The Decree of Election

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by rufus, May 5, 2003.

  1. rufus

    rufus
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    The Decree of Election

    Various words are used to describe the decree of election, such as “purpose,” “foreknowledge,” and “predestination.” “. . . them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate” (Rom. 8:28–29). It is also referred to as being ordained to eternal life: “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48); as being written in the book of life: “but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20); as obtaining salvation (1 Th. 5:9), and by the word “chosen”: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

    Election is the foreordination of God whereby He eternally, certainly, and immutably has decreed to lead some specific individuals, identified by name, unto eternal salvation, not because of foreseen faith or good works, but motivated purely by His singular and sovereign good pleasure, to the glory of His grace.

    (1) Election is a divine deed. It has pleased the eternal God, who is all–sufficient in Himself, to communicate His goodness, having chosen some men to be the recipients of that communication. “He hath chosen us” (Eph. 1:4); He hath appointed us “to obtain salvation” (1 Th. 5:9). It is for this reason that they are called “His own elect” (Luke 18:7). God must not be perceived here as Judge, judging the deeds of men to either justify or damn them in consequence of this, but He must here be considered as sovereign Lord, who deals with His creatures as it pleases Him, electing the one and rejecting the other.

    (2) Election originates in eternity. In time, God sets some apart by His efficacious call, bringing them from a natural state into the state of grace. “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). This selective call, however, proceeds from God’s eternal purpose (Rom. 8:28). Thus the decree of election was not made in time—in response to man’s existence, faith, and godly life—but occurred before man performed any good deed (Rom. 9:11); that is, from eternity, before the foundation of the world. “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” (Eph. 1:4); “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11); “. . . according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:9).

    (3) Election pertains to specific individuals; that is, God has made a distinction between men and men. “Many be called, but few chosen” (Mat. 20:16); “. . . but the election . . . and the rest . . .” (Rom. 11:7). The elect are specific individuals, identified by name, in contradistinction to other specific individuals. God neither chose individuals because of qualities or virtues nor because of faith or godliness, but His choice relates to specific identity only. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate” (Rom. 8:29); “The Lord knoweth them that are His” (2 Tim. 2:19); “. . . whose names are in the book of life” (Phil. 4:3).

    (4) Election did not occur by virtue of Christ’s merits, foreseen faith, or anticipated good works. These are fruits issuing forth from election. They are not the causes of election. They do not precede election but are a consequence of it. There is nothing which necessitates God to do anything. Nothing which would be in man, nor any future deeds, moved God to elect a person. The reason for election is nothing but the sovereign good pleasure of God. “. . . according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself. . . . having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Christ Jesus to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:9, 5).
    This alone is the fountain of election. In its execution, however, God uses means. God, having permitted the human race to become subject to sin and punishment, in time draws His elect out of this state and is gracious to them. Election is therefore called the election of grace. “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works” (Rom. 11:5–6).

    Because God has elected some, He grants Christ to them in order to bring them to God and salvation in a manner consistent with His divine Being. “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me” (John 17:6). It is in this respect that election occurred in Christ. “According as He hath chosen us in Him. . . . Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself . . . wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4–6).

    This election is not a consequence of any foreseen faith or good works. These issue forth out of election, being the means to make the elect partakers of the salvation ordained for them. This is true for faith: “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). Therefore faith is called the faith of the elect (Titus 1:1). Consider also what is stated concerning good works in Ephesians 1:5,4, “Having predestinated us [not because we were such and such or because God viewed us as such but] . . . that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” For whom he did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). These He called, justified, and glorified (Rom. 8:30).

    (5) Election is immutable. Man will not change this decree, as this election was not made on the basis of conditions. “God Himself works in His elect that which is pleasing to Him, thereby leading them unto salvation. God will not of Himself change this decree, since with the Lord there” is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17). The Lord’s wisdom and omnipotence cause His counsel to stand. This is why Scripture speaks of the “immutability of His counsel” (Heb. 6:17); “That the purpose of God according to election might stand” (Rom. 9:11); “The foundation of God standeth sure” (2 Tim. 2:19); “Whom He did predestinate . . . them He also glorified” (Rom. 8:30).

    (6) The purpose of election is the glorification of God. This is not to add glory to Him, for He is perfect, but to reveal all His glorious perfections which manifest themselves in the work of redemption, to angels and men, in order that in reflecting upon them felicity may be experienced. Its purpose is, by glorifying and praising Him, to end with all things in Him in whom all things must end, and thus to afford Him honor and glory. The purpose is “to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe” (2 Th. 1:10); it is to “the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:6). In reference to this the apostle exclaims, “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  2. rufus

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    Arminianism is flawed by a serious contradiction: on the one hand it affirms predestination and grace, while on the other hand denying it or gutting it of any real significance by asserting that it is conditional upon man's free will.

    The theologian Otto Heick describes Arminianism as an oxymoron, an "absolute conditionalism":

    "God in his decrees is conditioned by man's free will -

    Man in his search for salvation is conditioned by God's grace".

