Hip, hip, hooray—it is almost Sunday! This Lord’s Day is “Reformation Sun-day,” as we celebrate the 498th anniversary of the official start of the Protes-tant Reformation. In order to try to help get us ready for the church's worship of God, here is the amazing Thomas Watson, from his "A Divine Cordial" book:
"If it be God's purpose that saves, then it is not free will. The Pelagians are strenuous asserters of free will. They tell us that a man has an innate power to effect his own conversion; but this text [Eph. 1:11] confutes it. Our calling is 'according to God's purpose.' The Scripture plucks up the root of free will: 'It is not of him that wills,' (Rom. 9:16). All depends upon the purpose of God. When the prisoner is cast [bound] at the bar, there is no saving him, unless the king has a purpose to save him. God's purpose is His prerogative royal.
"If it is God's purpose that saves, then it is not merit. Bellarmine holds that good works do expiate [take away] sin and merit glory; but the text says that we are called according to God's purpose, and there is a parallel Scripture: 'Who has saved us, and called us, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace,' (2 Tim. 1:9). There is no such thing as merit. Our best works have in them both defection and infection, and so are but glittering sins; therefore if we are called and justified, it is God's purpose that brings it to pass."