Election: No. 3

Romans 9:11
We will now examine some scriptures concerning which strange mistakes have been made. (Rom. 9-11) These chapters are given to explain what appears like a contradiction. The present dispensation of the grace of God, which makes no difference between Jews and Gentiles, would seem to those ignorant of dispensational truth as a contradiction to the abounding national promises to Israel, in the books of Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets. All are now found guilty, both Jews and Gentiles; and the righteousness of God is revealed to all alike in the gospel. These chapters explain that this is only for a time. And more, that God is now acting in sovereign, electing grace; and not only so, but that He has done so from the beginning.
No one can deny that it was an act of sovereign choice when God called Abram, and said unto him, I will bless thee. So again, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." God did choose Isaac; He did not choose Ishmael. These are undeniable facts. This is still more distinctly stated as to Jacob and Esau. Let us read the verses carefully. It is sometimes said that it was written before they were born, that God hated Esau, and loved Jacob; but this is not so. " But when Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth); it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." It was said unto her—unto Rebekah -The elder shall serve the younger. (See Gen. 25:2323And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. (Genesis 25:23).) But it was more than thirteen hundred years after this that it was written, even in the very last prophet, Malachi, "as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Surely God's love to Jacob did not lessen the wickedness of Esau in despising his birthright. Now what is there for man to carp at here, except his own ignorance? How often has this scripture ignorantly (it may be) been misquoted as though it was written before Esau was born, that God hated him, but, when examined, it is found to be altogether different. This does not deny, or alter the fact, that all the natural seed of Abraham were not called to inherit the blessing. Ishmael was not chosen, Isaac was: " In Isaac shall thy seed be called." So Jacob, being unborn, was elected to the blessing. These are simple facts, and to deny the sovereign right of choice to God, would be to set aside God altogether. Equally true is it that the Spirit of God, writing about these two men as men, and their posterity, hundreds of years after, one of whom greatly valued the blessing, and the other most shamefully despised it, says distinctly that God did not approve of or love these two men both alike.
" Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." Can anything be more blessed than this? Man will have no mercy on himself. Man goes marching to everlasting woe. Thousands around us may be seen doing this—old and young. It is a dreadful fact. What, that tottering old man, just about to pass forever from this scene, with eternity before him, has he no compassion on himself? No, none. He spurns and rejects the love of God He will have the world; he will have sin. His whole will is against God. " So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." This is grace, the free favor of God. He showeth mercy to the man that has no mercy for himself. It is not man, the sinner, that chooses God, but God that chooses the sinner. There can be no question as to this, even as Jesus said to His disciples, " Ye have not chosen me; but I have chosen you," (John 15:1616Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16).) What a spring of everlasting joy to our souls then! "It is God that showeth mercy.' Dear christian reader, ponder this well. Thus in every way it is not what we are to God; neither is it our willing, or running, for our miming is only to do evil. (Rom. 3:10-1910As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:10‑19).) It is God that showeth mercy to whom He will show mercy, or all must perish. No man is found that has mercy on his own soul; God hath chosen those who never would have chosen Him. Oh, the riches of His grace! He hath chosen us when obstinate, ignorant, hell-deserving sinners; and as objects of His mercy, has brought us into His everlasting favor.
Yes, the objector may say, but this scripture not only says, " Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy," but it also says, "and whom he will he hardeneth." What about Pharaoh? As this is a butt against which the infidel knocks his poor head, let us carefully examine what is written concerning Pharaoh. " For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." Who was this Pharaoh that was raised up to such world-wide notoriety, and on whom fell so heavily the judgment of God? For it is indeed written of him that God hardened his heart; and whom He will He hardeneth. One verse of scripture will bring this man in his true character before us. "And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." (Exod. 5:22And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go. (Exodus 5:2).) Here, then, we have a bold infidel king, who defies the living God, who lifts up his voice and puny arm to resist God in the deliverance of His chosen people. Was God unrighteous in punishing this daring rebel against His government and authority? Would it even be consistent for any earthly government to tolerate such a daring rebel? Now, what sheer ignorance it is to make a difficulty about the punishment of this blasphemer against God! And, mark, the Pharaohs were the most cruel despots the world ever saw. One was the wholesale murderer of babes. Oh, those cruel words of his! " If it be a son, then ye shall kill him." (Exod. 1:1616And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. (Exodus 1:16).) Was it not in righteousness that God destroyed such human monsters? "God heard their groaning." "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows, and I am come down to deliver them." &c. (Chap. 3:7) What a record of the kindness of God in delivering from the cruel oppressor; and yet the natural man sees nothing in God to admire!
