Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.
The Biblical Doctrine of Election-New Testament “Problem” Passages
There are 3 tenses of “salvation” regarding the Christian’s life in relation to YHWH God. -CHART
Ephesians 1:1-5. This passage has been greatly abused by reading something into the text that it does not say (eisegesis). It is important to note that there is no punctuation in 1:3-14.
First, note that the audience is made up of redeemed people (1:1). It is often perpetuated that the NT authors “weren’t really sure” of the conversion of their audience. This is preposterous considering the contents of each letter and the level of persecution against Christianity. Being a Christian was NOT popular (see Hebrews).
Second, notice the personal pronouns used: “our,” “us,” & “we.” This means that Paul was including himself, and since each of the pronouns used is plural, these blessings are corporate in nature.
Third, does the verse say “just as He chose us to be in Him,” or “just as He chose us in Him?” If it is referring to a “choosing unto justification salvation,” it should read that “He chose us to be in Him,” but that is not what it says. Those “chosen” are already “in Him.”
Fourth, “He predestined us to adoption as sons” is in 1:5. Is the “adoption as sons” in the past, present, or future? (See Rom 8:23).
Fifth, this corporate choosing is unto what? ____________________
From this we can conclude that this is not regarding people being chosen for heaven or hell, but chosen for a task, ministry, calling, or vocation in the same manner as we saw in the Old Testament.
Romans 8:29-30. This is commonly known as “The Golden Chain of Redemption/Salvation,” and is used to “prove” that God predestines some people to heaven according to His good pleasure. Let’s make some observations of the text and the context.
First, Romans is neatly divided up into segments with chapters 5-8 dealing with sanctification salvation and glorification salvation. What is not under consideration is the believer’s justification salvation, which was addressed from 3:21-5:1. In the overall structure of the book, the common understanding of this referring to justification makes no sense. (Also, Paul never uses “salvation” to refer to justification in Romans.)
Second, chapter 8 tells us how to avoid bondage to sin as described in chapter 7. Reading through chapter 8 one gets a clear picture that avoiding bondage to sin (as a Christian) involves suffering and the need for perseverance (8:13,17,23,25). This comes only by walking in the Spirit (8:2,4,5, 6, 13).
Third, there are two conditions found in 8:28. All things work for good for those who:
1) “love God,” which not every believer does; otherwise Jesus would not have had to command the 11 disciples to love Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:21).
2) “are called according to His purpose.” God’s purpose is that the believer would be conformed to the image of Christ so that Jesus would be the “firstborn” among our brothers and sisters.
In context, the one who loves God and is persevering through suffering is the one whom the Lord uses to exalt Christ as being preeminent among other Christians. Through suffering and perseverance, this believer is growing and being fashioned into a greater representation of the Savior on Earth. This growth is observed by others and encourages them to exalt Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Firstborn” is a term that would be very familiar to those with a Jewish background. The firstborn would receive a double-inheritance. Suffering and perseverance brings about a great reward as promised in Rom 8:17.
This leads to the “calling” of that person for this reward. The person is then “justified” to receive it, which should not be confused with justification salvation. The word may be better translated “vindicated,” which is an acceptable rendering of this word, meaning that a “favorable verdict” has been reached on this suffering saint’s behalf. “Glorification” speaks to reigning with
Finally, from 8:31-39, we find a reaffirmation of the fact that believers are on the side of God who serves as our Divine Provider (v.31-32). We see that no charge can be brought against us because all sin has been paid for and Jesus alone is the Judge, the only One with the right to condemn (v.33-34). From 8:35-39 Paul makes the case that nothing that this world will throw at us in the midst of suffering can separate us from God’s love because we are in Christ permanently. Everything from v.31-39 serves as an encouragement for the believer to press on even when times are hard. Not even death can annul God’s love for His children.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15. Starting in 2:1-2, we see that the context leading up to the passage in question concerns the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and “our gathering together to Him,” also called “the day of the Lord,” meaning the rapture of the Church.
Paul then addresses the “man of lawlessness/son of destruction” (2:3). At the moment, the Holy Spirit retrains the revealing of the “man of lawlessness” (2:6-8). When Christ comes again to the Earth, He will make an end of this man (2:9). This occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation. The personal responsibility of those who rejected the truth is found to be on their heads (2:10) and they perish as a result. Because of their rejection in hardening themselves to the love of God and refusing to be saved, God puts them under a delusion (2:11-12).
Moving into 2:13, the word “chosen” may immediately jar us, but let’s consider the whole context before we make a premature judgment that God has chosen people for justification salvation.
What “salvation” is Paul referring to in 2:13? _____________________
Notice that the “means” of getting to this “salvation” is through “sanctification,” which means “dedication to the Lord, consecration, purification,” being derived from the word that we get “holy” from (hagios- “set apart”).
How this sanctification is accomplished is twofold.
First, Paul mentions the “Spirit” being the Holy Spirit that indwells every born-again person. Second, Paul mentions “faith in the truth,” which we can understand as believing in God’s Word. It is the believer’s dedication to the Spirit and the Word that brings him or her to the “salvation” that being referred to. (The Spirit & the Word are the only necessary ingredients for one’s sanctification.)
In 2:14 we get even greater clarification. “It was for this…” meaning this “salvation,” that God called them “through our gospel” for a reason: “that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice the condition used: “may gain,” meaning that we may not gain “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The “salvation” that Paul is speaking of is glorification salvation, which by dedicated adherence to the Spirit and the Word, one “gains” as an end to the means that the believer undertook in this life. This would be the equivalent to entering into Life richly so as to receive an inheritance.
2 Peter 1:2-11. In 1:2-3, Peter is praising God for His provision of everything we will ever need to live a godly life. In 2:4 he mentions “precious and magnificent promises,” which by holding fast to them, we can “become partakers of the divine nature,” meaning that faithfulness leads to greater intimacy with the Lord. This comes by rejecting the power of sin in our lives, due to worldly lusts, and our thinking being changed in light of these “precious and magnificent promises.”
In 2:5, the opportunity to partake is something that is earned through faithfulness to the truth. We are told to “supply” (“add, furnish”) certain qualities to ourselves (2:5-7). Peter states that IF these qualities are ours and IF they are increasing, we will be fruitful (2:8)! If we do not seek these, we are not operating as one who understands what Christ has provided for us (2:9). We are then called to be diligent concerning God’s “calling” and “choosing” of us (2:10). Why?
Notice that “practice” (“works”) is emphasized in 2:10. This practice keeps us from loosing our footing in the race so that we will have a rich entrance into the kingdom “abundantly supplied for you” (2:11).
“Election” is to a task, ministry, vocation, or calling. Christians have been called to greater intimacy through faithfulness to Christ and His Word.