Predestination or Freewill Part 10: The Inescapable Conclusion

Romans 8:30, 31; I Peter 1:4,5; I Timothy 1:12
       Whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
       To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
       For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Without the belief of the doctrine of election, and the immutability of the free love of God, I cannot see how it is possible that any should have a comfortable assurance of eternal salvation…And this assurance can only arise from a belief of God’s electing everlasting love―that they may no longer build upon their own faithfulness, but on the unchangableness of God, whose gifts and callings are without repentance. For those whom God has once justified, He will also glorify.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Is it not a comfortless doctrine, that founds their believing and perseverance on their own free will?

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: It has a natural tendency to keep the soul in darkness for ever; because the creature thereby is taught, that his being kept in a state of salvation, is owing to his own free will. And what a sandy foundation is that for a poor creature to build his hopes of perseverance upon? Every relapse into sin, every surprise by temptation, must throw him “into doubts and fears, into horrible darkness, even darkness that might be felt.”

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): The doctrine of predestination is not a doctrine of God―Predestination destroys the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity.

JAMES DURHAM: Would you think it more comfortable and sure, that the effectualness of believing and perseverance should hang on the grace of God, or on your own free will, especially considering the depravity of your will?

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): I [once] called the doctrine of election a devilish doctrine. I did not believe I had brought myself to the Lord, for that was too manifestly false; but yet I held, that I might have resisted finally. And further, I knew nothing about the choice of God’s people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made so, was safe for ever…But I was brought to examine these precious truths by the Word of God―and being made willing to receive what the Scriptures said, I went to the Word, reading the New Testament from the beginning, with a particular reference to these truths. To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in [those] doctrines.

R. L. DABNEY (1820-1898): This doctrine―the Bible system of grace which men call Calvinism―while it lays man’s pride low, gives him an anchor of hope, sure and steadfast, drawing him to heaven; for his hope is founded not in the weakness, folly, and fickleness of his human will, but in the eternal love, wisdom, and power of Almighty God.

JOHN WESLEY: Directly does this doctrine tend to destroy several particular branches of holiness.

GEORGE MÜLLER: As to the effect which my belief in these doctrines had on me, I am constrained to state, for God’s glory, that though I am still exceedingly weak, and by no means so dead to the lusts of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as I might and as I ought to be, yet, by the grace of God, I have walked more closely with Him since that period.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I do not know how some people, who believe that a Christian can fall from grace, manage to be happy. It must be a very commendable thing in them to be able to get through a day without despair. If I did not believe the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, I think I should be of all men the most miserable, because I should lack any ground of comfort. I could not say, whatever state of heart I came into, that I should be like a well-spring of water, whose stream fails not; I should rather have to take the comparison of an intermittent spring, that might stop on a sudden, or a reservoir, which I had no reason to expect would always be full.

JOHN WESLEY: Then your comfort depends on a poor foundation. My comfort stands not on any opinion, either that a believer can or cannot fall away. My comfort is, that through grace I now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that His Spirit doth bear witness with my spirit that I am a child of God. I take comfort in this and this only, that I see Jesus at the right hand of God; that I personally for myself, and not for another, have an hope full of immortality; that I feel the love of God shed abroad in my heart, being crucified to the world, and the world crucified to me. My rejoicing is this, the testimony of my conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, I have my conversation in the world. Go and find, if you can, a more solid joy, a more blissful comfort, on this side heaven. But this comfort is not shaken―be that opinion true or false―whether the saints in general can or cannot fall. If you take up with any comfort short of this, you lean on the staff of a broken reed, which not only will not bear your weight, but will enter into your hand and pierce you.

WILLIAM TIPTAFT: Remember, Satan can transform himself into an angel of light.

C. H. SPURGEON: The devil will also pervert the doctrine of final perseverance. “Look,” says Satan, “the children of God always hold on their way: they never leave off being holy; they persevere; their faith is like the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day; and so would yours be if you were one of the Lord’s. But you will never be able to persevere”―Oh, poor soul, tell Satan that thy perseverance is not thine, but that God is the author of it; that however weak thou art, thou knowest thy weakness, but that if God begins a good work He will never leave it unfinished.

ANTHONY BURGESS (died 1664): Even all the people of God, were they not kept by God’s grace and power, they would every moment be undone both in soul and body. It is not our grace, our prayer, our watchfulness that keeps us, but it is in the power of God, His right arm, that supports us.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): This, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: that God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, “Free-will” is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert “Free-will,” must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them.

C. H. SPURGEON: If there be one contingency—one “if,” or “though,” or “but,” about my soul’s salvation, then am I a lost man. But this is my confidence, the Lord that began will perfect that which concerneth me, Psalm 138:8. He has done it all, must do it all, He will do it all. My confidence must not be in what I can do, or in what I have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do…When you know that your Lord is able to keep that which you have committed to Him until that day, then you are firm as a rock. God make you so.

 

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