The quotations recorded in this section are not our appeals to human wisdom. Instead, it is a record of the testimonies of believers in Christ, who have declared their convictions about God’s doctrines of grace.

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“They go and set up free-will with the heathen philosophers and say that a man’s free-will is the cause why God chooseth and not another, contrary to all scriptures.” William Tyndale

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“By grace…we are plucked out of Adam the ground of all evil and graffed [sic] in Christ, the root of all goodness. In Christ God loved us, his elect and chosen, before the world began and reserved us unto the knowledge of his Son and of his holy gospel: and when the gospel is preached to us [it] openeth our hearts and giveth us grace to believe, and putteth the spirit of Christ in us and we know him as our Father most merciful, and consent to the law and love it inwardly in our heart and desire to fulfill it and sorrow because we do not.” William Tyndale

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“Free will is corrupted nature’s deformed darling, the Pallas or beloved self-conception of darkened minds.” John Owen

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“…he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free will turn to God cannot have been taught of God…” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“I would rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of men be added to it.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“When the atonement is made universal its inherent value is destroyed. If it is applied to all men, and if some are lost, the conclusion is that it makes salvation objectively possible for all but that it does not actually save anybody. According to the Arminian theory the atonement has simply made it possible for all men to co-operate with divine grace and thus save themselves – if they will. But tell us of one cured of disease and yet dying of cancer, and the story will be equally luminous with that of one eased of sin and yet perishing through unbelief. The nature of the atonement settles its extent. If it merely made salvation possible, it applies to all men. If it effectively secured salvation, it had reference only to the elect. As Dr. Warfield says, “The things we have to choose between are an atonement of high value, or an atonement of wide extension. The two cannot go together.” The work of Christ can be universalized only by evaporating its substance.
Let there be no misunderstanding at this point. The Arminian limits the atonement as certainly as does the Calvinist. The Calvinist limits the extent of it in that he says it does not apply to all persons (although as has already been shown, he believes that it is efficacious for the salvation of the large proportion of the human race); while the Arminian limits the power of it, for he says that in itself it does not actually save anybody. The Calvinist limits it quantitatively, but not qualitatively; the Arminian limits it qualitatively, but not quantitatively. For the Calvinist it is like a narrow bridge which goes all the way across the stream; for the Arminian it is like a great wide bridge which goes only half-way across. As a matter of fact, the Arminian places more severe limitations on the work of Christ than does the Calvinist.”
“If the Arminian theory were true it would follow that millions of those for whom Christ died are finally lost, and that salvation is thus never applied to many of those for whom it was earned. What benefits, for instance, can we point to in the lives of the heathens and say that they have received them from the atonement? It would also follow that God’s plans many times have been thwarted and defeated by His creatures and that while He may do according to His will in the armies of heaven, He does not do so among the inhabitants of the earth.” Loraine Boettner

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“If Christ has died for you, you can never be lost. God will not punish twice for one thing. If God punished Christ for your sins He will not punish you. ‘Payment God’s justice cannot twice demand; first, at the bleeding Saviour’s hand, and then again at mine.’ How can God be just if He punished Christ, the substitute, and then man himself afterwards?” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly.” Martin Luther

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“The greatest judgment which God himself can, in this present life, inflict upon a man is to leave him in the hand of his own boasted free will.” Augustus Toplady

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“My mind at one time rebelled against the doctrine of election. It seemed to me like partiality. I now perceived that I had no claim whatever on God, but that if I were lost it was altogether my own fault, and that if I were saved, it must be purely a deed of unmerited grace. I saw that this very doctrine was my only hope of salvation, for if God had not sought me, I should never have sought him.” Francis Wayland

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“Your fallen nature was put out of order, your will, amongst other things, has clean gone astray from God; but I tell you what will be the best proof of that; it is the great fact that you never did meet a Christian in your life who ever said he came to Christ without Christ coming to him. You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say, but you never heard an Arminian prayer – for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying, ‘Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not – that is the difference between me and them.’ That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah, when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out, they cannot help it.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“Now some people love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say it is so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men. It commends itself to the instincts of humanity. Let me tell you what this supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on his cross intended to save every man, then he intended to save those who were damned before he died, because if the doctrine be true, that he died for all men, he died for some that were in hell before he came into this world, for doubtless there were myriads there that had been cast away. If it were Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has he been disappointed! We have his own evidence that there is a lake that burns with fire and brimstone, and into that pit must be cast some of the very persons, who, according to that theory, were bought with his blood. To think that my Saviour died for men in hell seems a supposition too horrible for me to imagine; that he was the substitute for the sons of men, and that God having first punished the substitute punished men again. It seems to me to conflict with any idea of justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of men, and that afterwards those very men should be punished for the sins which Christ had already atoned for, seems to me the most incredible monstrosity.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“Election and sovereignty are only sources of good. Election is not a decree to destroy, it is a decree to save. When we elect a president, we do not need to hold a second election to determine that the remaining millions shall be non-presidents.” Augustus H. Strong

