Election is absolute, that is, it does not depend upon what we are. The text says, “God has from the beginning chosen us unto salvation.” But our opponents say that God chooses people because they are good—that He chooses them on account of sundry works which they have done. Now, we ask in reply to this, what works are those on account of which God elects His people? Are they what we commonly call, “works of Law”?—works of obedience which the creature can render? If so, we reply to you—If men cannot be justified by the works of the Law, it seems to us pretty clear that they cannot be elected by the works of the Law! If they cannot be justified by their good deeds, they cannot be saved by them. Then the decree of Election could not have been formed upon good works. “But,” say others, “God elected them on the foresight of their faith.” Now God gives faith, therefore He could not have elected them on account of faith which He foresaw. There shall be 20 beggars in the street and I determine to give one of them a shilling. Will anyone say that I determined to give that one a shilling—that I elected him to have the shilling—because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense! In like manner, to say that God elected men because He foresaw they would have faith—which is salvation in the germ—would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment! Faith is the gift of God. Every virtue comes from Him. Therefore it cannot have caused Him to elect men, because it is His gift! Election, we are sure, is absolute and altogether apart from the virtues which the saints have afterwards. What if a saint should be as holy and devout as Paul? What if he should be as bold as Peter, or as loving as John? Still, he could claim nothing but what he received from his Maker! I never knew a saint, yet, of any denomination who thought that God saved him because He foresaw that he would have these virtues and merits. Now, my Brothers and Sisters, the best jewels that the saint ever wears, if they are jewels of our own fashioning, are not of the first water! There is something of earth mixed with them. The highest Grace we ever possess has something of earthliness about it. We feel this when we are most refined, when we are most sanctified and our language must always be--
“I the chief of sinners am;
Jesus died for me.”
Our only hope, our only plea, still hangs on Grace as exhibited in the Person of Jesus Christ. And I am sure we must ut- terly reject and disregard all thought that our Graces, which are gifts of our Lord, which are His right-hand planting, could have ever caused His love. And we always must sing--
“What was there in us that could merit esteem
Or give the Creator delight?
It was even so, Father, we always must sing, Because it seemed good in Your sight”
Has won my affection and held my soul fast.” - C.H. Spurgeon