Having established the fact that God controls all things in the Introduction, we are going to move on to the concept that the Lord controls who will be saved and who will not. We know that the Lord chose Abraham (Josh 24.2) and his descendants (Deut 7.7-8) because he loved them (Deut 10.15). Yeshua mentions the fact that he reveals himself to whoever he chooses (Matt 11.27; Luke 8.9-10).
Now, the basis for his decision is his will and his pleasure (Luke 10.21) and those not saved are sent to “hell” (Matt 22.13-14). Many are “invited” which means they hear the Word, but few are chosen, which means they are chosen by the Lord. Coming to the Lord is impossible unless God draws you, it is not a decision of a person’s free will (Mark 10.27). It is because he first loved us (1 John 4.19) and he gives eternal life to whoever he pleases (John 5.21).
He actually says that it is he who chooses us (John 5.19) and “you have not chosen me” (John 5.16). Judas was not chosen by Yeshua for eternal life and salvation (John 6.16; John 13.18), but he was chosen so that the Scripture would be fulfilled (John 17.12). A person who is saved is saved because of a decision the Lord makes, not us (John 1.13). A child is not conceived because it chose to be conceived, but it was because of someone else. It is the same way spiritually (John 3.3-8).
The Lord calls some men to be his sheep (John 6.39; 10.29; 17.2-9) and he chooses them so they can have eternal life (John 6.37-39). There is not one person who comes unless the Father “draws” him (John 6.44) and that word means “to drag” and this is not a gentle “tug” or “prod” (Acts 16.19; 21.30; Jam 2.6). That means that the Lord will overcome all resistance and all who are “drawn” (dragged) will be saved. That also means he draws some and not others (John 6.64-65). Romans 9 has a whole teaching on this concept (see v 11, 15-16) and so let’s look at a few points that Paul teaches.
Salvation depends on the Lord alone and not the free will of man (Rom 9.11,22-23). The Lord has all the freedom he needs to accomplish his will in our lives (9.18) and there are no stipulations outside of what he alone wants to do. The Scriptures liken man to clay vessels (9.21) chosen before the world began (2 Thes 2.13; 2 Tim 1.9; Eph 1.4) and he made his decision before creation of the universe even began (Eph 1.1-12).
A saved person had no say in his salvation because he wasn’t there. We were chosen to be “sons” and receive salvation and all that goes along with it because God loved us and it gave him pleasure to do it (Eph 1.5-7). That means nothing is based on our actions. We are not destined for wrath, but for salvation (1 Thes 5.9) and Luke comments on the fact that Jews and Gentiles are “appointed” unto salvation” in Acts 13.48 and 16.14 and Paul teaches it in 1 Cor 1.23-30. Peter talks about the Lord “choosing you” in 2 Pet 2.10 and 1 Pet 2.9. He also determines who “won’t” be saved (John 12.39-40; Rom 9.18-23; Ecc 9.1; Rom 11.7-10, 9.34, 2.5; 2 Thes 2.11-13; 1 Pet 2.8; Jude 4; Rev 13.8).
In Part 2, we will begin to discuss some questions and objections, and then respond to each item in a way that will bring out the truth of this concept concerning the Sovereignty of God and the Elect.