What is election? Is it Unconditional?

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by Inspector Javert, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. Inspector Javert

    Inspector Javert
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    This is adapted from arguments presented on another Baptist Forum:
    http://www.baptistsymposium.com/for...-pharaun-is-unconditional-election-scriptural

    To begin with, it is important to rightly define what "election" is….and what it is not. In a way, non-Calvinists have already played somewhat into their opponent's hands by permitting the definition of "election" to be defined so narrowly as meaning essentially nothing more or less than the status of or the identification of one who either is or is not saved. The truth is…..the word "election" is not nearly so narrowly defined nor used either lexically or contextually so very narrowly in the Scriptures.
    Fundamentally….."election" (either un-conditional or conditional) isn’t really even a DOCTRINE per se……it’s a word! And as we seek the entire Scriptural teaching of what "election" is, we will note that it has various references at different times and in regards to different classes of people.
    "Election" and "the Elect" are used for different classes of people in different eras and through both covenants to refer to various groups of people. In some cases, it may be that one is "elect" through no particularly identifiable condition (at least not an immediate one). And there are most cases, wherein one is "elect" due to very explicit and concrete conditions…..but, the question is: What are they "elected" for? To what end? We cannot understand what the Scriptures say about "election" unless we permit the Scriptures to define what is meant by the word in all of it’s various applications. My Calvinist friends tend to speak of "election" too narrowly and myopically as simply being two categories:

    The "elect" - meaning the ultimately saved
    The "non-elect - meaning the ultimately damned

    I will attempt to show in part, that that is not the Scriptural usage or meaning for "election" at all:
    I said earlier that "election" is not a "doctrine" it’s a word. And the reality is that even a cursory look at how the Scriptures use the word begins to define an individual as God’s "elect" is in Isaiah 42:1. It will be noted that the Scriptures are here speaking of Jesus Christ……the SAVIOUR! certainly NOT someone who is "saved" from anything!

    Isa. 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.


    However…the first class of persons the Scriptures speak of as God’s elect or his "chosen" are not the "saved" but rather the Nation of Israel. It can easily be seen that the "elect" were not only the nation of Israel, and furthermore (perhaps more importantly) that they are elect TO or FOR something; something identifiable and specific. It also becomes clear that not all of those "elect" ARE "saved" ultimately at all.God’s "chosen" are identified by the word "בָּחִיר" in the following verses:
    1Ch 16:13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
    Psa 105:6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.


    Perhaps most immediately important, is that the "election" of Israel was certainly NOT utterly without Condition. God states a very particular reason for his "election" of his people in the Pentateuch.
    Deut 4: 37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;

    Consider immediately the testing of Abraham, the one God chose after the sacrifice of Isaac:
    Gen 22: 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
    Gen 22: 17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
    Gen 22: 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

    Here we see quite clearly the first group of humans who are "elect" and it is in fact because of something Abraham has DONE!

    However, are all of the "elect" saved? Certainly not, and it is important that we establish quite simply that "election" and "salvation" are certainly not synonyms in Scripture. Certainly....the New Testament saved Jew and Gentile are referred to as "elect" and indeed due to their status as having become heirs to the kingdom, but it is certainly not a fait-accompli that anyone who is "elect" is saved. The saved are a sub-set of the elect.

    We see that the Apostles were "elect".......including Judas Iscariot: The word used for the saved "elect" is used of Judas Iscariot in John 6:70. ἐκλέγομαι
    Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
    In case you are wondering.......precisely the same word is used in Ephesians 1:4, a favourite Calvinist proof-text:
    Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen (ἐκλέγομαι) us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
    Was Judas Iscariot "elect" in the sense of being a New Testament Christian?.....I trow not! Yet he was indeed of the "chosen" in a certain group.

    The important elements I am suggesting are two-fold
    1.) That "election" as a word has been too often piggy-backed onto Calvinistic pre-suppositions rendering the word "elect" (meaning the saved here) to contain assumptions which are not Scriptural.
    2.) That often there are certainly "Conditions" involved in God's decision to "elect" or to "choose"

    Thus it stands to reason that quite probably there are "Conditions" associated with being a member of Christ's "elect" in reference to N.T. salvation....namely, that is simply FAITH.
    Now, it is important that we agree that those conditions are in no way to suggest something meritorious, or that it involves "good" works but that simply conditions exist. That is certainly what we find is the sufficient and necessary condition for status as Christ's N.T. "elect".
    James 2: 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen (ἐκλέγομαι) the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

    The simplicity of Romans chapter 10 demonstrates these simple clear truths so ably:
    Rom 10: 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    v. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    v. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    v. 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: (here we read "election" applying to both Jew and Gentile through FAITH) for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
    v. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    In conclusion......."election" is rarely (if ever) truly "Unconditional" in any Scriptural context, and quite specifically "election" of the New Testament Christian now includes BOTH Jew and Gentile, but based upon a simple caveat (or condition).....................faith.
     
