Sovereignty and Morality

 

J.C. Philpot

 


 

..."But," say the Arminians, "if salvation be such as is here described, what becomes of the interests of morality, what provision is made for good works, what security is there for holiness of life? Will not a belief of his election make a man presumptuous, a confidence in his final perseverance render him careless, and a persuasion that he cannot sin himself out of the covenant lead him to licentiousness?" To this we answer: "Yes; such will be, and are the fruits and effects of the doctrines of grace, when they are not wrought by the hand of God in the soul; but are learnt, as hundreds learn them, in the understanding and judgment only." But this effect does not prove the doctrines to be untrue, but is rather a fulfillment of the Word of God. "Let their table," that is, the doctrines spread before them on which they profess to feed, "become a snare, and that which should have been for their welfare, let is become a trap". (Psm Lxix. 22). We read of "spots" in the primitive believers' "feasts of charity, feeding themselves without fear." These drank into the doctrine of election, etc., unmixed with holy awe, unattended with a trembling at God's word, and a spiritual reverence of His terrible majesty. Now, these characters are said "to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and to deny," that is, by wicked works, "the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 4,12).

But because ungodly men pervert the right ways of the Lord, and abuse truth to their own destruction, does it follow that the same effects follow the same doctrines where they are spiritually taught and spiritually received? The rays of the sun draw up ague and fever from the pestilential marsh, and turn a dead carcass into carrion. But is the sun less pure, are his beams less bright, are his rays less cheering, is his genial warmth less fostering to every herb, fruit and flower, because he draws putrefaction out of what is in itself putrid, and corruption out of what is in itself corrupt? And thus, because the doctrines of grace received into a corrupt heart serve only to draw forth its natural corruption, it does not follow that it is so where the word of life is received "into an honest and good heart" (Luke viii. 15); that is, a heart made honest by the shinning in of heavenly light, and made good or like unto God (Matt. xix 17) by the impress of His divine image. In this prepared soil the doctrines of grace take deep root, and being watered from time to time by the dews and rains of the blessed Spirit, bring forth fruit abundantly...

 


Philpot's Sermons. J. C. Philpot. Vol IV. Sermon 23 (What is it that Saves a Soul). Pages 132–33. Gospel Standard Strict Baptist Trust LTD. 8 Roundwood Gardens, Harpenden, Herts AL5 3AJ, England. 1977.