Evening, November 25, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” — Romans 9:15
In these words the Lord in the plainest manner claims the right to give or to withhold his mercy according to his own sovereign will. As the prerogative of life and death is vested in the monarch, so the Judge of all the earth has a right to spare or condemn the guilty, as may seem best in his sight. Men by their sins have forfeited all claim upon God; they all deserve to perish for their sins–and if they all do so, they have no ground for complaint. If the Lord steps in to save any, he may do so if the final end of justice is not thwarted; but if he judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may put him to any trial. All those arguments about the right of men to be all placed on the same footing are foolish and presumptuous; ignorant, if not worse, are those contentions against God’s discriminating grace, which is just the rebellion of proud human nature against the crown and scepter of Jehovah. When we are brought to see our own utter ruin and harsh results of our actions, and the justice of the divine verdict against sin, we no longer complain at the truth that the Lord is not obliged to save us; we do not murmur if he chooses to save others, as though he were doing us an injury, but feel that if he lowers himself to look upon us, it will be his own free act of undeserved goodness, for which we shall forever bless his name.
How should those who are the subjects of a divine choice sufficiently give adoration for the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectively excludes it. The Lord’s will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more that should promote gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.
Editor’s note: God is not arbitrary in his choosing of his people; the chief point of the discourse in Romans is that of the “election” of believers, the vast majority of which were Gentiles, did not supplant the working of God in His choice “election” of Israel. We do a disservice to the text to apply it chiefly to the individual when it is meant for a group beyond human numbering. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (1 Peter 3:9)