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Calvin Vs Wesley
Two lines of thought have divided Christians
ó Election and Free Grace. Both doctrines,
notwithstanding their apparent oppositeness, have Scriptural
support. This fact should lead us at once to surmise that in some
way both must be true. But in no way can they be reconciled except
by "rightly dividing the word of truth" on this subject.
If all the passages relating to Election and
Free Grace are located and examined, it will be found that all
those regarding Election apply to the present and past ages, while
those which teach Free Grace are applicable to the future age.
Election Not Fatalism
Election, as taught in the Bible, is not the
arbitrary coercion, or fatalism, usually believed and taught by
its advocates. Instead, Election is a selection according to
fitness and adaptability to the end God has in view, during the
period appointed for that purpose.
The doctrine of Free Grace, advocated by
Arminians, is also a much grander display of Godís abounding
favor than its most earnest advocates have ever taught. Godís
grace or favor in Christ is ever free, in the sense of being
unmerited. However; since the fall of man into sin to the present
time, certain of Godís favors have been restricted to special
individuals, nations and classes. By contrast, in the next age all
the world will be invited to share the favors then offered, on the
conditions then made known to all. "Whosoever will, may come
and drink at lifeís fountain freely." Rev. 22:17
Election During the Christian Age
In the present Christian age, there is an
election. Some parts of the world are more favored with the gospel
(which is free to all who hear) than others. Glance at a map of
the world and see how small is the portion enlightened or blessed
in any degree by the gospel of Christ. Contrast yourself, with
your privileges and knowledge, with the millions in heathen
darkness, who never heard the call, and who consequently were not
called. When the called-out company (called to be sons of God,
heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord) is
complete, then the plan of God for the worldís
salvation will be only beginning.
The present Christian age is for making ready
the chaste virgin, the faithful Church, for the coming Bridegroom.
At the end of the age, when the Bride is made "ready"
(Rev. 19:7), the Bridegroom comes. They that are ready go in with
him to the marriage. Then the glorious work of restitution will
In the next age, the new heaven and the new
earth, the Church will no longer be the espoused virgin, but the
Bride. Then shall "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."
Blessings of Free Grace
in the Coming Age
The Christian age is only a necessary
preparation for the great future work. For this promised and
coming blessing, the whole creation groans, waiting for the manifestation
of the sons of God. (Rom. 8:22,19) It is a blessed fact that free
grace in fullest measure, not merely for the living but for those
who have died as well, is provided in our Fatherís plan as the
blessed opportunity of the coming age.
Some fail to see that those in their graves
have as much interest in that glorious reign of Messiah as those
who at that time will be less completely under the bondage of
"Prisoners of Hope"
As Jesus died for all, they all
must have the blessings and opportunities which he purchased with
his precious blood. Blessings in the Millennial age will be for
all those in their graves
ó as well as for those not in them. It
is because God plans for their release that those in the tomb are
called "prisoners of hope."
About 142,000,000,000 people have lived on the
earth in the six thousand years since Adamís creation. Of these,
the very broadest estimate that could be made with reason would be
that less than one billion were saints of God. This would leave
the immense aggregate of 142,000,000,000 who went down into death
without faith in the only name given under heaven or
among men whereby we must be saved. The vast majority of these
never knew or heard of Jesus, and could not believe in him of whom
they had not heard.