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by Dr. John Thomas
He purposed to make "a mighty nation" of their posterity, out of whom "He shall come that shall have dominion".
This purpose could not be accomplished if left to the undirected will of man.
Abraham would have made Ishmael his heir, and Isaac would have elected Esau, both of which, as events have shown, would have defeated, rather than have promoted, "the purpose of God".
The wild Arabs of the desert, who have descended from Ishmael; or the Edomites, the posterity of Esau -- both of which races illustrate the moral obliquity of their fathers -- would have been a sorry election in which the purpose of God might be established.
The rejection of Ishmael, and the election of Jacob, prove the wisdom and foresight of Him with whom the fathers had to do.
He sees the end of all things from the beginning; and perceiving the future characters of the two races, He said to Malachi, "I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness".
It may be remarked here that the election of scripture has reference to "the purpose of God" in relation to the constitution of the kingdom.
He has elected its territory; He has elected the nation to inhabit it for ever; He has elected the king to rule over it; and He has elected its saints to assist him in the administration of its affairs.
The election in all these cases has been "of him that calleth".
This election, however, is not such as "divines" contend for; nor does it relate to the subjects of which they treat.
He does not say to this man, "I elect you from all eternity to be saved from the flames of hell, do what you may"; nor does He say to that, "I predetermine you to reprobation and eternal torture, do what you can".
To affirm this of God is to blaspheme His name.
The scriptures declare that "He is no respecter of persons"; that "He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way, and live"; and that "He is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" Such a statement as this is entirely at variance with "theology," whose traditions are the exhalations of the carnal mind of a fierce and gloomy age.
God elects saints for His kingdom, not by foregone conclusions which are irreversible; but men are "elect through sanctification of spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ".
This reveals to us the means and design of the election in relation to the present time.
"Sanctification of spirit" is the means; "obedience and sprinkling of Christ's blood," the end.
How this is brought about is explained in these words -- "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit".
The manner in which men are brought to obedience and purification by the sprinkled blood, through the spirit, is practically explained in the use of the keys by Peter on the day of Pentecost, and at the house of Cornelius.
The spirit, through the apostle, "convinced men of sin, and righteousness, and judgment to come"; and confirmed his words by the signs which accompanied them.
They believed and obeyed the truth; and in obeying it were purified from all past sins by faith in the blood of sprinkling.
Thus they were "washed, sanctified, and justified by the name of the Lord, and by the spirit of God"; and after this manner elected according to His foreknowledge and predetermination.
No man need flatter himself that he is one of God's elect, unless he believes the gospel of the kingdom and obeys it, and walks in the steps of the faith of Abraham.
A man then knows, and feels, that he is elected; because God hath said, "He that believes the gospel, and is baptized, shall be saved".