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thyself, but in me is thy help.” “ I the Lord change not.” Through these proclamations the Spirit communicates the balm of the covenant, and, by reminding the transgressor of the everlasting love which the Lord expresses towards his children, puts in the further recollection, that if thus loved, bis wretched soul may still have hope. Out of these views he obtains arguments with which to draw near to his God, and which he closes with the wrestling plea for restoration to his smile, “Heal me, O Lord, for I have sinned against thee: Comfort the soul of thy servant.” “Seek me, for I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost.”
Whilst in this manner endeavouring to obtain confirmation or instruction in the subject of the Election in Christ, may we have grace to apply what we discover to our own souls. Let us give glory to Christ by admitting that there is no power in us to think a good thought as of ourselves. If such a good thought has arisen in us, which may be acceptable to God, let us say, “ Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be the praise.” If we possess the testimony within us, that the operation of the Spirit has been extended to us, let us strive to cherish that witness in all holiness, that we may enter into the privilege described in 2 Cor. i. 21, “ Now he which stablisheth us in Christ and hath anointed us is God; who hath sealed us and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our heart.” And seeing that so much of glory to God is involved in the consistency of his people, let us diligently and gratefully accept the apostle's exhortation, “ Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering,” Col. iii. 12, remembering the beautiful connection in which the doctrines are linked together in the Scriptures and enjoined on men, “ the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his : And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.” 2 Tim. ii. 19.
In connection with the doctrine of an election in Christ, is that of predestination.
Predestination signifies that determining purpose of God whereby a certain issue or accomplishment of his will is ensured; it respects the glory of Christ in the church, and is a term used in scripture as descriptive of the privileged condition of God's people. These are, according to what has been shewn, “ chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world,” Ephes. i. 5; but they are chosen to a certain end—“ being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Ephes. i. 11. As objects elected by the sovereignty of the divine purpose-they are persons ordained for the Divine glory ; so that whatever may be considered requisite for the furtherance of the Lord's honour in them, is settled
by a predestinating resolve on the part of the Lord. This is stated in Rom. viii. 28–30: “ All things work together for good to them that love God; to them who are the called according to his purpose : for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” “ Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” · Thus the Lord Jesus, as the Author and also the Finisher of our faith, wrought out a finished salvation, for a people ordained to the inheritance, as is declared in Ephes. i. 11.
It is very important that we should have a right understanding of this doctrine. Along with every other revelation which exalts the sovereignty of God, it has its determined adversaries, and is frequently not only misrepresented, but misunderstood. Men usually reprobate the notion, as a mere opinion of men; or, as necessarily involving the awful conclusion of God's being the author of evil, or of a cruel decree, dooming creatures to an irresistible course of sin and destruction. It is rashly contended that according to such a doctrine individuals are reprobated by a positive decree on the part of the Almighty, preventing the movements of repentance, or the possibility of their return to God. And that others, the subjects of election, are saved, not only by the determinate counsel of God, but irrespective of any work of sanctification to be wrought in them.
These are erroneous statements and prejudices. The condition of man is already reprobate ; but what is the signification of this word? It signifies unprofitable, that which when tried betrays itself as being adulterated, mixed with alloy. Thus the apostle speaks, Titus i. 16, “they profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”. So the prophet uses the term “ reprobate silver sball men call them:" Jer. vi. 30. Men come into the world as a profitless soil, producing only the briar and the thorn, and left to themselves they continue reprobate, in this sense ; needing no positive impelling will on the part of this holy and righteous God to cause them to pursue their own way of unrighteousness. They receive the due reward of their deeds, and in their condemnation are consigned as reprobate or unprofitable to the endless burnings. “ Cast