O. B. Mink
To the natural man the word "choice" when told it is his to act upon, conveys
a feeling of superiority to the mind. And from his intellectual summit
the possibility of wrong choice is zero. In sales work there are words
and phrases referred to by salesmen as "pedestal expressions" and it is
essential for success in the sales field to master the use of these terms.
Some of these pedestal expressions are; "Please", "Thank you, so very much",
"May I", ''I would like your advice'', ''You are so right'' and ''I know
you will make the right choice." These and many more are used effectively
to inflate the prospects ego, and to condition his attitude steering him
into a buying frame of mind. And after the sale is consummated, a verbal
compliment is in order, usually comprised in, "You certainly made the right
We see the same tricks and techniques used today by pastors and evangelists
to get professions of faith from their unsuspecting hearers. With their
beautiful oratory and eloquent speeches, they set man above God, and make
God subject to the creature. Any practice giving natural man place and
power in things spiritual and eternal is labeled by God as "foolishness,"
(I Cor. 2:14).
Man: An Absolute Rebel Against God
Webster defines the word "choice" as the act of choosing. The word implies
action. There can be no choice apart from external action, and vice versa,
there is no external action apart from prior choice. The time allowed for
choice or decision may be incalculably small, but it is always present.
Adam and Eve, man's first biological ancestors were created by God and
placed in the garden of Eden. Adam, in the covenant with God was made the
federal head of the human race, and officially represented all mankind
in the presence of God. God, in the covenant with Adam promised him perpetual
blessings on the condition that he would abstain from all evil (Gen.
2:16-17). Adam, though created innocent, was also created mutable and
capable of change. When the Divine restraint exercised in Adam's behalf
was removed, Adam became prone to change, and in this state of proness
made choice against God, thereby bringing a radical change to his nature,
and death to all of his posterity (Rom. 5:12). Adam's choice of
Eve in preference to God was deliberate (I Tim. 2:14), and destructive
to all God likeness in his nature. Post-dating the fall every child is
born from the womb of wrath, and with a wrathful nature toward God (Eph.
2:3). So then, they that are of the Adamic nature CANNOT make a single
choice pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). ". . . verily every man at his
best state is altogether vanity," (Ps. 39:5).
The spiritual impotence of man's will, as he is in nature, is absolute.
Love for sin, and hatred of God is so intertwined in fallen man's nature
that his thoughts are only evil continually (Gen. 6:5). Christ brings
this truth to the fore front when He says, "No man can serve two masters;
for either he will hate the one and love the other," (Mt. 6:24).
And again, He that knows the intents and thoughts of every heart says,
"He that is not with Me is against Me," and those against Christ are not
passive. No, they are actively against Him, for He says they "scatter abroad,"
To presuppose a person will choose something which he hates with a perfect
hatred and opposes with unrelenting vehemence is absurd. It is far more
easier for the spiritually renewed mind to conceive of clay fashioning
itself into decorative ornaments of great value than it is to give birth
to the thought that fallen man can choose God, whom he hates with a total
hatred (Rom. 1:30). Man by nature is not merely wicked, but desperately
wicked (Jere. 17:9). He is "Dead in trespasses and sins," (Eph.
2:1). The Adamic man is destitute of all good, and every spark of his
energy is used to perform evil. He is not only a sinner by birth, but is
also a sinner by choice, for as soon as he be born he goes astray "speaking
lies," (Ps. 58:3).
Fallen man is a slave to his nature. All of his choices are worldly. He
ever pleases the Prince and power of the air. His single ambition is to
fulfill the desires of the flesh and mind. From the Divine standpoint he
is a child of wrath, deserving immediate and everlasting destruction (Eph.
2:2-3). The natural man begins his rebellion against God in the womb
of his mother, magnifies it in his earthly life, and apart from the gracious
choice of God, he will stand in the judgment and hear God say, "He which
is filthy, let him be filthy still," (Rev. 22:11).
Man in his degenerate state is in the bond of iniquity, not credible with
the least good, and is a firm and undeviating ally of the devil. We do
not mean to imply that the old nature cannot change, it certainly can and
does, but not so as to please God.
