10 Evidences of Election
Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Eternal Truth Ministry.
Of the many doctrinal differences that arise throughout the modern Church, few have caused as much controversy and debate as the doctrine of election. This extremely difficult doctrine rests on the belief that believers do not choose God — God chooses them. The doctrine of election is most closely associated with the systematic theological viewpoint known as Calvinism. The doctrine of election itself, however, like many other doctrines in the church, stands alone from systematic theology. I follow the doctrine of election, but I do not follow all of Calvinistic theology. Following are ten evidences from the Bible that support the doctrine of election.
1. The Sin of Mankind
Since Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Word for the first time, sin has corrupted mankind. This corruption is caused by the sin that all people have inherited from Adam (Romans 5:18). God is holy and righteous– we’re unholy and unrighteous. In Romans 3:10-11, we find this: “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.'” Nobody is righteous; nobody, on their own, understands the things of God. And finally, nobody seeks after God. Therefore, if nobody seeks after God, then nobody chooses Him.
2. The Sovereignty of God
We know from the Bible that God is absolutely sovereign– that He is high and exalted over all. Psalm 47:9 says this: “The princes of the people have gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted.” This is further affirmed in Isaiah 46:9-10, when God says: “‘Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”‘” If God is sovereign over all, would He not also be sovereign in salvation?
3. The Straying of Man
Isaiah 56:6 tells us: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way…” Mankind has strayed away from the Lord throughout history. Like sheep, we have no sense of direction on our own. Sheep will not return to the shepherd unless the shepherd goes looking for them– praise be to God that Jesus is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11). How could we find our way back on our own unless Someone were to guide us? We couldn’t find our way back to God– He found us.
4. The Future Sight of the Lord
We now address a common viewpoint– many people believe that the sovereignty of God is only limited to His foreknowledge. Indeed, He foresaw all things that would happen, because God is over all. He is all-knowing and all-seeing. Many believe that, because God is omniscient, He simply looked down the corridors of time and saw those who would accept Him and those who would reject Him. But, however, if this were the case, then God would see nobody accepting Him, because Romans 3:11 says that nobody seeks after God.
5. The Salvation of the Lord
Exodus 33:19 tells us this: “Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.'” In Romans 9:15-16, along with a quote of Exodus 33:19, Paul writes: “For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” We see here that God has sovereignly chosen those upon whom He would have mercy and compassion. It says that it is not of him who wills– that means that it is not based on human choice. We do not initially choose to be saved.
6. The Son’s Receipt
When Jesus spoke in John 6, two verses come to mind in relation to our topic. The first is 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.'” God has given us to His Son, Jesus Christ. The Father has chosen us to be given to His Son.
7. Sent By God
Jesus was sent by God to die on the cross for our sins and to reconcile us to Him. The second verse that comes to mind is John 6:44, when Jesus said, “‘No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.'” The Greek word for “draw” here is “helko”, meaning literally “to drag.” We can’t draw near to Jesus of our own accord, because we naturally draw away from Him. He has to draw us.
8. The Switching of the Redeemed
When we belong to Jesus, we switch from following sin to following the Savior. But who initiates this switch? Us? Another human? The answer is, no. The switching is started by God. Acts 3:26 says this: “‘To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away everyone one of you from your iniquities.'” In this address to the crowd, Peter told them that God turns away believers from their iniquities. The Greek word for “turning” is “apostrepho,” meaning “to turn away” or “to turn back.” God turns us away from our sins, and He turns us back to Him. We can’t go back to Him on our own.
9. The Selection to Conformity
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”– Romans 8:29-30
Going once again to the original language, we see that the Greek word for “predestined” is “proorizo,” meaning “to determine before.” “To determine before”: there’s only one conclusion from this, that God predetermined those who would be conformed to the image of His Son.
10. Predestined to Be Sons
Finally, one more Scripture. Ephesians 1:3-6 says this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Going back to the Greek language, the original word for “chosen” is “eklegomai,” meaning “to select,” “make a choice,” or “choose out.” The Greek word for “predestined” here is the same Greek word used in Romans 8:29-30, “proorizo.”
Arguments Against the Doctrine of Election
“God chose those whom He would save? That doesn’t sound like a fair God to me.”
Answer: Remember, this is all based on God’s sovereignty. Once again, going back to Exodus 33:19, we find that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. It is entirely His choice. Nothing influences the Lord, and nothing can sway His decision. As for the accusation that God is unfair, let us turn over to Romans 9:19-21, which says, “You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” What right do we have to reply against God, or to say that God is unfair? Again, He is sovereign over all. He has the final word in everything. In our human logic, election seems unfair. But the Lord doesn’t operate on human understanding. Isaiah 55:8-9 says this: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'” God’s ways are not our ways– His thoughts are not our thoughts.“If God chose those whom He would save, and I’m not elect, then that means I can’t be saved.”
This statement, while understandable, is irrational. Election is a piece of doctrine– it has no interference with man’s responsibility to the Lord. We should not use the question, “Am I elect?” to determine our salvation. Rather, we should use the question, “Do I want to know the Lord? Do I want to go to heaven, or to hell?” What matters in your relationship with the Lord is the here and now, with the basic question, “Do I love the Lord?”.
Again, election is an extremely difficult doctrine to comprehend. But we don’t always comprehend God’s Word. Nor are we called to comprehend everything about God. But we are called to believe the Word of God.