•  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
There is much strength and blessing to the soul from the doctrine of election, but perhaps not that character of blessing which is commonly understood to flow from it. For it is commonly resorted to by a saint when he trespasses. But that is not, I believe, the use which the Holy Ghost makes of it for our souls in Scripture.
If the saint sin, he has an Advocate. The blood and intercession of Christ is for the need of his soul then: if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive. It is not, therefore, the remembrance of the doctrine of election, but it is confession-the remembrance of Jesus in heaven, which meets the need of the conscience.
The truth of the divine foreknowledge of us, of God's having elected us personally and predestinated us to most blessed destinies, is rather for the saint as he walks in uninterrupted grace before God. It is for the joy of his heart rather than for the peace of his conscience. It is for the putting of very boastful and triumphant language into his soul, by teaching him what anxious and everlasting interest God has had in all that concerns him. For it tells us (to speak after the manner of men) that we were the subject of the divine counsels-when God was all alone-before the foundation of the world; before the activities, so to speak, of creation began, we were before His thoughts. And this is the witness of our deep interests in Him. It is always so. It is always the mark of special favor, if we do but occupy the thoughts of another in solitude, or when the heart is folly at ease or at liberty to take up its own objects.
And in that place of favor with God does the doctrine of election and predestination put us. We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and were then predestinated to the adoption of children by Him, simply according to His own good pleasure, or to His purpose taken in Himself, or hid in God from the beginning. (Eph. 1) We are the called according to His purpose, or as the fruit of His foreknowledge and predestinated purposes. (Rom. 8.) His grace was given us in Christ before the world began, though it is only now made manifest. (2 Tim. 1.) He promised us eternal life before the world began, but did not till due time manifest that word of promise to ourselves. (Titus 1.) As the Lamb slain for us foreordained before the foundation of the world, though not manifested till these last times. (1 Peter 1.) And in all these ways, we ourselves, and our glorious and happy destinies, have been the subject of the counsels of God when He was, to speak after such a manner, in the simple solitude of His own mind and affections, that we might have joy in knowing how near our interests have been brought to Him, and from what deep sources our blessings have gushed forth.
We have some expressions of this order of things in Scripture.
When the Lord smelled the savor of Noah's, sacrifice, He said in His heart that He would not again curse the ground. But that was just His own purpose and grace. It was then the secret of His own bosom. In due time, however, He made His purpose and grace known to Noah, and then Noah took the blessing in a way of peculiar sweetness, for he took it as coming forth from the deep, well-advised, and thoroughly-approved counsels and affections of the heart of the Lord Himself. (Gen. 8, 9.)
So afterward in Jacob and the sons of Joseph. He adopted them ere He saw them. He gave them the place of the firstborn in the family while as yet he had not looked on them, for his eyes were dim for age. All the desire of his heart had been toward them while they were personally unmanifested. And thus, when the blessing does come, it comes with all its value. The warmth of Jacob's heart and tongue came with it. It is sealed and doubly sealed ere Ephraim and Manasseh enjoy it, so that they may know that their adoption had been the delightful theme of the father's counsel and promise, the subject of his thoughts and affections ere it is manifested to them.
Thus surely does the doctrine of election set the saint down in rich and happy pastures. The sinner need not think of it. It is not for him. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is at his door, as it were, telling of redemption.
One strikingly says,
His purpose and his course he takes,
Treads all my reasonings down,
Commands my thoughts forth from their depths
And hides me in his own.