ELECTION OR PREDESTINATION IS TO BE PREACHED BECAUSE IT IS FOUND ALL THROUGH THE SCRIPTURES!
Election is to be preached and published, first, because it is brought forward all through the Scriptures. There is not a single book in the Word of God where election is not either expressly stated, strikingly illustrated, or clearly implied. Genesis is full of it: the difference which the Lord made between Nahor and Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and His loving Jacob and hating Esau are cases to the point. In Exodus we behold the distinction made by God between the Egyptians and the Hebrews.
In Leviticus the atonement and all the sacrifices were for the people of God, nor were they bidden to go and “offer” them to the surrounding heathen. In Numbers Jehovah used a Balaam to herald the fact that Israel were “the people” who “shall dwell alone, and shall not be numbered among the nations” (23:9); and therefore was he constrained to cry “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, 0 Israel” (24:5). In Deuteronomy it is recorded “The Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (32:9).
In Joshua we behold the discriminating mercy of the Lord bestowed upon Rahab the harlot, while the whole of her city was doomed to destruction. In Judges the sovereignty of God appears in the unlikely instruments selected, by which He wrought victory for Israel: Deborah, Gideon, Samson. In Ruth we have Orpah kissing her mother-in-law and returning to her gods, whereas Ruth cleaves to her and obtained inheritance in Israel—who made them to differ?
In 1 Samuel David is chosen for the throne, preferred to his older brethren. In 2 Samuel we learn of the everlasting covenant “ordered in all things, and sure” (23:5). In 1 Kings Elijah becomes a blessing to a single widow selected from many; while in 2 Kings Naaman alone, of all the lepers, was cleansed. In 1 Chronicles it is written “Ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones” (16:13); while in 2 Chronicles we are made to marvel at the grace of God bestowing repentance upon Manasseh. And so we might go on. The Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Epistles are so full of this doctrine that he who runs may read.
Second, the doctrine of election is to be prominently preached because the gospel cannot be Scripturally proclaimed without it. Alas, so deep is the darkness and so widespread the ignorance which now prevails, that few indeed perceive that there is any vital connection between predestination and the evangel of God. Pause, then, for a moment and seriously ponder these questions: Is the success or failure of the gospel a matter of chance? or, to put it in another way, are the fruits of the most stupendous undertaking of all—the atoning work of Christ—left contingent upon human caprice? Could it be positively affirmed that the Redeemer shall yet “see of the travail of his soul, and. .. be satisfied” (Isa. 53:11) if all is left dependent upon the will of fallen man? Has God so little regard for the death of His son that He has left it uncertain as to how many shall be saved thereby?
“The gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1) can only be Scripturally presented as the Triune God is owned and honored therein. The attenuated “gospel” of our degenerate age confines the attention of its hearers to the sacrifice of Christ, whereas salvation originated in the heart of God the Father and is consummated by the operations of God the Spirit. All the blessings of salvation are communicated according to God’s eternal counsels, and it was for the whole of election of grace (and none others) that Christ wrought salvation.
The very first chapter of the New Testament announces that Jesus “shall save His people from their sins:” not “MAY,” but “SHALL”; not shall offer to or try to, but actually “save” them. Again; not a single soul had ever benefited from the death of Christ if the Spirit had not been given to apply its virtues to the chosen seed. Any man, then, who omits the Father’s election, and the Spirit’s sovereign and effectual operations, preaches not the gospel of God, no matter what be his reputation as a “soul winner.
We have exposed the senselessness of those objections which are made against doctrinal preaching in general and the arguments which are leveled against the proclamation of predestination in particular. Then we pointed out some of the reasons why this grand truth is to be published. First, because the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, are full of it. Second, because the gospel cannot be Scripturally preached without it. The great commission given to the public servants of Christ, duly called and equipped by Him, reads thus, “preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15): not parts of it, but the whole of it. The gospel is not be preached piecemeal, but in its entirety, so that each person in the Godhead is equally honored. Just as far as the gospel is mutilated, just so far as any branch of the evangelical system is suppressed, is the gospel not preached. To begin at Calvary, or even at Bethlehem, is to begin in the middle: we must go right back to the eternal counsels of divine grace.
Rightly did a renowned reformer put it, “Election is the golden thread that runs through the whole Christian system . . . it is the bond which connects and keeps it together, which, without this, is like a system of sand ever ready to fall to pieces. It is the cement which holds the fabric together; nay, it is the very soul that animates the whole frame. It is so blended and interwoven with the entire scheme of gospel doctrine that when the former is excluded, the latter bleeds to death. An ambassador is to deliver the whole message with which he is charged. He is to omit no part of it, but must declare the mind of the sovereign he represents, fully and without reserve. He is to say neither more nor less than the instructions of his court require, else he comes under displeasure, perhaps loses his head. Let the ministers of Christ weigh this well” (J. Zanchius, 1562).