What compelled God to choose the elect?
Why did God choose the elect over the reprobate; Did He, in the process of days, take into consideration anything in the creature or was it all about His holiness, decrees, mercy and glory?
God dumbs it all down for the creature. God created wisdom. God is not man w/ arms and legs. God is the epicenter of all thought. See it as a language that He uses to condescend. In the same way He showed Moses His back between the rocks, He condescends so that we can appreciate. The other things, the things God has revealed, we know; those things He hasn’t, He hasn’t and we should not try to be absolute on those things.
Deut. 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
The scripture above surely shows that there are things God has revealed and things He has not. In regard to our subject; we know as God’s word has revealed it to us:
Titus 3 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Rom. 9:10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
Rom. 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The larger Catechism:
Q. 13. What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?
A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will, (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth,) hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.
The WCF ch 3 states: *keep your eyes on the italicized and bolded sections*
1. God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
2. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.
4. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
5. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.
6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.
7. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.
8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel
Thomas Watson writes:
“1. God’s purpose is the cause of salvation.
THE third and last thing in the text, which I shall but briefly glance at, is the ground and origin of our effectual calling, in these words, ” according to his purpose ” (Eph. i. 11). Anselm renders it, According to his good will. Peter Martyr reads it, According to His decree. This purpose, or decree of God, is the fountainhead of our spiritual blessings. It is the impulsive cause of our vocation, justification, glorification. It is the highest link in the golden chain of salvation. What is the reason that one man is called, and not another? It is from the eternal purpose of God. God’s decree gives the casting voice in man’s salvation.
Let us then ascribe the whole work of grace to the pleasure of God’s will. God did not choose us because we were worthy, but by choosing us He makes us worthy. Proud men are apt to assume and arrogate too much to themselves, in being sharers with God. While many cry out against church sacrilege, they are in the meantime guilty of a far greater sacrilege, in robbing God of His glory, while they go to set the crown of salvation upon their own head. But we must resolve all into God’s purpose. The signs of salvation are in the saints, but the cause of salvation is in God.
If it be God’s purpose that saves, then it is not free will. This Pelagians are strenuous asserters of free will. They tell us that a man has an innate power to effect his own conversion; but this text confutes it. Our calling is ” according to God’s purpose. ” The Scripture plucks up the root of free will. ” It is not of him that willeth ” (Rom. ix. 16). All depends upon the purpose of God. When the prisoner is cast at the bar, there is no saving him, unless the king has a purpose to save him. God’s purpose is His prerogative royal.
If it is God’s purpose that saves, then it is not merit. Bellarmine holds that good works do expiate sin and merit glory; but the text says that we are called according to God’s purpose, and there is a parallel Scripture, ” Who hath saved us, and called us, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace ” (2 Tim. i. 9). There is no such thing as merit. Our best works have in them both defection and infection, and so are but glittering sins; therefore if we are called and justified, it is God’s purpose brings it to pass.
Objection. But the Papists allege that Scripture for merit: ” Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous fudge, shall give me at that day ” (2 Tim. iv. 8). This is the force of their argument. If God in justice rewards our works, then they merit salvation.
Reply. To this I answer, God gives a reward as a just Judge, not to the worthiness of our works, but to the worthiness of Christ. God as a just Judge rewards us, not because we have deserved it, but because He has promised it. God has two courts, a court of mercy, and a court of justice: the Lord condemns those works in the court of justice, which He crowns in the court of mercy. Therefore that which carries the main stroke in our salvation, is the purpose of God.
Again, if the purpose of God be the spring-head of happiness, then we are not saved for faith foreseen. It is absurd to think anything in us could have the least influence upon our election. Some say that God did foresee that such persons would believe, and therefore did choose them; so they would make the business of salvation to depend upon something in us. Whereas God does not choose us for faith, but to faith. ” He hath chosen us, that we should be holy ” (Eph. i. 4), not because we would be holy, but that we might be holy. We are elected to holiness, not for it. What could God foresee in us, but pollution and rebellion! If any man be saved, it is according to God’s purpose.
Question. How shall we know that God has a purpose to save us?
Answer. By being effectually called. ” Give diligence to make your calling and election sure ” (2 Pet. i. 10).We make our election sure, by making our calling sure. ” God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification ” (2 Thess. ii. 13). By the stream, we come at last to the fountain. If we find the stream of sanctification running in our souls, we may by this come to the spring-head of election. When a man cannot look up to the Ornament, yet he may know the moon is there by seeing it shine upon the water: so, though I cannot look up into the secret of God’s purpose, yet I may know I am elected, by the shining of sanctifying grace in my soul. Whosoever finds the word of God transcribed and copied out into his heart, may undeniably conclude his election.
2. God’s purpose is the ground of assurance.
Here is a sovereign elixir of unspeakable comfort to those who are the called of God. Their salvation rests upon God’s purpose. ” The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal. The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity ” (2 Tim. ii. 19). Our graces are imperfect, our comforts ebb and flow, but God’s foundation standeth sure. They who are built upon this rock of God’s eternal purpose, need not fear falling away; neither the power of man, nor the violence of temptation, shall ever be able to overturn them.”