“According as,” looks back to verse 3, of Ephesians one, and the words “hath blessed.” These words speak of a past action on God’s part, in which He bestows the blessing of being chosen in Christ before the world began. Plainly, Paul says, “The salvation of the elect from their utter ruin has for its foundation the eternal and gracious choice of the Sovereign God.” The Greek word from which the English term “hath chosen” comes, literally means, “to mark off” or “select out” for one’s own self. “According as,” or in conformity with the Divine choice, the believer’s blessings issue forth.
Ephesians 1:4 unequivocally sets forth the doctrine commonly referred to as “Unconditional election,” and to argue against truth, while claiming to be a Bible believer would not only be enormously inconsistent, but would also manifest a deep rooted and dangerous deception. There is no doctrine in the Bible which magnifies God’s sovereign mercy more than the great truth of election. While the doctrine of election exalts God to His rightful place, it at the same time exhibits the attribute of mercy by declaring the helplessness of man to save himself. The doctrine of Sovereign election, and utter human depravity, are parallel truths which glaringly embellish the whole fabric of divine revelation. These doctrines are not found only in Ephesians one and the epistle to the Romans. Although one scriptural text or utterance would give them eternal validity, God has in mercy colored every scriptural thread with these great truths. Seeing then, the scriptures are replete with these truths man is left without a cloak for his ignorance of these doctrines.
The spiritual ignorance and inability of man is due to his depraved nature, where in his every facet is totally corrupt, so much so, that he cannot do the first thing to please God. So, we are unavoidably driven to the conclusion, if any are to be saved, God must do the saving, and seeing God does save some, it cannot be successfully denied that He intended to save them before the world began. This fact is stated in the text, Ephesians 1:4, and various other scriptures, such as Acts 13:48, Romans 8:29, II Timothy 1:9, etc. And we are reminded; “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).
While the decree of election is not salvation per se, it is a Divine guarantee that Jesus ‘... shall save His people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:21) So it is, Ephesians 1:4 says, election is of God, and merited by Christ. “He (God) hath chosen us in Him (Christ).” The doctrine of unconditional election is hated by the vast majority of professing Christendom with a rancor that excels their animosity toward the most loathsome reptile, and sadly, this God honoring doctrine is vigorously opposed by the so-called Fundamental Baptists. The Hardshell Baptists have from their beginning (1831-32) presented this glorious truth in a deformed posture, and have thereby driven many to the self- salvation camps of the Arminians.
When the truth of election is correctly understood, it will become the means of humbling pride, and purging human conceit. It will strip man of all his supposed godliness, and evoke praise to the Lord of Glory. The doctrine when correctly held lays man in the dust of humility at the feet of Him, Who said, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you ...” (John 15:16).
Until the saved person comes to see the truth of sovereign eternal unconditional election he cannot come near to appreciating the finished work of Christ in his behalf, nor can he be an effectual disciple of Christ. On the other hand, the person who sees this truth in its proper light will realize the enormity of his sin, he will detest his old nature and will be enabled by the Spirit to own his great debt to God’s free grace.
The standard Arminian remonstrance is, “How about ‘Whosoever Will’?” Our argument is not with the scriptural teaching of “Whosoever will,” but with the blasphemous doctrine which claims God cannot accomplish His purpose to save from sin, lest man join his will to that of God’s, or that God must first get the approbation of man before He can save him. The Bible does teach, whosoever will may come, but it teaches more along that line, Christ says, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me ...” (John 6:37). In the same chapter (John 6:44) Jesus says, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him ...” “May come,” speaks of permission. “Shall come,” speaks of ability. Election does not prevent a man from coming to Christ, he has the permission to come, and nothing prevents him from coming except his own inherent depravity. No man whoever came to Christ was ever turned away, and the coming of man to Christ is of God’s enabling grace. God’s elect may come to Christ, and SHALL come to Him, and when they do come to Him they will then, and only then realize it was all due to the drawing power of the Father. “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee,...” (Psalms 65:4). God says His people shall be willing, but their willingness is not the result of their power, but of His power. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power ...” (Psalms 110:3). Mans will is not to come to Christ (John 5:40), and left to his own will is as sure to be in hell as Lucifer himself. But thanks be to God, some are caused to see the righteousness wrought by them is as filthy rags in the sight of Him Who said, “Not of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). They come to Christ willingly and joyfully, but this willingness and joyfulness has for its basis, whether they are conscious of it or not at the time, God’s merciful decree of election. One can search in vain, not only the writings of Paul, but the whole of Scripture to find one person who claims that his coming to Christ has for its initiative, his or her own decision, rather than God’s. We love Him because He first loved us, and we come to Him after He has first come in saving grace to us. The chosen of God are the ones who come to Christ, and those who come to Him are identical with “whosoever believeth” of John 3: 16.
“Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). To say man has a part in his salvation is equal to saying the clay had a part in directing the mind of the potter, and thereby determined what and where it would be. But you know, and I know, and every sane person should know, there is no cooperation on the part of the clay with the potter. Yet, when it comes to spiritual matters, Arminianism divorces itself of all reasoning, and argues that the clay has power over the potter. The question of the Heavenly Potter is, “Hath not the potter power over the clay; of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:21). To oppose the doctrine of Divine election is to go against the plainest revelation of Scripture, and is in essence to deny the authority of God’s word. BEWARE!
says, “... Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of
the Father, cometh unto Me” (John 6:45). Man’s natural
is enmity against God (Romans 8:7), and cannot hear nor learn of
the Father. Therefore, man must be given a new mind and hearing ears
he can come to Christ, these are gifts of God’s elective grace, and it
is God’s prerogative to do what He will with His own.
Return To PBC Home