We must believe in the grace of sovereignty as well as in the sovereignty of grace. Election and reprobation are not matters of arbitrary will. God saves all of those he can wisely save. He will show benevolence in the salvation of mankind just so far as he can without prejudice to holiness. No man can be saved without God, but it is also true that there is no man whom God is not willing to save. H. B. Smith, System, 511 ? ?It may be that many of the finally impenitent resist more light than many of the saved.? Harris, Moral Evolution, 401 (for substance) ? ?Sovereignty is not lost in Fatherhood, but is recovered as the divine law of righteous love. Doubtless thou art our Father, though Augustine be ignorant of us and Calvin acknowledge us not.? Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, 1:2 ? ?They err who think that of God?s will there is no reason except his will.?
T. Erskine, The Brazen Serpent, 259 ? Sovereignty is ?just a name for what is unrevealed of God.?
We do not know all of God?s reasons for saving particular men, but we do know some of time reasons, for he has revealed them to us. These reasons are not men?s merits or works. We have mentioned the first of these reasons:
(1) Men?s greater sin and need <540116>1 Timothy 1:16 ? ?that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering.? We may add to this:
(2) The fact that men have not sinned against the Holy Spirit and made themselves unreceptive to Christ?s salvation; <540113>1 Timothy 1:13 ? ?I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief? = the fact that Paul had not sinned with full knowledge of what he did was a reason why God could choose him.
(3) Men?s ability by the help of Christ to be witnesses and martyrs for their Lord. <440915>Acts 9:15, 16 ? ?he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name?s sake.? As Paul?s mission to the Gentiles may have determined God?s choice, so Augustine?s mission to the sensual and abandoned may have had the same influence. If Paul?s sins, as foreseen, constituted one reason why God chose to save him, why might not his ability to serve the kingdom have constituted another reason? We add therefore:
(4) Men?s foreseen ability to serve Christ?s kingdom in bringing others to the knowledge of the truth. <431516>John 15:16 ? ?I chose you and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit.? Notice however that this is choice to service and not simply choice on account of service. In all these cases the reasons do
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