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“You begin at the wrong end if you first dispute about your election. Prove your conversion, and then never doubt your election. If you cannot yet prove it, set upon a present and thorough turning. Whatever God’s purposes be, which are secret, I am sure His promises are plain. How desperately do rebels argue! `If I am elected I shall be saved, do what I will. If not, I shall be damned, do what I can.’ Perverse sinner, will you begin where you should end?” Joseph Alleine

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“People who are not well grounded in the Bible take umbrage at the idea that God actually hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Now, it is interesting to note that Pharaoh did not complain that God had hardened his heart. Pharaoh was quite satisfied. But others complain for him.” Gordon Clark

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“But if the whole man is subject to the dominion of sin, surely the will, which is its principal seat, must be bound with the closest chains. And, indeed, if divine grace were preceded by any will of ours, Paul could not have said that ‘it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do,’ (Philippians 2:13). Away, then, with all the absurd trifling which many have indulged in with regard to preparation.” John Calvin

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“Free will does not enable any man to perform good works, unless he is assisted by grace; indeed, the special grace which the elect alone receive through regeneration. For I stay not to consider the extravagance of those who say that grace is offered equally and promiscuously to all.” John Calvin

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“No more soul-destroying doctrine could well be devised than the doctrine that sinners can regenerate themselves, and repent and believe just when they please.” Charles Hodge

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“The doctrines of grace humble a man without degrading him and exalt a man without inflating him.” Charles Hodge

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“They who truly come to God for mercy, come as beggars, and not as creditors: they come for mere mercy, for sovereign grace, and not for anything that is due.” Jonathan Edwards

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“I am a Christian solely and entirely because of the grace of God and not because of anything that I have thought or said or done. He brought me to know that I was dead, “dead in trespasses and sins”, a slave to the world, and the flesh, and the devil, that in me “dwelleth no good thing”, and that I was under the wrath of God and heading for eternal punishment.
He brought me to see that the real cause of all my troubles and ills, and that of all men, was an evil and fallen nature which hated God and loved sin. My trouble was not only that I did things that were wrong, but that I myself was wrong at the very centre of my being.” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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“If we hold that we become regenerate because we have already believed, then we have to show why we need to be regenerated at all. The purpose and object of regeneration is to enable us to receive this new faculty, this ability to receive God’s truth. The doctrine of regeneration has a great deal to say about election and this doctrine of divine choice. Indeed, I go so far as to say that this doctrine should always be approached in terms of the doctrine of regeneration which teaches that I need a new nature before I can begin to understand these things.” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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“In vain people busy themselves with finding any good of man’s own in his will. For any mixture of the power of freewill that men strive to mingle with God’s grace is nothing but a corruption of grace. It is just as if one were to dilute wine with muddy, bitter water.” John Calvin

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“They babble and talk absurdly who, in the place of God’s providence, substitute bare permission – as if God sat in a watchtower awaiting chance events, and his judgments thus depended upon human will.” John Calvin

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“I embrace the Calvinistic scheme, not because Calvin, but Jesus Christ has taught it to me.” George Whitefield

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“Oh, the excellency of the doctrine of election and of the saints’ final perseverance! I am persuaded, til a man comes to believe and feel these important truths, he cannot come out of himself, but when convinced of these and assured of their application to his own heart, he then walks by faith indeed!” George Whitefield

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“Calvinism is evangelism in its pure and only stable expression, and when we say evangelism we say sin and salvation. It means utter dependence on God for salvation. It implies therefore, need of salvation and a profound sense of this need, along with an equally profound sense of helplessness in the presence of this need, and utter dependence on God for its satisfaction. Its type is found in the publican who smote his breast and cried, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” No question there of saving himself, or helping God to save him, or of opening the way to God to save him. No question of anything but “I am a sinner, and all my hope is in God, my Saviour!” This is Calvinism, not just something like Calvinism, or an approach to Calvinism, but Calvinism in its vital manifestation. Wherever this attitude of heart is found and is given expression in direct and unambiguous terms, there is Calvinism. Where this attitude of mind and heart is fallen away from it however small a measure, there Calvinism has become impossible.” Benjamin B. Warfield

