Elder Beebe: I desire your views on the election of God’s children. Were they elected at the beginning, or not until they were convened to God? The doctrine here is that they are not elected until they are convened; but I cannot so understand it. I therefore ask for your views, or the views of some of your corespondents on the subject.
H. Phillips. Union Co., Ohio.
April 1, 1867.
Reply: It is well for the children of God, that their election does not rest on the views which may be entertained by uninspired men. Whatever men think or preach cannot change what God has spoken by his prophets and apostles on the subject. Holy men have spoken as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost. Unholy men have contradicted the testimony of divine inspiration, and spoken against it as they are inspired by the devil. Our Lord Jesus Christ has informed us that the Spirit of Truth, which he would send them, is a Spirit which the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not; neither knoweth him (John 14:17). Also he has said that when the devil “speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44).” And to the saints God has given a rule by which they know the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. It is this - they that are of the world, speak of the world, and the world heareth them, “We” (the apostles) “are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (I John 4:6).” This rule is infallible, clear, plain and directly to the point: let us apply it. The apostle says “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (II Thessalonians 2:13).” What he means by the beginning is explained in Ephesians 1:1,3-6: “To the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Blessed be the God and Father 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: Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
All who hear the apostles believe that God chose or elected his people in Christ before the foundation of the world, and these, the apostles say, know God. All who deny this doctrine, and who believe and advocate its opposite, are not of God, but are manifestly of the world, and are led by the spirit of error, which spirit of error is the devil, for he is, as we have proved, a liar and the father of lies.
No force of truth can convince them of the error they are in, for they are under chains of darkness, and the Savior says they cannot receive the Spirit of Truth because they see him not, neither do they know him.
Those whom God has quickened by his Spirit, and delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the marvelous light of the Sun of Righteousness, and those only, are manifestly of the class whom God hath from the beginning chosen unto salvation, through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth. All others are under “strong delusion that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thessalonians 2:11,12).” “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, [Rebecca], The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (Romans 9:11-13).” “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy (Romans 9:16).” “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour (Romans 9:18-21)?”
May 15, 1867.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 27 – 29