We are ashamed to give an illustration, the thing is so plain; but suppose an infidel blasphemer were to get such power in any country, that he openly defied the government of that country, and he and his followers went about slaying every male infant in the land; would there be loud complaint if that government destroyed such a monster? Not only did one murder the infants of Israel, but the other rejected the message of God. It is not a little remarkable that these are the exact sins also of the Jews at this day. They toe have given up the Lord Jesus to be crucified; and more, have rejected the message of God. They, too, are given up for the present to hardness of heart. It was not for that awful murder: for that cross which manifested man's deepest wickedness, brought out God's richest grace—free, full, everlasting forgiveness to those who had put to death the Lord Jesus. They would not believe the message of mercy. No, after such wickedness, they went about to establish their own righteousness! I But what is the meaning of God hardening the heart of Pharaoh? We shall understand this better by turning to another Pharaoh that is about to appear in this world, and to the certain doom of the many Pharaohs of that day; nay, do not such Pharaohs already abound? The daring wickedness of this coming wicked one will be terrible, " who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God." (Read 2 Thess. 2:4-124Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:4‑12).) Oh, how many shall be deceived by him! and just as Pharaoh rejected the message of God, so do these; and "because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Thus God hardens the heart, gives it up to strong delusion; and why? Because His message of love has been rejected. This is a solemn question for the times in which we live. Are there not many would-be Pharaohs? Plainly this whole world is as guilty of the murder of Jesus as Pharaoh was guilty of the murder of the infants. Are there not many who are saying, a Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?.... I know not the Lord." Is not this the very sin that marks these last days? Disputing the authority of the word of God; and this is equally true of the infidel and the professedly religious. The infidel so hates the truth, that he would destroy it if he could. And, oh, how many secretly say, Who is the Lord that I should obey His word?—we will not hear Him, but we will hear what we call the church! We will not believe the free forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Jesus. We will not believe that His one sacrifice forever perfects those that are sanctified by His one offering; but we will have priests of our own, who shall again continually offer sacrifices that can never take away sins. Yes, all this terrible wickedness is after Pharaoh. Who is the Lord that we should hear His words? This religious rejection of the truth is growing stronger and will end, as foretold, in everlasting destruction.
Thus not a sentence of God's word shall fail. It is most blessedly true that He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy; and it is also solemnly true that whom He will He hardeneth. Ah, should a careless despiser of His grace read this, beware lest He take you away with His stroke! Remember, it is not God electing you to be lost, but your own willful, wicked determination to reject His truth. And before you lay down this paper, the church of God may be taken away, and you may be left to be given up to strong delusion to believe a lie. Nay, take care that you are not even now believing a lie. Oh, how long has God borne with the willful wickedness of man in mercy! as it is written, " What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory." Thus the despising, defiant Pharaohs prepare themselves for everlasting woe, and God deals with them as they deserve in righteousness. If He dealt with all personally in righteousness, all must be lost. But He can, yes, does, exercise His blessed prerogative, " He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy."
And mark, it is not written that He makes one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor. It is an ignorant mistake to say so, if not worse. What is written is this, that He is sovereign, that is, that He hath power to do so—hath right to do so. Now is it not evident, as we are all by nature rebels, sinners, rejecters of God, and despisers of His grace, that if God left us all to our own free will, and dealt with us as we deserve in absolute righteousness, we should all have perished, and thus Christ would have died in vain? Surely, then, it should bow every believer's heart in worship, that "He hath mercy on whom he will." Oh, how blessed! when we should never have chosen God, God hath chosen us in Christ before the world began.