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  3. Yelsew

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    There can be no degrees of election. (except in Florida).

    One is either elect or one is not! That decision was established from the foundation of the world, according to the word of God. No one is partially elect.
     
  4. Frogman

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    Except in Florida. :D
     
  5. Ray Berrian

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    If Election came about by autocratic decree alone, apart from the free agency of human beings, God would be treating His creation like a mindless human being, saying you go to Heaven and you, over there, go to destruction. Augustinian/Calvinism gets into serious error when it elevates sovereignty above the other attributes of God. Each attribute must be kept in balance. If Christians taught only that God's love is His greatest attribute, we would not believe that the Lord could ever send anyone to Hell. By the same token, this is why we cannot over-emphasize Divine sovereignty, lest we blame God for being bias in sending the relative few to Heaven and the rest into the eternal fires of Hell. [Matt. 7:13-14]

    God tell us in various passages in the N.T. that we should not have respect of persons and when we do we commit a sin against man and God. [James 2:9; Acts 10:34] When we are bias toward anyone, more especially in the church, ' . . . we are convinced of the law as a transgressor.'

    Calvinists and Arminians agree that all human beings are born sinners to say nothing of acts of rebellion committed against holy God. [Rom. 3:23]

    If God selected His group for Heaven and Hell, He would be committing the same and even worse sin than He has taught His people not to commit. Favoritism in fact would be a transgression against His own moral law. It is simply foolishness to even begin to think that God would violate His own law and truth by autocratically saving a relative few [Matt. 7:13-14] and allowing or ordaining the rest to suffer Hell forever.

    Faith in Jesus is the determining factor. [John 3:16] We do, however, know that He knows the exact number of His elect and because He is omnscient and omnibenevolent.

    In Deuteronomy 10:17 God says that He does not regard persons. Divine justice is taught under both covenants, the Old and New Testaments.
     
  6. KenH

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    If God is not absolutely sovereign then God is not God and we are all hopeless and lost. Sovereignty is what makes God to be God. If some other force, such as man's will, can override God's will, then God is not sovereign and is not dependable. His sovereignty is not simply one attribute equal to all other attributes. It is His ultimate attribute.
     
  7. Ray Berrian

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    It has been said that, 'His sovereignty is not simply one attribute equal to all other attributes. It is His ultimate attribute.'

    This sentence and belief may work in a 'down home' or 'laymen's theology', but it goes against all good hermeneutical principles.

    God in His sovereignty has planned for human responsibility with reference to He and His Gospel. There are no forced sojourners or conscripted spiritual soldiers in the army of the Lord. [Revelation 19:14] From the 'fallen angel' from Heaven, to Adam and Eve until the last free will sinner bows before His throne, they have all activated their choice by their own perogative.

    God knocked at the backsliders door in Revelation 3:20 and He does the same at the heart's door of the sinner. No forced entry. No forced soujourners. No conscripts. This would be pushing sovereignty to its ultimate. It is good news to those who open their lives to Christ, and it will become at the judgment, bad news for those who did not respond to His general and unadulterated call to repentance. [Acts 17:30] 'Now {is His} command to all men everywhere to repent.' There is no bias or partiality in this passage from His heart.
     
  8. Yelsew

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    If God is not absolutely sovereign then God is not God and we are all hopeless and lost. Sovereignty is what makes God to be God. If some other force, such as man's will, can override God's will, then God is not sovereign and is not dependable. His sovereignty is not simply one attribute equal to all other attributes. It is His ultimate attribute. </font>[/QUOTE]John says God is Love. If God is not absolutely love then he is not God. God is omniscient, if not absolutely omniscient then he is not God. Scripture says that God is mercy if not absolutely merciful is he God? What about justice, omnipotence, grace, holy, etc. etc.

    The fact is there is one living God there is no other, therefore God is sovereign. Who can take His sovereignty from Him.
     
  9. Frogman

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    First Brother Ray I believe there is a difference in a backsliding believer and a lost unbeliever.

    I also believe the Gospel is first bad news---the conviction for sinfulness---realization of being lost---then and not until then is it good news to the believer to find the peace of God in Christ.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  10. Ray Berrian

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    Yelsew,

    'Who can take His sovereignty from Him?'

    Christians would not want even to try to take His sovereignty from Him. We are told in the Old Testament that 'the nations are a drop in the bucket.' It sure makes us rather insignificant, except for the fact that we have been adopted into His family as the children of God. [I John 3:2]
     
  11. Yelsew

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    Ray, that question was my way of punctuating the point that God is Sovereign. I know there is none who can take it, or usurp it. God said, "I am that I am". That leaves no openings.
     
  12. Frogman

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    Not even for a sinful creature to call himself of God's family apart from the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

    No man calleth Jesus Lord without the Spirit, and no man by the Spirit calleth him cursed.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  13. Yelsew

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    Is this targeted towards someone in particular?
     
  14. Frogman

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    It is not targeting anyone in particular, but is a reply to the following quote:

    "That leaves no openings"

    Bro. Dallas
     

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