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    What Happened To The Bible Doctrine Of Election?

    By Paul Justice

    Dear Reader - How long has it been since you heard a sermon from the Bible on the doctrine of election? Perhaps you have never heard one.

    What has happened that this great God honoring, soul-saving truth has been neglected in these days? Much is revealed in Godís Word about election, predestination and Godís eternal purpose, yet seldom do Christians ever speak of it, discuss it, or preach it.

    One might say we cannot preach, study, or discuss this teaching of the Bible because it is controversial. But what great doctrine of Godís Word is not controversial? The doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is controversial, but anyone true to Godís Word does not fail to believe, teach, and preach it! And the same is true of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the inspiration of the scriptures and other teachings. The Apostle Paul did not shrink from declaring salvation by grace alone when at Galatia, and the legalists stirred up controversy. Remember, we are called upon to earnestly contend for the faith ó not run from controversy.

    Someone may say this teaching should not be taught because it might confuse the listeners ó in other words it may spiritually harm them. But do we think we are wiser than God? The preacher is to preach the Word ó not part of it, all of it. (See 2 Timothy 4:1-3). God knows what we need better than we. He has revealed this doctrine of election. Our privilege is to declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). When we neglect part of Godís truth, God is not honored, and souls are robbed of part of Godís revelation.

    Election is Biblical

    Review the following scriptures and see how election, predestination, and Godís purpose are taught.

    1. ". . . for the electís sake, whom he (the Lord) hath chosen. . . ." Mark 13:20
    2. "And shall not God avenge his own electÖ?" Luke 18:7
    3. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of Godís elect. . . ?" Romans 8:33
    4. "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." Romans 9:11
    5. ". . . At this. . . time. . . there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works. . . ." Romans 11:5-6
    6. ". . . Israel hath not obtained. . . but the election hath obtained it. . . ." Romans 11:7
    7. "Blessed be. . . God. . . he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy. . . in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ. . . according to. . . his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace." Ephesians 1:3-6
    8. ". . . being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory. . . ." Ephesians 1:11-12
    9. "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not. . . in word only, but also in power. . . and ye became followers. . . . " I Thessalonians 1:4-6
    10. ". . . Brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification. . . and belief of the truth. . . ." II Thessalonians 2:13
    11. ". . . God; who hath saved us, and called us. . . not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace. . . given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." I Timothy 1:8-9
    12. ". . . I endure all things for the electís sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation. . . in Christ." II Timothy 2:10
    13. ". . . according to the faith of Godís elect. . . ." Titus 1:1
    14. "But ye are a chosen generation. . . a peculiar people. . . ." I Peter 2:9
    15. ". . . And they that are with him are called and chosen and faithful." Revelation 17:14

    Jesusí Words On The Subject

    1. John 6:37,39, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out . . .this is the Fatherís will . . . that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
    2. John 6:65, ". . . No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father . . . ."
    3. John 10:15-16, ". . . I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have (Gentiles): them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice. . . ."
    4. John 17:2, "As thou has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou has given him."

    Related Scriptures

    1. ". . . As many as were ordained to eternal life believed." Acts 13:48
    2. ". . . he. . . helped them much which had believed through grace." Acts 18:27
    3. ". . . instructing. . . if God peradventure will give them repentance. . . ." II Timothy 2:25
    4. ". . . to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate . . . whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he glorified." Romans 8:28-30

    Note here that Godís people are called to salvation according to His purpose. He predestinated those whom He foreknew.

    "Foreknow" here does not mean he foreknew what they would do, and so he then elected them. It says WHOM he foreknew. The word know is a rich word. In Amos 3:2 we read, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." Surely God knew about the actions of all families, but He knew Israel in a special loving way. Note the relation of a husband and wife is spoken of as a man knowing his wife. And remember, Jesus said of the unsaved in Matthew 7:23 ". . . I never knew you. . . ." So in Romans 8:28-30, the point is not that God predestinated those he foresaw would believe (faith is a gift of God). God predestinates and saves those he foreknew or foreloved. Read Romans 9:11,15-16 for proof of these statements.

    Jesusí words, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you . . ." (John 15:16), give a principle which we must remember.

    How Shall We Respond To
    These Words Of God?

    1. Let us believe them with all our hearts ó they are Godís Holy Words.
    2. Let us exalt God who is the only one who can save sinners like us through His Son Jesus Christ . . . Let us bow before Him and give Him all the glory.
    3. Let us be humbled before the potter and bow in the dust before a thrice Holy Sovereign God. (Romans 9)
    4. Let us see how sin has necessitated salvation by Almighty power. (John 1:13; 3:3, 5-7)
    5. Let us remember that we are chosen to holiness. (Ephesians 1:4)
    6. Let us preach the gospel to every creature, beseeching them to believe in Christ for salvation and doing it in dependence upon God who is the only one who can convict the lost and save the soul.
    7. Unsaved friend, you cannot save yourself. Call out to God ó He can save you through the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
    8. Preacher friend, letís preach this long neglected truth and remember these words: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out . . . who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever, Amen." Romans 11:33-36

    George Muller, the man of faith and prayer, is quoted by Arthur T. Pierson on pages 387-388 in George Muller of Bristol as saying, "Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace; so much so that, a few days after my arrival at Teignmouth I called election a devilish doctrine. I did not believe that I had brought myself to the Lord, for that was too manifestly false; but yet I held, that I might have resisted finally. And further, I knew nothing about the choice of Godís people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made so, was safe for ever. In my fleshly mind I had repeatedly said, If once I could prove that I am a child of God forever, I might go back into the world for a year or two, and then return to the Lord, and at last be saved. But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the Word of God. Being made willing to have no glory of my own in the conversion of sinners, but to consider myself merely as an instrument; and being made willing to receive what the Scriptures said; I went to the Word, reading the New Testament from the beginning, with a particular reference to these truths. To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines. As to the effect which my belief in these doctrines had on me, I am constrained to state, for Godís glory, that though I am still exceedingly weak, and by no means so dead to the lusts of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as I might and as I ought to be, yet, by the grace of God, I have walked more closely with Him since that period. My life has not been so variable, and I may say that I have lived much more for God than before. And for this have I been strengthened by the Lord, in a great measure, through the instrumentality of these truths. Thus, I say, the electing love of God in Christ (when I have been able to realize it) has often been the means of producing holiness, instead of leading me into sin. It is only the notional apprehension of such truths, the want of having them in the heart, whilst they are in the head, which is dangerous."

    For Further Study

    • The Sovereignty of God, by A.W. Pink
    • All of Grace, by C.H. Spurgeon, Moody Press
    • The Philadelphia Confession of Faith (A Baptist Confession)
    • The New Hampshire Confession of Faith [on Election and Godís Purpose] (Also a Baptist Confession)

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