Choice Elder O. B. Mink
Elder O. B. Mink
To the natural man the word „choice” when told it is his to act upon, conveys a feeling of superiority to the mind. And from his intellectual summit the possibility of wrong choice is zero. In sales work there are words and phrases referred to by salesmen as „pedestal expressions” and it is essential for success in the sales field to master the use of these terms. Some of these pedestal expressions are; „Please”, „Thank you, so very much”, „May I”, ”I would like your advice”, ”You are so right” and ”I know you will make the right choice.” These and many more are used effectively to inflate the prospects ego, and to condition his attitude steering him into a buying frame of mind. And after the sale is consummated, a verbal compliment is in order, usually comprised in, „You certainly made the right choice.”
We see the same tricks and techniques used today by pastors and evangelists to get professions of faith from their unsuspecting hearers. With their beautiful oratory and eloquent speeches, they set man above God, and make God subject to the creature. Any practice giving natural man place and power in things spiritual and eternal is labeled by God as „foolishness,” (I Cor. 2:14).
Natural Man: An Absolute Rebel Against God
Webster defines the word „choice” as the act of choosing. The word implies action. There can be no choice apart from external action, and vice versa, there is no external action apart from prior choice. The time allowed for choice or decision may be incalculably small, but it is always present.
Adam and Eve, man’s first biological ancestors were created by God and placed in the garden of Eden. Adam, in the covenant with God was made the federal head of the human race, and officially represented all mankind in the presence of God. God, in the covenant with Adam promised him perpetual blessings on the condition that he would abstain from all evil (Gen. 2:16-17). Adam, though created innocent, was also created mutable and capable of change. When the Divine restraint exercised in Adam’s behalf was removed, Adam became prone to change, and in this state of proness made choice against God, thereby bringing a radical change to his nature, and death to all of his posterity (Rom. 5:12). Adam’s choice of Eve in preference to God was deliberate (I Tim. 2:14), and destructive to all God likeness in his nature. Post-dating the fall every child is born from the womb of wrath, and with a wrathful nature toward God (Eph. 2:3). So then, they that are of the Adamic nature CANNOT make a single choice pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). „. . . verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity,” (Ps. 39:5).
The spiritual impotence of man’s will, as he is in nature, is absolute. Love for sin, and hatred of God is so intertwined in fallen man’s nature that his thoughts are only evil continually (Gen. 6:5). Christ brings this truth to the fore front when He says, „No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other,” (Mt. 6:24). And again, He that knows the intents and thoughts of every heart says, „He that is not with Me is against Me,” and those against Christ are not passive. No, they are actively against Him, for He says they „scatter abroad,” (Mt. 12:30).
To presuppose a person will choose something which he hates with a perfect hatred and opposes with unrelenting vehemence is absurd. It is far more easier for the spiritually renewed mind to conceive of clay fashioning itself into decorative ornaments of great value than it is to give birth to the thought that fallen man can choose God, whom he hates with a total hatred (Rom. 1:30). Man by nature is not merely wicked, but desperately wicked (Jere. 17:9). He is „Dead in trespasses and sins,” (Eph. 2:1). The Adamic man is destitute of all good, and every spark of his energy is used to perform evil. He is not only a sinner by birth, but is also a sinner by choice, for as soon as he be born he goes astray „speaking lies,” (Ps. 58:3).
Fallen man is a slave to his nature. All of his choices are worldly. He ever pleases the Prince and power of the air. His single ambition is to fulfill the desires of the flesh and mind. From the Divine standpoint he is a child of wrath, deserving immediate and everlasting destruction (Eph. 2:2-3). The natural man begins his rebellion against God in the womb of his mother, magnifies it in his earthly life, and apart from the gracious choice of God, he will stand in the judgment and hear God say, „He which is filthy, let him be filthy still,” (Rev. 22:11).
The Number One Heresy
Man in his degenerate state is in the bond of iniquity, not credible with the least good, and is a firm and undeviating ally of the devil. We do not mean to imply that the old nature cannot change, it certainly can and does, but not so as to please God.