  2. Van

    Van
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    To summarize, when God makes choices of individuals or groups, they can be referred to as elect. So only when God chooses a group for salvation is a corporate election for salvation in view. And only when God chooses an individual for salvation is an individual election for salvation in view.

    2 Thessalonians 2:13 says God chooses individuals for salvation by setting them apart, the sanctification by the Spirit, on the basis of faith in the truth, thus a conditional election based on God crediting the faith of the individual as righteousness.

    Ephesians 1:4 says He (God) chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. The question that separates many Christians is: Was this an individual election for salvation or a corporate election for salvation.

    My view is that since we are chosen individually during our lifetime, after we have faith in the truth, this before creation election must be corporate. The idea is God chose Christ as redeemer, and therefore in choosing Him, He chose us corporately as those to be redeemed.
     
  3. JonC

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    Oh...Oh...I know....been around the BB for awhile.

    Election is God choosing. It is unconditional because it is God choosing men instead of men choosing God :smilewinkgrin:
     
  4. Inspector Javert

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    Thanks for posting those articles Quantum! :wavey::thumbs:
     
  5. Van

    Van
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    While the article (Part 1) makes many valid points, here Jack goes off the rails, in my opinion. First, individual election for salvation also is in part an election for service as ambassadors of Christ. Second, the election in view in 1 Peter 2:9-10 is individual not corporate (i.e. the church) because we as individuals were called out of darkness and placed in the body of Christ, the church.

    Next, Jack's fourth point also completely misses Ephesians 1:1-14 actual message. First, the passage is addressed to individuals, saints faithful in Christ. Individuals are placed in Christ, baptized into His death, and undergo the circumcision of Christ. Paul is addressing the many blessings bestowed upon the individuals who have been placed in Christ.

    The first blessing is that the individuals in Christ were chosen corporately before the foundation of the world, because Christ was chosen before the foundation of the world to be God's redeemer, and therefore those subsequently redeemed were chosen corporately when Christ was chosen. Thus the blessing of God's purpose and grace was granted us who are in Christ from all eternity when God chose His Redeemer.

    Next, when Paul says God predestined us to adoption, again, He is not speaking of Jews, Gentiles, or the Church as a group, but of "saints in Christ Jesus." This too is a blessing of those in Christ, we are predestined to be adopted. Paul uses the word adopt to refer to our bodily resurrection, see Romans 8:23. When we are born anew in Christ, we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son and to be raised in a glorified body at His second coming.
     
  6. Van

    Van
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    In part II of Dr. Cottrell's article, he continues, in my opinion, on the wrong track. Here is some of what he said:

    1 Peter 2:9-10 tells us God chooses us for a purpose - we were called out of darkness so we could proclaim His excellencies. The passage also tells us (the objective reader) that we were alive and living without mercy before we were chosen. Also we were alive, yet not a people, before we became a people. Thus the passage teaches we were chosen, individually election for salvation during our lifetime, not before creation.

    1 Peter 1:1-2, teaches we were chosen "by the sanctifying work of the Spirit. This refers to God transferring us from the realm of darkness into the kingdom of His Son. We are put in Christ individually, therefore this passage also refers to individual election for salvation.

    2 Thessalonians 2:13 teaches we were chosen through the sanctification by the Spirit (God baptizing us into Christ) and faith in the truth (God basing His individual election of us upon His crediting (or not) of our faith as righteousness.

    James 2:5 again teaches God chooses those rich in faith who love God, an individual election for salvation through faith.

    1 Corinthians 1:26-30 tells us of God choosing people of lowly characteristics to shame the wise, yet again teaching individual election for salvation through faith, and not through wealth, power or being well born.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    I think what should first be established is the meaning of "in Christ." In chapter one they were "chosen in him" (1:4). In the second chapter of Ephesians they are "hidden in Christ" (2:5) but prior that they had been "created in Christ" (2:10). In regard to their lost condition he describes them "at that time ye were WITHOUT Christ" (2:12).

    Is there any possible salvation for anyone at anytime OUTSIDE of Christ? If not, then how can anyone be "in Christ" and not in possession of all that entails???

    Second, are you not forced to make a distinction between "chosen" versus "created in Christ"? Which one actually places you "in Christ" in regard to salvational blessings? We did not actually exist before the world began and so it is difficult to imagine we actually entered into any literal salvation of our person prior to Eph. 2:10 when we were "created in Christ." Do you see any other point of entrance "in Christ" prior to Ephesians 2:10? If not, then isn't Ephesians 1:4 simply predestination of individuals before the world began to actually obtain entrance "in Christ" by a created act of God in Ephesians 2:10 (2 Cor. 4:6) and thus we are chosen in him before the world began "TO salvation" (2 Thes. 2:13)?
     
    #8 The Biblicist, Dec 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2013
  8. prophet

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    Election, is the choosing of a representative, by the free will of the represented.
     
  9. Jacob_Elliott

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    This begs the question "what is free will?".
     
  10. prophet

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    Choice without coercion or force.
     

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