Andrew Fuller Friday: On the Grand Design of Salvation

“A hearty choice of God’s appointed way of salvation” is the same thing as falling in with its grand designs. Now the grand designs of the salvation of Christ are the glory of God, the abasement of the sinner, and the destruction of his sins. It is God’s manifest purpose, in saving sinners, to save them in this way; and can any sinner be excused from cordially acquiescing in it? If any man properly regard the character of God, he must be willing that he should be glorified: if he knew his own unworthiness, as he ought to know it, he must also be willing to occupy that place which the gospel way of salvation assigns him; and if he be not wickedly wedded to his lusts, he must be willing to sacrifice them at the foot of the cross. He may be averse from each of these, and, while an unbeliever, is so; but he will not be able to acquit himself of guilt; and it is to be lamented that any who sustain the character of Christian ministers should be employed in labouring to acquit him.

If a way of salvation were provided which did not provide for the glory of God, which did not abase, but flatter the sinner, and which did not require him to sacrifice his lusts, he would feel no want of power to embrace it. Nominal Christians, and mere professors, in all ages, have shown themselves able to believe any thing but the truth. Thus it was with the carnal Jews; and thus our Lord plainly told them,—“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not. If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”—“Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God.” This is the true source of the innumerable false schemes of religion in the world, and the true reason why the gospel is not universally embraced.

Unbelievers are described as “disallowing” of him who is “chosen of God, and precious.” Now either to allow or disallow supposes a claim. Christ claims to be the whole foundation of a sinner’s hope; and God claims, on his behalf, that he be treated as “the head of the corner.” But the heart of unbelievers cannot allow of the claim. The Jewish builders set him at nought, and every self-righteous heart follows their example. God, to express his displeasure at this conduct, assures them that their unbelief shall affect none but themselves; it shall not deprive the Saviour of his honours; “for the stone which they refuse,” notwithstanding their opposition, “shall become the head of the corner.” What can be made of all this, but that they ought to have allowed him the place which he so justly claimed, and to have chosen him whom the Lord had chosen? On no other ground could the Scripture censure them as it does, and on no other principle could they be characterized as disobedient; for all disobedience consists in a breach of duty.

Believers, on the other hand, are described as thinking highly of Christ; reckoning themselves unworthy to “unloose the latchet of his shoes,” or that he should “come under their roof;” treating his gospel as “worthy of all acceptation,” and “counting all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of him.” They are of the same mind with the blessed above, who sing his praise, “saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” In fine, they are of the same mind with God himself: him whom God has chosen they choose; and he that is precious in his sight is precious in theirs, 1 Pet. 2:4–7. And do they over-estimate his character? Is he not worthy of all the honour they ascribe to him, of all the affection they exercise towards him; and that whether he actually receive it or not? If all the angels had been of the mind of Satan, and all the saints of the spirit of the unbelieving Israelites, who were not gathered; yet would he have been “glorious in the eyes of the Lord.” The belief or unbelief of creatures makes no difference as to his worthiness, or their obligation to ascribe it to him.

Excerpt from: “Proposition II: Every Man is Bound Cordially to Receive What God Reveals,” in The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation.

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Controversial Publications. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 2, pp. 350–351). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |September 10th, 2021|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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