The Ethiopian may practice ultimate cleanliness, and cover himself with white robes, yet his skin remains the same. Man may exercise moral restraints, and cover his outward life with religious fervor, yet his pent up depravity, and his fallen nature are not in the least diminished. And not until the Ethiopian changes his skin, or the leopard his spots will lost man be able to do a single good (Jere. 13:23). Man invariably chooses that which the Lord delights not in (Isa. 66:4). Yet, proud man, with all of his faculties averse to God will not own his innate and totally depraved nature. He is for ever more crying out, it is with man to choose where he will be in eternity. He concedes much was lost in the fall, but not all. He says, there was something of the former relationship preserved. Namely, there is enough of the Divine spark left in man that he can come to God any time he chooses. This kind of reasoning is normal for a mind that is under a total spiritual blackout (Eph. 4:18), and which is directed by the father of lies (John 8:44). This line of reasoning is not subject to change by any power outside of God. Man is ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (II Tim. 3:7). This error, though underwritten by natural religion, and supported by every unregenerate spirit, is yet the top wrung on the ladder of damnable heresies. The Lord says to His followers, „Ye have not chose Me, but I have chosen you.. .” (John 15:16).
Salvation of the soul is either by the sovereign, irresistible, irrevocable choice of God, or it is by man’s ability to choose. The eternal welfare of the soul is determined by God or man, not by God and man (Rom. 11:6).
Suitability Before God
Being shut up to the Bible for the answer in this matter we discover that man will not choose God that he might have life (John 5:40). We also discover from the pages of Holy Writ that there was only ONE man who ever walked this earth with suitability, sufficient to attract God’s loving attention and choosing favor. This ONE is Christ of whom we read, „Behold My servant, Whom 1 have chosen; My beloved, in Whom My soul is well pleased…” (Mt. 12:18).
All others chosen of God unto salvation were not only lacking in suitability, but were the exact opposite, and fully that which merited God’s eternal wrath, „The wages of sin is death.” According to the Word of God there are but two ways for a person to get out of this world: One way is to be chosen out by the grace of God as plainly stated in Gospel of John 15:19, and the other way out is to be chased out by the wrath of God. Speaking of the wicked Job says, „He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world,” (Job 18:18), (2 Pet. 2:9). Not once in all of Scripture is there the least inference that man in his native state can choose God in preference to anything else. This truth is made apparent when we consider that man loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19). And how can they choose that which they do not know anything as they ought to know it? (John 1:10), (II Cor. 2:14), (I Cor. 8:2). In view of the foregoing facts we hear the Psalmist say, „Blessed is the man whom Thou (God) choosest,” (Psa. 65:4). God looks to Christ for the suitability of all those included in the covenant of redemption, and God has condescended to let His chosen see the report the Holy Spirit has recorded, „According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” (Eph. 1:4). The saved love God in time, because God loved them in eternity, and their suitability in the presence of God is not merited by them, but by Him Who said, „I lay down My life for the Sheep,” (John 10:15)
Chosen To Salvation And Service
„… I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.. .” (John 15:16). „For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” (Eph. 2:10).
God chose Isaiah and Jeremiah to be Prophets before they were born (Isa. 49:1, Jere. 1:5). And He says of Paul, „He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel,” (Acts 9:15). Paul exhorts Timothy to faithfulness, so as to please God Who had „chosen him to be a soldier,” (II Tim. 2:3).
Someone may object, and say, „But, all this has to do with vocation and not with salvation.” God’s choice of a man to be a prophet or preacher is co-eternal with God’s choice of him unto salvation. None can gainfully argue against the fact that John the Baptist was a preacher sent from God (John 1:6). And, surely none are so naive as to dispute the fact that God chose John prior to his miraculous entrance into this world to be a preacher (Isa. 40:3, Mt. 3:3). And, would any be so daring as to say, God chooses a man to be a preacher or prophet before He chooses him unto salvation? God forbid!
I would urge all who read these lines to bow to the authority of God’s Word, „Lest haply ye be found to fight against God,” and God in His sore displeasure say to you as he said to Israel of old, „Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation,” (Judges 10:14)
„… Brethren beloved of the Lord… God hath from the beginning chose you to salvation.. .” (2 Thes. 2:13).