A foundational principle in a formal debate is that the person who can frame the argument and define the terms will generally prevail. This principle applies to spiritual debates as well. When an Arminian talks about the Biblical doctrine of election, it is not uncommon to immediately state that election is always according to a purpose. That is a true statement, but it does move the argument from the fundamental question, “Does God have an elect people?” Of course, if God has an elect people, it is for a purpose, because everything that God does is according to a wonderful grand design. God does not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner for He is holy and He is wise. For the Arminian to start talking about election being for a purpose is a clever ruse, but it fails to answer the question, “Does God have an elect people that His purposes might be accomplished?”
Appealing to the Word of God for the answer to this important inquiry, the Scriptures reveal very plainly and simply that God does have an elect people. The term “elect” means to select, or choose. Before the foundation of the world God selected, or chose from the human race individuals whom He would redeem, justify, sanctify, and glorify in Jesus Christ. The elect of God are beloved forever.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 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. 30 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. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway 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: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 1:9 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 us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
It is impossible to read the simple text of Scripture and not read that God has selected individuals for salvation as an expression of His divine free and sovereign grace. There is nothing in any person that merits being chosen by God. God owes no sinner mercy or grace of any kind, only a just judgment and condemnation. The wonder of wonders is that God has decided to save anyone.
There are many mysterious to the doctrine of election. Certainly it is a controversial teaching. But it is a plain doctrine of Scripture designed to encourage Christians in times of suffering and tribulation. The doctrine of election should humble every individual as they see how great is the grace that saves them. The doctrine of election , when embraced, will move the heart to respond in worship of God with humility, and then with confidence and praise.
Every person who is born again of God, based on God’s electing grace, can rely upon the Lord to finish the good work He has begun.
1 Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
2 Timothy 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The apostle Peter instructs individuals to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). The way to make our election sure is by the production of divine good in the form of spiritual fruit. Paul knew that the Thessalonians had been chosen by God because he saw their faith, hope, and love, the transformation of their lives brought about by the gospel.
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost (1 Thess. 1:3-6).
If you are a Christian then you are one of the elect, because God has chosen you to salvation, and beyond that to service in the royal priesthood of the believer. To God be the glory who has an elect people of His own choosing.
“The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.”
Samuel J. Stone, 1866