Beloved In Christ: – We are called upon to look to the Rock from whence we were hewn, as well as to the hole of the pit from whence we were digged, showing that we are from both earth and heaven. So the song of the redeemed is, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a Rock, and established my goings.” Christ is this living and everlasting Rock, and upon this abiding foundation stone the Lord Jehovah builds his church. “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.’’ The apostle goes on and says. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – 1 Peter ii. These Scriptures not only clearly show that Christ and all his members are the chosen of God, but they also beautifully present the purpose and wisdom and goodness of the infinite Father in election; that the chosen generation should not be confounded, but should show forth his praise. Therefore, whenever any people truly praise the Holy One in Sion, it is only because he hath chosen them unto holiness and salvation; for the high praises from the saints is the blessed purpose of God in their election, and the glorious end of their salvation. This is worthy of the glorious and blessed God.
In the brief text which I have chosen for this paper, the chosen and inspired Paul declares a wonderful truth of God, namely, that election is of grace, and is the grace of God. Let us hear him: “But what saith the answer of God unto him [Elijah]? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according Io the, election of grace.” – Romans xi. 4, 5. A remnant of the people of Israel who truly worshiped God, but refused to bow down to idols, in the time of the apostles, as also in the times of the prophets. The apostle goes on and says, “And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Works, then, are excluded from salvation, for it is “the election of grace” only that hath obtained salvation, and both the election and grace are of God. Paul, therefore, continues, “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” So then, it is only through God’s electing grace that any are saved, both of the Jews, and also of the Gentiles. Now this salvation is from all sin and death, unto perfect holiness and life eternal. This is the glory of grace and election. Through these is the God of electing grace glorified forever and ever. Sin, as a destructive monster, hath reigned unto death, even in the chosen people of God; “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.” The very thought of continuing in sin is, therefore, abhorrent to the election of grace, for this heavenly way of salvation is through righteousness and holiness, and this royal princess of heaven reigns in and over her chosen and blessed subjects by the holy Son of God, the King of righteousness. It is a slanderous and base imputation, then, to say that, “Because God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation,” in a way of abounding and sovereign grace, the sacred incentive unto holiness and devout obedience is taken away or denied; nay, rather, it is established. For the King of glory, by whom grace reigns unto all the chosen of God, says, “For ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” It must be apparent to all spiritual minds that, since salvation from sin is through the election of grace, and grace reigns by our Lord Jesus, in whom God is well pleased, therefore grace is uplifting, heavenly and well pleasing to God in all its influence or effects and power, leading her subjects to praise and bless God and honor Christ, by whom grace reigns. And since the inspired servant of our Lord affirms that grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, it is irreverent and sacrilegous to cast any reflections or reproaches upon the power and sufficiency of “the election of grace,” abounding, reigning grace, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation.” For there is not another way or principle, revealed from God to men, which brings salvation from sin, and the deserts of sin. Why, then, should any sinner rail against grace, or talk of another principle of salvation than grace? For salvation is always from sin, and the dire consequences of sin, and it is unto righteousness in God’s sight and acceptance with him. Can anything besides “the election of grace” thus save us, and present us holy and without blame before God in love? Whether we speak of salvation in time, or in eternity, yet it is salvation from sin in some of its countless forms, and salvation by grace through God’s election. Paul therefore says, “Blessed be the God and leather of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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.” Such, then, is the glorious purpose of our God in the choice of all the people and members of Christ, the elect and precious Head of his body, the church. Accordingly the earnest desire of all the “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” is, with David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.” “Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness.” All righteousness, therefore, has its source in “the election of grace,” through Jesus Christ the righteous, and the sanctification of the Spirit. Hence all divine excellence and true goodness in the chosen people, saved by the Lord, as “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” are “the fruit of the Spirit,” by whom we are quickened, of whom we are born, as “born again,” and by whom we truly say, “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Thus and in this way only do any worship God in spirit and in truth, for all others are will worshipers, and worship and serve for reward, claiming salvation and its blessings conditionally for their works. Here are two opposite principles, and likewise two opposite classes of religious worshipers, one resulting from “the election of grace,” according as God hath chosen and blessed us in Christ, and hath now also created us in him unto good works, which he hath before ordained that we should walk in them; the other is according to a covenant which is legal and conditional, and which says, “The man that doeth these things, he shall live by them.” There is only two ways of salvation, neither can there be any other way, for there is no middle ground between grace and works, or between Jesus and man. “For man is a fallen sinner still, and grace shall reign alone.”
Let us now more specially notice that grace embraces divine election, and election embraces Jesus, the elect Head, and all the many members of the elect body of Christ, as the bride of the King’s Son, and as the children and heirs of God the Father, and joint-heirs with Christ, the first-born from the dead among many brethren. This, and all this, is the abounding grace of God.
“Grace first ordained the way
To save rebellions man,
And all the steps that grace display,
Which drew the wondrous plan.”
This wondrous plan is, as says a poet, “Sons we are through God’s election, who in Jesus Christ believe.” Or as God the Father says, which is better, “I will put my laws info their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” And as Jesus the Son says, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” And to Mary he said, “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” Thus the risen and glorified Son of God still owns his lowly disciples in brotherhood with himself on the Father’s side, while he is equally their Brother on the mother’s side. This wonderful and ever blessed relationship exists in the election of God’s grace. This is truly glorious grace. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” And since the Father calls us his sons, this holy relationship exists and abides in us. What “amazing grace,” that children of earth, creatures of a day, should be the sons and daughters of “the mighty God, the everlasting Father,” and brethren of “the Prince of peace.” This is God’s new covenant with his chosen people, whom he foreknew, in which he takes away their sins, and is merciful to their unrighteousness; and this covenant of life and peace is in “the grace of God that bringeth salvation “to dying sinners, to the aged men and aged women, to the young women and young men, to the servants and to the masters. Its heaven-inspired and heart-responding sentiment is, that all the chosen and blessed, predestinated and called, justified and glorified people of the living God, should be forever “to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.”
Yours in Jesus,
Signs Of The Times
Volume 66., No. 19.
OCTOBER 1, 1898.