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“There is a love of God which goes forth to lost men and is manifested in the manifold blessings which all men without distinction enjoy, a love in which non-elect persons are embraced, and a love which comes to its highest expression in the entreaties, overtures and demands of gospel proclamation.” John Murray

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“The denial of unconditional election strikes at the heart of the doctrine of the grace of God. The grace of God is absolutely sovereign, and every failure to recognize and appreciate the absolute sovereignty of God in His saving grace is an expression of the pride of the human heart. It rests upon the demand that God can deal differently with men in the matter of salvation only because they have made themselves to differ. In its ultimate elements it means that the determining factor in salvation is what man himself does, and that is just tantamount to saying that it is not God who determines the salvation of men, but men determine their own salvation; it is not God who saves, but man saves himself. This is precisely the issue.”  John Murray

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“When I was a young preacher, a Baptist preacher who was a good man, but Arminian in his theory, preached a sermon on election; and he said, “election is according to foreknowledge; God foreknew that certain men would repent and believe, and having before seen they would repent and believe, he elected them.” When he got through I told him that the New Testament use of foreknowledge was just about equivalent to predestination, and that any Greek scholar would tell him so, and that election was not based upon any forseen goodness in man or any forseen repentance or faith in man, but that repentance and faith proceed from election, and not election from them. So that what Paul means by foreknowledge is just about the same as predestination; that in eternity God determined and elected according to that predestination.” Benajah Harvey [B. H.] Carroll

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“The Almighty and all-sovereign Ruler of the universe does not govern Himself on the basis of a foreknowledge of things which might haply come to pass. Through the Scriptures the divine foreknowledge is ever thought of as dependent on the divine purpose, and God foreknows only because He has pre-determined. His foreknowledge is but a transcript of His will as to what shall come to pass in the future, and the course which the world takes under His providential control is but the execution of His all-embracing plan. His foreknowledge of what is yet to be, whether it be in regard to the world as a whole or in regard to the detailed life of every individual, rests upon His pre-arranged plan (Jer. 1:5; Ps. 139:14-16; Job 23:13, 14; 28:26, 27; Amos 3:7).” Loraine Boettner

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“I have preached and written much against the abuse of the doctrine of grace; but that doctrine is all my salvation and all my desire. I have no other hope than that from salvation by mere, sovereign and efficacious grace, through the atonement of my Lord and Saviour. With this hope I can go into eternity with composure.” Andrew Fuller

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“We only use the term “Calvinism” for shortness. That doctrine which is called “Calvinism” did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvin himself derived it mainly from the writings of Augustine. Augustine obtained his views, without doubt, through the Holy Spirit of God, from diligent study of the writings of Paul, and Paul received them from the Holy Ghost and from Jesus Christ, the great founder of the Christian Church. We use the term then, not because we impute an extraordinary importance to Calvin’s having taught these doctrines. We would be just as willing to call them by any other name, if we could find one which would be better understood, and which on the whole would be as consistent with the fact.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“You have objections to the doctrine of election. You will however agree with me, that the Scripture does speak of it, and that in very strong and express terms; particularly St. Paul. I have met with some sincere people, as I believe, who have told me they could not bear to read his 9th chapter to the Romans, but always passed it over: so that their prejudices to election prejudiced them to part of the Scripture, likewise. But why so? Unless because the dreaded doctrine is maintained too plainly to be evaded?” John Newton

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“The fact that conversion and salvation are of God is a humbling truth. It is because of its humbling character that men do not like it. To be told that God must save me if I am saved, and that I am in his hand, as clay is in the hands of the potter, “I do not like it,” saith one. Well, I thought you would not; whoever dreamed you would?” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“Before this period [when I came to prize the Bible alone as my standard of judgment] I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption (i.e. limited atonement), and final persevering grace. But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the Word of God. Being made willing to have no glory of my own in the conversion of sinners, but to consider myself merely an instrument; and being made willing to receive what the Scriptures said, I went to the Word, reading the New Testament from the beginning, with a particular reference to these truths.
To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace, were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines.
As to the effect which my belief in these doctrines had on me, I am constrained to state for God’s glory, that though I am still exceedingly weak, and by no means so dead to the lusts of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as I might be, and as I ought to be, yet, by the grace of God, I have walked more closely with Him since that period. My life has not been so variable, and I may say that I have lived much more for God than before.” George Mueller

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“There is not a converted and believing man on earth, in whose conscience there does not exist at least the germ, or embryo, of a testimony in favour of the substance of the Calvinistic doctrine of election. This testimony may be misunderstood, or perverted, or suppressed; but it exists in the ineradicable sense which every converted man has, that if God had not chosen him, he never would have chosen God, and that if God, by His Spirit, had not exerted a decisive and determining influence in the matter, he never would have been turned from darkness to light, and been led to embrace Christ as his Saviour. This is really the sum and substance of Calvinism.” William Cunningham

