Friend, was there not a time when you walked in the counsel of the ungodly, stood in the way of sinners, sat in the seat of the scorners, and with them said, “We will not to have this Man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14)? Was there not a time when you “would not come to Christ that you might have life” (John 5:40)? Yea, was there not a time when you mingled your voice with those who said unto God, “Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?” (Job 21:14, 15)? With shamed face you have to acknowledge there was. But how is it that all is now changed? What was it that brought you from haughty self-sufficiency to be a humble suppliant, from one that was at enmity with God to one that is at peace with Him, from lawlessness to subjection, from hatred to love? And, as one “born of the Spirit,” you will readily reply, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (I Cor. 15:10). Then do you not see that it is due to no lack of power in God, nor to His refusal to coerce man, that other rebels are not saved too? If God was able to subdue your will and win your heart, and that without interfering with your moral responsibility, then is He not able to do the same for others? Assuredly He is. Then how inconsistent, how illogical, how foolish of you, in seeking to account for the present course of the wicked and their ultimate fate, to argue that God is unable to save them, that they will not let Him. Do you say, “But the time came when I was willing, willing to receive Christ as my Saviour”? True, but it was the Lord who made you willing (Ps. 110:3; Phil. 2:13); why then does He not make all sinners willing? Why, but for the fact that He is sovereign and does as He pleases!
Pink, AW (1961). The Sovereignty of God: Revised Edition, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust (pp. 45-46; all emphasis in the original).
One point I would focus in on is the personal aspect Pink brings up. Everyone is born a sinner in rebellion against God, and as such “a non-believer.” Each of us—even those of us who were saved at a young age—knows what it is like to be in rebellion against God. The question is rightly asked: “What was it that brought you from [that state] to one that is at peace with Him…?”
The common reply of “I was willing to receive Christ” begs the question. Why did one become willing? What is it that was involved in the mechanics of your choice? The choice is not made in a vacuum—if it were, it would be a random, arbitrary choice, morally no different than flipping a coin.
Yet we know that when we chose Christ, it was because we desired Him. We longed to be with Him. We wanted fellowship that only He could give us.
In short, the choice was made only after we found Christ desirable. We could not have chosen Christ if we hated Him for such a choice would go against our nature! We could only choose Him then if we are coerced into doing so. But that is not how we know we were saved. We did not choose Christ grudgingly or against our desires; we chose Him after our very hearts were already turned toward Him! We chose that which we most desired.
The choice, therefore, was nothing but a reflection of what was already present in our heart.
Scripture is clear that we are born at enmity with God (Romans 8:5-8). This explains why those who are disbelieve refuse to submit to God’s law. Yet something must occur within us to change us from hating God to loving God. This change cannot be the choice we made to follow Christ for, again, that choice can only be made after the change has already taken place.
The common Arminian refrain, “I’m elected because I selected” echoes hollowly when you realize that your being—your nature—began to love Christ before you chose Him. Your selection had nothing to do with your altered nature; your altered nature dictated your selection.