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De Moor VII:27: The Certainty of Election, Part 1

Election is Objectively Certain, which Objective Certainty indicates the Immutability of Election, asserted in § 13, 14: but there is also a Subjective Certainty of Election, whereby those truly believing, not indeed à priori, by inspecting the sealed Book of divine Predestination; but à posteriori, from the consequent fruits of the divine Love, more specifically, the very Benefits of Grace and its gifts ἀμεταμελήτοις, not to be repented of,[1] considered in § 26; by infallible Divine Faith, not by mere moral conjecture, are able to be, often are, and ought to be Certain of their Election, and also of their Salvation and Vocation, in applying themselves continually to that: compare the Canons of Dort, chapter I, articles 12, 13,[2] and likewise chapter V, articles 9-15;[3] and the words of BEZA in Actis Colloquii Montibelligartensis, pages 435, 436.

This, α. is presupposed by Peter, 2 Peter 1:10, in which he commends the duty of confirming one’s own Election, that is, one’s eternal Election, according to one’s Calling, of making it firm and certain to oneself and in the court of conscience, not ποιεῖν, but ποιεῖσθα, in the Middle Voice,[4] which is wont to indicate reciprocal or immanent action; by the exercise of faith and good works in their connections, he commends it after the likeness of a Motive, whereby he again urges the practice of the admonitions set forth in verses 5-7 from the eminent good that they thus procure, namely, the Certainty of their Election and Vocation, setting forth more briefly that which he had been able to say a little more distinctly in this manner: σπουδάσατε ταῦτα ποιεῖν, οὕτως γὰρ βεβαίαν ὑμῶν τὴν κλῆσιν καὶ ἐκλογὴν ποιήσεσθε, give diligence to do these things, for thus ye shall make your calling and election sure: while to this admonition is expressly subjoined another Promise, ταῦτα γὰρ ποιοῦντες οὐ μὴ πταίσητέ ποτε, for doing these things ye shall never fall, ye shall never fail of thy hope: compare the things just now said in § 14, and in Commentario meo on 2 Peter 1. Now, since the mode whereby Peter wishes from the context, that believers should confirm their Vocation and Election, namely, by the practice of faith and of good works, is certainly possible; concerning the truth of the Vocation and Election thus to be confirmed, as expressly asserted by Peter, it is not at all able to be doubted.

β. This is also taught by the general pronouncements in Ephesians 1:4, 5; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; etc., in which regard is by no means had to the Apostles alone, but the Apostle joins himself with all saints and believers: neither are these things able to be referred to Extraordinary Revelation, since Paul makes no mention of Revelation of this sort, and such Extraordinary Revelation concerning his own Election is not able to be applied to all the believers at Ephesus and Thessalonica: contrariwise, they were obtaining knowledge of this sort through the testimony of the Spirit shared by all, Romans 8:16: compare the Canons of Dort, chapter 5, Rejection of Errors, § 5.[5]

γ. From the fruit the tree is known: and thus one may conclude the Certainty of Election from the fruit,

1. Of the Elects’ Consolation and Confidence, which, without this Certainty, would be nothing: compare the Pauline Gloryings in the common name of believers, Romans 5:1-5; 8:31-39; likewise, the indescribable Joy asserted of believers, 1 Peter 1:8; the Consolation ascribed to believers, 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Hebrews 6:17, 18: all which would be altogether empty and vain without believers’ Certainty concerning their Election.

2. The Glorification of God is added as necessary, found also in Ephesians 1:3, 4; 1 Peter 1:3, 4; but which in turn presupposes the knowledge of the divine Benevolence, which is κατ᾽ ἐκλογὴν, according to election; inculcated in a general way by Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:12. In which Paul speaks of the gifts both of present Grace, which believers have obtained in communion with Christ, and of the Glory certainly following upon that: which sort of gifts are inaccessible to natural knowledge, and have not entered into the heart of man; but they are perceived by the heart of believers and are sensed by the help of supernatural Revelation and of the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

δ. Finally, this Subjective Certainty of Election is invincibly demonstrated by Induction. 1. If believers are able to be certain concerning their Faith, they are also able to be certain concerning their Election; for Faith is the fruit of Election, as was seen in § 10: and they are able to be quite certain of their Faith, which is supposed in 2 Corinthians 13:5, and is proven by the examples in Job 19:25; Mark 9:24; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Corinthians 4:13. 2. If believers are able to be certain of their Adoption, they are also able to be certain of their Predestination by the purpose which is according to the Election of Grace, according to Ephesians 1:4, 5: and they are able to be conscious of their Adoption by the leading and testimony of the Spirit, Romans 8:14, 16. 3. If believers are able to be certain of the sanctifying Grace of the Spirit, they are also able to be quite certain of their Election, for we are Chosen unto Holiness, Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13: but we are able to be conscious of the indwelling of the sanctifying Spirit, according to 1 John 3:24; 4:14; etc.

