Last week we introduced the 5 points of Calvinism in the form of a brief history lesson. We also covered the first of those 5 points; Total Depravity. Tonight, we will be covering the second point; Unconditional Election. Election is not really a foreign thought to either side of the argument. Most will admit that God has elected those who will be saved. The area of contention is whether God’s election was the cause or the effect.
Ask congregation if they feel God chose them based on foresight or ordination.
Again, the doctrine of election is not usually argued as it is very clear in Scripture as a whole. It isn’t until we start to figure out what election is really all about that people come up with different ideas. As usual, my goal is to let Scripture speak for itself.
How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You
To dwell in Your courts
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Your holy temple.
That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.
Some may say these are only Old Testament verses that only relate to Israel. I take this point and match it with God’s Word.
nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
For many are called, but few are chosen.
By now, you should all be able to see a pattern of at least some type of choosing going on on God’s part. Now to move into where we get the word “elect” from.
Matthew 24:22, 24, & 31
Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short…For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect…And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?
Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
Again, this is not normally the issue. The issue comes from people who believe that God chose them based on knowing they would freely choose Him at some point in their life. Based on last week’s lesson, we know it is impossible for one to freely choose God because Scripture is clear that no one seeks God, no one chooses God, and no one does good. We are a totally depraved being before God takes hold of us. Keep this in mind as we go through the following verses that normally mislead people on the surface.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
1 Peter 1:1-2a
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those…who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood:
With passages like the 2 above, it is easy to infer that God only chooses us based on His foreknowledge. After all, doesn’t Romans 8:29 say God predestined those whom He foreknew? Doesn’t 1 Peter 1:2 say that God chooses according to His foreknowledge?
Let us begin to answer these with another question. If God based salvation on His advance knowledge of those who would believe, where did their saving faith come from? We know that the carnal man does not choose God.
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father
The desire of the devil is certainly not for us to choose God. Because of the Scripture taught last week, one cannot Scripturally come to the conclusion that man, of his own carnal & unsaved self, chooses Christ. This means the foreknowledge that Romans & 1 Peter speaks of cannot imply knowledge of who would choose God. The proper context is speaking of God ordaining in advance before the foundation of the world.
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world,
Here we see Christ being referred to as foreknown. It is the same word we saw in Romans 8:29 & 1 Peter 1:2. Surely this verse is not saying God foreknew what Jesus would choose do on the cross for that was no mere chance. Not a soul would deny that Christ coming to die on the cross for our salvation was a preplanned act of God that nothing could have changed. In turn, the word “foreknown” can only mean that God foreordained the action. God knew exactly what was going to happen because He ordained it before the foundation of the world. It is the exact same thing in the other 2 verses. God did not choose us based on a foreknowledge of what we would do. He had a foreknowledge of His ordination that took place before anything ever was. Arthur W. Pink has a wonderful quote regarding God’s sovereign election:
In the nature of things there cannot be anything known as what shall be, unless it is certain to be, and there is nothing certain to be unless God has ordained it shall be.
He had a foreknowledge of the intimate relationship He would come to have with every believer. Even more so, Romans 8:29 says he already knew us before anything ever was. That is how awesome our God is! Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” Our election is unconditional.
So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
I WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME,
I BECAME MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME.
2 Timothy 1:9
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 granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you
I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
By now, we should be able to clearly see that not only does God choose us but that He also does so based on His own purpose and will & not based on anything within ourselves or any foreknowledge of a choice we were to make.
1 Peter 2:8b-9
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
To God is always in control. Even those who claim God chose them still refuse to believe it fully for they feel the rest rejected of their own free will. The two are not mutually exclusive but rather mutually inclusive. We clearly see that the disobedient ones spoken of in 1 Peter 2:8 were only this way because they are appointed to that very doom; to wrath.
1 Thessalonians 5:9
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Again, if he can appoint some to a doom of wrath, why can He not choose others to be saved? Isn’t it obvious by now that God is in control? Isn’t it obvious by now that God chooses who goes where? It is not saying God gives us the opportunity to choose Him. It does not say that God stands on the sidelines and hopes we choose Him. It says God has DESTINED us for obtaining salvation. He ordained us as His elect before the foundation of the world that we would be conformed to the image of His Son.
I would like to close out with another quote from Arthur W. Pink:
If the Lord Jesus possesses all power in Heaven and earth then none can successfully resist His will. But it may be said, This is true in the abstract, nevertheless, Christ refuses to exercise this power, inasmuch as He will never force anyone to receive Him as their Lord and Saviour. In one sense that is true, but in another sense it is positively untrue. The salvation of any sinner is a matter of Divine power. By nature the sinner is at enmity with God, and naught but Divine power operating within him can overcome this enmity; hence it is written, "No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him" (John 6:44). It is the Divine power overcoming the sinner's innate enmity which makes him willing to come to Christ that he might have life. But this "enmity" is not overcome in all-why? Is it because the enmity is too strong to be overcome? Are there some hearts so steeled against Him that Christ is unable to gain entrance? To answer in the affirmative is to deny His omnipotence. In the final analysis it is not a question of the sinner's willingness or unwillingness, for by nature all are unwilling. Willingness to come to Christ is the finished product of Divine power operating in the human heart and will in overcoming man's inherent and chronic "enmity," as it is written, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power" (Psa. 110:3). To say that Christ is unable to win to Himself those who are unwilling is to deny that all power in Heaven and earth is His. To say that Christ cannot put forth His power without destroying man's responsibility is a begging of the question here raised, for He has put forth His power and made willing those who have come to Him, and if He did this without destroying their responsibility, why "cannot" He do so with others? If He is able to win the heart of one sinner to Himself why not that of another? To say, as is usually said, the others will not let Him is to impeach His sufficiency. It is a question of His will. If the Lord Jesus has decreed, desired, purposed the salvation of all mankind, then the entire human race will be saved, or, otherwise, He lacks the power to make good His intentions; and in such a case it could never be said, "He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." The issue raised involves the deity of the Saviour, for a defeated Saviour cannot be God.