Summary: Election comes down to the question, who does God elect to save and not save?
[IN GOD’S IMAGE 37 - ELECTION]
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
Last time we saw how the sacrifice of Jesus on behalf of humanity had a dramatic impact on the relationship between God and mankind.
• No longer would mankind live under the condemnation of the law because justice had been served.
• If the penalty has been paid, how can God require it be paid a second time?
• When Jesus died on our behalf, it allowed God to offer forgiveness to all, and as a consequence, our status in God’s eyes changed.
• Rather than living under the condemnation of the “law,” mankind now lives under God’s free gift of “grace.”
But now we have to look at another aspect of this representative principle and that is the subject of “election.”
• Election comes down to the question, who does God elect to save and not save?
• “Election” or “predestination” as it is also called is a controversial subject that has been argued down through the centuries.
• It is not my purpose here to discuss in detail the various theories on election but they can be summed up under three basic headings.
• First, is Double Predestination, where some are elected to life and salvation while others are condemned to death and damnation?
• God has predetermined this decision and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
• The second theory is Universalism where the grace of God is all-encompassing and all are destined to be saved.
• Again, Universalists believe God has predetermined this and one can’t reject God’s gift of grace even if they want to.
• The third theory is Pelagianism, which basically says we are saved or condemned by the “good works” we either do or refuse to do.
• This theory is different to the others in that we are the ones who determine our destiny.
• God grants us grace and salvation if we obey His commandments and laws and if we disobey those same laws we get the punishment we deserve.
• In other words, our “works” determine where we go!
• There is a variation on this theme that is called Semi-Pelagianism.
• In this version, we again are the ones who determine our destiny, but in this case, we decide either to accept or reject God’s free gift of grace through our own freewill.
• One has only to look at what human free-will has accomplished so far in our story to know what a dubious proposition this is!
• And a good follow-up question would be, after all God has done so far to grant us the opportunity for salvation, would He now leave this important last step to our fallible free-will?
• We will cover this subject of “calling” later when we get to the subject of the church.
• All three of these theories tend to overemphasise either the aspect of the sovereignty of God or the grace of God.
But if we are to understand the subject of election correctly, the place to begin is with the nature of God.
• It is true that God is sovereign, He is just and He is graceful, but first and foremost, scripture emphatically tells us God is “love.”
• So we have to understand as we did earlier with the subject of God’s wrath, that all of his holy qualities including wrath and judgment are initiated from a position of “love.”
• The subject of election begins with a God who is “love.”
• So far in this series we have been looking at the extraordinary lengths to which God has gone in order to achieve reconciliation with his creation.
• After all this effort, are we to believe this has been done only to benefit a few?
• And is the Gospel really “glad tidings of great joy for all men,” or is it just for a select few (Luke 2:10)?