupid notions in your head as there are romance novels in your libraries, but because they are in your head does not mean that they are therefore in God’s book. We want a more positive word of testimony than this, and if we don’t have it, God forbid that we should indulge our vain heart with the flimsy thought that we are chosen of God.
I have heard of one who said, as he sat in a bar room, that he prove more than any of the rest, that he was one of God’s children; meanwhile he drank deeper into intoxication than the rest; Surely he might have said, with an emphasis, that he was one of the devil’s children; he would have been correct. When immoral men and women and men and women who live constantly in sin, babble on about being God’s children, we recognize them at once. Just as we know a crabapple tree when we see the fruit hanging on it, we understand what spirit these men and women are of when we see their walk and conversation. Oh, it is detestable, hateful above all hatefulness, to hear men and women, whose characters in secret are notorious, and whose lives are destitute of every Christian virtue, boasting as though they had the keys of heaven , and could admit or keep out any they chose. But, blessed be God, we are not under their domination, for the world has never known a more wicked set of tyrants than they are, nor a more frightful reign of vice than they could initiate, if they had their way, I am sure that they would bring on a greater wickedness than we could ever conceive. “Be do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.” If grace does not make us holy, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, then it is not worth having. Brothers and sisters, if we are God’s elect we must have some substantial evidence to attest to it.
According to our text, what are these evidences? There seems to be four.
The first evidence appears to be the Word of God coming home with power.
If you will turn to the verse you will see how the apostle says, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit.” The Gospel is preached in the ears of everyone; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the Gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher, otherwise men would be the converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s education, otherwise it would consist of the wisdom of man. The power which converts souls does not even lie in the preacher’s simplicity or understanding of his task; that is a secondary agency, but not the cause. Again, the power which converts souls does not even lie in the emotional appeal which the speaker may employ. Men and women may weep over the tragic scene in a theater as well as to the preaching of coming judgment in the church. Their mortal passions may be impressed through the acting on the stage as well as by the utterance of God’s own servants. No; there is something more than this that is needed, and where it is absent all preaching is a null and void. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never would a soul be converted unless there were the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit going with it, changing the will of man. O my friends! we might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Spirit is with the Word, to give it power to convert the soul. We are reminded of Mr. Rowland Hill, who once met a man in the street at night, not quite drunk, but almost so. The man said, “Mr. Hill, I am one of your converts.” “Yes,” he said, “I dare say you are one of mine; because if you were one of God’s you would not be in the state in which you are now.” Our converts are worth nothing. If they are converted by man they can be unconverted by man. If some charm or power of one preacher can bring them to Christ, then some charm or power of another preacher can take them from Christ. True conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, and of the Holy Spirit alone.
Well, then, my friends did you ever, when listening to the Word, feel a divine power coming with it? Never mind where you were, whether in Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, in this Church, or at some special service being held at one of the theatres; the place matters nothing. “Well,” perhaps you will say, “I have felt some influence.” Ah, but that may be wiped away. Have you ever felt something coming with the Word which you could not understand; which, while it wooed you and won your heart, inflicted a heavy blow on you, as though a sword had gone through you, and that not with a simple flesh wound, but with a wound that divides between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow, as if the truth were, as indeed it is a discerner of the thoughts and attitudes of the hearts.
Those who are really God’s elect can tell a story something like this. “There was a time when the Word was to me like a great ten thonged-whip; my shoulders were stripped bare, and every time the Word was preached it seemed to make a gash within my soul. I trembled; I saw God at war against me; I understood that I was in debt to justice and could not pay; that I was involved in a controversy against my Maker, and could not conquer. I saw myself stripped naked to my shame, leprous from head to foot, a bankrupt and a felon ready to be given over to a traitor’s doom.” Truly the Word came with power to your soul. “And,” you continue, “I remember too when the truth came home to my heart, and made me leap for great joy, for it took all my burdens away; it showed me Christ’s power to save. I had known the truth before, but now I felt it. I had understood that Christ could save, but, now that fact came home to me. I went to Jesus just as I was; I touched the hem of his garment; I was made whole. I found now that the Word was not fiction - that it was the one true reality. I had listened scores of times, and he that spoke was like one that played a tune on an instrument; but now he seemed to be dealing with me, putting his hand right into my heart, and getting hold of me. He brought me first to God’s judgment-seat, and there I stood and heard the thunders roll; then he brought me to the mercy-seat and I saw the blood sprinkled on it, and I went home triumphing because my sin was washed away.” Oh, again I ask you, did the Word ever come home with this power to your souls?
Since the day of your conversion has the Word ever rebuked you? Has it sometimes cut down your hopes! Do you sometimes, after hearing a sermon, feel as if it had been like a great hurricane bearing right through the forest of your thoughts, cutting its own course, and leaving many dead things that you thought were alive, laying dead on the ground? Do you feel, too, when you go home from church, as if God himself had been there, you didn’t know what else it could be. It couldn’t have been the speaker nor the words he uttered, but the Living God coming and looking into your eyes, and searching the thoughts of your mind, and turning your heart upside down, and then filling it full again with his love and with his light, with his truth and with his joy, with his peace and with his desire after holiness? Is it this way with you? When the Word does not come with power to your souls, then you lack the proof of election.
