Not Chosen To Salvation
By Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573| Walnut Grove, MN 56180 | Telephone (507) 859-2519
CHAPTER ONE (continued)
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Using these verses in support of election, Mr. Nettleton sets forth this reasoning in his book on page 27, and I quote:
“Note the order of words in the verses just quoted. It does not say, ‘He that heareth God’s words is of God.’ It gives the divine side—‘He that is of God heareth God’s words.’
It does not say, ‘Ye are not of my sheep because ye believe not.’ Rather it says, ‘But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.’ ”
The problem with this reasoning--as good as it may sound--is that it contradicts God’s word!
In the same Gospel we find:
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Notice in John 10:6 that Christ spoke this parable to them concerning the sheep. In Matthew 13:10 the disciples asked:
“…why speakest thou unto them in parables?”
Christ answers their question in the following verses and assures us that it was by their own will in choosing not to believe, rather than God’s imposing His will upon them:
“Therefore speak I unto them in parables: because seeing they see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart…”
The Bible does not say that God closed their eyes, but rather that they have closed their own eyes. The choice and responsibility was totally theirs and the reason for their choice of rejecting Christ is plainly stated in John 10:31 and 33:
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.”
The Jews answered him, saying, for a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”
If “election to salvation” were true, then He would have had to make them think Christ was not God, so they would fulfill His “election to damnation.” Do not ask me to believe John 3:16 that…
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…”
…and then put it into the minds of some people not to believe it, while on the other hand, God gives others---the so-called “elected”--the faith to believe. This would be mutilation of both the Word and the character of God.
At the end of chapter 10, Christ still reasons with the Jews. Notice verses 37 and 38:
“If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and believe, that the Fathers is in me, and I in him.”
If these Jews are supposed to be already excluded by the “doctrine” of election, then why is Christ still reasoning with them to try and get them to believe? Why should He waste the time? Why should we pray for the lost if the elected are going to be saved anyway and the lost to remain lost--what in the world is the use? Thank God, this is not true!
Again the Word of God speaks clearly and plainly for Itself. Notice in Revelation 22:17:
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
When one studies the doctrine of election and choosing--especially after reviewing the writings of many theologians--one may still be left in awe as we are advised that one cannot reconcile the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. This book is written in defense of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. The two can easily be reconciled and understood, if one allows Scripture to interpret Scripture. Those who endorse that God has chosen some to salvation consistently point out various statements such as:
- “God’s election is according to His own sovereign purpose. He has not revealed His reasons for such election.” (SOURCE: Chosen to Salvation, Nettleton)
- “There are two things that men will never understand this side of Heaven, how could God elect to save some sinners and not others. And how He could make man responsible for his faith or unbelief. Our minds are too small and too perverted by sin.” (SOURCE: Ibid., 14,15)
- One author whose book endorses that God has elected some to be saved, turns right around and makes this statement in his book. “This book does not teach election to Hell.” This is unbelievable! (SOURCE: Ibid., 19)
- The same book endorsing election states, “It seems safe to say that most people who believe in election do not believe in limited atonement.” (SOURCE: Ibid., 20)
- Then he quotes again, “One died for all.’ (2nd Corinthians 5:14). Let that stand, too.” (SOURCE: Ibid., 20)
To sum up statements like this in a couple of words, it amounts to nothing more than a whole lot of double-talk! Those who endorse “election to salvation”--which the Scriptures do not teach--ask us to accept this false doctrine “by faith.” That is , “Just trust that God knows what He is doing when He elects some to be saved and not others.” Their statement is, “How can God elect some to salvation and not others? How can He plan it all and then turn around and hold man responsible? These things must be taken by faith.” (SOURCE: Chosen to Salvation, Nettleton, pg. 14)
No! We do not accept this philosophy by faith, because it is a manmade philosophy that contradicts other portions of God’s word. The Bible says that God is “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2nd Peter 3:9). If God is not willing that any should perish, then the doctrine of election of some to salvation is against the character and will of God. This philosophy would make God contradict Himself. Yes, if I believe in election to salvation I would definitely have to have faith--and that faith would have to be in man’s teaching, not the Word of God.
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
In reference to these two verses, Mr. Nettleton makes the statement:
“Throughout John 6 the divine side is spoken of along with the human side. Man must believe and God has planned.”
Now, I do not know where to find his statement in John 6; nevertheless, these two verses are used to support it. You can make any passage mean what you want it to, if you take two verses and isolate them without taking other verses in the Word that shed light upon these verses. When we come to John 6:37 we find that:
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
Nettleton’s comment is this:
“Believers are given to Christ by the Father and such as are given shall come.” (Page 26, Chosen to Salvation.)
In other words, they do not have any choice.
