Election must be taken into account, or else we believe that God saves no one, or that those he saves are randomly selected like a lottery winner without design or purpose. God’s goodness and mercy forbids the first; while His wisdom and providential care excludes the latter. According to Augustus Montague Toplady:
Our modern inverters of Christianity, the Arminians, by endeavoring to found election upon human qualifications, resemble an insane architect who, in attempting to raise an edifice, should make tiles and laths the foundation, and reserve his bricks and stones for the roof. … [I]f sanctification be God’s gift, men’s goodness could not possibly be a motive to their election: unless we can digest this enormous absurdity, viz. that God’s gifts may be conditional and meritorious one of another. Do you imagine that God could foresee any holiness in men which himself did not decree to give them? You cannot suppose it, without believing at the same time that God is not the author of all good; and that there are, or may be, some good and perfect gifts which do not descend from the Father of lights; and that the apostle was widely mistaken when he laid down this axiom, that it is God who, of his own good pleasure, worketh in us both to will and to do.
According to our Church, God’s election leads the van; sanctification forms the centre; and glory brings up the rear:
“Wherefore, they that be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called, according to God’s purpose, by his Spirit working in due season: they, through grace, obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made the sons of God by adoption.” (Article xvii)
Hitherto good works are not so much as mentioned. Why so? Because our reformers were Antinomians, and exploded or despised moral performances? – by no means. Those holy persons were, themselves, living confutations of so vile a suggestion. The tenor of their lives was as blameless as their doctrine. But they had learned to distinguish ideas, and were too judicious, both as logicians and divines, to represent effects as prior to the causes that produce them. They were not ashamed to betake themselves to the Scriptures for information, and to deliver out the living water of sound doctrine, pure and unmingled, as they had drawn it from the fountains of truth. Hence, election, calling, justification, and adoption, are set forth, not as caused by, but as the real and leading causes of, that moral change which, sooner or later, takes place in the children of God. (“A Caveat against Unsound Doctrines”)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, Grace, Salvation, Samuel at Gilgal, Theology | Tagged: Arminianism, Augustus Montague Toplady | 2 Comments »