The Doctrine of Election…aka Divine Predestination.
What is the Doctrine of Election?
Is it biblical?
Who chose Whom?
What about free will?
The Doctrine of Election: Basically states that, in His Sovereignty, before even the foundations of the earth were created; before Genesis Chapter One, God chose specifically who would be saved from hell. Ultimately, it says that God does what He wants, when He wants, How He wants.
The profound unsearchable reality, revealed to us in scripture, is that no one would ever come to Christ if God had not first chosen him/her. We are saved and we have life because God freely chose to give it to us.
Acts 13:48 describes salvation in these words – “As many as have been appointed to eternal life believed.”
If you’ve ever seen The Matrix, there is a part where they “Download” information directly into Neo’s brain. I can’t imagine that would be the most comfortable feeling in the world; to have a mass amount of new information assimilated directly into your cognitive psyche. But that feeling is what is about to happen here.
Most Christians are long taught that “Salvation is a free gift offered to all,” and “Jesus paid it all for everyone on earth.”
But the doctrine of election tells us God chose SOME. Jesus made it very clear that MANY will not be saved (Matt 7:22-23.)
I can promise you that you’re going to flinch and resist this because “it’s not fair” and God’s thoughts and infinite wisdom should be fully comprehensible to finite us. But in the end, let the bible make your mind up. If at the end of this story, you just cannot see how Election can work, don’t fret…this is not something that makes or breaks your salvation. But it is a precious doctrine that Jesus felt needed to be discussed and the Apostle Paul wrote about in the first few verses to the church in Ephesus, as well as spent a whole chapter of Romans on it. Therefore, we cannot dismiss it as unimportant.
There’s no reason to get into John Calvin and Calvinism because the doctrine of election goes far beyond Calvinism. I would never call myself a Calvinist because I’m a follower of Christ…not Calvin. Aside from that, the “5 points” people reference were actually birthed as an objection to the 5 points of Arminianism.
There are many verses in the bible that address the truth of Election (Isaiah 45:4, John 15:16, 1 Corinthians 12:18, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 8:29, Romans 11:1-5, Romans 9, Ephesians 1:5 , Ephesians 1:11, ) and in fact, Jesus was the first who spoke of it (John 6:64-65).
JESUS LOST FOLLOWERS
Christ gives a great example for all bible teachers and pastors today…don’t shy away from preaching the truth, even if it means losing followers. There were those who were following Christ around merely for food and miracles; who were not true believers, and immediately following what Christ said in John 6:64-65 the result was…”many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”
Regardless of the theological debates that have roared on now for thousands of years, the doctrine of election is in the bible and is very real. It’s pretty hard to argue with Jesus – “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16)
Ephesians 1:4-6 – “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
“In love…He chose us.” This is the end all answer to the ever so popular question, “How can God be a loving God and send anyone to hell?!?” Easy…GOD OWES US NOTHING. Thats right. All of us deserve hell. So how can we possibly say God is unjust or unloving in His choosing to save some when absolutely none of us deserve heaven?
Like a Father in ancient times would arrange a bride for his son, so God has arranged a bride for Christ…His elect…the redeemed church.
There are many passages we could go over and address but one passage in particular gives us all we really need.
Romans 9:18-20 – “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
In other words, if God sovereignly “has mercy on whom He chooses and hardens whom He chooses,” how can human beings be held responsible? How can they be blamed for their unbelief and sin when their destiny has already been divinely determined? Paul addressed this because he knew it was inevitable and such reasoning challenges God’s justice and righteousness and Paul knew we would struggle with this truth.
Romans 9:21-23 – “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory”
Election seems cruel to worldly, carnal minds, which accept only what fits their preconceived ideas of “right and wrong,” justice and injustice. Consequently, they judge even God by their own finite, biased, and sin-tainted standards. God is just and He is holy. Therefore, we can have faith in knowing that everything God does is just and holy.
When it comes to election, God chose some based on three things:
1. His Sovereign Will (Ephesians 1:5)
2. His Love for His creation (eph 1:4)
3. His Grace and Mercy (rom 9:14)
Notice none of those reasons pertain to US? We have no hand in our salvation; it is 100% a work of God.
Furthermore, out of His grace, (Ephesians 1:7-9) He makes known to us the mystery of His will through His word.
The last thing I want to do is leave you with a ton of questions, but regardless, you’re going to have them.
“What about ‘for God so loved the world?” “God desires that none should perish…” and “God cannot be a loving God if He sends anyone to hell!”
Most of your questions are answered in scripture…just read it. Election is not a new idea…it’s not even a new testament thing.
In the Old Testament, God chose a nation for Himself: Israel (Deut 7:6; 14:2; Psalm 105:43; 135:4). This is God’s pattern all throughout the bible. Jesus Christ is called, “My Chosen One” (Luke 9:35). The holy angels also are “chosen angels” (1 Tim. 5:21). And New Testament believers are those who were “chosen of God” (Col. 3:12; cf. 1 Cor. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1; 2:9; 5:13; Rev. 17:14), meaning that the church is a community of those who were chosen, or “elect” (Eph. 1:4).
Alas, even if we are graced by God to understand as much as He has willed us to in regards to election, this is no reason to be puffed up. Understanding any part of predestination doesn’t make us special nor does it elevate us above those who do not get it or even refuse to believe scripture.
1 Cor. 13:2 – And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.