Summary: What is elected? How is being elected connected with Predestination? Do we have free will?
What is Elected?
Election is the process of being chosen to be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, the word can be used in the same way as we Americans elect an official to represent us in office. Barack Obama was elected by the electoral college to the office of the Presidency, just as surely as Tom Papez was elected by God to have his name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
There are two types of election that people debate about, though there are different terms associated with each, the common phrase used to describe them are A)unconditional election and B)conditional election. The phrase unconditional election is the common phrase used by a person who is a Calvinist. In fact, if you are familiar with the Calvinistic phrase TULIP, the U in TULIP stands for unconditional election. Have I confused you so far? Since the answer is probably, let me break it down for you in laymen’s terms, that will provide for you the Biblical background for which theory holds up under the light of scripture.
First off, there is a Christian theory out there called Calvinism. Someone who is a Calvinist stands for a lot, but one of the basic assumptions they believe is a term called predestination. Predestination is a term meaning that each saved soul was predestined from before birth and even before time to accept Christ and go to heaven after their soul falls asleep. For simple abbreviations, a person who is Calvinist believes in TULIP…
T: Total Depravity (all of mankind is dead in sin since the garden).
U: Unconditional Election (because man is dead, he is unable to initiate a response to God).
L: Limited Atonement (since God has determined ahead of time who is going to be saved, Christ really only died for those who were predetermined…in other words…those who were elected).
I: Irresistible Grace (God makes men call unto Him when it’s in the Lord’s timing).
P: Perseverance of the Saints (those who God calls, will persevere towards Him to the end).
Since you are going to be a pastor some day, you may as well as put that mneumonic memory devise to memorization now, that way you are always ready to understand what it means. Some of the best Bible studiers I have ever met our Calvinists for they know what they know that they know.
Here is what is interesting, all five of these points have a Biblical basis, and because all five have valid points in my mind (remember, if it’s sola scriptura…which means scripture only…then whatever philosophical argument I make against any and all of these five points would need to be merited in scripture—not in my mind or in some philosophers mind). So when I engage with a person who identifies themself as a Calvinist, I don’t argue, I just dig deep to unearth how active they are in their Bible Studies…and they usually are some of the deepest people you’ll ever meet.
Now, on the other hand, there is something called a FOUR POINT CALVINIST. A four point Calvinist agrees to TUIP, they just don’t agree to the L. The thought that Christ died on the cross for only some people, and not ALL people, is unthinkable to them. The 4 Pointers immediately turn to 1 John 2:2 that indicates that Jesus died for the sins of the world—that means the whole world. When the scriptures say that Jesus takes a way the sin of the world, they believe the phrase WHOLE WORLD to mean everyone, even those who later do not accept Christ.