All Christians would agree that God is sovereign, and has a plan of salvation whereby some individuals, but not all, are saved from the power, penalty, and pollution of sin.
All conservative Christians believe the Bible teaches the doctrine of election to some degree, for the Scriptures are clear.
“(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;)” (Rom. 9:11).
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5).
“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom. 11:7).
“As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Rom. 11:28).
“Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God” (1 Thess. 1:4).
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).
That there is a doctrine of election in the Bible is beyond dispute. What is disputed is the basis on which election takes place.
It has been argued that election is of God. “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God” (1 Thess. 1:4). As salvation is of the Lord, so is election (Gk. ekloga [ek-log-ay’], meaning the divine selection of those who are to be the heirs of eternal life.
It has been argued that election is of Man, based on the free will of an individual, and their faithfulness to God. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).
So which position is the correct one? Which position is biblical? Is election of God, and the good work He has performed in the heart, or is election of man, and his faithfulness?
If it is God, who makes the ultimate selection of who will be saved, and if it is God, who determines the destiny of those who will be in heaven, then there is room for great rejoicing. Of such a person it is can be said, “You are beloved of the Lord, because God from the beginning has chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).
If a soul is saved, what difference does it make if there has been screaming and kicking against the goodness of God, as long as it is overcome?
In fact, the Bible does teach that the ungodly kick and scream against God in their natural state.
The scream of the ungodly is spoken of in Psalms 2. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalms 2:1).
The kicking of the unconverted against the Lord is illustrated in Saul of Tarsus.
“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:1-6).
Based on Scripture, it can be said that God does bring to Himself those who rage against Him, and kick against the truth, but not against their will, because the Creator knows how to change the will of a person to make them willing in the day of salvation.
“(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored (Gk. boetheo [bo-ay-theh’-o; to aid, or relieve, help, enable) thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation). It is only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that anyone shall be saved (Acts 15:11).
It should be a cause for great rejoicing for a person who believes in Jesus Christ as personal Savior to realize that God loved them before they were born, before their parent’s were born, before Adam and Eve were created, and even before the world sprang into existence. The soul that believes in Jesus should be humbled at such great divine love, and the sacrifice that was made at Calvary to secure the salvation of the soul.
“And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
The doctrine of election is designed to humble the heart of the redeemed, and leave them astonished that Jesus would ever say to them, “Come ye, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34).
If your emotional response to the doctrine of election is to fall on your face before God and cry, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” then you are blessed. That is the proper response.
“The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.”
~Frederick M. Lehman