Robert Murray McCheyne
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16).
This is very humbling, and at the same time, a very blessed word to the true disciple. It was very humbling to the disciples to be told that they had not chosen Christ. And yet, it was exceedingly comforting to them to be told that he had chosen them. And then he told them that it was this love that would make them holy.
One – Men naturally do not choose Christ. “Ye have not chosen me.” This was true of the apostles, this is true of all that will ever believe to the end of the world. “Ye have not chosen me.” The natural ear is so deaf that it cannot hear; the natural eye is so blind that it cannot see Christ. It is true in one sense, that every disciple chooses Christ; but it is when God opens the eye to see him – it is when God gives strength to the bothered arm to embrace him. But Christ’s meaning is, you would never have chosen me if I had not chosen you. It is quite true, that when God opens a sinner’s heart he chooses Christ and none but Christ. It is quite true that a heart that is quickened by the Spirit, ever chooses Christ and none but Christ, and will forego all the world for Christ. But, brethren, the truth here taught us is this, that every awakened sinner is willing to embrace Christ, but not till made willing. If a physician were to come into your house, and say he had come to cure you of your disease, if you felt that you were not diseased, you would say, I have no need of you, go to my neighbour.
This is the way you do with Christ; he offers to cure you, but you say you are not diseased.
Another reason why you do not choose Christ is, you do not want to be made holy by him: “He shall be called Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sin. But you love your sin, – you love your pleasure, therefore when the Son of God comes and says, He will save you from your sin, you say, I love my sin – I love my pleasure. So you can never come to terms with Christ: “Ye have not chosen me;” – Although I died, yet you have not chosen me. I have spoken to you many years, and yet you have not chosen me. I have sent you my Bible to instruct you, and yet you have not chosen me. Brethren, this accusation will meet you in the judgment, – I would have covered you with my obedience, but ye would not have me.
Two – Christ chooses His own disciples. “I have chosen you.” Christ looked upon them with a look of divine benignity, and said, “I have chosen you.” Every one whom he brings to glory, he chooses him.
The time when he chooses them. I observe that it was before they believed: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” as much as to say, I began with you, you did not begin with me. You will see this in Acts chapter 17 verses 9 and 10, “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not they peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city.” Paul was at this time at Corinth, the most lascivious and wicked city in the ancient world; they were given over to banqueting and grievous idolatry, and yet Christ said to Paul, “I have much people in this city.” They had not chosen Christ, but he had chosen them; they had not repented, yet Christ fixed his eye on them. This plainly shows you that Christ chooses his own before they seek him.
But I come now to the reason of his love – “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Now, it is a very natural question, why did he choose me? I answer, that the reason why he chose you was, the good pleasure of his will. You will see this illustrated in Mark chapter 3 verse 13, “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.” there was a great crowd round about him: he called some, he did not call all. The reason here given why he did it is, “He called whom he would.” There is no reason in the creature; the reason is in him who chooses. You will see this in Malachi chapter 1 verse 2, “I have loved you saith the Lord; yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau.” Were they not of the same mother? Yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau. The only reason given, you see, is, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” You will see this also in Romans chapter 9 verses 15 and 16. The only reason given in the Bible why Christ loved us – and if you study till you die you will not find another – is, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” This is evident from all those that Christ chooses.
We read of two great apostasies – one on earth, the other in heaven. First of all, one in heaven; Lucifer, the son of the morning, through pride, sinned, and God cast him, and those that sinned with him, into hell. The second was on earth; Adam sinned, and was driven out of paradise. They were both deserving of punishment. Perhaps angels pleaded for their fellow-angels; yet Christ passed them by, and died for man. Why did he die for man? The answer is, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” The same is evident in the individuals Christ chooses. You would think Christ would choose the rich and yet what says James: “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him.”
Again you would think Christ would choose the noble; they have not the prejudices that the poor have; but what says the Scripture “Not many rich, not many noble are called.”
Again you would think he would choose those that are learned,. The Bible is written in difficult languages; its doctrines are heard to be understood; yet what says Christ. “I thank thee, O Father, that you has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
Again, you would think he would have chosen the virtuous. Though there are not righteous, yet there are some more virtuous than others; yet what says Christ. The publicans and the harlots enter the kingdom of heaven, while the Pharisees shout out. “O the depth both of the riches and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Why did he take the most vile? Here is the only reason I have been able to find ever since I read my Bible – “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” “He called unto him whom he would.” O, my brethren, be humbled under the sovereignty of God. If he will have compassion, then he will have compassion.
Three – But I hasten to the third and last point. “I have ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” Brethren, Christ never chooses a man to believe, and then leap into glory. Ah! My brethren, how this takes away the feet from all the objections raised against this holy doctrine of election. Some here perhaps say, if I am elected, I will be saved, live as I like. No; if you live an unholy life, you will not be saved. Some may say, If I am not elected, I will not be saved, do as I like. Whether you are elected or not, I know not, but this I know – if you believe on Christ you will be saved.
Let me ask you, have you believed on Christ? Let me ask you another question. Do you bear his whole image? Then you are elected and will be saved. But are there any here who have not believed on Christ, and who do not live a holy life, then, whatever you think now you will find it true that you were among those who were passed by.
Ah! my brethren, those who deny election, deny that God can have mercy. O, it is a sweet truth that God can have mercy. There is nothing in the hardness of your hearts that will keep God from having mercy on you. Go away home with this truth, that God can have mercy. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Amen.
Courtesy of Wicket Gate