Who Are God’s Elect?

15 01 2014

“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.” (Titus 1:1)

Introduction:

The doctrine of election standing alone is in no way controversial. Many believers are unnecessarily afraid of the doctrine which causes them to refuse this very Biblical concept and they often find no joy in being God’s elect, being chosen, or any such thing. I recall about two years ago one of my favorite preachers evangelist Benny Beckum preached in my church and encouraged us to rejoice in being chosen since the foundation of the world. He urged us not to be afraid of the term, after all it is in the Bible. I have had several people in my life who have been so much against God’s sovereignty that the term election really troubled them. They were regularly on witch hunts to “get me” even though they themselves held heretical views that they refused to be questioned on.

Some within my own church a few years back gossiped about me, slandered me, and regularly looked for ways to attack me for this very doctrine. They never asked me to explain it and never cared to understand what the Bible taught. I don’t fear the doctrine of election because in and of itself it’s nothing to fear. I only fear it’s opponents who would be the first to burn me at the stake were it legal. Even though in writing this I will say nothing unBiblical, I’m sure they will examine every word, and if one “i” is dotted in a weird or misunderstood way then they will run to my pastor screaming “heretic.”

Why election is important?:

Why is this doctrine so important? Well, I think it’s important because it’s Biblical. The New Testament alone references the elect 13 times. It’s important because Luke 18:7 tells us God will avenge His elect. We see in Romans 8:33 that no one can lay any charge to God’s elect. These are groups that I want to be a part of. The problem is that those who are afraid of it are so fierce in their opposition to it (such opposition is mostly out of ignorance) that people like me who love and embrace it in a Biblical sense cannot (at least out loud) appreciate this doctrine of the Bible. We need to embrace what the Bible embraces, that is why it’s so important.

Two opposing in depth views:

There are two opposing views that seem to clash. The first group believes that God chose to save people based upon His knowledge in advance that they would believe. They believe that no one can believe unless aided by the Holy Spirit and that those who are saved may of their own free will choose to walk away from Christ and thereby be lost again.

There is another group who believes that God chose in advance those who would believe not based on anything they did. They believe that no one can be saved without the aid of the Holy Spirit and that those whom God has chosen cannot be unchosen by walking away. They maintain that all who come to faith are secure in their salvation.

There are also multitudes who take a little from both of those groups to form their own beliefs.

Who does the Bible call elect?:

The Bible calls Israel God’s elect: “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” (Isaiah 45:4)

The Bible calls Jesus elect: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” (1 Peter 2:6)

The Bible calls Angels elect: ” I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” (1 Timothy 5:21)

The Bible calls Believers elect: “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.” (Titus 1:1)

What does elect mean?:

The word “elect” means “picked out or chosen.” Let’s go through the Scriptures and see what God says about choosing or picking out.

The Angels:

Concerning angels let me say that the Bible teaches that Satan led a rebellion against God where he drew multitudes of angels away. The Bible describes these in Jude 1:6, ” And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” So many chose to follow Satan, these we would call fallen angels, demons, or devils. The angels who stood faithful to the Lord on the other hand would be the elect angels.

Israel:

While the nation of Israel is called God’s elect Paul later reveals that not all who are ethnically of Israel are part of true Israel. The Jews believed that by being born Jewish they were entitled to God’s salvation but Paul said, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:28-29) The Jews in Bible times were saying that God’s promise to the fathers had failed but Paul disagreed, “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Romans 9:6-8)

Would this make God unrighteous? Paul says it would not: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 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.” (Romans 9:14-15) So not all who are born as Jews will be saved, but there is a promised day coming when all of the ethnic seed of Abraham will be saved, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Romans 11:25-26)

Jesus:

Why is Jesus called the elect? Well there are several reasons given to us in Scripture. The first has to do with the title. He is the chosen Messiah and redeemer, is being chosen makes Him the elect Savior of the world. The second is that He is the figure of the true which means everything else points to Him as their ultimate fulfillment. Believers are called the elect and we are His body, or you could say He is the fulfillment of what we are only a shadow of. Israel is called elect and He is the embodiment of true Israel. In other words Jesus is the true elect of God and all the other elects simply point back to Him in one all glorifying way.

Election through Scripture:

We see election throughout Scripture. God chose to give Adam and Eve dominion. God chose the offering of Abel over that of Cain. God chose to save the family of Noah through the flood. God chose to save Lot and his family out of Sodom. God chose Abraham when He called him out of Ur of the Chaldees. Even though the blessing should have fallen to the firstborn son Ishmael God chose Isaac instead. When Esau should have been the heir God chose Jacob. When it seemed logical to use the tribe of the priesthood to bring the Messiah God chose Judah instead. When Saul’s son should have taken the throne in succession God chose to give it to David as well. Of all the nations of the world to put His blessing God chose Israel. Of all the cities to put His name God chose Jerusalem. We are told that God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty.

So with election so prevalent throughout the Bible we come now to the New Testament. The elect Messiah has died for sin and the elect Jewish nation is temporarily blinded. Why were they blinded? “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.” (Romans 11:28) They were blinded because God chose or elected to add another group to true Israel or His elect people. “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” (Ephesians 2:11-16)

Election of Believers:

Just as God chose to put His name in Jerusalem so He chooses to put His name and dwelling on anyone who becomes part of His Son. Believers are called the elect of God. God chose us from the foundation of the world to be in Christ, to be conformed to the image of His Son. I am one of God’s elect today. In saying that, I am saying that I believe upon the true Israel, the true elect of God, Jesus Christ. All who become partakers in Him are elect, and precious and shall never be put to shame. We find our identity in Christ and our election. Paul repeats this several times. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30) Our righteousness, wisdom, and sanctification come not of ourselves but our identification with Christ. Paul says in Romans that our protection from the judgment of God comes from our identity in His elect, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) We are His elect because we are part of the true elect. Those who are partakers of  the promise to Abraham do so not because they are of Israel according to the flesh but those who accept true Israel Jesus Christ.

Many groups hate the doctrine of election because they are trying to pay for their own sins through prayers, beads, good works, giving money, praying to the dead, and following a religious system. They have rejected the true elect Jesus Christ. Their hatred flows from their rejection. They reject the one way of salvation and think they can through good works pay for their own sins. They hate those who find their rest and acceptance in the Beloved of God, the Elect of God, the true Sabbath rest.

For those who are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ we need to stop the bickering. Whether you call yourselves by nickname Calvinist (although the doctrine existed before John Calvin) or whether by nickname you call yourself Arminian (although the doctrine existed before Jacob Arminius) let us call each other by the grand old nickname given in Scripture: Christian.

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