Christian Doctrine of Election - Sovereign Grace - Salvation
by Charlie Martin
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What is the Christian Doctrine of Election?
Election, sometimes called predestination or predeterminism, teaches that, due to the corrupted nature and spiritual depravity of man, God according to His Sovereign Grace & Will, and for His own purposes, has chosen (elected) those who will receive salvation. That without this act of Mercy (Love) on God's part all men will reap the fruits of their corruption and depravity, which is eternal damnation. Basically, that it is the action of God, and God alone, which brings one to salvation, and that this sovereign act is irresistible.
It is sometimes referred to as Sovereign Grace Salvation or Calvin's Doctrine of Election , since John Calvin was the most notable author of a Scriptural study in to the Sovereignty of God in man's salvation. The Scriptural Scholar, and well-known Bible Commentator, John Gill is also an accepted authority on Sovereign Grace Salvation, Election. However, what these two scholars support is of little importance, the only important doctrine is what the original manuscripts of the Bible teach. What is presented here is the Scriptural basis for the belief in salvation by God's Sovereign Grace ( Election ).
Some refer to it as a 'Doctrine of Satan', although it is the only salvation doctrine, which proclaims the Sovereignty of God and does not subjugate His will or grace to the choices of mankind.
The Biblical basis for Election:
(Links in the verses provide the Greek source word & definition)
"For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)
"And this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day. (John 6:39)
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
"Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been ordained to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48)
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)
"-for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls-". (Romans 9:11 )
"So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." (Romans 9:16)
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:3-6)
"giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love," (Colossians 1:12-13)
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; (Colossians 3:12)
"-knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
"But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth," (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
"who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began," (2 Timothy 1:9)
"Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." (James 1:18)
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:2)
Other Scriptural Evidence
Jesus' teachings which support Election; verses
Apparent Biblical Contradictions to Election:
There are many verses in the Bible, which if taken out of context or are misunderstood, seem to contradict the Doctrine of Election. Also it is a common practice to read, or add, things into these verses, that are not there. I will cover some of them below.
(Just click on the link for the explanation).
1 Timothy 2:3-4 & 2 Peter 3:9
Matthew 13:3-9 The "Sower & the Seed" parable.
Matthew 22:1-14 The "Wedding Feast" parable.
1 John 4:8
Why Election is one of the most disputed doctrines of the Bible.
To accept the Doctrine of Election you must acknowledge that man is a totally unrighteous being, who left on his own, will not seek out or accept the true God; and, that man can do nothing of his own accord to obtain salvation, nor would he want to. Basically, it acknowledges that man's fate is in the hands of his Creator; that God is all-sovereign; and that man cannot and does not have any control over his ultimate destiny. (See Natural Man & Spiritual Depravity sections.) This admission grates on man's pride and his belief that he is basically good. It also contradicts man's contention that through hard work, and doing the right things, he can earn what he needs.
Other objections to Election:
Election would mean that God is unfair!
God is "Just" and election would mean that He does not treat everyone the same and this would mean that He is unjust.
If God elects people to salvation, why bother believing, repenting, obeying, etc. (Answer)
Yes the Bible teaches election, but it only applies to Jewish believer's.
If God elects, predestines, some to salvation, then it means He predestines some to damnation; and nowhere in the Bible will you find that God predestines people to hell. (See A Word Game)
Everyone has a God given conscience, so man cannot be spiritually depraved. Also, this conscience is able to lead him to God. (See Man's Conscience.)
Man must be drawn to the Gospel message by God, but then he can choose to accept or reject its salvation message. (See Consider.)
Some verses in the Bible clearly state that man can suppress the truth and can reject God. If man has the capacity to 'suppress' and 'reject' then it follows that he also has the capacity to 'believe' and 'accept.' (See Human Reasoning.)
Election only applies to being chosen to an office or position, such as apostle, minister, elder, prophet, etc.
Since man is created in the image and likeness of God, he will seek God.
Among those who say they accept election, are those who proclaim that, "God, looking over all of creation, saw who would be receptive to the Gospel's salvation message and it was those people He elected." (See, why Scripture teaches it's not true.)
Consider the entire tone, context, and fabric of the Bible. (See Holy Scripture's Proclamation.)
What about man's free will?
Why then have we been given the Great Commission?
Further resources on Salvation by God's Sovereign Grace & Will, Election :
Grace for Today
John Calvin's Doctrine
Sound of Grace