It is not uncommon for a non-Christian to react emotionally against the Biblical doctrine of predestination, and assume that they are not numbered among the elect. The question for such a person is this: “Who told you to think that you are not predestined for salvation?” It is a wicked thought, and a presumptuous position for a person under the sound of the gospel to conclude they are not among God’s chosen people, apart from divine illumination.
If the Holy Spirit convicts the soul of their eternally lost condition, then it might be true. At dinner one night a man confessed to me that he did not believe, and would not believe the gospel. He wished he could, but it was impossible, and he was honest enough to realize the hardness of his heart, and his adamant state of unbelief. The thought of hell held no terror for him. The judgment of God did not cause his soul to tremble. The story of Jesus dying for sinners did not melt his cold, cold heart. He was like those people to whom Jesus spoke one day, and said to them, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40).
If God has told you personally, and directly, that you are not one of His children, then the deed is done. Alea iacta est. The die is cast. People can be condemned to eternal judgment, in time. “For ye know how that afterward, when Esau would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Heb. 12:17).
However, if there is not a hardness of heart upon your self-examination, if there is no Divine confirmation of an eternal sealing of your fate in unbelief, then take hope, and know this. “So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). There is a call that goes to the unbeliever.
It is a tender call. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
It is an urgent call. “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Cor. 6:2).
It is personal call. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
It is a loving call. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
It is an earnest call. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
“Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling—
Calling for you and for me;
Patiently Jesus is waiting and watching—
Watching for you and for me!
Come home! come home!
Ye who are weary, come home!
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!”
It is a sincere call. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
It is a call made with tears. Jesus weeps over the lost. “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it” (Luke 19:41).
It is a call with a gracious promise. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
Those who respond to the gospel call find it to be true, they are saved.
Individuals who bow before Jesus are saved from condemnation. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). This judgment will hold no terror for those who are saved. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1).
Individuals who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved from eternity in hell. Life is short, death is certain, and eternity is real. People either go to heaven, or to hell. There is no purgatory. There is no soul sleep. There is only heaven, or hell. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (John 14:14). The apostle John warns the unbelieving to remember “he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:18, 19).
Individuals who call upon the Lord are saved from the power of sin as a ruling principle in life. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom 6:6,7).
Individuals who call upon Jesus will find salvation from the influence of the Evil One. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:7, 8).
Individuals who call upon Jesus, love Him, and follow Him all the days of their lives will find freedom, they will find salvation from anxious care. Those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness discover, all is well with their soul.
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin—not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so—it is well with my soul.”
Ira D. Sankey, the song leader for Evangelist D. L. Moody, shared the tragic story that gave birth to this song.
“When Mr. [Dwight L.] Moody and I were holding meetings in Edinburgh, in 1874, we heard the sad news of the loss of the French steamer, Ville de Havre, on her return from America to France, with a large number of members of the Ecumenical Council, whose meetings had been held in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. On board the steamer was a Mrs. Spafford, with her four children.
In mid-ocean a collision took place with a large sailing vessel, causing the steamer to sink in half an hour. Nearly all on board were lost. Mrs. Spafford got her children out of their berths and up on deck.
On being told that the vessel would soon sink, she knelt down with her children in prayer, asking God that they might be saved if possible; or be made willing to die, if that was His will.
In a few minutes the vessel sank to the bottom of the sea, and the children were lost. One of the sailors of the vessel, named Lockurn—whom I afterward met in Scotland—while rowing over the spot where the vessel disappeared, discovered Mrs. Spafford floating in the water.
Ten days later she was landed at Cardiff, Wales. From there she cabled to her husband, a lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, the message: Saved alone.
Mr. Spafford, who was a Christian, had the message framed and hung up in his office. He started for England immediately to bring his wife to Chicago.
Mr. Moody left his meetings in Edinburgh and went to Liverpool to try to comfort the bereaved parents, and was greatly pleased to find that they were able to say, It is well; the will of God be done.
In 1876, when we returned to Chicago to work, I was entertained at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Spafford for a number of weeks. During that time Mr. Spafford wrote the hymn, “It is Well with my Soul”, in commemoration of the death of his children.
P. P. Bliss composed the music and sang it for the first time at a meeting in Farwell Hall.
The comforting fact in connection with this incident was that in one of our small meetings in North Chicago, a short time prior to their sailing for Europe, the children had been converted.
This hymn was heard by a gentleman who had suffered great financial reverses in the panic of 1899, and who was in the deepest despondency.
When he learned the story of the hymn he exclaimed: If Spafford could write such a beautiful resignation hymn, I will never complain again.”
Here is a call to the unconverted. Would you like for it to be well with your soul? Then do not presuppose you are not among the elect of God. Instead, listen to the call of God. Listen to His word. Kneel before God where ever you are. Cry out for Divine mercy and grace, Pray for the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. Be silent before the Lord, and stop arguing about whether God exists, or can be known. You know already that God exists and has a claim on you. Come to Christ and confess Jesus in this very hour as Lord and Savior, and it shall be well with your soul.