Peter Barnes | Ephesians 1:4; Romans 9:16
By nature, we do not seek God – Rom.3:11.
1. God has a real but not a saving love of the whole world.
– John 3:16; Ezek.33:11; Mark 10:21; Matt.23:37. There is a love of God for all, but it is not a saving love.
2. God chooses whom He chooses.
(a) God chose Abraham and Isaac and Jacob – Rom.9:10-13.
(b) Israel is the elect nation – Isa.45:4; Deut.7:7-8.
(c) Christ taught election – Matt.11:25-27.
(d) Paul’s conversion requires election – Gal.1:15-16.
(e) All conversions are the result of God’s election – Acts 13:48.
(f) This is taught elsewhere – Rom.9:14-18; 1 Cor.1:27-29; Eph.1:4.
This is hard to fit in with the Sankey hymn:
Christ is knocking at my sad heart;
Shall I let Him in?
Patiently knocking at my sad heart,
Oh, shall I let Him in?
Augustine came to see that election is unconditional: ‘I, indeed, laboured in defence of the free choice of the human will; but the grace of God conquered’
3. God’s mercy is assured to all who come to Christ in faith.
– Matt.11:25-30; John 6:37.
4. Good works are the result of grace.
– John 15:16; Eph.2:8-10; 2 Pet.1:5-7, 10. Works are necessary, but they are the result of God’s election, not the cause of it.
Augustine: ‘O depth! Do you seek a reason? I will tremble at the depth. Do you reason? I will wonder. Do you dispute? I will believe.’