The Signs of the Times, vol. 27

The Signs of the Times, Vol. 27


February 20, 1901

“Calling and Election” The Signs of the Times, 27, 8.

E. J. Waggoner

Much trouble many people make for themselves, and others also, by limiting the love and mercy of God. “I should like to be saved, but it is impossible unless I am one of the elect, and I have never been called.” Sad to say, not a little religious (not Christian) teaching it in time past, and even to the present time, has tended to produce an impressive piece false ideas of God. That professed atheist should blasphemed God’s name and character, is to be expected; but that professed followers of God should ever for a moment sanction, not to say promulgate, so horrible a libel upon Him as that He has chosen a certain view to be saved and that He has deliberately doomed all the rest to return all destruction, regardless of their desire or willingness to be saved, is beyond comprehension. Let us note a few simple Bible facts. SITI February 20, 1901, page 116.1

Who Are Called?

First as to who are called. Read the words of the apostle Peter to those who assembled on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:38, 39. Who are they whom “the Lord our God shall call”? Note carefully it is those to whom the apostle was speaking, and to their children, and to “all that are afar off.” That includes everybody. SITI February 20, 1901, page 116.2

The same thing was spoken through the prophet Isaiah. By that prophet the Lord said, “I create the fruit of the lips; peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near.” Isaiah 57:19. The Lord proclaims peace to him that his afar off, and to him that is near; there is no chance for anybody to find an exception. SITI February 20, 1901, page 116.3

With this agree the words of Christ, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden God, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. This includes every needy soul. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1. “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.” Revelation 22:17. Not only is every one who hears invited to come, but he is also authorized to invite everybody else whom he sees. There is no partiality with God. SITI February 20, 1901, page 116.4

In view of these plain calls, who dare limit the grace of God? “The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” Titus 2:11, R.V. “As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18. All men have gone astray, like lost sheep, and all are called back. God “willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4, R.V. The Lord is “long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. SITI February 20, 1901, page 116.5


“Yes; but does it not say somewhere that many are called, but you chosen”? and is not that evidence that all can not be saved?-Yes, and no. That statement is indeed made, but it by no means teaches that there are any who cannot be saved if they wished salvation. The question is really equivalent to this, “Does not this last taxed overthrow all the others?” The Word of God is not divided against itself. Read the passages in which this statement is found (Matthew 20:1-16 and 22:1-14), and it will be apparent that those who are not chosen are those who themselves do not choose to accept the terms of salvation. That is the whole of the matter. Election means choice. The free choice is given to all. “Choose life, that both foul and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19. “Choose you this day and who eat will serve.” Joshua 24:13. SITI February 20, 1901, page 116.6

Whoever chooses salvation, or, in other words, elects to be saved, is one of the elect. The non-elect are, of course, lost, but it is of their own choice. Of those who are lost, the Spirit of God says, “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” Proverbs 1:29-31. SITI February 20, 1901, page 116.7

When the Jews at Antioch “spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming,” the apostle said, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Acts 13:45, 46. They judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life, by refusing to receive it. It was indeed given to them, and they put it away from them. Note that it was all in their own hands; they were made judges in the case. And so it is with all men; each of man determines his own worthiness or unworthiness. Whoever will receive the eternal life, is counted worthy of it. Each man judges of his own fitness, and he elects himself. Surely God could not possibly deal more fairly with mankind. SITI February 20, 1901, page 117.1

That the matter of the election is one that rests with the individual, is seen from the exhortation of the apostle Peter: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling an election sure.” 2 Peter 1:10. All men are called of God’s own free grace; but the call avails nothing if men do not choose to accept it. Having chosen the gift of God, it rests with the individual to make his selection sure, “by a patient continuance in well-doing” thru keeping the faith. SITI February 20, 1901, page 117.2

Man’s Destiny in His Own Hands

There is a grave responsibility in the fact, yet it is a most glorious truth, that God has placed every man’s destiny in his own hands. Every soul can have just what he himself chooses. Surely God is good to all, and His goodness is manifest even in the destruction of the wicked, since even in their destruction God is but allowing them to have that for which they manifest did a most determined choice even after the fullness of the blessing of life had been set before them. They simply get the wages for which they have labored; for “the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. Men who persistently choose their own way, in opposition to that of God, “treasure up” unto themselves “wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Romans 2:4, 5. It would be unjust not to give them the wages which they have so carefully laid up. SITI February 20, 1901, page 117.3

But is it not a fact that Jesus said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him”?-Yes, Jesus did say that; and He also said of Himself, with reference to His crucifixion, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32. Now when we remember that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” and that it was “by the grace of God” that Jesus tasted “death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9), we can see that it is caught Himself who in Christ is growing all men to Himself. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have by drawing thee.” Jeremiah 31:3. E. J. WAGGONER. SITI February 20, 1901, page 117.4