The Difficult Doctrine of Election

Here is my attempt to define, in the simplest of ways, the most hotly debated topic in the last 2,000 years of man’s history. There is no conclusive and logical and Biblical (all at the same time) answer for the question: “How can God both choose those that He will save to eternal life, while not disregarding their free will to choose Him?” I dare not pretend to know this answer, and this here does not give a full explanation of my view. What this does do, though, is show the Biblical facts, and adding as little as possible to it.

One of the largest problem’s we have as people is that we interpret all information to fit out conclusions. We make conclusions, usually, before even looking at the facts. This age old question has some answers, and they are Biblical one’s and therefore based on truth. But simply because something is true does not make it easy to accept or comprehend. In my mind, one of the great proofs that prove God to be the only true God, and the Bible to be His inspired message to mankind, is based on conundrums like I defined in the earlier question. If the Bible is God’s Word, then it must supersede our human understanding. The truths of Scripture never contradict, but our minds cannot grasp their greatness. Truly only one greater than man could be it’s author, and therefore the plausibility and necessity for a God greatly increases.

Here is my attempt at an answer to the “Difficult Doctrine of Election”:

God has hidden from our finite minds whom it is that He has and will enable to chose Him, to be saved (Rom. 9:19-21). He hides why he chooses some to eternal blessing and life, therefore leaving others to eternal curing and death (Rom. 9:14-18, 22-23), which is our original standing (Eph. 2:1-4, 11-12). Such are the secrets hidden in the mind of the Master of the World (Deut. 23:23).

God is the one who chose us, and who sought us, and sent His beloved and only Son to die for our sins (John 3:16; Eph. 1:3-7). Christ Jesus granted us both repentance (Acts 11:18) and grace (Phil. 1:19), and through Christ caused us to be reconciled to Him (I Peter 3:18).God is the center of a man’s life, everything he is, has, and lives for comes from God–to Him belongs all glory and honor, forever and ever (Acts 17:28).

God has, in His wisdom, hidden His ways (His Divine will) from us, for our own good (Jer. 29:11). It is as Christ, when he hid the fact that Israel’s leaders would reject Him as their rightful King, from the minds of his disciples (e.g. Luke 18:34). This was God’s design, so that they would not become either too proud or discouraged, but would legitimately preach the coming “kingdom of God”, so that man could willfully reject it (contrast of John 1:11 and Luke 13:34, to Luke 19:42).

God today intends for us to preach the Gospel (the good news that Christ, through His willing death on the cross, payed the price for our sins, takes away our guilt, enables us to become more like him, and promises us eternal life) to all people (Matt. 28:19-20), that all may be saved and so we might not become presumptuous of who will be saved (John 1:12-3). God wills for the believer to, practically speaking, preach like an Arminian*, believe like a Calvinist**, and live like a Christian.

God saved us by His grace, giving us–rebellious God-hating, sin-loving people (Rom. 3:10-18)–undeserved love, and not of our own doing, for nothing we can do can please Him in his perfection and justice (Eph. 2:5-10;,13-22). That He chose any, to take us out of our wretched estate is pure mercy, and true love (I John 4:10). For the greatest love, the love we all dream to be given, is one that is eternal, unconditional, boundless in passion, and given to those who can give nothing in return. This is God’s love for us, through Christ (great visual in Luke 15:11-32 of God’s love towards us).

John 15:13

Arminianism* – defined via Theopedia

Calvinism** – Defined via Theopedia


7 thoughts on “The Difficult Doctrine of Election

Add yours

  1. Thanks brother! God’s election is God’s love… “‘I have loved you [Israel],’ says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have You loved us?’ ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD ‘Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau” (Malachi 1:2-3).

  2. I’ve been confronted with this many times as well Andres, it stands out to me more than anything. When attempting to understand why God chose some, and how free will works into the decision, my mind doesn’t understand. The best illustration in my mind is that of Job before God, as He shows His freedom to do what he wants whenever He wants to. God is such, beyond our control, yet always seeking for the good of His Creation.
    Good verses Tom, quoted of course by Paul in Rom. 9–one of the most difficult passages to understand. But it sheds light on God’s character, that he chooses some out of His mercy when none of us deserve it.

  3. that´s an amazing thought that God chose some out of his mercy when none of us deserved it. And it is good that we don´t know who so that the word of God is preached to everyone.

  4. I recently read a fun book about this subject – “John Calvin goes to Berkeley” by Jim McCarthy. It’s quite ingenious actually: he delves into this subject using a story format. You get the responses to the different positions and as the plot develops you see how different emphases play out in lives of the characters.

    I think his conclusion is sound. McCarthy sort of backs off from the traditional locking of horns and helps see that our perception of election isn’t quite what God was saying.

  5. That would probably be a very interesting book dad! I definitely back-off from making any dogmatic claims on Calvinism or Armenianism. It has been argued for over sixteen hundred years now, since Augustine, and I don’t think my brain can comprehend it all. It is better to let God be God and take Him at His Word.
    I guess I don’t want to be stupid either and just brush it off, but not make it a point of contention, or be “arguing over words” as Paul accused some of doing in his letter to Timothy.

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