Remember, I don’t say that it will always be this way. You must not expect that same power every time that God will speak with you; in fact, the preacher himself often fails, and is painfully conscious of it. How will one man always speak without sometimes feeling that he himself is not in a fit frame to be God’s mouthpiece. But though the preacher is nothing but a simple country preacher, if he preaches God’s Word, the Spirit will go with it. It is not the simple preacher, nor yet the archbishop that does the work; it is the Word that is quick and powerful. Your evidence of election is blotted and blurred, unless the Word has come to you with a demonstration of the Spirit and with power. People come and hear sermons in this place, and then they go out and say, “How did you like it?” and one says, “Oh, I liked it a lot;” and another says, “Oh, I didn’t like it at all.” Do you think we live on the breath of your nostrils? Do you believe that God’s servants, if they are really his, care for what you think of them? No, truly not, but if you should reply, “I enjoyed the sermon,” they are inclined to say, “Then we must have been unfaithful or else you would have been angry, we must surely have slurred over something, or else the Word would have cut your conscience as with the jagged edges of a knife. You would have said, ‘I did not think how I liked the sermon; I was thinking how I liked myself, and about my own state before God; that was the matter that concerned me, not whether he preached well, but whether I stood accepted in Christ, or whether I was a castaway. “My dear friends, are you learning to listen like that? If you are not, if going to church is to you like going to an opera, or like listening to some speaker who speaks on worldly matters, then you lack the evidence of election; the Word has not come to your souls with power.
But there is yet a second evidence of election. Those whom God has chosen receive the word “with deep conviction.”
They do not all receive it with full and complete conviction; that is a grace they get afterwards - but they receive it with deep conviction. There are some who profess to be Christians who go live by very strange principles. It is indeed somewhat difficult to know what principles are enforced and acknowledged in this age, for there are persons whose principles allow them to say black and white at the same time, and there are certain persons whose religious principles are not much different than this. They sing the Christian hymns when they are at church; they sing the ungodly songs of the world when they are somewhere else; they can act very conservative and they can act very wild. Such people as these never have any very great confidence in their religion; and it is very proper that they should not, for their religion is not worth the time they spend in making a profession of it. But the true Christian, when he gets hold of principles, keeps them, and there is no mistake about the grip with which he maintains his hold of them. “Ah!” he says, “that Word which I have heard with my ears is the very truth of God, and it is true to me, real and substantial to me, and here I clutch it with both my hands, with a clutch that neither time, nor tribulation, nor death, will ever cause me to let go.” To a Christian his religion is a part of himself; he believes the truth, not because he has been told it or taught it by mother or friend, but because it is true to him in his inmost soul. He is like the servant girl who, when she could not answer her infidel master, said, “Sir, I cannot answer you, but I have a something in here that would if it could speak.” There is “deep conviction.”
Sinners who have once felt their need of a Savior feel very deep conviction about his preciousness, and saints that have once found him precious have very deep conviction about his divinity, about his atonement, about his everlasting love, about his immortal dignity as a prophet, a priest, and a king. They are sure of it. I know some persons who say if a man speaks positively he is dogmatical. Glorious old dogmatism, when will you come back to earth again? It is these “ifs,” and “buts,” and qualifications, these “perhapses” and “may be so’s” that have ruined our pulpits. Look at Luther, when he stood up for the glory of his God, was there ever such a dogmatist? “I believe it,” he said, “and therefore I speak it.” For when he was trying to earn his own salvation by creeping up and down the staircase to heaven with his good works, it was then that the sentence out of the clouds came before him, “When we are justified by faith, then we will have peace with God,” it was then that Luther was just as positive that works could not save him as he was of his own existence. Now, if he had come out and said, “Gentlemen, I have a theory to offer that may be correct; excuse me for doing so,” and so on, then the Roman Catholic Church would have still been dominant to this day. But he knew God had said it, and he felt that that was God’s own way to his own soul, and he could not help being dogmatic with that glorious message which soon laid his foes prostrate at his feet.
Now have you received the gospel “with deep conviction?” If you have, and you can say, “Christ is mine; I trust in him, and though I may sometimes have doubts about my own interest in him, yet I do know by experience in my soul that he is a precious Christ-I don’t know it by other peoples experiences, but I know it by my heart’s inward evidence, I know it by the analogy of my own soul’s experience, that the truth which I have received is no cunningly devised fable, but something that came from God to draw my soul up to God” - that is another evidence of election. If you have that, never mind the rest; I hardly care whether you believe the doctrine of election or not; you are elect. As I have sometimes told a brother who has denied the doctrine of final perseverance of the saints (the doctrine of eternal security), when I have seen his holy life, “Never mind, my brother, you will persevere to the end, and you will prove the doctrine that you do not believe. You may not be able to receive the doctrine of election that I now preach, but if such has been your experience, when you get to heaven you will wake up and say, ‘Well, I am one of the elect. I made a great deal of fuss about it while on the earth, and I will make a great deal of music about it now that I have arrived in heaven, and I will sing more sweetly and loudly than all the rest, “Unto him that has loved me and washed me from my sins in his blood, unto him be glory forever and ever.”
