“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thessalonians 2:13-14).
If there were no other text in the sacred word except this one, I think we should all be bound to receive and acknowledge the truthfulness of the great and glorious doctrine of God’s ancient choice of His family. But there seems to be an ongoing prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine, and although most other doctrines will be received by professing Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded. . . .
My friends, I think that this overwhelming mass of Scripture testimony must stagger those who dare to laugh at this doctrine. What shall we say of those who have so often despised it, and denied its divinity, who have mocked its justice and dared to defy God and call Him an Almighty tyrant, when they have heard of His having elected only so many to eternal life. Can you, O rejecter! tear it out of the Bible? Can you take the penknife of Jehudi and cut it out of the Word of God? Would you be like the woman at the feet of Solomon, and have the child cut in halves, that you might have your half? Is it not here in Scripture? And is it not your duty to bow before it? To receive it as the truth even though you can’t understand its meaning?
I will not attempt to prove the justice of God in having thus elected some and left others. It is not for me to argue with my Master. He will speak for Himself, and He does so: “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” Who is he that shall say to his father, “What have you procreated?” Or to his mother, “What have you brought forth?” I am the Lord your God, I create light and I create darkness. I the Lord do all of these things. Who are you that answers back to God? Tremble and kiss His rod; bow down and submit to His scepter; do not challenge His justice, and do not accuse His actions before your bar, O man!
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 one of you here this morning who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be regenerate, to leave their life of 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 pleasure 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 it to you. You could not be so foolish as to grumble that the other has got what you did 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 to be holy, you do not want to be elected to these things: then why should you grumble? You count these things as worthless, 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 you. 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 headstrong will that keeps you from loving these things–your own simple self that makes you hat them? Suppose a man in the street should say, “What a shame it is I cannot have a seat in the church to hear what the preacher has to say.” And suppose he says, “I hate the preacher; I can’t stand his doctrine; but still it’s a shame I don’t have a seat.” Would you expect a may to say such a thing? No: you would quickly say, “That man doesn’t care for it. Why should he trouble himself about other people having what they value and he despises?” You don’t like holiness, you do not like righteousness: if God has elected me to these things, has He hurt you by it?
“Ah, but,” some say, “I thought it meant that God elected some to heaven and some to hell.” That ’s a very different matter from the gospel doctrine. He has elected men to holiness and to righteousness, and through that to heaven. You must not say that He has elected them simply to heaven, and others only to hell. He has elected you to holiness, if you love holiness. If any of you love to be saved by Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ has elected you to be saved. If any of you desire to have salvation, you are elected to have it, if you sincerely and earnestly desire it. But, if you don’t desire it, why on earth should you be so incredibly foolish as to complain because God gives that which you don’t like to other people?
(To read all of Spurgeon’s sermon on election, click here)