The Ethiopian may practice ultimate cleanliness, and cover himself with
white robes, yet his skin remains the same. Man may exercise moral restraints,
and cover his outward life with religious fervor, yet his pent up depravity,
and his fallen nature are not in the least diminished. And not until the
Ethiopian changes his skin, or the leopard his spots will lost man be able
to do a single good (Jere. 13:23). Man invariably chooses that which
the Lord delights not in (Isa. 66:4). Yet, proud man, with all of
his faculties averse to God will not own his innate and totally depraved
nature. He is for ever more crying out, it is with man to choose where
he will be in eternity. He concedes much was lost in the fall, but not
all. He says, there was something of the former relationship preserved.
Namely, there is enough of the Divine spark left in man that he can come
to God any time he chooses. This kind of reasoning is normal for a mind
that is under a total spiritual blackout (Eph. 4:18), and which
is directed by the father of lies (John 8:44). This line of reasoning
is not subject to change by any power outside of God. Man is ever learning
and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (II Tim. 3:7).
This error, though underwritten by natural religion, and supported by every
unregenerate spirit, is yet the top wrung on the ladder of damnable heresies.
The Lord says to His followers, "Ye have not chose Me, but I have chosen
you.. ." (John 15:16).
Salvation of the soul is either by the sovereign, irresistible, irrevocable
choice of God, or it is by man's ability to choose. The eternal welfare
of the soul is determined by God or man, not by God and man (Rom. 11:6).
Being shut up to the Bible for the answer in this matter we discover that
man will not choose God that he might have life (John 5:40). We
also discover from the pages of Holy Writ that there was only ONE man who
ever walked this earth with suitability, sufficient to attract God's loving
attention and choosing favor. This ONE is Christ of whom we read, "Behold
My servant, Whom 1 have chosen; My beloved, in Whom My soul is well pleased..."
All others chosen of God unto salvation were not only lacking in suitability,
but were the exact opposite, and fully that which merited God's eternal
wrath, "The wages of sin is death." According to the Word of God there
are but two ways for a person to get out of this world: One way is to be
chosen out by the grace of God as plainly stated in Gospel of John 15:19,
and the other way out is to be chased out by the wrath of God. Speaking
of the wicked Job says, "He shall be driven from light into darkness, and
chased out of the world," (Job 18:18), (2 Pet. 2:9). Not
once in all of Scripture is there the least inference that man in his native
state can choose God in preference to anything else. This truth is made
apparent when we consider that man loves darkness rather than light (John
3:19). And how can they choose that which they do not know anything
as they ought to know it? (John 1:10), (II Cor. 2:14), (I
Cor. 8:2). In view of the foregoing facts we hear the Psalmist say,
"Blessed is the man whom Thou (God) choosest," (Psa. 65:4). God
looks to Christ for the suitability of all those included in the covenant
of redemption, and God has condescended to let His chosen see the report
the Holy Spirit has recorded, "According as He hath chosen us in Him before
the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before
Him in love," (Eph. 1:4). The saved love God in time, because God
loved them in eternity, and their suitability in the presence of God is
not merited by them, but by Him Who said, "I lay down My life for the Sheep,"
To Salvation And Service
"... I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth
fruit.. ." (John 15:16). "For we are His workmanship created in
Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should
walk in them," (Eph. 2:10).
God chose Isaiah and Jeremiah to be Prophets before they were born (Isa.
49:1, Jere. 1:5). And He says of Paul, "He is a chosen vessel
unto Me, to bear My name before Gentiles, and kings, and the children of
Israel," (Acts 9:15). Paul exhorts Timothy to faithfulness, so as
to please God Who had "chosen him to be a soldier," (II Tim. 2:3).
Someone may object, and say, "But, all this has to do with vocation and
not with salvation." God's choice of a man to be a prophet or preacher
is co-eternal with God's choice of him unto salvation. None can gainfully
argue against the fact that John the Baptist was a preacher sent from God
(John 1:6). And, surely none are so naive as to dispute the fact
that God chose John prior to his miraculous entrance into this world to
be a preacher (Isa. 40:3, Mt. 3:3). And, would any be so daring
as to say, God chooses a man to be a preacher or prophet before He chooses
him unto salvation? God forbid!
I would urge all who read these lines to bow to the authority of God's
Word, "Lest haply ye be found to fight against God," and God in His sore
displeasure say to you as he said to Israel of old, "Go and cry unto the
gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation,"
"... Brethren beloved of the Lord... God hath from the beginning chose
you to salvation.. ." (2 Thes. 2:13).
Grace Advocate - September, 1976)
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