John R. Daily
Those who do not belileve that
God elected His people in eternity say that if He did so, He must have
reprobated all others, and that this act of reprobation must have been as
much a sovereign act of decretive will of God as the act of election was.
This objection to the doctrine of personal, eternal and unconditional
election urged against it by Arminians, gives it a vey uncomely dress. When
God elected His people, His act of choosing them became the first great
cause of their salvation, and if that act had reprobated all others, then
the same act that results in the salvation of His people results in the
condemnation of the lost, and God is as much the cause of one as the other.
This is a gross misrepresentation of the doctrine of election which
evidently results from a misunderstanding of the meaning of terms.
Non-election, and not reprobation, is the opposite of election. Election is
the act of God. Non-election is simply no act at all. When God elected His
people, which the Bible teaches He did before the foundation of the world,
He did nothing whatever to those He did not elect. God did not choose them,
neither did He reprobate them. To pass them by and not choose them is doing
nothing to them at all.
It is argued that God is unjust if He chose some and did not choose
all. If that be true, then either He did not choose any or He chose all, for
He is not unjust. If He did not choose any, there was no election, for
election is choice; and if He chose all, there was no election, for election
is choice; and if He chose all, there was no election, for election is
choice of a part. But the Bible says He did choose some "before the
foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before
Him in love, having predestinated them unto the adoption of children by
Jesus Christ unto Himself according to the good pleasure of His will." This
is sometimes explained as referring to the apostles only. But if it would be
unjust for God to choose all that will be finally saved and to leave out all
others, it would be equally unjust for Him to choose the apostles and leave
all others to the uncertainty of chance, or pass them by without choosing
them. But that He did choose some to eternal salvation is proved by every
passage that contains the words, "election", "elect", etc., and by many
circumstances recorded in the word of God.
We deny the charge as unjust made by the Arminians against the wise and
good Ruler of the universe. God did elect His people before the foundation
of the world, long before any of them had a being, and those not elected
were left out, and God is not unjust. It is blasphemy to charge a God of
purity and justice with being unjust. It is a wonder that He allows His
depraved creatures to live who utter such vile epithets in denouncing Him
while they pretend to worship Him.
While God did not choose the non-elect, He did not reprobate them.
Reprobation is the opposite of approbation and not election, and may relate
to the state of a person, the frame of his mind, or the nature of his
conduct. To approbate is to approve or express approval of. To reprobate is
to disapprove or express disapproval of. Election is an act performed in
eternity, and is not based upon any merit seen in the persons chosen.
Approbation and reprobation belong only to time and are based upon the state
and conduct of the persons approved or disapproved. Whatever is right in
state or conduct is approved or approbated, and whatever is wrong in state
or conduct is reprobated or disapproved. All are reprobate, therefore, in a
state of nature, both the elect and non-elect.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul says, "Know ye not your own selves, how
that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?' This teaches that
they are reprobates who have not Christ in them. The elect have not Christ
in them before they are regenerated. They are then the children of wrath
even as others. Being not approved, they are then reprobates, but when
Christ is in them, the hope of glory, they are no longer reprobates, for
they are then approved in the imputed righteousness of Christ.
The approval of the children of God is through Christ who is in them.
They are approved because He is in them. The flesh lusts against the Spirit
and the Spirit against the flesh, so that the child of God cannot do the
things he would. When he does the things that he would, it is explained not
to be he that does it, but sin that dwelleth in him. This sin, being not
approved of God, is reprobated.
When the Lord's people are disobedient and rebellious, they are
declared to be as "reprobate silver". (See Jeremiah 6:30.) The Lord visits
their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with many stripes.
He takes away the joys of His salvation, and refuses to fight their battles
for them. This, with them, is a state of reprobation. Sad and dark are the
hours of such a trial. There is a fearful looking for of fiery indignation.
The peace they once enjoyed is displaced by sorrow. The sweet light of the
dear Savior's presence is withdrawn, and darkness hangs over their pathway.
"Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
Of Jesus and His word?"
The non-election of the non-elect is not reprobation. As they are born
into the world, and manifest by a course of sinful conduct, the sinful
nature they possess, God disapproves of them or reprobates them. They are
reprobates from the origin of their sinfulness, and continue reprobates
because of their sinfulness. All the blame of reprobation rests upon the
reprobates. Sin lies at the door in every case. None can truthfully charge
God with being accountable in any sense for their reprobation. All the elect
may truthfully ascribe all the glory of their election to God. If that act
of election had reprobated others, then their reprobation would have been as
much the result of God's purpose and act as election, but it did not
reprobate any. We believe God, according to His own sovereign, eternal, and
unchangeable purpose, in eternity, ere time began, did make choice of His
own elect, and that all thus chosen will dwell with Him in glory and chant
the praises of Him who saved them and called them with an holy calling, not
according to their own works, but according to His own purpose and grace
which He gave them in Christ before the world began. But we know that God is
not chargeable with being responsible for the reprobation or the guilt of
In a debate we held several years ago with an Arminian preacher, he
asked this question: "If the sinner is lost, whose fault is it?" We
answered: "It is the sinner's fault." We then showed that all the blame of
sinfulness rests upon the sinner, and that all the praise of salvation is
due to Jesus Christ. The Arminian idea of blame seems to be that the sinner
who is finally lost is to blame merely for not having believed on Christ.
They say that the sinner cannot believe on Christ unless Christ is preached
to him. Surely, then, those who never hear Christ preached are not to blame
for not believing on Him. They cannot be to blame for not believing on
Christ, who have had no opportunity to believe on Him. There is no escaping
the conclusion that all who die without hearing the gospel preached are lost
without blame. This theory represents more than two-thirds of the human
family as being lost without blame! The great difficulty is that the
Arminian doctrine puts the blame on the sinner upon the wrong basis. The
coming of Christ and the proclamation of His gospel is not the cause of the
condemnation of sinners in any sense. If Christ had never come into the
world all would have been sinners just the same. All being sinners, the
sentence of death would hve passed upon all even if there never had been a
gospel sermon preached. The reprobation of those who are finally lost, then
is not the result, either directly or indirectly, of the election of God's
people, the coming of Christ to redeem them from all iniquity, or the
preaching of His gospel.