Column: The Doctrine of Salvation: Election—Part 1

Published 1:44 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

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By Hank Walker | Pastor at Peach City Fellowship

We began our study of the doctrine of salvation with the Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation). Since everything knowable about salvation comes from Scripture, we will examine the “order” the Bible gives us.

First, the order of salvation begins with ELECTION. Our English words “elect” and “election” come directly from ancient Greek (nouns: eklektos/eklektoi; verb: eklegomai). Fortunately, their meanings are clear: as a noun, “elect” means “chosen one”—as a verb, it means “to choose out of.” Why is this important? The New Testament came to us in Greek—and proper definitions are vital for understanding God’s revelation.

Second, the assertion of ELECTION is simple: before the creation of time, space, matter, or man, God CHOSE—according to His perfect knowledge and wise counsel—WHOM He would save.

Consider the Bible’s testimony on the matter: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He CHOSE us in Him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD” (Eph. 1:3-4a).

But, how can this be? What happens to man’s free will if God has already marked out the specific people He will (and will not) save?

Finally, these questions can be addressed in a few ways: (1) we can state what Scripture states and leave it to the reader’s discernment; (2) we can consider what theologians and the church have historically understood these doctrines to mean; or (3) we can do both. Let’s do both!

In the remaining space, the reader will find pertinent passages of Scripture through which to work. Then, over the next two weeks, I will deal with these passages and the two doctrines most closely associated with election: FOREKNOWLEDGE and PREDESTINATION.

SCRIPTURES: Ephesians 1:3-4; Ephesians 1:11 (“predestined”); 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (“God chose you”); Acts 13:48 (“appointed”); Romans 8:28-30 (“foreknew” and “predestined”); 2 Timothy 1:9 (“before the ages began”); Revelation 13:8; 17:8 (“whose names have NOT been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life”); Revelation 21:27 (“only those who ARE written in the Lamb’s book of life”); Colossians 3:12 (“God’s chosen ones”).

Wrestle with these passages. Write down your thoughts. What struggles are you having with what you are reading? May the Lord apply His Word to your hearts.

Grace and Peace, y’all! Soli Deo Gloria