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Divine Election

There are many people who will honestly confess they have never studied the Bible doctrine of election. There are others who, though they have studied the subject, admit that they have failed to understand it to their satisfaction. Admittedly it may be somewhat difficult to understand, but that is because we are exploring a teaching that comes from the mind of God. However, the fruit of such a study can be well worth the effort. Like a nut the shell may be hard and difficult to crack, but once inside the meat is sweet to the taste. Therefore, it is the objective of this tract, to share some scriptures and teachings that may help others understand Divine election and be blessed.

It is important for us to understand that "election" has been the subject of many books; and volumes have been written about it. Many brilliant people have explored the depths of this divine doctrine. However, the Bible is without doubt the greatest source of information on this subject? In addition to this tract, please study prayerfully the holy scriptures. Through Paul God said, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

We are going to approach this study in a two-fold manner. First, we want to verify that it is a teaching of the Bible. If it exists only in the minds of mortals, it would be questionable as to how much time and effort should be expended in understanding it. However, if in fact it does exist in the pages of the Holy Bible, then it has emerged from the mind and purposes of God and will enrich lives while at the same time honor Him. Second, after we establish that it does exist in the pages of holy scriptures, we shall try to simplify these truths for a better understanding. As a doctrine of God it is worthy of an exhaustive study. Hopefully as we focus on the scriptures, they will be clarified so we can embrace them and rejoice in God's work of grace.

With our first objective in mind we will endeavor to establish the fact that election is taught in the Bible. If you have access to a Bible concordance, look up words like: choose, chosen, elect, elected and election. In the event that one is not available, let me list a few verses that contain these words so that you might begin your study by reading them in your Bible. Please study these verses prayerfully: Deuteronomy 7:6-8, Psalm 64:4, Isaiah 45:4, Matthew 24:22 & 31, Luke 18:7, John 15:16, Acts 9:15, Romans 9:11, Romans 11:5-6, Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 1:2, and 1 Peter 2:9-10.

Having established that the Bible does indeed teach divine election, we can move on to the second objective. We will now endeavor to understand the doctrine in its application to our salvation. At this point we need to realize that divine election simply means divine selection. This truth can be easily understood by looking at our political process. By an election we select a person to fill an office or position. Therefore, we should understand that God also selects or elects people who in time will inherit heaven. However, there is a very noticeable difference between our elections and God's. With us MANY people usually elect ONE person to hold office; while in divine election, ONE God elects MANY people to be saved and enjoy heaven.

Election teaches that God chose an incalculable number of people out of Adam's fallen race. He chose us and gave us to His beloved Son, in the covenant of grace. Jesus said, "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39). Why was this necessary? Because everyone is a sinner and unable to save himself. The Bible says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Then in the fullness of time, Jesus came into this world to redeem His covenant people from their sins. The Bible says, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4-5). Christ allowed Himself to be crucified to pay our sin debt and thus to save His people from the penalty of their sins. The angel declared, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

Thank God that He chose in eternity past, before the world was created; all who will spend eternity with Him in heaven after this world ends. I believe that to help us understand this truth, God chose the Jews as a special nation. Therefore, I want us to consider three similarities between God's choice of the Jews and His choice of us. They hold true for both the natural nation of Israel and the spiritual nation of the elect.

First, the Jews were chosen by God. They did not choose God, He chose them. God did not issue a decree to all the nations of the world saying "If you will choose Me, then I will be your God and bless you." Instead, God chose the Jews sovereignly and made them the "chosen nation." Therefore, as their God He blessed them as a special people. So we read in Deuteronomy 7:6 these words: "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."

The same pattern holds true for the redeemed church. God chose us, not the reverse. Because He chose us, we are His people and the blessings He bestows upon us as His elect transcend time and extend into the endless ages of eternity. We might well repeat the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples and apply them to ourselves. He said, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (John 15:16). Though we may never fully understand why He chose us, it is sufficient to believe that He did so. Because of divine election we are a people special in God's sight.

Second, we can understand that God's choice of the Jews did not come because of anything they did. God did not see some rare and wonderful quality that moved Him to chose them. In fact, history reveals that the opposite is true. Throughout the Old Testament, they were often disobedient and even rebellious to God. They repeatedly turned from the worship of the true God, to the pagan gods worshipped by various adjacent nations.

Nothing about them indicates they were a people worthy of divine choice. They were not even numerous and strong. God had to multiply their numbers and be their strength. Listen to Deuteronomy 7:7: "The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people."

The same holds true of God's elect today in that nothing in our being deserves His special favors. He did not choose us because we were good, for we have all sinned. Nor did He see some good in us, for apart from His grace there is none. Paul held up Jacob and Esau as examples of election. To convince some who might suppose there is some merit or worthiness in man, He wrote Romans 9:11. He said, "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)" Paul plainly declares that the election was before they were born and even before the world was made. Ephesians 1:4 says, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." He chose us to make us holy.

Third, we need to note that because God chose them, they were blessed and enriched. All they enjoyed came because God loved them. He chose them and redeemed them from bondage. Moses wrote, "But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 7:8). It tells us that God loved them and made them a standard before the nations of the world. When He blessed the Old Testament Jews, no nation was their equal. God ultimately blessed them to enjoy the land "flowing with milk and honey."

The elect of God are blessed in many ways because He loves us too. Because of His love, He works mightily in our lives. He chose us and gave Jesus to die for our sins. He also sent the Holy Spirit into us, to quicken us into spiritual life. The Bible says: "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). Even now He leads us by His Spirit, teaches us by His word, allows us the privilege of His fellowship, makes us new creatures in Christ. Paul said, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). God is the gracious force Who gives salvation to us and binds us eternally to Himself.

So then "election" is not because of our goodness, nor because of any goodness we might do. It is altogether because of His goodness to us. He chose us and drew us by His sovereign power. Psalm 65:4 declares, "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." The truth is election comes first, then by His grace we are enabled to do good, to love and serve, to praise and worship God. He says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The "elect" are a spiritual nation, chosen out of every nation of the world (Revelation 5:9). God chose us that we might praise Him the world over. God inspired Peter to write, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9). Apart from divine election, and the provisions of His grace, these spiritual qualities would be absent from our lives. Let us always praise Him for choosing us and saving us through Christ our Lord.

If you wonder how this doctrine can be true or suppose that God would be unjust if it were, let me remind you that God can and will do as it pleases Him. He is sovereign. "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Romans 9:15-16). Think about it this way; you choose your friends and decide to whom you will be benevolent. Surely God has the same privilege of choice. He has the right to choose those upon whom He will bestow His blessing. So God devised the plan, chose the people and paid for their sin debt with the precious blood of His sinless Son. Who has the right to say He did it wrong? No one!

I know beyond a doubt that the Bible teaches election. It is a matter as simple as reading the scriptures and by faith believing they are eternally true. I can also see evidence of it in the lives of many people because God has made a difference in them. Though you and I cannot possibly know all God's elect, we have the blessed assurance that God knows each one. Paul said, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Timothy 2:19). Those of us who truly claim the name of Jesus, do so as the result of His electing grace.

When we embrace the truth of divine election, God is honored and praised for His grace towards us. This doctrine gives none of the glory of salvation to man. No glory is shared with man because it all rightfully belongs to Him Who chose us. We should rejoice that divine election is taught in the Bible and we should share this wonderful truth with others. Are you willing to do so? Do not be ashamed of this blessed doctrine, though it has been abused by vain men. Let us herald this truth as we manifest our deep gratitude for His DIVINE ELECTION.

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This page last updated on June 17, 2014