Harry A Ironside Answers Questions About Predestination, Election & Assurance

, posted by AndrewH

Below is a Q&A from chapter 9, “Difficulties Which Hinder Full Assurance”, from Henry A Ironside’s 1937 book Full Assurance (works in the public domain):

“Sometimes I am afraid that I am predestinated to be damned; if so, I can do nothing to alter my terrible case.”

No one was ever predestinated to be damned. Predestination is a precious truth of inestimable value and comfort, when rightly understood. Will you not turn to your Bible and read for yourself in the only two chapters in which this word “predestinate” or “predestinated” is found?

The first is Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

The other chapter is Ephesians 1. In verse 5 we read, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” And in verse 11, it says, “Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

You will note that there is no reference in these four verses to either Heaven or hell, but to Christlikeness eventually. Nowhere are we told in Scripture that GOD predestinated one man to be saved and another to be lost. Men are to be saved or lost eternally because of their attitude toward the Lord JESUS CHRIST. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

Predestination means that some day all the redeemed shall become just like the Lord JESUS!

Is not this precious? Do not try to make a bugaboo out of that which was intended to give joy and comfort to those who trust in the Saviour. Trust Him for yourself, and you will know that GOD has predestinated you to be fully conformed to the image of His Son.

“And is it so, I shall be like Thy Son,

Is this the grace which He for me has won?

Father of glory, thought beyond all thought,

In glory to His own blest likeness brought.”


“But what if I am not one of the elect?”

You can readily settle that yourself. Without attempting to delve into the mysteries of the divine decrees and the divine foreknowledge, it is enough to say that all who come to GOD through His Son are elect. Our Lord makes this very plain in John 6:37.

He says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Now do not linger too long on the first half of the verse. Be clear about the latter half, for it is there that your responsibility is found. Have you come to JESUS? If so, you have His pledged word that He will not cast you out. The fact that you come proves that the Father gave you to CHRIST. Thus you may be certain that you belong to the glorious company of the elect.

D. L. Moody used to put it very simply: “The elect are the ‘whosoever wills’; the non-elect are the ‘whosoever won’ts.'” This is exactly what Scripture teaches.

The invitation is to all.

Those who accept it are the elect. Remember, we are never told that CHRIST died for the elect. But what does the Word say? “Christ died for the ungodly.” Are you ungodly? Then He died for you. Put in your claim and enter into peace.

Meditate on the Holy Spirit’s declaration through the Apostle Paul: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Nowhere are we told that CHRIST came to save the elect.

The term “sinners” is all-embracing, for “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Are you sure you are a sinner? Then you may be certain there is salvation for you. Do not exercise yourself in matters too high for you. Just be simple enough to take GOD at His Word.

“Sinners JESUS will receive:

Sound the word of grace to all

Who the heav’nly pathway leave,

All who linger, all who fall.

Sing it o’er and o’er again:

CHRIST receiveth sinful men.”

The rest of the book is available online here.