Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Election of God

The Bible teaches Election. God elects some, and not others, to eternal life, without regard to any worthiness (such as spiritual desire, religious merit, or foreseen faith) in those whom He elects. In doing this, God acts in accordance with his highest purpose, which is, as Paul states repeatedly in Ephesians, the revelation of his own glory.

[Consider this loose attempt to try to explain Election: What if God looked into the future and saw that NObody would accept Jesus on their own? In other words, if it was left purely and solely to man's free will, Heaven would be empty of any humans, because everyone chose to go their own way and reject Jesus. If God allowed everyone to go to Hell, that would certainly be just, because every person has sinned against and offended a holy God, so every person fully deserves Hell. However, if everyone went to Hell, God would be seen as a monster, which would not be glorifying to Him, and He would not be showing love, grace or mercy to anyone. On the other hand, if He forced everyone to accept Jesus, He would be seen as a dictator, which again would not be glorifying to Him, and no one would be punished for their sins, so that would not be a just act. Therefore, He caused a minority (a remnant) to accept Jesus, and made that to be their destiny, so that He could show both love AND justice; both mercy AND punishment: so that sin would be punished, but that some would be saved. Because in their sinful state, no one would choose to or want to accept Christ. Therefore, God caused some to necessarily accept Christ. He causes and orchestrates circumstances to occur that will bring them to a crisis of belief, and then He moves to cause their will to choose Christ. He moves their will for them, because they never would have willed it themselves. He causes them and directs them to choose Christ, directing their will to make the right decision. What they could not and would not do for themselves, He does for them, for their good. He does not do this against their will, but rather causes them to desire Christ, and works in their life to bring them to this point, and then ensures that they will indeed accept Christ.]


ELECTION:

Of Christ as Messiah

Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
1 Peter 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Of good angels

1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Of Israel

Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

Of ministers

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Of churches

1 Peter 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

ELECTION IS:

Of God

1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

By Christ

John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

In Christ

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Personal

Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
2 John 1:13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

According to the purpose of God

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

According to the foreknowledge of God

Romans 8:29 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.
1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Eternal

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Sovereign

Romans 9:15-16 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
1 Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Irrespective of merit

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Of grace

Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Recorded in heaven

Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

For the glory of God

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Through faith

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Through sanctification of the Spirit

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

To adoption

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To salvation

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

To conformity with Christ

Romans 8:29 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.

To good works

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

To spiritual warfare

2 Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

To eternal glory

Romans 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

IT ENSURES TO SAINTS:

Effectual calling

Romans 8:30 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.

Divine teaching

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Belief in Christ

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Acceptance with God

Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

Protection

Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

Vindication of their wrongs

Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

Working of all things for good

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Blessedness

Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
Psalms 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

The inheritance

Isaiah 65:9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
1 Peter 1:4-5 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

It should lead to cultivation of graces

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

It should be evidenced by diligence

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Saints may have assurance of

1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

Examples where it is Exemplified

Isaac,
Genesis 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Abram,
Nehemiah 9:7 Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;

Zerubbabel,
Haggai 2:23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.

Apostles,
John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Jacob,
Romans 9:12-13 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Rufus,
Romans 16:13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Paul,
Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,

(Some of the above information is from:
http://www.bible-topics.com/Election.html)

9 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

Hi, Jeff.

Thanks for your comments on s&t and tk68 that I replied too. Your comments are appreciated always!

I think we have come to basic agreement on most points related to election.

I am focused on promoting my blogs and Facebook is useful in doing this and is good for finding friends and meeting new people.

Russ:)

Jeff said...

Thanks, Russ.

I am making more friends on Facebook, but man, there are so many applications, games, etc. there, that you could theoretically spend 24 hours a day just doing things on Facebook!

Greg said...

Hey, I'm so glad now that I don't do Facebook. I'd really get nothing done. Blogging is bad enough!!! :)

I've done a lot of praying, studying, and debating on the concepts of election and predestination. While I do believe there is an election element to salvation, I do not go as far as the Calvinists, to say that we therefore have no free will to choose to serve God, or to choose to obey or to sin. I don't know where exactly you stand on that, but in my mind, predestination can be taken to such an extreme, that there is no need to pray or evangelize, and we can forgo responsibility for our actions.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"I do not go as far as the Calvinists, to say that we therefore have no free will to choose to serve God, or to choose to obey or to sin."

