Gospel Herald

What IS Legal Justification?

All Are Predestined to Eternal Life

Speaking on Ephesians 1:3-6, A.T. Jones clearly articulated the Gospel truth of forensic justification in the 1893 General Conference Bulletin, p. 401:

Next verse: “Having predestinated” — appointed the destiny [birthright inheritance of righteousness] that He wants us to reach, long before hand. The destiny that God fixes for man is worth having. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Why did He do it then? Not because we were so good, but because He is so good; not because we were so well pleasing to Him, but because of the good pleasure of His own will. It was just Himself to do it. That’s why He did it.

Verse 6: “To the praise of the glory of His grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Now what do you say to that? [Congregation: “Amen.”] When did He do that? [Congregation: “Before the foundation of the world.”]
Precisely. “Before the foundation of the world.” That answers all this idea about whether we can do anything in order to be justified or not. He did it all before we had any chance to do anything — long before we were born — long before the world was made. Don’t you see that the Lord is the one that does things, in order that we may be saved and that we may have Him? …

Now He has done all that and has done it freely. For how many people did He do this? [Congregation: “All.”] Every soul? [Congregation: “Yes, sir.”] Gave all the blessings He has to every soul in this world; He chose every soul in the world; He chose Him in Christ before the foundation of the world, predestinated him unto the adoption of children and made him accepted in the Beloved, did He not? [Congregation: “Yes.”] Of course He did.

We will read other verses on that presently. The thought I am after just now is that no one can have these things and know they are his without his own consent. The Lord will not force any of these things upon a man, even though He has given them already, will He? [Congregation: “No.”] This is a cooperation, you see. God pours out everything in one wondrous gift, but if a man will not have it, the Lord will not compel him to have a bit of it. Every man that will take it, it is all his own. There is where the cooperation comes in. The Lord has to have our cooperation in all things.

Jones’s assertion certainly seems to go well beyond mere “temporal benefits” of whatever kind. If God’s redeeming work was for “all” (as Jones and the delegates at that conference agreed), then“all” must include even those that are ungodly, unbelieving sinners, at least while they remain in a state of existence this side of the fires of destruction. Those that are eternally lost find themselves thus simply because they refused to “cooperate” with God’s will for them. Lack of “cooperation” or (in other words) stubborn resistance of the grace and power of God, places them outside of Christ at the end of the millennium. They are outside of the New Jerusalem when the cleansing fires of hell ignite, just as those who refused to believe Noah’s message of Christ and His righteousness found themselves outside the ark when the rain started. Having thrown away their birthright possession (eternal life and the earth made new), they have chosen to be where they ultimately find themselves.

God declared, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” And, apart from the plan of redemption, human beings are doomed to death. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But Christ gave His life to save the sinner from the death sentence [eternal annihilation]. He died that we might live. To those who receive Him He gives power that enables them to separate from that which, unless they return to their loyalty, will place them where they must be condemned and punished. (Review and Herald; March 15, 1906).

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