Wisdom from Spurgeon on the Mystery of Divine Election5
Notwithstanding all that was said in my previous article on why God didn’t choose or elect all unto salvation, there is still in the human soul an uneasiness concerning God’s sovereign choice. To many, it seems arbitrary and unfair. If this is problematic to you, read carefully Charles Spurgeon’s response. It’s lengthy but well worth the effort:
“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 my 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 had 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 in my hand something 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 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 should find fault with God, when it is your own desperate will that keeps you from loving these things—your 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 what this man has to say.’ And suppose he says, ‘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 having 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?” (Charles H. Spurgeon, sermon on 2 Thessalonians 2:13 [emphasis mine], available at www.Monergism.com).
“And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Rev. 22:17b).
(Adapted from my book, Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election [Crossway, 2007])