Election: The Fountain of Salvation
In His eternal counsel, and in accord with His eternal good pleasure, God has decreed His election of certain people from before the Creation (Eph 1:4, 5). God the Father chose His eternal Son, as His first choice (Is 42:1). Christ is the Head of His church (Col 1:18), which is comprised of God’s elect people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9).
Because God’s election is eternal, His purpose in predestination is unchanging (Eph 1:11). God is immutable (Heb 13:8), and so are His eternal decrees. In His predetermined plan and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23), God has set His love upon His chosen people (Mic 7:18, 20), and nothing can separate them from His love in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:35–39). His unchanging, eternal choice precludes any condition in the ones He has selected for salvation. Or stated another way, there is nothing in the object (elect saint) of God’s election that could influence, for better or worse, God’s free will choice to save some people, but not others.
Election is like an eternal fountain, from which flows every other good thing in God’s salvation of His vessels of mercy, being prepared for glory (Rom 9:23). Grace is the river flowing from election. It brings the life of God to those on its winding path (Ps 1:3; 104:16; Rev 22:1–2). There is only one election, hence, there is only one people of God (Is 49:3, 6; Gal 6:16), who are given this life, as evidenced by faith. Election produces faith in the objects of God’s grace (Eph 2:8–9). There are a definite number of people who believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord (Rom 11:25).
God has ordained, in His sovereign grace, that His elect would hear the Gospel of grace (Acts 20:24; Rom 10:17), and believe its report, of all that God has done in electing some to salvation. Love never fails (1 Cor 13:8), and God’s love is His motive in election (Eph 1:4, 5). In His free choice, God had the sovereign right to save not one single sinner; but in love, He predestined, called, justified, and glorified His holy nation of people, the beloved of God (Rom 1:7; 8:30). It is by His doing alone, that these are in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30).
Because election and its subsequent blessings are entirely the work of God, there is an assurance of salvation, rooted in an assurance of election. God chose. His choice was in eternity. It does not change. It cannot be interrupted, nor will it be cancelled. There is no recall, nor annulment. This is a sure election, thus, a sure salvation. The benefits to believers, in this life, are immense, with an eternal inheritance awaiting them in heaven (1 Pet 1:4). The grace of election brings peace and rest to the Christian, safe in Christ, now and forever.
The eternal love of God for the eternal Son of God has a definite number of elect souls, who are each personally known by name (Ex 33:17; Ps 91:14; Is 45:3; 2 Tim 2:19). These do nothing to merit God’s election of them, and so there are no demerits that could make election conditional, that is, dependent on the success or failure of human performance. In other words, man can do nothing to manipulate God’s sovereign salvation.
The sovereign reprobation of those God has not chosen for salvation is made plain by the doctrine of election. Our understanding of God, creating vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (Rom 9:22), is clear in Scripture. Not all people have faith in Jesus Christ (2 Thess 3:2). Because faith is a gift of God’s grace (Rom 12:3; Phil 1:29), we acknowledge that grace is reserved for the elect of God. The notion of common grace to all people is bunk.
Love is set upon certain individuals (Dt 7:7), who receive the Holy Spirit, the gift of God (Acts 2:38), which positions grace in the heart of regenerate believers, who have been made alive by the grace of God in Christ (Col 2:6). Whereas sin reigns in the reprobate (Rom 5:14, 21), grace reigns in the elect, regenerate, believer, who has been adopted as a child of God (1 Jn 3:1), and who affectionately calls God, “Father (Rom 8:15).”
Despite the simplicity of election and reprobation, there is a two-fold response. First, one believes the Gospel because she was appointed to eternal life (Acts 13:48), having been given to Christ in eternity, and having received the gift of the Holy Spirit in time (Acts 2:38; 10:45), having received the grace that gave her faith (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29). Second, one does not believe the Gospel because he was not appointed to eternal life, and was not given to Christ in eternity, and did not receive the Holy Spirit in time, so does not have grace, which is the only way to have faith unto salvation.
Salvation belongs to God (Jon 2:9), and He saved us (Tit 3:5). It is proclaimed to all nations by faithful preachers of election and reprobation (Rom 10:14–15). The Gospel of salvation is revealed from faith to faith (Rom 1:17), illumining the unconditional election of God’s chosen people from eternity. By grace, these chosen unbelievers are transferred from the domain of darkness and positioned in Christ, that is, in the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13). In Christ, they are taught by God’s Spirit, the Word of truth, through the labors of regenerate, called, men of God, who proclaim Him (Col 1:24–25).
The message of election and reprobation give clarity to the rest of Scripture, as the unifying principle of God’s eternal purpose of salvation in Christ, alone (Eph 3:11). There is great comfort and joy for the elect believer (Ps 23; Phil 4:4–8), in contrast, with scoffing unbelief from the reprobate (Ps 2:1). Thus, we learn that preaching and teaching the doctrines of election and reprobation are a blessing and benefit to the called of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:6). His elect saints are never ashamed of these glorious doctrines of God’s sovereign will and choice (Eph 1:11), for He has shown mercy to them, and He has made them glad (Rom 9:15; Ps 92:4). Therefore, they are forever praising Him (Ps 79:13), for His most wise and infinitely gracious decision to save them for Himself.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 19, 2021