But there is a third evidence. Those who are chosen of the Lord desire to be like him. “You became imitators of us and of the Lord.”
The apostle says in the text; by which he does not mean that they said, “I am of Paul, I am of Silas, I am of Timothy,” but that they imitated Paul so far as he imitated Christ. Thomas aˆKempis wrote a book about the imitation of Christ, and in some respects it is a blessed book; but I would like the Holy Spirit to write in your hearts the imitation of Christ. It will be to you a sweet proof that you are chosen of God. Are you Christlike or do you want to be? Can you forgive your enemy, and can you love him and do good to him? Can you say tonight, “I am no more any man’s enemy than is the newborn baby?” and do you desire now to live unselfishly, to live for others, to live for God? Are you prayerful? Do you come to God in prayer as Jesus did? Are you careful of your words and of your acts as Christ was? I do not ask you if you are perfect, but I do ask whether you follow the Perfect One? We are to be followers of Christ, if not with equal steps, still with steps that would be equal if they could. If we follow Christ, that will be to others one of the surest proofs of our election, though perhaps to ourselves, if we are humble minded, it will be no proof, since we will rather see our blemishes than our virtues, and mourn over our sins more than we rejoice in our graces. If a man does not follow Christ, those who look on will be safe in concluding that, whatever he may say about election, and however much he may shout about it, he is not the Lord’s. On that point I will not say anything more, because I have already enlarged on it in a former part of the sermon.
In the last place I will say, the fourth evidence of being elected is the existence of spiritual joy in spiritual service. If you look further, it seems that those of whose election the apostle was sure of, received the Word of God “in spite of severe suffering,” and “welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
What do you say to this, you whose religion consists of nothing but mindless attendance to forms that you detest? See how many there are who go to a place of worship just because it is not respectable to stay away, but who often wish it were. And when many of these so-called Christians travel far away from here, what do they do with Sunday worship then? Where is their concern for worshipping with God’s people? See, too, with what reluctance some people, here at home, go to church. Why? Because they have come to regard it as a place where they ought to be very solemn. It is not a home to them; it is a prison. How different it is with your children when they come home for their holidays. How do they come to their father’s house? Gloomy, sedate, as if they could not speak? No, bless their little hearts, they come running up to their father’s knees, so glad to be there, so glad to be home. That is how a man whose religion is his delight comes to the place where God’s children gather to worship and honor their Holy Father. He feels that it is his Father’s house. He will be reverent, for his Father is God, but he must be happy, for God is his Father.
Also notice the Christian when he goes to his closet. Ungodly persons will not go there at all; or, if they do, it is because they want to earn heaven by it. But see, they go through their dreary prayers; and what a dreary thing it must be for a man to pray when he never expects to be heard, and when he has no spirit of prayer! It is like a horse going around a mill grinding for somebody else, and never getting any farther, doing the same tomorrow, the same the day after, and ever on and on. When the church has prayer meetings, it would be a very great thing, if those who attended went there with holy joy; but there is the deacon, and he says it is a great trouble to be always opening the doors when nobody comes except three old women. Do you think that is an acceptable service to God? But they who go because they would not stay away if they could, they who worship God because it is an instinct, and a pleasure, a holy thing, and honorable - these are men and women who delight in God’s Word, and they give the best evidence of being chosen of God.
Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, you who disfigure your faces to show men you are fasting. I tell you the truth, he that reads the heart does not ask that your head hangs down like one in mourning, but that you may do deeds of mercy, and walk humbly with your God, and you who can delight yourselves in your God will have the desires of your heart. You that rejoice in the Lord always, and triumph in his name will go from strength to strength, and going at last to glory, you will find that you came there as the result of his divine purpose and decree and you will give him all the praise.
But now, I think, I hear some say, “Oh, I want to know whether I am elect. I cannot say that the Word ever came to me with power, I cannot say I received it with deep conviction, I cannot say I am a follower of Christ, I cannot say I have received the Word with joy.” Well, dear one, then leave that question alone. Instead of that, let me put forward another, “Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Will you now trust Christ to save your soul?” He will do it, if, just as you are, whoever you may be, if you will just come to Christ, and give yourself up to him to save you, to have you, to hold you for better, for worse, in life and through death. The moment you believe you are saved. That act of faith, through the precious blood of Christ will wash away your every sin. You will not begin to be saved; you are saved. You will not be put into a salvable condition, but you will be saved the moment you believe - completely and perfectly saved. “Oh,” says one, “I would if I could trust Christ.” Do you mean that? “Whoever wishes, let him take,” let him trust, Christ. God help you to do it now. Trust Jesus, and you are saved. This is addressed to every one of you without exception, for “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” The Lord help you to trust Jesus, and then you may go on your way with joy, “knowing, brothers and sisters, loved by God, that he has chosen you, and that your election is sure.” Amen.
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