People Chosen by God
God's Elect, the Ekklesia (Called Out Ones)
The question being examined should,
I hope, bring clarity to the question, "Does God choose men and nations?
or is it a result of human will and action? We shall look at a number
of Bible texts.
"Many are called but few are chosen."
What can we understand about those who God calls? Some of us consider
ourselves to be among the chosen. We have been converted, through various
life circumstances. We have come to be followers of the Messiah, Jesus.
Others it seems can't be persuaded to believe. They do not believe in
any kind of transformative power that God (a god) provides to make us
into something called "a new creation." The doctrine of the Election of
God is a doctrine of interest to Biblical scholars, theologians are quick
to slap a label on it and to argue for or against it. The question has
been debated for centuries since the time of Augustine and before. The
label of "Calvinism" seems to carry a stigma with it that boils down to
whether or not a human being has any measure of free will or not.
I have personally never considered myself
a Calvinist. Those who pursue theology have a propensity to label those
various "reformers" who followed Luther and the Reformation
and Calvin as part of this doctinal class.
What we must realize is that Luther
and Calvin and others after the Reformation, carried the legacy of long
held doctrine of the priesthood and the precepts the practices of the
Roman church. They have held since the days of Luther the amillenial
view that that the church with its heirarchy of leadership represents
the final 'Kingdom of God' a doctrine clarified by St. Augustine. This
is a non-biblical teaching. The scripture reveals contrary to church traditions,
that the Kingdom is yet to be ushered in, not with any existing
institutional religious denomination, but by the future return of Christ
The reformers departed only slightly
from their predecessors, holding to the view that Israel and Judaism had
been replaced by the church. The church denominations that followed the
reformation had, to our deep shame and misfortune, thoroughly purged anything
Judaic from their eschatology so that the hundreds of prophetic promises
given concerning Israel and to the Messianic kingdom to come, were twisted.
This has resulted in a metaphorical, allegorical rendering of Old Testament
prophecy, Jesus, the apostles, and "The Revelation" of John.
This erroneous rendering of scripture also cost thousands of souls to
be slaughtered by the church in the crusades, by the Calvinists themselves,
and later by the anti-Jewish, Nazi holocaust. It was through religious
priestcraft that guaranteed a promise of heaven, through infant baptism,
and sacramentalism, another dangerous error. Even today in depictions
of the Life of Jesus or the gospel we see Jesus and the apostles as not
really Jewish. A recent movie, The Son of God, fell
into this same error.
What Calvinists Believe
Theology and scholastic dogma is persistant.
So today thousands of mainline churches remain in the grip of the tradition
called "Calvinism." Calvinism has certain tenets, some
of which I believe are valid and some not. There is a mnemonic
given to summarize the principles:
TULIP: (T) Total depravity. Yes, though often not apparent,
man is NOT essentially good (a humanistic, Universalist view) nor can
he be called a "child of God."
(U) Unmerited favor. Yes, I believe this is a valid principle.
We recognize that scripturally, salvation is a divine action. Christ died
for the sins of all! The power of God availed through Jesus' resurrection,
makes us into a regenerated being. Salvation is not the result of mere
ascent to a kind of doctrine. On the other hand, we must believe in
our hearts unto righteousness and confess that Jesus is Savior and
Lord. This comes from a depth of belief that God plants within us.
(L) Limited atonement. Calvinists hold that Jesus did not
die for all since some are objects of wrath. Did Jesus die for all?
My answer is "Yes, Christ died for all who will believe, not just
for some." As many who will come he gives the right to become "children
of God." Redemption is free and for all. Yet, and this is a mystery
to me, few receive this free gift! The Father in heaven does not force
anyone to believe. Calvinists may say that He has not made salvation available
to all. I can not support that notion as God is Loving and Fare. For whatever
reason, some who are told the story of the Good News still choose darkness
over light. That is their FREELY CHOSEN WILL. Part of this mystery may
be explained by the fact that God has foreknowledge of those who did choose
and those who prayerfully persevere from day to day until their days on
earth are fulfilled. This is what God has already perceived from outside
(I) Irresistible Grace. According to this tenet no one who
is God's elect can resist His call no matter how defiled in sin he/she
may be. Yet, all must hear the Word of Truth that is preached. "For
how will they hear unless someone is sent to preach that word." When
the gospel is preached there are some who will receive the word and others
that may not. (The parable of the sower and the seed. Mark 4:14)
If grace is inevitable then evangelism is really nothing to be valued.
