Summary: What does the Bible teach about election? In this message, Pastor Steve examines this subject in light of Ephesians 1:4.
Ephesians 1:4 says, "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him" (emphasis mine).
The word “chose” is the Greek word eklego. It means “to pick out, select” (Vine) or “choose out for one’s own self” (Wuest). This word “indicates God’s totally independent choice” (MacArthur).
This verb is “found twenty-two times in the New Testament. It is used eight times of Christ’s choosing or electing his disciples (Luke 6:13; John 6:70; 13:18; 15:16 (twice),19; Acts 1:2; 2:4). On one occasion Jesus is himself the person chosen (Luke 9:35). Six times it is used in a context that does not pertain to salvation (Luke 10:42; 14:7; Acts 6:5; 15:7,22,25). The remaining seven occurrences refer to men and women as the objects of election to eternal life (Mark 13:20; Acts 13:17; 1 Cor. 1:27 (twice),28; Eph. 1:4; James 2:5). The noun “elect” (eklektos) is also used twenty-two times in the New Testament. On three occasions Jesus is the “elect” one (Luke 23:35; 1 Peter 2:4,6), and in one text the word refers to angels (1 Tim. 5:21). There is also one passage in which the word has no bearing on salvation (Rom. 16:13). In the seventeen remaining cases the word is used of men and women as God’s “elect,” those chosen to eternal life (Matt. 22:14; 24:22,24,31; Mark 13:20,22,27; Luke 18:7; Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9; 2 John 1,13; Rev. 17:14)” (Dr. Sam Storms, The Biblical Terminology of Election, Enjoying God Ministries, http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article.asp?id=293).
Charles Spurgeon said, “You cannot look to Christ before He has looked to you. If you are willing to be saved, He gave you that will” (Effectual Calling, March 30, 1856).
There are differing views on the doctrine of election. Some say the Bible doesn’t teach it. For those of you who think this, consider the following: Paul refers to the Colossians in Col.3:12 as “those who have been chosen of God.” When he sent his first letter to the Thessalonians, he was thankful to God for them after he saw their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, he knew their “election by God” ( 1 Thess.1:4, NKJV). In his second letter to the Thessalonians he said that “God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth” (2 Thess.2:13). When he was speaking with Timothy concerning persecution and suffering he said 2 Timothy 2:10, “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” When he wrote to Titus, he said in Titus1:1, “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness.” It is clear from these passage, the Bible teaches the doctrine of election. But because of human depravity men fight against it. A.W. Pink said, “No doctrine is so detested by proud human nature as this one, which make nothing of the creature and everything of the Creator; yea, at no other point is the enmity of the carnal mind so blatantly and hotly evident” (The Doctrine of Election). He further says, ““God is not working at random: the gospel has been sent forth on no uncertain mission: the final outcome in the conflict between good and evil has not been left indeterminate; how many are to be saved or lost depends not on the will of the creature. Everything was infallibly determined and immutably fixed by God from the beginning, and all that happens in time is but the accomplishment of what was ordained in eternity.” So “Let it be plainly announced that salvation originated not in the will of man, but in the will of God (see John 1:13; Rom. 9:16), that were it not so none would or could be saved—for as the result of the fall man has lost all desire and will unto that which is good (John 5:40; Rom. 3:11)—and that even the elect themselves have to be made willing (Ps. 110:3), and loud will be the cries of indignation raised against such teaching” (The Doctrine of Election).
If you have never investigated this truth, let me encourage you to study it, you will be humbled by it.