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.
But to the Five Pointers, there is no middle ground on this issue. There can’t be. Listen to how gotquestions.org answers this…
“The five-point Calvinists, however, see problems with four-point Calvinism. First, they argue, if Total Depravity is true, then Unlimited Atonement cannot possibly be true because if Jesus died for the sins of every person, then whether or not His death is applicable to an individual depends on whether or not that person “accepts” Christ. But as we have seen from the above description of Total Depravity, man in his natural state has no capacity whatsoever to choose God, nor does he want to. In addition, if Unlimited Atonement is true, then hell is full of people for whom Christ died and He shed His blood in vain for them. To the five-point Calvinist, this is unthinkable.”
It’s fuzzy. And it’s especially fuzzy if you or someone else reading this is staring up at the skies not even sure that predestination is Biblical. What about free will? What about choice? What about my coming forward to the altar? What about love, don’t you want someone to care about you? That last question is actually from an 80s song played by a band named Heart, but it seemed to fit and be a solid transition.