Thus, this is a tenet of Calvinism that is flawed.
(P) Persistency of God's grace upon the believer. Those who are
saved are preserved and guaranteed not to depart from God's love and ultimate
destiny. This writer believes that we as believers who know God are known
of God will continue in his Grace. We were saved, are being saved and
will be saved hereafter. We will continue to be watchful, prayerful and
repentant. And yes, this perseverence is enabled by the Power of God working
in us. Any person who assents to the gospel and who may be a church attender
is not automatically a regenerated believer, or saved and born of the
ARMENIAN DOCTRINE SAYS: "I owe my election to my faith."
CALVINIST DOCTRINE says, I owe my faith to my election. (J I Packer) Packer,
John Piper and R.C. Sproul are notable spokesmen for Calvinistm. http://nickvoss.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/and-as-many-as-were-appointed-to-eternal-life-believed/
There are believers and and there are
unbelievers. Many unbelievers are not just pagans or people who belong
to non-Christian religions. Unbelievers populate the churches that abound
in every community. There are conditions that affect our being among "the
called". Some may call these believers, "authentic Christians."
An authentic Christian has been Spiritually created and transformed by
the supernatural Power of God. (2Cor.5:17) Remember this, "The Gospel
of the power of God." (Romans 1:16; Romans 15:10)(1Cor.2:4)
A Measure of God's Faith Is Needed
to Come to God
If we are spiritually dead in our natural state, then it
is impossible for anyone to take the first step of faith to believe. We
were like sleepers and dreamers who followed blindly, the course of this
world before regeneration by the power of God, . Now if we look
at the world from a Biblical view, are told that it is characterized by
lust, greed, selfishness, evil desires and every evil work. Yes, the Bible
is clear that there is "evil." The secularist avoids any reference to
the notion of evil. It becomes simply "a choice." There is a spiritual
chronology for those who come to God. Some derives from the prayers of
others. Some derives from the life experience that molds us. God works
both in our thoughts and in our circumstances.
In the Bible references that I will
show you, we will find that it is by God's power and desire we are selected
(elected) out of this
fallen world of darkness into the God's Kingdom of light and the knowledge
of "Truth." (The link above is a graphic of the fallen world contrasted
with God's Kingdom which is to be restored. (- a pdf file)
There is far too much proof that God's
hand of grace is at work in the transforming work of salvation as well
as in maturing believers to godliness to be anticipated as the fruit of
a believing child of God. Why are so many failing to persue God or turn
aside from the allurements of this present evil world? It is likely that
they have not actually had the necessary encounter that is necessary to
make them an authentic believer. A question may now remains to ponder.
Are those who have a form of godliness or those who seem to be
only superficial religious Christians, destined to have a home in heaven
and the glorious kingdom to come? I don't know but God knows.
SCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION for GOD'S ELECTION
MATTHEW 20:16-20 "So the last will be
first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
JOHN 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that
you should go and bear fruit, and (that) your fruit should remain,
JOHN 15:19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet
because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore
the world hates you.
JOHN 17:2 "as You (Heavenly Father) have given Him (Jesus) authority over
all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given
JOHN 17:9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those
whom You (Heavenly Father) have given Me, for they are Yours.
JOHN 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who
comes to Me I will by no means cast out. (Truly chosen believers will
be established and sustained.)
JOHN 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
JOHN 10:26 "You do not believe because you are not my sheep" (children
of the Evil One)
LUKE 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank
You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things
(heavenly Truth) from the wise and prudent and revealed them to
babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
MARK 13: 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together
his elect (the chosen children of God) from the four winds, from the uttermost
part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven...
ACTS 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified
the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal
ROMANS 8:29 For whom He foreknew, (this does not mean that the foreknown
lived in a previous earth age as some teach.) He also predestined
to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn
among many brethren. (He knew us before we were born as he sees to
the end of time from the beginning.)
ROMANS 30- - Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom
He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also
glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who
can be against us?
