“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24).
Among the many false prophets who have walked across the stage of human history is the British man called Pelagius (c. AD 360 – 418), and his theological descendants, influenced by Jacobus Arminius (October 10, 1560 – October 19, 1609). By denying, or down playing the Biblical Doctrine of Election, much harm has been done to the Christian faith and to the elect of God.
“Election! What a blessed word! What a glorious doctrine! Who does not rejoice to know that he has been chosen to some great blessing? Election is unto salvation—the greatest of all blessings. And strange to say, this is a neglected truth, even by many who profess to believe it, and others have a feeling of repulsion at the very mention of this Bible-revealed, God honoring, and man humbling truth” (C.D. Cole, The Bible Doctrine of Election).
Speaking to his generation in the 19th century, the great English preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “There seems to be an inveterate prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine, and although most other doctrines will be received by professing Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one seems to be the most frequently disregarded and discarded.”
Today, the doctrines of grace are even more universally opposed, even within the professing Church. In light of this, what must be done? The scriptural answer is for Christians to simply declare afresh the whole gospel, to the whole world (1 Cor. 15:1; 1 John 1:3). Faith must not be lost in the power of the Word, to be used effectively by the Spirit to save souls, and confound the foolish (Heb. 4:12; 1 Cor. 2:3).
Today, the force of the gospel of special electing love, has been reduced by a general appeal, that all men need to do for salvation is to ‘accept Christ.’ “The trouble is that the whole ‘accept Christ’ attitude is likely to be wrong. It shows Christ applying to us rather than us to him. It makes him stand hat-in-hand awaiting our verdict on him, instead of our kneeling with troubled hearts awaiting his verdict on us. It may even permit us to accept Christ by an impulse of mind or emotions, painlessly, at no loss to our ego and no inconvenience to our usual way of life.” (A. W. Tozer 1897-1963)
Nothing reflects more powerfully the saving grace of God being applied in a definite act of redemption to a soul than a personal work of testimony. “When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths (the doctrine of election) in my own soul – when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man – that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, though having found, once for all, that clue to the truth of God.
One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, ‘How did you come to be a Christian?’ I sought the Lord. ‘But how did you come to seek the Lord?’
The truth flashed across my mind in a moment, I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, ‘I ascribe my change wholly to God’” (Charles H. Spurgeon).
It is a wonderful discovery to realize that the elect consists of those, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:3).