[1] Romans 11:29: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (ἀμεταμέλητα).” 2 Corinthians 7:10: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of (ἀμεταμέλητον): but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” [2] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, articles 12, 13: “12. The elect in due time, though in various degrees and in different measures, attain the assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election, not by inquisitively prying into the secret and deep things of God, but by observing in themselves, with a spiritual joy and holy pleasure, the infallible fruits of election pointed out in the Word of God — such as a true faith in Christ, filial fear, a godly sorrow for sin, a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, etc. 13. The sense and certainty of this election afford to the children of God additional matter for daily humiliation before Him, for adoring the depth of His mercies, for cleansing themselves, and rendering grateful returns of ardent love to Him, who first manifested so great love towards them. The consideration of this doctrine of election is so far from encouraging remissness in the observance of the divine commands or from sinking men in carnal security, that these, in the just judgment of God, are the usual effects of rash presumption or of idle and wanton trifling with the grace of election in those who refuse to walk in the ways of the elect.” [3] Canons of Dort, chapter 5, articles 9-15: “9. Of this preservation of the elect to salvation and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers for themselves may and do obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they arrive at the certain persuasion that they ever will continue true and living members of the church; and that they experience forgiveness of sins, and will at last inherit eternal life. 10. This assurance, however, is not produced by any peculiar revelation contrary to, or independent of the Word of God; but springs from faith in God’s promises, which He has most abundantly revealed in His Word for our comfort; from the testimony of the Holy Spirit witnessing with our spirit that we are children and heirs of God (Romans 8:16); and lastly, from a serious and holy desire to preserve a good conscience and to perform good works. And if the elect of God were deprived of this solid comfort that they shall finally obtain the victory and of this infallible pledge or earnest of eternal glory, they would be of all men the most miserable. 11. The Scripture moreover testifies that believers in this life have to struggle with various carnal doubts and that under grievous temptations they are not always sensible of this full assurance of faith and certainty of persevering. But God, who is the Father of all consolation, does not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that they may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13), and by the Holy Spirit again inspires them with the comfortable assurance of persevering. 12. This certainty of perseverance, however, is so far from exciting in believers a spirit of pride or of rendering them carnally secure, that on the contrary, it is the real source of humility, filial reverence, true piety, patience in every tribulation, fervent prayers, constancy in suffering, and in confessing the truth, and of solid rejoicing in God; so that the consideration of this benefit should serve as an incentive to the serious and constant practice of gratitude and good works, as appears from the testimonies of Scripture and the examples of the saints. 13. Neither does renewed confidence of persevering produce licentiousness or a disregard to piety in those who are recovering from backsliding; but it renders them much more careful and solicitous to continue in the ways of the Lord, which He hath ordained, that they who walk therein may maintain an assurance of persevering, lest by abusing His fatherly kindness, God should turn away His gracious countenance from them, to behold which is to the godly dearer than life, the withdrawing whereof is more bitter than death, and they in consequence hereof should fall into more grievous torments of conscience. 14. And as it hath pleased God, by the preaching of the gospel, to begin this work of grace in us, so He preserves, continues, and perfects it by the hearing and reading of His Word, by meditation thereon, and by the exhortations, threatenings, and promises thereof, as well as by the use of the sacraments. 15. The carnal mind is unable to comprehend this doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and the certainty thereof, which God hath most abundantly revealed in His Word, for the glory of His Name, and the consolation of pious souls, and which He impresses upon the hearts of the faithful. Satan abhors it; the world ridicules it; the ignorant and hypocrite abuse, and heretics oppose it; but the spouse of Christ hath always most tenderly loved and constantly defended it as an inestimable treasure; and God, against whom neither counsel nor strength can prevail, will dispose her to continue this conduct to the end. Now, to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.” [4] 2 Peter 1:10: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make (σπουδάσατε—ποιεῖσθαι) your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…” [5] Canons of Dort, chapter 5, Rejection 5: “That without a special revelation we can have no certainty of future perseverance in this life. For by this doctrine the sure comfort of the true believers is taken away in this life and the doubts of the Papist are again introduced into the church, while the Holy Scriptures constantly deduce this assurance, not from a special and extraordinary revelation, but from the marks proper to the children of God and from the constant promises of God. So especially the apostle Paul: ‘Nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:39). And John declares: ‘And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us’ (1 John 3:24).”

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Mar 16, 2023

Westminster Confession of Faith 3:8: The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,1 that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.2 So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God,3 and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation, to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.4

1 Rom. 9:20; Rom. 11:33; Deut. 29:29.

2 2 Pet. 1:10.

3 Eph. 1:6; Rom. 11:33.

4 Rom. 11:5,6,20; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rom. 8:33; Luke 10:20.


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Mar 16, 2023

Study the Doctrine of Predestination in detail with the incomparable De Moor!

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