This is an unfortunate charicature of "Calvinism". There is no necessary connection between the predestination of Calvin, Luther and the other great Reformers and the idea of "no free will". I know that there are "hyper"-Calvinists out there who teach such things, but please don't confuse them with traditional Calvinism.

I'm not interjecting here because I'm a "Calvinist" personally. I do have many "Calvinistic" leanings, but I also differ with Calvin on certain issues as well. But to suggest that a Calvinist is one who does not believe in free will is to misunderstand Calvin and the Reformers.

Those who are the "elect" do come to God freely; they are not dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God. Those who are not the "elect" do reject God freely; they are not forced to turn away from the freely offered grace of God in Jesus Christ.

And after having come to Christ, the "elect" person still freely chooses to believe God and behave accordingly, or to allow the flesh to rise up in disbelief and behave accordingly (though not regularly and fully because the Spirit resides in the Christian and will complete His work of transforming the Child of God into the image and likeness of Christ).

In short (I know, too late!:-) predestination or "election" does no harm to "free will" when understood correctly. Calvinism is not the problem here.

GGM

Jeff said...

Greg,

Thanks for the comment!


I've done a lot of praying, studying, and debating on the concepts of election and predestination. While I do believe there is an election element to salvation, I do not go as far as the Calvinists, to say that we therefore have no free will to choose to serve God, or to choose to obey or to sin. I don't know where exactly you stand on that, but in my mind, predestination can be taken to such an extreme, that there is no need to pray or evangelize, and we can forgo responsibility for our actions.


I have known at least one Calvinist who questioned any reason to evangelize. I believe this is completely wrong, especially in light of the fact that the Great Commission is actually a command to every Christian. I believe that the Bible teaches the doctrine of election, but that Christians have also been 'elected' to participate with God in the great work of evangelism. He could have had the angels do it, but instead, He chose born-again believers to partner with Him in this great work, and it is an honor and a privilege to do so. Other than being saved, bringing someone to Christ is the greatest joy a person can have, I think.

Jeff said...

GGM (Jason),

This is an unfortunate charicature of "Calvinism". There is no necessary connection between the predestination of Calvin, Luther and the other great Reformers and the idea of "no free will". I know that there are "hyper"-Calvinists out there who teach such things, but please don't confuse them with traditional Calvinism.

Though I believe in election, I don't really know all that much about Calvinism myself, so if you want to leave some comments explaining it or it variants (i.e., summarizing the various stances of some of the Reformers), feel free.

Those who are the "elect" do come to God freely; they are not dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God. Those who are not the "elect" do reject God freely; they are not forced to turn away from the freely offered grace of God in Jesus Christ.

And after having come to Christ, the "elect" person still freely chooses to believe God and behave accordingly, or to allow the flesh to rise up in disbelief and behave accordingly (though not regularly and fully because the Spirit resides in the Christian and will complete His work of transforming the Child of God into the image and likeness of Christ).


I agree, and I think that's a good summarized explanation.

I believe that Election and Free Will are one of those paradoxes of Christianity, just as the Trinity is a paradox (i.e., how can God be three Persons and yet one entity/Being?). There are also other paradoxes such as: to fully live, you have to die to self; etc.
If God is the one Who gives us our DNA, our brain, our looks, our talents, etc., then God can implant in us whatever it is that eventually brings a person to Christ, and do it in such a way that our will is not violated. I believe He also uses circumstances to bring us to the point of accepting Him. In addition, I believe that the Holy Spirit prepares the heart to accept Christ, and of course, once the person accepts Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside that person from then on, so that the person becomes, literally, a living temple of God. And, of course, the Holy Spirit is the One Who makes the power available to live the Christian life, and who transforms that person into a new creature when they are regenerated (born again).

Jeff said...

I also believe that Calvinists are often stereotyped, and that not all Calvinists agree on exactly the same things.

And now I'm wondering if the title of this post, "The Election of God," is a misnomer. Maybe I should have called it "The Election of the Saints" instead, since God is not the one being elected. Hmmm... Or, if I called it "The Election Process of God," that would probably have been more correct. Oh, well...

