No ungodly man loves God at least not in the Bible sense of the term. An unconverted man may love a God, as, for instance, the God of nature, and the God of the imagination; but the God of revelation no man can love, unless grace has been poured into his heart, to turn him from that natural enmity of the heart towards God, in which all of us are born.
Note the second phrase, which contains also a description of the Christian “the called according to his purpose.” However much the Arminian may try to fritter away the meaning of this 8th chapter of the Romans we are obliged as long as we use terms and words to say, that the 8th chapter of the Romans and the 9th, are the very pillars of that Gospel which men now call Calvinism.
No man after having read these chapters attentively, and having understood them, can deny that the doctrines of sovereign, distinguishing grace, are the sum and substance of the teaching of the Bible.
I do not believe that the Bible is to be understood except by receiving these doctrines as true.
The apostle says that those who love God are “the called according to his purpose” by which he means to say two things -first, that all who love God love him because he called them to love him. He called them, mark you. All men are called by the ministry, by the Word, by daily providence, to love God, there is a common call always given to men to come to Christ, the great bell of the gospel rings a universal welcome to every living soul that breathes; but alas! though that bell hath the very sound of heaven, and though all men do in a measure hear it, for “their line is gone out into all the earth and their Word unto the end of the world” yet there was never an instance of any man having been brought to God simply by that sound.
All these things are insufficient for the salvation of any man; there must be superadded the special call, the call which man cannot resist, the call of efficacious grace, working in us to will and to do of Gods good pleasure. Now, all them that love God love him because they have had a special, irresistible, supernatural call.
Free-will may look very pretty in theory, but I never yet met any one who found it work well in practice.
But this know, O man, whatever thou sayest of this doctrine, it is a stone upon which, if any man fall, he shall suffer loss, but if it fall upon him it shall grind him to powder.
What is election, but Gods purpose to do what he does do?
Gods people are known by their outward mark: they love God, and the secret cause of their loving God is this God chose them from before the foundation of the world that they should love him, and he sent forth the call of his grace, so that they were called according to his purpose, and were led by grace to love and to fear him. If that is not the meaning of the text I do not understand the English language. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
All things at this present moment are working together for the believers good. I find it extremely easy to believe that all things have worked together for my good. And somehow or other you have an equal faith for the future. You believe that all things will in the end work for your good. The pinch of faith always lies in the present tense. I can always believe the past, and always believe the future, but the present, the present, the present, that is what staggers faith. Now, please to notice that my text is in the present tense. “All things work,” at this very instant and second of time. However troubled, downcast, depressed, and despairing, the Christian may be, all things are working now for his good.© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible