First we will deal with the subject of Election and then Free Will. I want to first say that there are two extreme camps on this doctrine and they are polar opposites and both contain some truth and some heresy. The one says it is all God’s choosing and man’s free will has no part or place whatsoever (Calvinism) and the other the opposite, that it is all man’s free will and choice rather than God’s choice. The reality is that there is a part and place for both, though it is mostly God’s doing and grace. All we do is respond to His Grace, yet in His Omniscience, He knows who will respond and how we will respond to Him and that is why He knows who to call, whether Moses, Abraham, Samuel, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, his apostles or whomever. Yet even then, the free will we were given to choose, because we were not made robots, still remains and therefore one who once choose to serve the Lord can turn back from serving Him, whether the prophet Balaam, King Saul, Judas or Demas.
This is shown also in the parable of the sower and the seed in Luke 8:5-15. The first kind of heart (soil) was represented by the wayside, where Satan steals the seed before they believe the gospel. The next two kinds of hearts, where the seed is sown among the rocks and among thorns represent those who receive the Word of God and believe it, but then after a season turn away due to either (1) persecution or (2) love of the world, like Demas and so they don’t go on to bear “fruit to perfection” or eternal life. Finally, the good soil is the heart that not only received the Word, but keeps it and remains in the Lord and bears fruit unto eternal life. I call those four kinds of hearts, the careless, then the casual and the carnal believer and lastly the careful believer, who remains and endures unto the end according to Mark 10:22 “…he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Only one of the four hearts endured unto the end and will be saved. The others all perish.
Our biggest part in our salvation is enduring unto the end, walking with Jesus and keeping the faith. Yet, God knows who will be faithful and who will know, as He knew Judas would betray Him from the beginning, but still picked him, so that His Word could be fulfilled. He knew what Judas would do, but God didn’t make Judas betray Christ, but allowed and used what He knew Judas would do, for His own glory and purposes. That is what God has been doing with mankind and sinners all along and even now, using them for His own purpose. Romans 9:21-23 “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,”
We will begin with these verses. Titus 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." Romans 8:33: "Who shall lay anything to the charge of GOD'S ELECT? It is God that justifieth." Matthew 24:22: "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for THE ELECT'S sake those days shall be shortened." So we know there is an elect for they are mentioned again and again in scripture.
It is an indisputable Biblical fact that God has an elect people. Personally, I've never known of anyone who denies that fact because too many scriptures speak of the elect. The real argument is about when and how God's elect became God's elect. Did they become God's elect when they believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, or did they come to believe in time because they were God's elect from eternity? Let God’s Word speak for God: I Peter 1:2: "ELECT ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD THE FATHER." So now we begin to see the basis of this election.
We know that God is omniscient and therefore God knows everything about everything, and has always known everything there is to know about everything and everybody. Plenty of scriptures tell us that He knew us before we were born. And specific prophecies were given of many hundreds or thousands of years in advance, as prophecy of Judas and his betrayal of Christ and the prophecies of John the Baptist and his ministry and many more. Then there are verses like Isaiah 48:8 “I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.” Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Speaking of a heathen king name Cyrus in Isaiah 45, we read about him in Isaiah 45:4 “For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name:” Then in verse 5 God says of Cyrus, “I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:” This is speaking of the fact that God had raised him up for a specific purpose, according to His will and foreknowledge.
Then there is this undeniable scripture about the foreknowledge of God is Romans 9:11-13 “(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;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” So here we see it is a matter of being called by God. The elect are also the called of God, or called out ones.
However, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" goes even further than that, as it is stated elsewhere in Scripture in Romans 8:29-30: "For WHOM HE DID FOREKNOW, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, WHOM he did predestinate, THEM he also called: and WHOM he called, THEM he also justified: and WHOM he justified, THEM he also glorified" John the Baptist put it this way in John 3:17 “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”
God did not merely foreknow 'about' His elect, but He foreknew them personally and intimately from eternity and He knew them by name. This is easily proven elsewhere in Scripture, as God has had all the names of His elect written in the book of life from before the foundation of the world, before creation began. Those who are not His elect; do not have their names written in the book of life, because they have been omitted. There are no new names being written down in glory if we believe scripture rather than the words of a popular song that says “there’s a new name written down in glory, and it’s mine...” God’s Word declares in Revelation 17:8:
".....and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world...."
Many erroneously believe that God merely foresaw from eternity those who would believe in time. Thus, they believe that God's election in eternity was based solely upon God's foreknowledge of what man would do in time. They think that salvation is man’s initiative and choice and so when a sinner comes to Christ, then his/her name is added to the book of life and they become part of the elect. If it was up to man to choose God, if salvation was initiated by man or his choice, then not one person, fallen in Adam, would have ever been elected, nor saved for the Word of God declares in 1 Corinthians 2:14: "But THE NATURAL MAN receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: NEITHER CAN HE KNOW THEM, because they are spiritually discerned."
The natural man, fallen in Adam, unregenerate in spirit is spiritually dead. Neither CAN he know or understand the things of the Spirit of God for God has to give us the understanding, He has to open our spiritual eyes that we might see and our spiritual ears that we might hear, otherwise we are spiritually blind and deaf to the things of God. Let me make a little story to show the meaning of the word CAN. Many times I would ask my mother (as a child), “mother can I do this or that.” Normally the reply is a simple “yes you may” or “No you may (or can) not” CAN implies and denotes the ability to do something. It is the same as if she said, “I suppose you are able, but no you can not.”
The natural man lacks the inward ability to know or understand anything that is of God. A man may without the Spirit of God come to know spiritual things of the Devil, the demonic, as in witchcraft and familiar spirits, but He cannot know true spiritual things, the things of God. Why? “for they are foolishness unto him:” The things of God sound foolish to the sinner until God opens His understanding and the light shines into the darkness of his/her soul. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says; “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” God has to open their minds to receive the truth.
Romans 3:10-11: "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: THERE IS NONE THAT UNDERSTANDETH, THERE IS NONE THAT SEEKETH AFTER GOD" Natural man, fallen in Adam, still in sin, left to himself, can never understand, nor know Spiritual things or come to Christ on his/her own. Therefore, he will never seek God, no, not even one. Contrary to popular opinion, natural man does not have a free will to understand the things of God; to know the things of God; nor to seek God. Obviously, something must happen to natural man to enable him to understand, know, and believe Spiritual things. In John 6:44 Jesus said: "No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Then again after explanation Jesus speaks in John 6:65 “Therefore said I unto you, that no man CAN come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” In this passage, the previous Verse, 64 says “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”
"NO MAN CAN COME TO ME." That means that no man, not even one, has the ability to come to Jesus by his own natural volition. No, not one! Free will has never saved anyone! Natural man must be drawn to Jesus by the will and power of God the Father, not by the will of natural man and that is why Jesus declared in John 15:16 “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 is why men repeating a “sinners prayer” after a preacher is meaningless unless God the Father has drawn them, opened their spiritual eyes and given them a revelation of Christ and of their own sin that they might repent and be born-again, not just have a religious experience.
The Scripture says in John 1:11-13: "He came to his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: WHICH WERE BORN, not of blood, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD."
According to the Bible, salvation is specifically and only by the will and grace of God. As many as received him, received him because they had their minds opened to see the truth of Christ and were given the power by the Holy Spirit to become sons of God by believing on His name, which in other scripture means they did something with what they were given by God for to believe means to act on that which you believe. They were given the faith to believe and they acted on that faith and repented of their sin and received Jesus as their LORD and SAVIOR, for if He is not LORD then HE is not SAVIOR. That is the meaning of Romans 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.” This means that you make a personal confession of Jesus as your personal LORD, that just that He is Lord, for the devils in hell know and believe that, but still will perish. When you are given the faith to believe, you repent of your living independently of God and leaving Him out of your life. James 2:19 says; “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” The devil’s believe and tremble, they fear the judgment coming to them and when you realize the truth of your sin, you will fear judgment and repent of your sin too.
Back to John 1:13 "WHICH WERE BORN (past tense), NOT OF BLOOD, meaning that salvation is not inherited from our father and mother. God has no grandchildren; only sons and daughters. Those who received him were born (past tense), not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, because natural man has no will to seek God. "Which were born, not of blood, NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD." They, which were called by God and "WHICH WERE BORN OF GOD" were given power to believe on His name and be born again by His Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit to open the darkened and blinded mind of man and draw man to Christ and convict him of his sin and need of salvation that leads to repentance must, of necessity, precede all action in natural man's salvation. Then, and only then, does any man/woman have the genuine ability and desire to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ through putting their faith in the finished works of Calvary and the blood of Jesus for their salvation and repent of their sin against a Holy God. God uses the means of the gospel to bring His elect to the saving knowledge of their predetermined salvation.
In John 3:3 Jesus said: "Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, HE CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God." Natural man does not have the ability to see, nor understand, Spiritual things until his spiritual eyes are opened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 2:4 declares; “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” You don’t choose repentance, He leads you to repentance unto salvation. When it suits the plan and purpose of God, He quickens whomsoever he pleases while they are still dead in their trespasses and sins by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:1, 5 says: "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:… Even WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN SINS, HATH QUICKENED US together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)." It was not us, but Him. He does it all. He draws us, He convicts us, He opens our eyes to see the truth, He give us the faith to believe, He does the work in us and it is all by His grace and mercy and our acceptance of His offer and putting out faith, the faith that came from Him to being with, in Him.
Titus 3:5 “… according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 12:3 “… according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” He causes us to hear and faith comes as we believe what He is speaking to our hearts.
Yes, dearly beloved, by the grace of God we were enabled to believe in time because we were God's elect from eternity, because He choose us in Christ. Again, the Word of God declares in 2 Timothy 1:9: (God) "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN." And again in Ephesians 1:4: "According as HE HATH CHOSEN
IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Again, in 2 Thessalonians 2:13: "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." US
CHOSEN BY GOD OR BY THE WILL OF MAN?
For those who might think I am a Calvinist, I want to say that I am not. Neither am I Armenian. I have not read much of either or quoted them in any way.
Jesus clarified this in John 6:37. "All that the Father giveth me SHALL COME TO ME; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." The Father only draws those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.
Luke wrote in Acts 13:47-48, "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Please note: The Word of God does not say, as many as believed upon Christ were ordained to eternal life! He said, "AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED." They were ordained to eternal life long before they believed. "As many as" these are qualifing words, limiting it to those who were ordained to eternal life. "Were ordained" both of these words are in the past tense. The "as many as" "were ordained" beforehand. Who ordained them to eternal life beforehand? Yes, it was God the father. "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed." Only those who were foreordained to eternal life by God the father, before the foundation of the world, believed. This is the crystal-clear teaching of Jesus Christ and all the New Testament writers. In John 10:27 Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." Obviously, those who continually refute this doctrine simply can not hear the voice of Christ Jesus and His apostles and New Testament prophets who spoke by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and what they wrote is not up for opinion or discussion.
Jesus repeated what he said in John 6:44 again in verse 65 of the same chapter: "And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." What do you think happened immediately after Jesus said it again? Let's read the next verse, "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66). There is free will, “many… went back… walked no more with him.” We are free to accept or reject God’s offer of salvation, to follow or to not follow Jesus. Some never accept, as those we mentioned whose hearts were represented by the wayside in the parable of the sower and the seed. That was like the rich young ruler that Jesus met and called to follow Him, but first he had to deal with the idolatry in his heart called the love of and dependence upon money. So when Jesus told him to sell what he had and give to the poor and come follow Him, the rich young ruler went away sad, rejecting both the calling of God and salvation. Matthew 19:21-26. When the disciples heard this and what Jesus said about the rich, they said, “Who then can be saved” speaking of which rich person or person with riches. But it is not that you have riches but whether or not the riches have you, which is idolatry, if riches or things or anything is more important to you than Christ. For then, that is your god, for it is more important to you than Him and His salvation.
So remember, (1) Not all are called of God and (2) not all accept the call of God and (3) not all remain with God. Therein is your free will, and yet from scripture I believe that God knows all three from the beginning, who He would call, who would accept the call and who would remain faithful to serve Him. Those He knows some will turn away, as Judas, yet God chooses to give them a chance. God is God and He chooses upon whom He will show mercy. It is not our choice, but His.
Therefore Scripture tells us in Romans 9:15-18 “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 showeth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” God is God and HE does His good pleasure. Verses 19-21 “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
Man can never know or understand everything and all the ways and doing of God. Simply put; Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” We can only know what He chooses to reveal to us, nothing more.
Would you like to share this page with a friend? Click Here