Greg said...

Jason and Jeff, I'm happy to see that we pretty much agree on free will. Its absence would defeat most of the NT concepts (love, evangelism, prayer, etc...).

However, every person I've met, debated, or read, who called themselves "Calvinist" or "Reformed", most emphatically did not believe in man's freedom to choose to come to Christ. They focus so much on election, that everything else fades into the background. I am still unsure how they reconcile their core beliefs with the NT calls to pray and spread the Gospel.

I admit I have not read Calvin's original writings (at least possibly not since college, at a time when I had no interest in being saved), but I've researched the beliefs.

What I've arrived at, regarding election and predestination (and I have no clue if this has a name), is that it's like a history book. God knows everything from beginning to end, because He planned it all out that way. No question there. To Him, our lives are like us reading a history book. You know for certainty that, for example, the Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship last June. Does this mean that if they knew the outcome ahead of time, they would just sit on the bench and do nothing? No, regardless of the eventual outcome, they still had to work hard for every shot, dive for every loose ball, etc....

Likewise, I don't think election has any effect on what we need to do in this life, or being held responsible for our actions, or our free will, except to assure us that no one except God can decide whether we go to Heaven or Hell. Maybe that's the point the NT writers were trying to make, since the Jewish leaders at the time seemed to have so much power over people's status in the "church".

Jeff said...

Greg,

They focus so much on election, that everything else fades into the background.

That's the tendency of human nature, I think. And C.S. Lewis also stated, in "The Screwtape Letters" I think it was, that Satan pushes people to one extreme or the other. I tend to think that there is some 'happy medium' where God works within both Election and Free will, but I'm not sure if we as humans can fully understand how He does that.

What I've arrived at, regarding election and predestination (and I have no clue if this has a name), is that it's like a history book. God knows everything from beginning to end, because He planned it all out that way. No question there. To Him, our lives are like us reading a history book. You know for certainty that, for example, the Boston Celtics won the NBA Championship last June. Does this mean that if they knew the outcome ahead of time, they would just sit on the bench and do nothing? No, regardless of the eventual outcome, they still had to work hard for every shot, dive for every loose ball, etc....

Likewise, I don't think election has any effect on what we need to do in this life, or being held responsible for our actions, or our free will, except to assure us that no one except God can decide whether we go to Heaven or Hell. Maybe that's the point the NT writers were trying to make, since the Jewish leaders at the time seemed to have so much power over people's status in the "church".


I really like the way you have summed it up there, Greg. I first accepted the doctrine of Election in BSF (Bible Study Fellowship, International), which is a world-wide Bible study where the same book(s) is/are studied at the same time, all in English, all over the world. The same lesson is studied during the same week all over the world. Anyway, in that class they said that none of us knows who is elected and who is not, and that just because a person is not saved at this moment does not mean they have not been elected, because they may get saved at some future point. Therefore, we must witness to everyone (ideally, as the Holy Spirit leads). Also, when a person gets saved, although there is a point where that person becomes immediately regenerated and becomes a brand new person inside, there is a process that leads up to that, and there is also a sanctification process after that point. So, in that sense, it might be understood as a 'history book,' as you put it.

Does this mean that if they knew the outcome ahead of time, they would just sit on the bench and do nothing? No, regardless of the eventual outcome, they still had to work hard for every shot, dive for every loose ball, etc....

I especially like that part that you wrote. Election in no way removes our responsibility. God works in and through people to accomplish His will, but we are not simply puppets where God forces our arms and legs to do things. Neither are we zombies that have no control over what we do. If God can even use the existence of evil to accomplish His will, then God can also work in and through free will to accomplish His will.

If you have ever watched a chess match between two masters, you might see them make some moves that make no sense at all. Sometimes they might sacrifice a piece and you will see that it will be captured as soon as they move it there. You might think, "Why did they do that? That was a dumb move!" But you only see it that way because you do not see 15 moves ahead (or whatever) like they do. You are looking at the 'small picture,' at maybe 1 or 2 moves ahead, but they are looking at it from the perspective of several moves ahead. So, if we can't even comprehend why a chess master would make such a move, then how can we expect to comprehend how and why God does certain things?