Divine election is a biblical issue. The Scriptures speak enough of the issue of God’s election of some to salvation that we cannot simply ignore it. And any biblical Christian would be wise to ponder and consider the issue because it is found in Scripture for the comfort and encouragement of the saints. I am a few short pages from finishing Sam Storm’s excellent book Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election (which I hope to review this week) and in it Storm’s references the wisdom of Charles Spurgeon regarding man’s rationalistic objections to God’s sovereign choice in the salvation of men, which to some seems arbitrary, unfair or capricious. The rational is that everyone deserves the opportunity to embrace the Gospel.

Carefully consider Spurgeon’s words because he cleverly addressess a critical issue about humanity: We do not have God because we do not desire God. The Gospel call to embrace God the Father through faith in Jesus Christ goes out to all of sinful humanity, but none will receive it apart from the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit effected through God’s merciful election of His people unto salvation mediated through the atoning work of Jesus the Son on the cross.  And yet many people object that Spurgeon’s view of God’s election prevents sinful humanity from accepting the Gospel by faith if only given the fair opportunity to embrace it. Spurgeon winsomly reminds us that no man will embrace what they not only don’t desire in themselves, but hate with passion.

But there are some who say, “It is hard for GOd to choose some and leave others.” Now, I will ask you one question. Is there any of you here this morning who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be regenerate, to leave off sin and walk in holiness? “Yes, there is,” says some one, “I do.” Then God has elected you. But another says, “No; I don’t want to be holy; I don’t want to give up my lusts and vices.” Why should you grumble, then, that God has not elected you to it?For if you were elected you would not like it, according to your own confession. If God this morning has chosen you to holiness, you say you would not care for it. Do you not acknowledge that you prefer drunkenness to sobriety, dishonesty to honesty? You love this world’s pleasures better than religion; then why should you grumble that God has not chosen you to religion? If you love religion, he has chosen you to it. If you desire it, he has chosen you to it.  If you do not, what right have you to say that God ought to have given you what you do not wish for?

Supposing I had something in my hand which you do not value,and I said I shall give it to such-and-such a person, you would have no right to grumble that I did not give it to you. You could not be so foolish as to grumble that the other has got what you do not care about. According to your own confession, many of you do not want religion, do not want a new heart and a right spirit, do not want the forgiveness of sins, do not want sanctification; you do not want to be elected to these things; then why should you grumble? You count these things but as husks, and why should you complain of God who has given them to those whom he has chosen? If you believe them to be good and desire them, they are there for thee. God gives liberally to all those who desire; and first of all, he makes them desire, otherwise they never would. If you love these things, he has elected you to them, and you may have them; but if you do not, who are you that you would find fault with God, when it is your own desperate will that keeps you from loving these things – you own simple self that makes you hate them?

Suppose a man in the street should say, “What a shame it is I cannot have a seat in the chapel to hear waht this man has to say.” And suppose he say, “I hate the preacher; I can’t bear his doctrine; but still it’s a shame I have not a seat.” Would you expect a man to say so? No; you would at once say, “That man does not care for it. Why should he trouble himself about other people haveing what they value and he despises?” You do not like holiness, you do not like righteousness; if God has elected me to these things, has he hurt you by it?…If any of you love to be saved by Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ elected you to be saved. If any of you desire to have salvation, you are elected to have it, if you desire it sincerely and earnestly. But , if you don’t desire it, why on earth should you be so preposterously foolish as to grumble because God gives that which you do not like to other people?