In verse 39 we read:
“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
Their reasoning is--all that the Father has given Christ have no choice. They have to come--they will come--and the free will of man is taken away because they must believe. God will even give them the faith to do it with! Therefore, they conclude that man is elected to salvation. “Don’t ask us why,” the election people say, “because you have to take it by faith. It is all contained in the sovereignty of God and His ways are past finding out! We will never know His ways,” and all of that mumbo-jumbo! This is not the teaching of the Word of God.
Let us examine John 6:37 and 39 in their context as we read the rest of the chapter, especially verses 44 and 45:
“No man can come to me (Christ), except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
“It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”
We find a little more information that Mr. Nettleton did not include in his writings. Just taking two verses and not using the rest of the chapter or the rest of the Gospel of John would not be consistent with the basic fundamentals of Biblical interpretation. Notice again in John 6:44:
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The Father is going to have to draw men, and how will He draw them? In John 12:32 the Bible answers for itself:
“And I (Christ), if I be lifted up from the earth (the cross) will draw all men unto me.”
The drawing of all men unto Him is through the cross--by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Drawing all men is not all men without exception, as we have said; but, rather, all men without distinction as to race, color, or creed. No--God loves the world and gave His only begotten Son in sacrifice for it. To take just two verses (as Mr. Nettleton has done with John 6:37 and 39) and not correlate any other verses in the Gospel of John that speak on the same subject is shown to be erroneous when we find that all men are drawn by the cross. So you see, it is God’s will that all should come and be saved.
This is a far cry from seeing the Scriptures twisted and turned, pulling out two verses of Scripture and disregarding the rest of the chapter as well as the rest of the Gospel of John. Is it any wonder a person can make the Bible mean what they want it to when they do not let Scripture interpret Scripture? No--you and I are not one of those who are elected to be saved nor one of those who are elected to be lost. We have a free will and our destiny is really in our own hands. If you choose to accept the record God has given of His Son, then you will be saved. If you choose to reject the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, then the responsibility is yours, as you will spend eternity separated from God. But thanks be to God we have the free will to make that choice and stand responsible for the choice we make!
“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can some unto me, except it were given him of my Father.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
One must remember that the Bible is here talking about disciples who were saved and lost. People in both conditions are present. Because the Bible says “disciples” does not mean they were all saved. The word “disciple” means “one that follows” and there were people who followed Christ from place to place--some were sincere and some were just spectators.
Mr. Nettleton quotes verses 65 and 66 in support of his position of “election to salvation” on page 26 of his book. These verses are again easily explained by comparing one Scripture with another as we have previously done. Let us recapitulate. The Bible speaks for itself in John 12:32 and states:
“And I (Christ), if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
We find out, as before, that the Father draws men through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. God gave His Son (Christ) to die upon the cross for all. Therefore, it is the Father’s will for all to believe on His Son as the Father draws them by the cross. How sad it is to see people reject the free gift of salvation when the price has been paid for all.
Let us continue our examination of chapter 6 as we find in verse 54:
“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Then in John 6:51:
“I am the living bread which came down from Heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
“Any man, world, and whoso” in verse 54, perfectly go together in letting Scripture interpret Scripture. The free will of man is not limited nor infringed upon by sovereignty of God. We do not have to put in a doctrine that makes man a robot, allowing him no right to make a choice. To say that man will only do as God has elected him to do is erroneous to the true teachings of the word of God!
I am glad God gave us the whole Gospel of John. Comparing Scripture with Scripture brings into focus the error of pulling one Scripture out of context and isolating it to fit a man-made doctrine. As we said, this exactly what Church of Christ theologians do with John, chapter 3, concerning the word “water.” They apply it to water baptism and disallow Scripture to interpret Scripture. They say in John 3:5 that:
“…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Then they define the word “water” as literal water. Yet--if we let the Word of God interpret Itself, we find out that water is used as the cleansing agent as far as salvation is concerned. If we read on in John 3 we find that “water” is used in reference to the Word of God. In John 3:5 the word “water” is referring to God’s Word. The end result is the same as John 3:16 where “believing in Christ” results in “everlasting life.” “Everlasting life” is equivalent to “entering the Kingdom of God.” “Believing” is believing the Word of God, which is represented by the “water.” In the same Gospel (15:3) we are told:
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
Also in Ephesians 5:26 we find that God shall cleanse His church…
“…with the washing of water by the word.”
As we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, we find out that it is believing the Word of God which is metaphorically referred to here as “water.” “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit …” or “born of the Word.”
When we find the words “born again” we can go to 1st Peter 1:23 and by letting Scripture interpret Scripture the Bible will tell us what “born again” means:
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Those who support “election to salvation” make the same error as the Church of Christ theologians. They extract one Scripture out of context and apply it to their own doctrine. If we compare one Scripture with another--as they will always agree--then we have the proper interpretation and the truth as to God’s Word.
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Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Telephone (507) 859-2519
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