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“To say that God is sovereign is to declare that whatever takes place in time is but the outworking of that which He decreed in eternity.” Arthur W. Pink

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“There is far more danger of making too much of man and too little of God, than there is of making too much of God and too little of man.” Arthur W. Pink

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“I am quite sure that the best way to promote union is to promote truth. It will not do for us to be all united together by yielding to one another’s mistakes. We are to love each other in Christ, but we are not to be so united that we are not able to see each other’s faults, and especially not able to see our own. No, purge the house of God, and then shall grand and blessed times dawn on us.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“From childhood up, my mind had been full of objections against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty… It used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me. But I remember the time very well, when I seemed to be convinced and fully satisfied, as to this sovereignty of God… But [I] never could give an account, how, or by what means, I was, thus convinced, not in the least imagining at the time, nor a long time after, that there was any extraordinary influence of God’s Spirit in it but only that now I saw further, and my reason apprehended the justice and reasonableness of it. However, my mind rested in it: and it put an end to all those cavils and objections. And there has been a wonderful alteration in my mind, in respect to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, from that day to this; so that I scarce ever have found so much as the rising of an objection against it… The doctrine has very often appeared exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God.” Jonathan Edwards

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“All Christians believe in divine sovereignty, but some are not aware that they do, and mistakenly imagine and insist that they reject it. What causes this odd state of affairs? The root cause is the same as in most cases of error in the Church – the intruding of rationalistic speculations, the passion for systematic consistency, a reluctance to recognize the existence of mystery and to let God be wiser than men, and a consequent subjecting of Scripture to the supposed demands of human logic. People see the Bible teaches man’s responsibility for his actions; they do not see (man, indeed, cannot see) how this is consistent with the sovereign Lordship of God over those actions. They are not content to let the two truths live side by side, as they do in the Scriptures, but jump to the conclusion that, in order to uphold the biblical truth of human responsibility, they are bound to reject the equally biblical and equally true doctrine of divine sovereignty, and to explain away the great number of texts that teach it. The desire to over-simplify the Bible by cutting out the mysteries is natural to our perverse minds, and it is not surprising that even godly men should fall victim to it. Hence this persistent and troublesome dispute. The irony of the situation, however, is that when we ask how the two sides pray, it becomes apparent that those who profess to deny God’s sovereignty really believe in it just as strongly as those who affirm it.” J. I. Packer

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“It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into [the] past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me…. Taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own church.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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“But so far, as I have only used biblical references without any haziness or uncertainty, let those people who are quick to discredit those passages beware of the explanation they make. Because, if they pretend to be ignorant, thinking that they will be thought wise for their modesty, what greater act of sinful pride can be imagined, than to oppose one little word of the authority of God! These fence-sitters use sayings such as, “I have a hard time believing God would do it” or “I would rather not deal with this subject.”
But if people openly condemn, what will they gain by their puny attempts against Heaven? Their tantrums, indeed, are no novelty; because in all ages there have been ungodly and profane people who have aggressively opposed this doctrine. But they shall feel the truth of what the Spirit long ago declared by the mouth of David, that God “is clear when He judges” (Psalm 51:4). David indirectly hints at the madness of insignificant people who display this kind of excessive speculation. Not only do these unqualified people dare to dispute against God, but they appropriate to themselves the power of condemning Him. In the meantime, he briefly suggests, that God is unaffected by all the lies which people speak against Heaven, in fact He disperses the mists of slander, and brilliantly displays His righteousness; our faith, also, being founded on the Divine Word, and therefore, superior to all the world, from its exaltation looks down with disapproval upon those mists.” John Calvin

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“’If I knew I were one of God’s elect, I would come to Christ; but I fear I am not.’ To you I answer: nobody ever came to Christ because he knew himself to be one of the elect. It is quite true that God has of His mere good pleasure elected some to everlasting life, but they never knew it until they believed in Christ.
Christ nowhere commands the elect to come to him. He commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. The question for you is not, ‘Am I one of the elect?’ but ‘Am I a sinner?’ Christ came to save sinners.” Robert Murray M’Cheyne

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“The doctrine of election by one’s acceptance or rejection reveals at once whether a person is biblically correct on such other doctrines as the nature and extent of sin, the bondage of the will, the full grace of God in salvation, and even the presentation of the gospel.” James Montgomery Boice

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