Monday, July 11, 2011

Notable Quotes 6

Whatever God accomplishes in time has been decreed by Him from eternity. He selects some from the depraved mass of the human race to be the recipients of salvation, bringing them to Christ their Surety and saving them by Him. This presupposes that He decreed to do so from eternity. Yet, it is but a means to His objective, which is the magnification of His mercy and justice. It was for that purpose that God decreed the felicity of men; and for that purpose God decreed to create men, to conclude them in sin, and to deliver them through Christ. Therefore if we view predestination comprehensively—including both the end and the means whereby the end is accomplished—both sin and Christ are involved. Although we make a separate and sequential distinction between these various matters, we recognize that God has decreed everything with one singular, all-inclusive decreeing act. For the purpose of orderly presentation, however, we distinguish between the end and the means.

God has also decreed that He will be magnified in His justice. To accomplish that objective He decreed to create men, to permit them to sin volitionally, and to justly damn them for their sins. God did not create one human being to happiness and another to condemnation. Rather, He created the entire human race perfectly holy, and thus unto felicity—His objective in doing so. I repeat that we must here consider God’s objective in creating man, for the felicity of man was the objective of the state of innocency. If man had remained in this state, it would have resulted in the felicity of all mankind. We should not confuse the objective of creation and the objective of the Creator. In creation it was not God’s objective that all men would attain unto salvation; for as God’s counsel will stand and His purpose will always be accomplished, all would then indeed attain unto salvation. God prevents no one from obtaining salvation, but man excludes himself since he sins willfully. The election of some unto salvation is not to the detriment of others. Reprobation is neither the cause that someone sins, nor why someone is damned, but the sinner himself and his sin are the cause. It is true that those who have not been elected will not be saved; it is equally true that none but sinners will be damned. It is also true that whoever repents, believes in Christ, and lives holily will not be damned but saved. Man is therefore to be blamed for not doing so. Likewise when God converts someone, brings him to Christ, and sanctifies him, it is to be attributed to His sovereign grace. It is thus evident that it is nothing but vicious slander to insist that the church teaches that one man is created unto felicity and the other unto damnation—and therefore someone who would be virtuous to the utmost degree would nevertheless be damned, whereas someone else who would engage in wickedness to the utmost degree would nevertheless be saved. Far be it from the Almighty to do unjustly! That He has determined to manifest His grace and justice to man proceeds purely from His goodness and holiness. It is a pure manifestation of holiness to deliver men through Christ and to lead them unto salvation in the way of holiness. It is also a pure manifestation of holiness to leave men who sin voluntarily in their sin, and to damn them for their sins. When a person becomes godly and a believer, this is not to be attributed to any efforts by man who, being evil, wishes only to do evil. It must rather be attributed to the work of God’s grace which He only performs in the elect.

Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian's Reasonable Service, Volume 1, Chapter 6

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