Doctrine of God: Predestination and Election
January 24, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Topic: Default Scripture: Romans 11:1–11:14
Scripture Reading -> Romans 11:1-10
As we continue our study in the Decrees of God.
Let us remind ourselves what the Westminster Confession says about the Decrees of God, Chapter 1, Article 1
God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
We spent our time last week discussing the relationship between the sovereignty of God and human responsibility of sin.
We dispelled the false notion that God, somehow, can be made responsible for our sin --- or that we can be excused from our sin.
Everything that comes to pass is ordained of God.
- And in this, we take hope and we rest.
- In this, we know that nothing can happen to us outside of God’s will
- In this, we know He causes what He knows is best for us
- So, for today, if we are to surrounded by godless men and women, and disease, and fear and hatred, and reprobate Christian, and preachers that defile the priesthood for the Kingdom of God to advance in this nation, then so be it. God is far wiser than we and we should rather trust in God than in any other flesh-pleasing endeavor or vain imaginations of man.
Responsibility of Man
- We realize that any sinful action, any disobedience of God’s commands is our fault – plain and simple – there is no one else to blame but ourselves.
Something else that can help us in reinforcing our responsibility and that God is not the author of sin nor can He be accountable for our actions is clarified for us in the WCF Chapter on Providence (Chapter 5)
- The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
James 1:13-14, 17
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
These things hast thou done, and I kept silence: thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
Having a good understanding of this will help us, then with the next section of the confession, Articles 2 through to the end.
II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions
III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.
What do we mean by the word “Predestination”?
- It is the purpose of God respecting His moral creatures.
- It is God before the foundation of the world who chose particular individuals unto salvation.
Predestination is not a new idea as some are wont to claim.
The concept was present throughout the Old Testament.
- I have declared the former things from the beginning;
- And they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them;
- I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
The Lord God was seen as having absolute control and dominion and authority for determining the disposition of mankind.
Being that God has absolute authority and control, this also means His predestinating is eternal, unconditional, and irresistible.
Just as we learned about His Decrees.
Predestinating is just another aspect of His Decree.
Some Basic Principles/ Parts to Election
There are basically two parts to Predestination:
Election and Reprobation (being foreordained to everlasting death)
Today, we will first look at the Biblical understanding of Election and then examine several passages in Scripture that teach this understanding.
Next week when we gather together again, we will examine various positions people typically respecting the Doctrine of Election. And, using Scripture, we will examine those positions and several objections used against this doctrine.
So, lets expand what we are to understand when we hear the word “Election”
- Election speaks of Israel as a special people and for a special service
Deuteronomy 7:6 – God has chosen a special people unto Himself.
Some Basic Principles/ Parts to Election
- Election speaks of some individuals appointed to some office or special service unto the Lord.
Psalm 78:70 – He chose David also as His servant.
- Election speaks of the redeemed.
- Election speaks of individuals to be children of God and heirs of His eternal glory.
that eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of men to be the recipients of special grace and of eternal salvation.
The Purpose of Election
The purpose of this eternal election is twofold:
- The purpose is the salvation of the elect.
That man is chosen or elected unto salvation is clearly taught in the Word of God, Rom. 11:7–11; 2 Thess. 2:13.
- The ultimate aim is the glory of God.
Even the salvation of men is subordinate to this.
That the glory of God is the highest purpose of the electing grace is made very clear in Eph. 1:6, 12, 14.
God Having an Elect People
- God will avenge His own elect.
- They belong to Him.
- To them that love God.
- To them that are called.
- According to His purpose.
- Not according to their purpose.
- To conform to the image of His Son.
- As the elect of God, Signifying God’s choice of a people.
1 Thessalonians 5:9
- God has predetermined a people to obtain salvation.
- God has appointed a people to obtain salvation
1 Peter 2:6-9
- Some were appointed to be disobedient.
- Some were appointed to be a chosen generation.
God having an elect people refers to salvation.
- “To proclaim the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness”
- That we choose light rather than darkness, according to the grace of God
- That we are removed from one kingdom and placed into another.
- It always speaks of an act of God.
- It is God who regenerates us.
- It is God who transforms.
- It is God who
2 Timothy 1:9
- God hath saved us and called us with a holy calling not according to our works.
- God does not see anything that we would do by which he would choose us.
- God chose according to his own purpose and grace.
1 Thessalonians 1:4
- That God does the choosing.
- That God is always expressed that it is His action
- That God is not from day to day simply choosing out people as we go moment by moment.
- That the act of choosing was before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:4, 5
- We were chosen in Christ.
- Redemption comes through him.
- Salvation is in Christ.
- He didn't say he chose us and we became sons.
- He chose us in Him.
- He said that it is in Christ in whom we are blessed through before the foundation of the world.
Clarification on the Doctrine of Election
Now, we should have a fairly clear idea that the Bible does, indeed, teach the Doctrine of Election. To argue against it is simply to argue against the Word of God.
But before we end, we need to make a clarification…
The Doctrine of Election does not teach that election and salvation are the same
- It never teaches that that if someone is elect they are going to be saved regardless of their response to the Gospel of Christ.
Now, will election by God lead to one’s salvation? Yes
The point I’m trying to make is that we cannot walk around saying
“I’m Elect” and therefore I’m going to be saved no matter what I do.”
Salvation is the result of election; it is the effect produced/ allowed by election.
Election sets a person apart that they might walk in the way of salvation.
Do you remember a few months ago when we talked about salvation not being a destination?
- Salvation is a process.
- Salvation is a way of living.
- Salvation is the path of sanctification.
- Salvation is a life lived in faith and obedience.
- Salvation is evidence by long term works borne out of a life of faith.
- We are never alleviated from the need for obedience.
- We are never given a license to sin.
We are never allowed to say “Well, I’m “Elect” so it doesn’t matter what I do. God will always forgive me.”
- Does God forgive?
But does sinning with the expectation of God approving of your decision reflect a status of being “Elect”?
- Probably not.
Remember, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
- We must continually to strive to be obedient to all of God’s commands -not just the ones that are convenient or fit our current situation.
The purpose of understanding this doctrine is so we might, through the Holy Spirit, grow in our love and admiration and devotion to Christ.
Let us stand together now and call upon the name of the Lord in Prayer.