We are going to look into the doctrine of salvation and discuss how the concept of “election” fits in. Simply put, the elect are those who God has chosen, or predestined, to salvation before the world came into being. In politics, voters “elect” a person into an office, and it is the same concept with the Lord. The concept of election isn’t as controversial as one might think, it is just misunderstood on a Scriptural and an emotional basis.
There are several views on this subject that we will briefly present here. The first view says that God has foreknowledge about who will choose to be saved by their own freewill. The second view teaches that God elects those who will be saved and gives them the faith to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah. It is not based on his foreknowledge of who will choose him, but it is based on the sovereignty of God and his grace.
The heart of the matter is this question, who has the ultimate choice in regards to salvation, God or man? Does man have control and he makes the choice? This view puts the ultimate decision in man’s hands and it diminishes Gods right to a sovereign choice, and certainly gives a person a reason to boast in his decision.
In order to have a remnant, or even accomplish his plan, he has to hope someone chooses the biblical route to salvation. In reality, this view is not really election at all because God has no choice in it. In the second view, God is the one in control and this is consistent with how we view his role in creation.
However, some will say that this view robs man of his free will, but we are going to discuss this, and other objections, later in this teaching. They will say why preach the gospel or try and reach the lost if God “elects” them to salvation anyway. We are going to discuss these concepts also and try to put these things in a proper biblical perspective.
This series will not be presented as if we are the final say on the matter, but we are going to present the concepts associated with this and show why we agree with the view that God chooses those who will be saved and this makes up what is called “the Elect of God” and it is not based on works because this was done before anyone was even born (Eph 1.4).
This is not unfair because that would be accusing God of being unjust. He states himself that he will have mercy on whoever he chooses and it is not right for the creature to accuse God of wrong doing in this matter (Rom 9.15). The Lord has the ultimate choice in salvation and that will be the position we will present.
This doesn’t mean that we are the final authority on this issue, but we believe that it is the correct view based on the Scriptures we are going to present. There are a few definitions that need to be presented first, and these will be referred to throughout this teaching. Write them in your Bible if you need to because you may need to refer to them from time to time. The definitions are:
1) JUSTIFICATION: transforming a sinner from the state of unrighteousness to righteousness. It is an act and work of God alone.
2) SANCTIFICATION: to be set apart for a special use.
3) SALVATION: deliverance from danger or suffering, to preserve and protect from the consequences of sin.
4) PROPITIATION: to appease and satisfy the wrath of God and be reconciled to him.
5) EXPIATION: the removal and satisfaction of guilt through a substitute.
6) REMISSION: to cancel, pardon, forgive and diminish.
7) REDEMPTION: to buy back, restore.
8) RECONCILIATION: to restore a relationship gone wrong by substituting peace and goodwill.
9) REGENERATION: to be born from above, or born again.
God ordains all things (Eph 1.11), declares them to be, and makes them happen. This obviously includes even “non-persons.” We see in Prov 16.33 that just weights and measures are his concern, and he controls the “lot” in Luke 1.8-9. He controls the “leprous mark” on a house in Lev 14.34. In Isa 46.10-11 and Psa 115.3, the future is predicted and caused by the Lord. He even knows when a sparrow falls in Matt 10.29.
In Exo 4.11 it says he makes the deaf, mute and the blind, and even calamity in Amos 3.6. Rom 9.21 says that he is our maker. He forms the light, the dark, peace and evil in Isa 45.7. Now if he controls animals, leprosy and the other things mentioned above, what about thoughts and actions?
In Isa 46.10-11, he calls Cyrus to do his will before he was even born. In Prov 16.9 it says the Lord directs a man’s steps and Isa 10.5 says that Assyria was used by the Lord as his “rod of anger.” He makes people afraid in Deut 28.66 and bold in Psa 138.3. He can move us to follow him in Lev 22.32, but can cause man to not follow him in Deut 29.4, Prov 16.4 and Matt 13.11.
God works out everything for his own purposes, so don’t try and figure out the purpose in everything that happens. The goals of the Lord are to magnify his glory and to show his justice (Gen 45.8; 50.20). Look at the heart of Pharaoh in Exodus. God said he would harden his heart (4.21; 9.12; 10.1, 20, 27; 11.10; 14.8) and so Pharaoh did (Exo 9.34). He hardened the hearts of the nations to meet Israel in battle (Josh 11.19-20) and made Sihon stubborn (Deut 2.30) because the Lord hardens who he wants (Rom 9.18). Isaiah asked the Lord why he does this (Isa 63.17) but he never answered him.
In prophecies, God will often tell us what the decisions of the people involved will be before it happens because he will cause them to decide that way (Rev 17.17). Kings, princes and rulers in this world have no power unless the Lord gives it to them (Ezra 1.1; John 3.27; 19.11). Horrible things are foretold (Isa 53.10; Luke 22.22; Acts 4.27-28). God determines who wins wars (Judges 11.30) and who the leaders will be (Exo 9.16; 1 Kings 10.9, 14.7; Isa 45.13).
We know he decides who will have children or not, and when (Gen 18.10; Sam 1.5; Ruth 4.13; Luke 1.7-13). He even determines the borders of nations (Acts 17.26). Each of these actions are a result of an undetermined amount of actions by an undetermined amount of people, political factors, elections, wars, weather and technology at the time, and countless other decisions. Children are the result of minute physical actions involving DNA and genetics and the Lord controls it all.
Now, if he can control the little things, then he can control the big things he says he does. Either you trust him or you don’t. The Scriptures teach that God controls all things (Eph 1.11) and that includes the universe. Scientists say that they are finding out that the Earth is the center of the universe and that for physical life to exist in the universe, there are many things that must take place (at least 93 that we can name here, and are very complex in and of themselves). All these characteristics must be “fine tuned” for life to exist, and the only place that life exists is on Earth.
Therefore, the universe exists, functions and performs to support life on Earth. If God can control everything in the universe, he can control what happens on Earth, even to the minutest atom. At the very least, this subject is going to make you think. This is where we will be coming from when we discuss the concept of the sovereignty of God and the Elect. In Part 1, we are going to begin with how the Lord controls who will be saved.