Andrew Fuller Friday: Fuller on the Importance of Using Scripture as Our Theological Foundation

If the doctrine of election be viewed in those connexions in which it stands in the Scriptures, it will be of great importance in the Christian life. The whole difference between the saved and the lost being ascribed to sovereign grace, the pride of man is abased: the believer is taught to feel and acknowledge that by the grace of God he is what he is; and the sinner to apply for mercy, not as being on terms with his Maker, but absolutely at his discretion. It is frequently the last point which a sinner yields to God. To relinquish every claim and ground of hope from his own good endeavours, and fall at the feet of sovereign mercy, requires that he be born of God. If we take our views of this great subject in its connexion with others, I need not say we shall not consider it as founded on any thing good foreseen in us, whether it be faith or good works; this were to exclude the idea of an election of grace; and to admit, if not to establish, boasting. Neither shall we look at the end in such a way as to lose sight of the means. We shall consider it as we do other Divine appointments, not as revealed to us to be a rule of conduct, but to teach us our entire dependence upon God. We are given to believe that, whatever good or evil befalls us, we are thereunto appointed, 1 Thess. 3:3. The time of our continuance in the world is as much an object of Divine purpose as our eternal destiny: but we do not imagine, on this account, that we shall live though we neither eat nor drink; nor presume that though we leap headlong from a precipice no danger will befall us. Neither does it hinder us from exhorting or persuading others to pursue the way of safety, and to flee from danger. In these things we act the same as if there were no Divine appointments, or as if we believed nothing concerning them; but when we have done all that can be done, the sentiment of an all-disposing Providence recurs to mind, and teaches us that we are still in the hands of God. Such were the views of good men, as recorded in Scripture. They believed the days of man to be appointed, and that he could not pass his bounds; yet, in time of famine, the patriarch Jacob sent to Egypt to buy corn, “that they might live, and not die.” Elisha knew of a certainty that Benhadad would die; yet, speaking of him in respect of his disease, he did not scruple to say, “He may recover.” The Lord assured Paul, in his perilous voyage, that “there should be no loss of any man’s life:” yet, when he saw the ship-men making their escape, he said to the centurion, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”

A fleshly mind may ask, “How can these things be?” How can Divine predestination accord with human agency and accountableness? But a truly humble Christian, finding both in his Bible, will believe both, though he may be unable fully to understand their consistency; and he will find in the one a motive to depend entirely on God, and in the other a caution against slothfulness and presumptuous neglect of duty. And thus a Christian minister, if he view the doctrine in its proper connexions, will find nothing in it to hinder the free use of warnings, invitations, and persuasions, either to the converted or the unconverted. Yet he will not ground his hopes of success on the pliability of the human mind, but on the promised grace of God, who (while he prophesies to the dry bones, as he is commanded) is known to inspire them with the breath of life.

 

Excerpt from: Letters on Systematic Divinity. Letter 2, “Importance of a True System.”

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 685–686). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |September 14th, 2018|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday|

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