The Doctrine of Election – God Chooses His Own

21 09 2007

Building on the previous post about Predestination, here the doctrine of Election is taken up. Again following from the teaching of J. I. Packer from the book Concise Theology – A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (1993 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton Illinois), lets take up the issue of God’s choice of His own people (pages 149-151). Here are some exerpts with supporting scriptural references.

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“The verb elect means “to select, or choose out.” The biblical doctrine of election is that before Creation God selected out of the human race, foreseen as fallen, those whom he would redeem, bring to faith, justify, and glorify in and through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-14).  This divine choice is an expression of free and sovereign grace, for it is unconstrained and unconditional, not merited by anything in those who are its subjects. God owes sinners no mercy of any kind, only condemnation; so it is a wonder, and matter for endless praise, that he should choose to save any of us; and doubly so when his choice involved the giving of his own Son to suffer as sin-bearer for the elect (Romans 8:32).”

“The elect are, from one standpoint, the Father’s gift to the Son (John 6:39; 10:29; 17:2, 4).  Jesus testifies that he came into this world specifically to save them (John 6:37-40; 10:14-16, 26-29; 15:16; 17:6-26; Ephesians 5:25-27), and an account of his mission must emphasize this.”

“Reprobation is the name given to God’s eternal decision regarding those sinneers whom he has not chosen for life. His decision is in essence a decision not to change them, as the elect are destined to be changed, but to leave them to sin as in their hearts they already want to do, and finally to judge them as they deserve for what they have done.  When in particular instances God gives them over to their sins (i.e., removes restraints on their doing the disobedient things they desire), this is itself the beginning of judgement.  It is called “hardening” (Romans 9:18; 11:25; cf. Psalms 81:12; Romans 1:24, 26, 28), and it inevitably leads to greater guilt. ”

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Dr. Packer goes on to say the following pertaining to being a witness for Christ to each person we meet (since God in His counsel knows who the elect are, and we certainly do not!).  Christians and are bound in obedience and service to the Lord to carry out the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

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Dr. Packer states: “Reprobation is a biblical reality (Romans 9:14-24; 1 Peter 2:8), but not one that bears directly on Christian behavior.  The reprobates are faceless so far as Christians are concerned, and it is not for us to try to identify them.  Rather, we should live in light of the certainty that anyone may be saved if he or she will but repent and put faith in Christ.  We should view all persons that we meet as possibly being numbered among the elect.”

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Some key supporting verses (with my own emphases added):

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14: “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Romans 8:28-30: “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. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;”

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In future posts we will move on to other topics aside from the doctrines of predestination and election. These doctrines are very, very challenging to many people, including those who do not know the Lord as well as many of those who do.   Yet with all sincerity I have to say that the doctrines of predestination and election are in the bible because God put them there – and therefore we are under obligation before God to learn of them.

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Sidenote regarding life and community in Colby Kansas.

It would be good for we believers in Colby to pray all that much more determinedly for and provide support our publicly elected local officials.  Folks such as the Thomas County Commissioners, those in law enforcement, public servants in county and city government, the community college leadership, and others in positions of responsibility in the community of Colby need prayerful support.

Issue after issue seems to come up in the local news about difficult decisions to be made today that will affect the economic sustainability, the quality of life and the tax burdens placed on the people in Colby and Thomas County now and in the future.  Partisanship aside, the bible calls us to support these people in prayer and to submit to their leadership. It will also be a testimony for the Lord that we His people are acting as good productive citizens in local governmental affairs.

Romans 13:1-7: Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”

A Churchlayman


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