ROMANS 8:38-9 - - For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor
angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to
come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able
to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ROMANS 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power
known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for
destruction, (whaaat!) and that He might make known the riches
of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand
ROMANS 9:24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of
the Gentiles? ROMANS 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable
EPHESIANS 1:4-5 "He chose us in him before the foundation of the world
- - " and predestined us to adoption of sons - -"
EPHESIANS 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined
according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the
counsel of His will,
2THESSALONIAS 2:13 "God has from the beginning, chosen you to salvation"
ROMANS 11:7-8 " Israel has not obtained what it seeks but the elect have
obtained it; the rest were blinded."
1PETER 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in
sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood
of Jesus Christ:
1PETER 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does
not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
LUKE 18:7 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and
night unto him, though he bear long with them
JOHN 15:16 16 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.
MARK 13:20 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh
should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath
shortened the days.
MATTHEW 24:22, 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should
no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened
24: 31 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet,
and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one
end of heaven to the other.
ROMANS 8:29 - "For those he foreknew he predestined to be conformed to
the image of his son-" ROMANS 8:33 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge
of God's elect? It is God that justifieth COLOSSIANS 3:12 12 Put on therefore,
as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness
of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
2TIMOTHY 2:10 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes,
that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with
TITUS 1:1 1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according
to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which
is after godliness;
1PETER 1:2 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through
sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood
of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1PETER 5:13 13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you,
saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son
2JOHN 1:1 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which
we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have
handled, of the Word of life;
2JOHN 1:13 13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
EK-KLE-SI'A = Called
ones The Church consists of those who are called out.
ARMENIAN DOCTRINE SAYS: "I owe my election to my faith."
CALVINIST DOCTRINE says, I owe my faith to my election. (J I Packer)
Do We Have Free Choice? Yes. Do We
Have to Seek God Untiringly? Yes.
We can have more and more of God. If we draw near to Him with fervent
desire and sincerity he will reward our asking, seeking and knocking.
He will meet us as we desire to know the Lord better. The enemy however,
will be always at hand and his desire is to side-track us from gaining
a deeper and more profound experience in Christ Jesus the Messiah.
Does Election Mean That We Have No Responsibility to Preach and Share
Certainly not! Living the Christian life is a matter of choosing each
day who we should serve. It does not mean that we must struggle to keep
from falling into the snares of the evil one. We must persevere and pray
for Grace to guide us in this pilgrim quest. How many of us like myself,
rejected the gospel and the story of salvation that was proclaimed to
us and later came to faith?
We all, in times past, have had our
life style among the unsaved and the unredeemed. It is in God's own time
and circumstance that we are given that "measure of faith"
to believe and then to be drawn into his presence. Unless the Spirit draws
us we can't come to God. We reject the gospel presentation for years and
then in God's time we receive that which was before foolishness.
FOUR KINDS OF 'CHRISTIANS from
"FALSE ASSURANCE": ( From R. C. Sproul )
Those who are:
1. UNSAVED AND KNOW THEY ARE UNSAVED
2. SAVED AND KNOW THAT THEY ARE SAVED - - FULL ASSURANCE
3. SAVED BUT WHO DO NOT KNOW IT No one is half regenerate. It is fully
complete at conversion. The conversion experience of individuals vary
greatly. One should not determine their theology by their experience but
by the Word of God.
4. MANY ARE NOT SAVED BUT HAVE "FALSE ASSURANCE" THAT THEY ARE SAVED.
REASONS FOR FALSE ASSURANCE:
FALSE THEOLOGY, leads people to be of the mistaken belief that
WHAT THEY BELIEVE qualifies them to be saved.
UNIVERSALISM: Doctrine of Universalism (all are saved) Justification
simply by dying. All who die will go to heaven. UNIVERSALISM HOLDS THAT:
There will be NO JUDGMENT or divine punishment. (Remember, Jesus taught
more about hell than about heaven.)
LEGALISM or some accounting an accumulation of WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
90% of people surveyed believe that: "I did this or that." Righteous self
interest of righteous heart
SACERDOTALISM (Following the doctrines the sacraments and ordinances
of the church)
The Roman Catholic church upholds the power of the priesthood to adjudicate
another's entrance into heaven or hell. They, through ritual and ordinances
affect God's destiny of an individual.
Following any of a number of prescribed religious practices: Baptism,
Joining a particular denomination; Faithful church attendance.