Column: The Doctrine of Salvation: Election—Part 3

Published 2:14 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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By Hank Walker | Pastor at Peach City Fellowship

So far, we have considered the doctrine of election by looking at its components: first, FOREKNOWLEDGE, and now a more controversial doctrine: PREDESTINATION. As stated previously, ELECTION is the biblical doctrine that asserts God’s sovereign prerogative over whom He chooses to redeem.

As we examine the doctrine of predestination, we are reminded that foreknowledge—which often accompanies predestination in the Bible—does not mean that God simply foresees who will choose Him, and then chooses them on that basis.

In the Bible, predestination comes from the Greek word, PRO-ORIZO, which can ONLY be translated as “pre-ordain,” “decide ahead of time,” or “determine beforehand.” The Bible is so clear in this definition that the meaning of the word is not debatable. Yet, predestination HAS been the subject of much debate.

Sadly, arguments like these occur when human logic and wisdom are elevated above Scripture. Incredulous Christians will ask, “How can ANYONE believe in that predestination stuff!” Yet, the biblical question should be: “HOW can ANYONE claim to believe the Bible while rejecting explicit claims like, “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been PREDESTINED according to the PURPOSE of HIM who works ALL THINGS according to the counsel of HIS WILL” (Ephesians 1:11)? Or, consider the Christians converted under Paul’s preaching in Pisidia: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the Word of the Lord, and as many as HAD BEEN APPOINTED to eternal life BELIEVED” (Acts 13:48). This passage does NOT say that “all those who believed were then appointed to eternal life.” In our Bibles, God’s choice ALWAYS precedes man’s choice!

But, what about human responsibility? In the mystery of God’s providence, He ensures that the MEANS are present to accomplish His predestined purpose. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). God is BIG ENOUGH to guarantee that His elect (chosen ones) WILL hear the gospel.

Nevertheless, there IS a bothersome question: “What if I want to be a Christian, but I’m not elect?” Fortunately, there’s good news: THAT is an impossibility! If you desire Christ, the Bible insists that you ARE elect! Consider Jesus’ words: “ALL that the Father gives me WILL come to me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly NOT cast out” (John 6:37).

Grace and peace, y’all. Soli Deo Gloria