Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) - Article 9
IX Of the Election of Grace or Election and Rejection.
We believe that God from eternity foresaw and knew all things that have been, that are, and that yet shall be, both good and evil (Acts 15:18; Isaiah 41:21-26; Hebrews 4: 13), therefore also the above named sad fall of man with its fatal consequences, which is clearly indicated by the foreordaining of Christ as mediator (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8); nevertheless, that He in no wise caused the fall or made it necessary (James 1:13; Psalms 145:17) but only permitted it for reasons known only to His infinite wisdom. Romans 11:33. Since He is the eternal, highest good (Matthew 19:17) and the fountainhead of all life (Psalms 36:9), we understand and confess that He is the author, source, and doer only of those things that are good and pure and holy, and in harmony with His nature (James 1:16, 17), but in no wise of sin or impurity, which are damnable. Everywhere He commands (1 Peter 1:15, 16; Ephesians 5:1) and desires the good, commends it (2 Corinthians 5:20) and incites to it by means of great promises (Deuteronomy 28:1, 2; Matthew 5:1-12; 2 Corinthians 7:1). On the other hand He prohibits the evil (Romans 12:9), warns against it (Genesis 4:6, 7), threatens the evil-doers (Deuteronomy 28:15), punishes them often in this life (1 Samuel 15:23; Psalms 73:16-19), and finally pronounces upon them an eternal punishment. Matthew 25:46; 3:12. He thus declares Himself the enemy of sin, and that all unrighteousness is offensive to His nature. Psalms 45:8. As it is, therefore, impossible that God should lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2), so it is also impossible that He should work in a manner contrary to His perfectly holy-nature. Genesis 18:25; Job. 8:3; 2 Timothy 2:13.
We, therefore, cannot and must not believe that God should in His free pleasure have decreed to leave by far the greater part of fallen humanity in their sins withholding from them altogether the needed grace for conversion and salvation, much less that He should have created them to the end that they should be damned (1 John 4:8), and that thus He willed and made necessary their impenitence and hardness of heart in order to bring them into perdition (Psalms 51:6); for as the Lord liveth He hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked but in that he turn from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4.
We do indeed gladly and heartily believe that God in and of Himself formed an eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:11; 1:9; Romans 8:28) concerning all that which He would in time perform (Ephesians 1:11) especially how and by what means He would redeem fallen man (Acts 4:28); likewise, that He decreed to impart His love, His grace, and His gifts in larger measure to some, in smaller measure to others (Luke 8:10; Matthew 25:15; Romans 9:13), and this according to His own will and pleasure (Matthew 20:15; 2 Timothy 2:20), as experience proves; -- but that nevertheless His loving kindness is so great, so far-reaching, and so all-inclusive (2 Corinthians 5:19; John 3:16; 1:7; 1 John 2:2) that no one is excluded therefrom without a just cause. Psalms 145:9; Acts 17:30; Titus 2:11, 12. This He confirmed by His command that the gospel of this universal grace, love, and good-will shall be proclaimed and offered to every creature. Mark 16:15, 16; Luke 24:47.
Moreover, we confess that in the wisdom and the ways of God, especially in this matter, there are depths which will ever be beyond our ability to fathom in this life. Therefore we deem it best not to seek to penetrate further into the mysteries of the divine purposes, but in our confession to rest satisfied with a statement of the nature of those persons respectively whom God has decreed to save or to condemn.
Everyone, namely, who with a penitent and believing heart (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21) apprehends, accepts and abides in the proffered salvation (John 1:12, 13; Acts 2:41; Revelation 3:20; Matthew 24:13; 1 John 2:19; Revelation 2:10) him has God before the foundation of the world, out of free grace, and for Christ's sake, elected (2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9) and ordained (Ephesians 1:5) to make him partaker of His kingdom and His glory (Matthew 25:34, 41); him has God foreknown (1 Peter 1:1, 2) and called by his name. 2 Timothy 2:19; Revelation 3:5.
On the other hand, they that despise and reject the proffered grace (Romans 2:4, 5; Hebrews 10:29), love darkness rather than light (John 3:19), and continue in sin and unbelief (John 3:18) -- these He has ordained to eternal destruction from His face (2 Thessalonians 1:9) by reason of their own willful wickedness (Matthew 23:37; Proverbs 1:24-32) as those that thrust from them the Word and judge themselves unworthy of eternal life. Acts 13:46. Seeing they despise the Lord's supper to which they. were invited, they shall never taste of it. Luke 14:24.
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