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  • PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS PROVED - B,
    CHARLES FINNEY SYS. THEOLOGY

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    But it is said, that Peter exhorts the saints to "give all diligence to make their calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10); from which it is inferred, that they did not know that they were elect; and furthermore, that it might be that, although they were real saints, nevertheless they were not, at least all of them, of the elect. The words here referred to stand in the following connection:

    "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord; According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; And to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, Godliness; And to Godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" (2 Peter 1-10). Upon this passage, I remark:

    That Peter addressed this epistle to all who had faith, that is, to all true Christians, as appears from the first verse. He addressed no one by name, but left it for every one to be sure that he had faith. He then proceeds to exhort them to grow in grace, assuring them that, if any one did not do so, he had forgotten that he was purged from his former sins; that is, if any one lacked that which he enjoined, it would prove that he had not true faith, or that he had backslidden. Then he adds, as in the 10th verse: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." The apostle plainly assumes:

    (1.) That the called and elected will be saved; to make their calling and election sure, was to make their salvation sure: and,

    (2.) That none others are saved but the called and elected, for if others are saved, it were of no consequence whether they were of the called and elected or not, provided they were saved;

    (3.) That he regarded none as Christians, or as at any time having true faith, but the called and elected; for he was not exhorting supposed unrepentant sinners to become Christians, but supposed Christians to be sure of their calling and election. This shows that he regarded all Christians as of the called and elected. To be sure of their calling and election was to be sure of their salvation. The apostle did not certainly mean to exhort them to become of the number of the elect, for this number we have seen was settled from eternity; but by diligence and growth in grace to secure their salvation, or thus to prove or demonstrate their calling and election. He meant also to admonish them that, although called and elected, still their ultimate salvation was conditionated upon their diligent growth in grace, and perseverance in holiness to the end of life. He therefore exhorts them to make their calling and election sure, which is the same as to secure their salvation. He speaks of calling and election as indissolubly connected. Effectual calling either results from election, or election from calling. We have seen that election is eternal; therefore election cannot result from calling, but calling must result from election.

    Again: Christians and saints, and the children and people of God, the disciples of Christ, and the elect, are to all appearance regarded throughout the Bible as the same class.

    Again: Christ says, "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" (John 6:37, 39).

    Here Jesus says, that all who are given to Him by the Father shall come to Him, and that of those that come to Him, it is His Father's will that He should lose none, but that He should raise them up, (that is, to eternal life), at the last day. He does not say here, that none do come to Him who are not given to Him by the Father, but this is plainly implied, for He says, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." What He means by not casting them out, is plain from the 39th verse: "It is the Father's will that of all that shall come to Me I should lose nothing." By not casting them out, then, He intended that He should surely save them, that is, all that came to Him. But if He saves them, they must have been given to Christ and have been elected, or they were not. If they were not elected, or given to Christ by the Father, they will never be saved, unless some are saved without God's designing or choosing to save them. If any are saved, God saves them, through or by Christ. If He saves them, He does it designedly, and not without design. But if He ever does, or will design it, He has from eternity designed it. So then, it appears, that all who come to Christ were given to Him of the Father; and that He will lose none of them, but will raise them up at the last day. My object at present, however, is not to insist that no one that comes to Christ will be lost, but only that all who come to Christ are of the number that were given to Him of the Father, or are of the elect.

    Again, compare: "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. 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. 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" (John 6:37, 39, 44, 45).

    Here it appears that no one can come to Christ except he be drawn of the Father. Every one who is drawn by the Father with an effectual drawing, or every one who hears and learns of the Father comes to Christ, and no other. The Father draws none to Christ, but those whom He has given to Christ; for these, and these only, are the children of God. "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children" (Isaiah 54:13). From these passages it appears that none come to Christ but those who are drawn by the Father, and that none are drawn by the Father but those whom He has given to His Son, or the elect; and that of those who are thus drawn to Christ, it is the Father's will that He should lose none, but that He should raise them up at the last day; that is, that He should save them. But observe, it is my particular object just now to establish the fact, that none come to Christ but those who are of the number that are given to Christ, and also that every one who is given to Him shall come to Him. These, and these only are effectually called or drawn of the Father. All are called in the sense of being earnestly and honestly invited, and all the divine persuasion is addressed to them that can wisely be addressed to them. But others, besides those given to the Son, are not, as a matter of fact, persuaded and effectually drawn, in a sense that secures the "concurrence of free will with free grace."

    The same truth is strongly implied in many other passages in the teachings of Christ. For example, He says:

    "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To Him the porter openeth: and the sheep hear His voice; and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them" (John 10:1-6).

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